Friday Faves January 24, 2014

Spiders build decoys

Spiders in both the Phillippines and Peru have been observed building decoy spiders. This behavior had never been observed before but brings up so many questions! Are there evolutionary advantages? Are some decoy spiders better than others (depending on why they do this in the first place!) Is this tool use in a spider? Can they count to eight? I see a field of research developing before our eyes!! Read more here

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Gray squirrels prevent birds from using bird feeders

If you have a bird feeder and you think you're feeding birds, you may be mistaken. Turns out gray squirrels in this study reduced bird use of bird feeders by 97%. Now I will say, the test was done by gluing a stuffed animal squirrel to the bird feeder (while a control condition did have a piece of cardboard glued to it to make sure they weren't just responding to a strange object on the feeder). However they also observed feeders with live squirrels and saw the same trend. Read the article for yourself here.

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Cats were peeing on and walking all over your stuff in the Middle Ages

Add this to the history of the relationship between humans and cats. A Medieval manuscript was found with inky paw prints, cat urine and an angry inscription:

"Here is nothing missing, but a cat urinated on this during a certain night. Cursed be the pesty cat that urinated over this book during the night in Deventer and because of it many others [other cats] too. And beware well not to leave open books at night where cats can come."

Read more and see pics here!

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