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.
|Ways human society can eliminate war||Baboons Change Culture||USA|
|Squirrel seems distressed||Squirrel Defenses||USA|
|Squirrel ate through bedroom screen||Squirrels||Canada|
|Why do you get startled?||Stimulus||India|
|Why do people look up at an aeroplane?||Stimulus||India|
|Why does a cat prick up its ears?||Stimulus||India|
|What are other examples of "plants stimulus"?||Stimulus||El Salvador|
|My parrot stopped making noises two days ago||Hookbills||SA|
|Disagree with answers on squirrels||Squirrel Defenses||USA|
|Group of squirrels ran by in one direction||Squirrels||USA|
|Has pet squirrel that is afraid of him||Squirrels||Greece|
|Where can I watch birds in New Jersey?||Flocks||USA|
|Squirrel 's chewing wakes me up up in the morning||Squirrels||USA|
|Another sees a squirrel eating an squirrel||Squirrels||USA|
December 1, 2008
I am a student at Mabry middle School. My name is Meghan. My group and I are making a movie about Antarctic penguins adaptations. We are researching the adelie, gentoo, and chinstrap. Your information was very helpful but we still have more questions. The following are the questions we have. It would be of great help if you could answer them or lead us to a source that could help. Thank you for your time.
1. Why are penguins put into captivity?
2. Does captivity have a positive or negative effect on penguins?
3. What are the effects?
4. What can we do to help?
5. Why do penguins have dense bones?
Meghan - USA (16876)
The reason Penguins are put into captivity is the same reason you put other animals in zoos -- mainly for the entertainment and education of people. In some cases, Penguins are put in to captivity to study their behavior and health issues.
The positive side of captivity is that the Penguins are well fed, but the negative effects are that there confined to close quarters and are not allowed to swim great distances were do things that Penguins naturally do. This can create psychological problems for the Penguins and makes for unhappy animals.
With global warming, some breeds of Penguins may be threatened with extinction. In such a case, captivity is a last resort to prevent complete extinction of the breed.
Zoos and animal parks are trying to improve the environment other animals including penguins they have on display. You can help by encouraging your local zoo to have good conditions for the Penguins they have.
Birds have low density bones, to reduce their weight so they can fly. Since Penguins don't fly, dense bones are an advantage for swimming.
Ways human society can eliminate war
October 16, 2008
A future unit in a social studies course I am teaching to middle school students in New York City will deal with ways human society can eliminate war as an option.
I recently saw a documentary on TV about this troupe of baboons but cannot find it....I believe there is a video of the show for sale. Is there any chance you can help me find this. This story gives SO MUCH HOPE.
Philip - USA (16658)
You might try http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/tag/baboons/
Baboons are fairly aggressive animals and fight often. They are not a good example for human society. The best example of a peaceful ape society is among the bonobos. See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bonobos/dewaal.html and http://www.bonobo.org/
Best wishes in teaching your students about peaceful ways.
Squirrel seems distressed
September 21, 2008
We have a squirrel that comes up and feeds out a squirrel feeder while I sit less than a foot away usually reading or enjoying the fresh air. She is usually very defensive of other squirrels and will chase other squirrels away unless they are her own. She allows her own younger brood to eat the scattered corn and seeds that I sweep off our patio. Recently she climbed up on the doorscreen and began this gutteral sound from her throat which later turned into an almost whimpering cry. I looked around and tried to find the source of her distress but couldn't see anything. She would continue this while hanging upside down from the screen until I went to open the door to get a better view outside and see if I could get a better view. She would come down from the screen and stop whimpering when I would come and open the back door a little and attempt to find out what was wrong. This has happened a couple of times and I don't have a clue to what is causing her such distress. Is there anything I can do or any advice that you can give me.
Randy - USA (16527)
We have a few older squirrels who are aggressive and don't let others near our feeder while enjoying the food. Both are females.
Squirrels do make a funny noise that some call chattering but sounds more like a gurgling sound. Usually, they are up in a tree making the noise.
We get squirrels that will look in the window or even jump on the screen to let us know that the feeder is empty. But it sounds like you had enough food that this wasn't the reason for the behavior.
Perhaps its mate or one of its litter was injured, and the squirrel is showing distress to you as a "friend". There really isn't much you can do about it, since such things happen in nature. Hopefully, soon her distress will pass.
Squirrel ate through bedroom screen
July 23, 2008
We had a female squirrel and two baby squirrels who broke into our attic this past spring. They made a lot of noise at night tearing out the insulation, and kept us awake for a few nights. The wildlife company came and made sure that they left, and closed the hole they had used to enter (now it is covered with metal, so they cannot get in from there anymore). In the past week, however, twice a squirrel made a hole in our bedroom window-net, something that had never happened before, neither to us nor to our neighbors. Since this squirrel came back twice, I was wondering what was the cause for this. Is it possible that it is one of those who were living in our attic, and is coming back to reclaim his home? The fact that he made a hole in our bedroom makes me think of this, since there is no food there, and since they used to live exactly in the area above our bedroom. What can we do? I would hate having to keep my windows closed whenever we are not in the room.
John - Canada (16259)
Probably, the squirrel was trying to get back into the attic nest. Since the other entrance was blocked, it was looking for another way to get in. Your attic must have been a comfortable nest.
Once suggestion is to place an owl decoy near your window to scare off the squirrels. A fixed decoy costs around $20. Many garden or hardware stores sell them.
There is a new "flying" owl decoy too:
There is also a squirrel repellent at: http://www.critter-repellent.com/squirrel/squirrel-repellent.php
Squirrels are persistent little fellows, so I hope one of these solutions help.
Why do you get startled?
July 13, 2008
If somebody shouts suddenly right behind us we get startled. give reason
Sheli - India (16211)
Humans and animals have a natural defensive reflex to get startled at loud noises. This can be even seen with small babies.
Why do people look up at an aeroplane?
July 13, 2008
People look up when an aeroplane passes overhead,high up in the sky.give reason
Sheli - India (16212)
They hear the sound and are curious. People who live near the airport do not bother to look up.
Why does a cat prick up its ears?
July 13, 2008
when there is the slightest sound, a cat pricks up its ears.give reason
When a beam of light flashes on the eyes,the eyes close quickly.give reason.
Sheli - India (16213)
The cat wants to know what the sound is and where it comes from. It wants to know if the sound represents danger or a possible meal. Rub your fingers together behind a cat's head, and you will see its ears face backward to try to identify the sound.
There is a natural reflex to close the eyes to protect them from light that is too bright. If it a dim light, the eyes usually will not close, because the signal is not enough to cause the protection reflex.
What are other examples of "plants stimulus"?
April 27, 2008
What are other examples of "plants stimulus"?
P.S. You are a genius by creating this page
Diego - El Salvador (15818)
The roots of a plant will sense the existence of metal in the ground that is toxic to it, such as a piece of copper. The root will grow in a direction avoiding that piece of copper.
A Venus Fly Trap plant will close its leaf on an insect when the hairs on the leaf are stimulated by the insect.
Trees at the edge of a grove are usually thicker because of the stimulus of wind that others don't receive.
My parrot stopped making noises two days ago
March 16, 2008
My parrot stopped making noises two days ago.
It eats well every day but just does not make any sound what so ever, whereas before it screams, whistle and sang a tune.
Is my parrot sick?
Marina - SA (15547)
Sometimes parrots will stop talking for a while if they are upset about some change in their environment. In such a case, try to comfort it and spend a little more time giving it attention. They are very social birds.
But also, check your parrot's eyes and feathers to see if it might be sick. Illness is another reason to stop talking. If you think it is ill, check with your vet.
Disagree with answers on squirrels
December 5, 2007
The person answering questions regarding the rapid movement or the flicking of the squirrel tail claims that it is to "distract". This answer couldn't be further from the truth. Squirrels use their tails to communicate wither it’s to warn other squirrels of their territory, of danger and for attracting a mate. Anyone who was raised in the country or who is a hunter knows this to be true. Next time you go to the park look for yourself. Also this same person with all the answers claims that squirrels tails will detach like that of a lizard. This also couldn’t be any more wrong!! This explanation makes about as much sense as claiming that one of Humans defenses are that our arms or legs detach when attacked by a shark. I am very curious what the answer might be if the topic was not squirrels but maybe monkeys or cats? Do their tails detach to serve as a defense mechanism too? Absolutely ridicules answers coming from someone who obviously doesn’t know. Their tails do not naturally detach to serve as some “decoy” that wiggles around like the tails on lizards.
- USA (14913)
The answers to the questions are based on scientific research by various agencies.
Squirrels aren't very social animals> Although they may flick their tails to warn others of danger, they also flick their tails to tell other squirrels to stay away from their food supply. See Nature Expert at: http://www.enature.com/expert/expert_show_question.asp?questionID=24257
Squirrels also flick their tails to distract and ward off snakes. See scientific article in Nature magazine at: http://www.nature.com/news/2004/040614/full/news040614-3.html
The Squirrel Sanctuary Inc. states that squirrel tails can break off to escape a predator. See: http://www.squirrelsanctuary.org/behave_yourself.htm
Group of squirrels ran by in one direction
November 20, 2007
I saw something that amazed me the other day. I was in a very remote wooded area out in the middle of northern Michigan. All of sudden a group of 8 squirrels came running by about 15 yards away. They were fox, red and black squirrels. Then a group of 4 a minute later, then an astonishing group of 14 squirrels. So in a matter of a couple of minutes, 26 squirrels all ran from my right to my left and out of site. What on earth is happening?
Greg - USA (14810)
Others have reported seeing such a "run" of squirrels, although not such a range of squirrel types. I don't know of any specific trait for such behavior. My first guess is that there was some serious threat that they were fleeing. Perhaps there was a wildcat, fox or other predator in the vicinity.
Has pet squirrel that is afraid of him
October 27, 2007
hello my name is john and i am from greece ,one week before i took a squirrel from a pet shop (yes i think it is legal in my country)i love him ver much but i see some problems at his behavior he is very very frightened every time i aproach he run"s and hide inside his nest or or isnide a the tube tha his cage has i am realy disapointed because i had another squirrel one year ago 9dyed)and he didn"t behave like this hhe was making circles around the cage and was very active and when i put him out of the cage he jumped at me and i palyed with him wand was climbing at me also
but this one i have now sit"s in a position and seem"s realy frightened and not so active what should i do
waiting for a reply with best regard"s from greece
john - Greece (14654)
Just like children, some squirrels are shy and others are more outgoing. It takes a while for a shy squirrel to learn to trust you. Putting some food in his tray and then staying nearby until he gets brave enough to come out to eat is a way to let him get familiar with seeing you and getting used to his new surroundings.
It may be quite upsetting for the little guy to be in this strange place, so it will take a while to get used to it. Try not to move fast or to make loud noises that will scare him.
Once he gets used to you and knows that you are the source of his food, he should get more friendly. But he may never be as friendly as your other squirrel.
Where can I watch birds in New Jersey?
October 15, 2007
Where can I watch flocks of birds in south jersey?
kathy - USA (14543)
Check the following websites:
Hope that helps.
Squirrel 's chewing wakes me up up in the morning
September 25, 2007
A squirrel 's chewing on my neighbor's gutter wakes me up in the morning! I have observed him and he backs off but when he realizes I can't reach him , he goes back to chewing loudly on the gutter. He also awakens the homeowner. What's this all about? Remedy/
Joan - USA (14435)
Squirrels will often chew on things to clean their teeth. Ideally, they will chew on small tree branches. Unfortunately they sometimes chew on power lines, home decorations and such.
You might try something like Ropel, which is a long lasting, extremely bad tasting repellant and will stop squirrels chewing things. It is available at many garden centers. Smearing an an onion-chili pepper paste on the are is also supposed to work.
Spreading something like that on the gutter may discourage the squirrel and prevent damage.
Another sees a squirrel eating an squirrel
September 23, 2007
My husband was in on the back porch and noticed a dead squirrel on the ground and another squirrel was eating it. We didn't witness whether the squirel that was alive had killed the other squirrel but it looked healthy, unlike the response I read from the other person. It did eat the head first and started
on the leg. We first noticed it around 11:30 in the morning. It is now almost
7:00P.M. and he has been coming back and still eating it. We have alot of squirrels around and I have never seen anything like this!
- USA (14430)
Squirrels will eat grubs and even small birds. If short of food, they will eat roadkill. But the idea of squirrel cannibalism seems strange. There have been some reports of male squirrels killing baby squirrels from another male. But that behavior has been seen in various other animals in the wild.
Although rare, there have been some reports of squirrels eating other squirrels. I don't think anyone has seen a squirrel kill another, so it may be a case of eating something like "road kill" or such. I don't think it is normal behavior, though.
The following site has a number of letters from people who have witnessed squirrels eating other animals and other squirrels:
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