Tag Archives: chimpanzees

Wild animals run for fun

Do captive mice run in their wheel because they are neurotic and stressed? Or is it a natural mouse behavior? Well, it turns out that if you put a running wheel out in the wild, the mice will come. And they will run. Turns out frogs and other animals will join in too. Pretty cool. Read more about the study here, or download the open access paper here.

Note: this does not "prove" that mice in captivity aren't running in a wheel due to stress!

Best video from this story: a slug in a running wheel. Please watch.

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Is that pet cat a hybrid or a bobcat?

A "pet" cat, Rocky, escaped and ran loose for two weeks before he was caught. This was the second time he had escaped, and violated the owner's agreement with the city that he would remained contained in her home.

Animal control officer's suspect Rocky is a bobcat, not a hybrid, and have confiscated the kitty while he gets genetic testing to determine his species. Officials have determined he will only go home if he's truly a hybrid. I hope this highlights a few things: the downside of the glorification of hybrid species as pets, the fact that many of these cats who are kept captive are declawed, and whether or not this is a good quality of life for the animal. An interesting case; I'm anxious to see what the blood test shows!

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Safe to say, this feline behavior consultant’s least favorite thing is dealing with my own cats’ behavior problems. My cats are supposed to be perfect! And in general, they are; except when it comes to food.

I’ve got two cats. One we’ll call the Vacuum, and one we’ll call the Nibbler. The Vacuum may have food security issues, or she might just really love to eat. The Nibbler, on the other hand, prefers to graze small amounts throughout the day.

Conveniently, the Vacuum is a little on the chunky side, and not the most agile of cats. The Nibbler is more active and so we fed her for many years on top of the refrigerator. This situation worked just fine, until it didn’t anymore. As the Nibbler has entered her senior years, she made it clear that jumping up on the fridge was more work than she was willing to do.

We moved her food to a lower shelf, and all was well and good for a few months, until the Vacuum realized that there was extra food…possibly within her reach. Suddenly the Nibbler’s food was disappearing at a rapid pace, and not because the Nibbler was eating it.

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It's Friday again already? Here's what I liked this week!

5000 years of love: Cats became domesticated earlier than we thought

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We know humans and cats hung out together at least 9500 years ago. And we have evidence of domesticated cats dating 4000 years ago. We didn't know much about what happened between these two time periods until now. Scientists have found evidence for co-existence (cats living on human food) and possible domestication in China 5000 years ago.  Read more here or here

Social learning in chimps

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A study in Zambia found differences between chimp colonies in how they open hard-shelled fruits, demonstrating support for both social learning and culture. If you can, read the source article, or try this article (Some articles had absurd statements, like, "further strengthens the fact that chimps are our closest relatives!" - uh, no that's proven by genetics...).

Dogs recognize familiar faces from images

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This study looked at both research dogs and pet dogs in Helsinki, presenting them with images (both upright and inverted) of humans and dogs (familiar and strangers), then used eye-tracking technology to measure where they looked and for how long. Dogs like to look at pictures of other dogs, and they look longer of images of both familiar dogs and humans, and they particularly spend more time looking in the eye area. Original article here, news write up here.