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Feedback Q&A on Behavior

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 281 comments and questions on Behavior issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.



List of next 10 letters

Topic

Title

Country

Hookbills Goffin cockatoo biting me USA
 
Squirrel Defenses Do hawks have anything to do with squirrels losing their tails? USA
 
Dogs Roll Older, small dog rolling in smelly stuff more often USA
 
Dogs Roll Why do dogs roll on their back right after eating? USA
 
Squirrels Squirrel carrying another in its mouth USA
 
Rats Rat puts her tail in the fish tank USA
 
Squirrels Squirrel looks at crack in road every day USA
 
Observations Studying behviour and character Nigeria
 
Squirrel Defenses Squirrel seems to have a death wish USA
 
Rats Saw a rat and worried it will get in the house USA
 

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First 10 letters


Goffin cockatoo biting me

Topic: Hookbills

Question

December 26, 2009

I have a 3 year old Goffin. She has come into sexual maturity and has now started to bite me. I think she needs a mate but I do NOT want babies. Can I put another variety of bird in the same cage with her? She is out in a huge avairy during the day and I bring her in at night. She gets at least 2 hours of attention from us daily.
Thank you in anticipation for your answer.

Avrille - USA

18930

Answer

Apparently, this is a behavior in adolescent parrots and cockatoos. See:
http://birds.about.com/od/behaviorandtraining/qt/bluffing.htm

Here are some notes on breeding behavior:
http://www.forthebirdsdvm.com/breedingbehavior.htm

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Do hawks have anything to do with squirrels losing their tails?

Topic: Squirrel Defenses

Question

November 29, 2009

We have many hawks and many squirrels without tails. Before the hawks moved in we never saw a squirrel without a tail.

Paul - USA

18758

Answer

On occasion, a squirrel will lose part or all of its tail to escape a predator.
Hawks are known to try to catch squirrels. It is unusual to see many hawks in one area, since the available food for them is limited.

I guess the squirrels that lost their tails where the lucky ones.

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Older, small dog rolling in smelly stuff more often

Topic: Dogs Roll

Question

November 20, 2009

I appreciate you information although living in the country it is hard to keep our small dog leashed since there is no real danger to him, he stays out of harms way and comes when he is called. Also his rolling in stink has gotten worse as he has gotten older. I wonder why? My only speculation is that i got him when I was a single lady now married with 3 small children and 2 other larger dogs but non aggressive if he is doing this to make himself more of the pack leader now that his moves are not as strong and quick as they used to be. Just wonder what your thought was on this or if you have any other suggestions besides chaining him up or keeping a watchful eye over him.
Thanks a lot.

Pet owner - USA

18713

Answer

It is an interesting thought that he is rolling in smelling things to show he is the leader of the pack. But also, he may be doing that because it gets him extra attention, especially when you clean him.

Note how young children will sometimes act up, because they know it will get them attention, even if it is a spanking. Dogs can do that too.

You might try giving him a little more attention and TLC, especially since he is getting older and has been with you such a long time. Make him feel a little more special.

This is just an idea, but I think it is worth trying. Let me know how things work out.

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Why do dogs roll on their back right after eating?

Topic: Dogs Roll

Question

October 14, 2009

why do some dogs roll around on their back right after eating? My daughter's black Lab does it and my Pekingese does it as well.

Donna - USA

18504

Answer

Sometimes dogs rule on their back if they find something smelly on the ground. But a love of the time, they like to roll on the ground -- especially in some soft grass -- because it just feels good. It also may be because the dog is happy to have had a good meal.

My daughter has some favorite spots on the lawn where she loves to roll around on her back and then wait for me to tickle her belly. I've never noticed to her doing that right after eating, but perhaps it is because she doesn't get a chance to do it then. I'll have to watch for it.

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Squirrel carrying another in its mouth

Topic: Squirrels

Question

September 12, 2009

I was looking up squirrel behavior and stumbled upon this site, ok today i was out working in the yard and saw a squirrel run by, I did a double take and saw the squirrel had another squirrel in it's mouth with only the back legs and tail sticking out! Bizzare, It was trying to swallow it like a snake would! If I did not see it I would not have believed it! Any way very very odd, I followed him around the neighborhood for a few minutes and he was just running around with the other squirrel hanging out.

Allan - USA

18301

Answer

Others have mentioned seeing squirrels carrying another squirrel it its mouth. Mother squirrels will carry their babies to other places. But also, some squirrels will eat another squirrel, either dead or injured.

Other male animals--such as lions--have been known to kill and eat the young of another male, so that it can mate with the female and spread its own genes. It is possible that squirrels do that too.

If the squirrel being carried is an adult, it may be dead and being carried away to be eaten or hidden.

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Rat puts her tail in the fish tank

Topic: Rats

Question

September 10, 2009

I have 2 pet rats - one is very friendly "Pepper" and the other one "Cookie" is kind of shy - we have caught her sitting on top of our fish tank and dangling her tail in the water as if she is fishing - why do you think she might be doing this?

Lorraine - USA

18294

Answer

Rat are very intelligent animals. Although she may have her tail in the water because it feels good, she may also be using her tail to attract the fish. But I'm not sure how she could ever catch one, even if it came right up to the top of the water.

At the very least, enjoy watching their antics.

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Squirrel looks at crack in road every day

Topic: Squirrels

Question

August 30, 2009

Why would a squirrel be in the middle of the road every morning, looking at a crack in the asphalt? The crack is only about 1/2 inch deep and I see no nut or other food bit in it. This squirrel has been doing this every morning for the past four weeks. When a car comes he scurries to safety. When the coast is clear, he's back looking into the crack.

Maria - USA

18233

Answer

Squirrels do the craziest things. You wonder what goes through their little minds?

I have no idea what why your squirrel is doing that. Perhaps some reader can give an idea about it.

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Studying behviour and character

Topic: Observations

Question

August 6, 2009

I what to no full mene of how to study peoples behaviour and character?

uche - Nigeria

18122

Answer

The study of behavior and character of people is often considered under social psychology. But you can learn a lot from careful observation of people.

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Squirrel seems to have a death wish

Topic: Squirrel Defenses

Question

July 26, 2009

We have a fairly young squirrel in the yard that either seems to have a death wish, isn't very smart, or is not healthy. Over the last couple of weeks it has allowed my large dog to get rather near to it on two occasions. Today's incident was scary as I worried about the dog getting bit and/or the squirrel getting hurt. The squirrel was directly under a tree and rather than run up it, it went into some bushes. Once my dog found it in the bushes, it made a slow move across the lawn. By the time I could get to my dog and the squirrel-they had faced off (appeared to be smelling each other rather than threatening each other)and then the squirrel rolled over on its back (looked like a submissive posture). I held my dog back and the squirrel walked away rather slowly. Does this sound like unusual squirrel behavior? thanks

- USA

18062

Answer

City squirrels can become so accustomed to dogs on a leash and people, that they lose their natural cautiousness. One of the squirrels near us will come to the patio door to beg for peanuts, going almost right up to our dog. On the other hand, the same squirrel will scamper up a tree in the yard, if the dog is near.

It seems that animals have some sort of code of conduct (which is probably a very unscientific observation). I've seen a cat and dog pass each other on the sidewalk, each going about its business.

But if the squirrel or cat starts to run, then it is time to chase, as if it is prey.

I know that some people have has squirrels as pets and let them play alongside their dog with no problems.

The submissive posture of the squirrel certainly was interesting. But it is also risky for the squirrel. So, I hope your little friend is more careful.

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Saw a rat and worried it will get in the house

Topic: Rats

Question

June 10, 2009

I just read the Mr. Kurtus article about rat behavior. We saw a rat outside our house this week and this was the first case in the 17 years we have been here. It alarmed us. Could our relatively new composter, near the house, have attracted it? The wire is very dense so I don't think the rat could have gotten in and there is no sign that he did. However, is that what could have attracted him? We saw him in the location, however, near our bulkhead steps (going down to the basement). How do we check to see if he got into the house? Unlike you, I do not think I want to keep him as a pet. We put up with bats in our house but we draw the line at rats.

Thank you for whatever information you can send me.

- USA

17886

Answer

Domestic rats make good pets, but wild rats can cause damage and may spread disease.

Any type of food or a good place to nest could attract the rat to your house. You certainly want to make sure the rat does not make a nest in your house. Thoroughly check around your house for any holes or cracks where the rat might be able to get in. Also check around the roof area. Some breeds of rats like to get into the attic.

It might be a one-time situation, but it is good to keep your eyes open for any signs of the rat getting in your house. If you continue to see areas of rat droppings, you may have to set a trap. Using rat poison is not good, because you do not want a dead rat between the rafters in your house.

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