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.
|Is squirrel worrying about hawk?||Squirrels||USA|
|Squirrels burying acorns in cat litter box||Squirrels||USA|
|Can southern flying squirrels eat corn?||Squirrels||USA|
|Pup likes to roll in others' poop||Dogs Roll||USA|
|Lovebird had eggs without a mate||Hookbills||USA|
|Can squirrels detect approaching storms?||Squirrel Defenses||USA|
|How can you tell if a rat is paralyzed?||Rats||USA|
|How can you watch every deed of a person?||Observations||Nepal|
|Do lovebirds aggravate asthma?||Hookbills||USA|
|Why do squirrels switch their tails so much?||Squirrel Defenses||USA|
|Squirrel extremely friendly to me||Squirrels||USA|
|What are a large number of squirrels called?||Squirrels||USA|
|Effects of instinct over rationale in animal behav||Squirrel Defenses||USA|
|New pet rat bites us||Rats||USA|
|I found a baby squirrel||Squirrels||USA|
Is squirrel worrying about hawk?
February 17, 2006
We have a squirrel that regularly feeds at our bird feeder. Lately, he has been hanging vertically on the side of the tree, just hanging there, sometimes for 15 min at a time. What do you think this is about? Does he think he's hiding? We do have a hawk that regularly flies by the feeder.
Ruth - USA (10132)
He may be aware that the hawk is in the area. Hanging motionless is a way to camouflage from predators. A hawk's vision is sensitive to motion.
Squirrels burying acorns in cat litter box
January 24, 2006
Have you heard of squirrels making their way into a house & burying acorns in the family cat's litter box? We think this might be happening at my sister's home.
Dianna - USA (9787)
One reader wrote about squirrels getting in through the cat door and stealing food off the dining room table. They can be mischievous. I've never heard of them using a litter box to bury their nuts, but it sure is possible.
Can southern flying squirrels eat corn?
January 22, 2006
I wanted to know if american southern flying squirrels can eat corn. Mine recently died but I cant figure out what the cause of his death was and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it. thanks
Steph - USA (9755)
A diet of only corn can deprive a squirrel of nutrition. But in general they can eat it on occasion with no problem. Good mixtures to feed a squirrel include vegetables such as celery, carrots, green beans, and romaine lettuce and fruits such as apples and bananas. You can also try insects and mealworms. Parrot food is another good choice since it has many seeds that squirrels like.
Pup likes to roll in others' poop
January 17, 2006
We got a 6 mo. old jack russel about 2 weeks ago. She is not very well trained, & we just got her housebroken. Also just dog-proofed the yard. The problem is, while she won't mess with her own poop, we can't keep her from rolling in the poop of other animals, and there are a LOT of feral cats & other wild creatures in our neighborhood. I've seen a lot of advise on keeping dogs under control while away from home, but what about our own yard? After all, this dog needs room to run!
Alan - USA (9699)
Dogs will often roll on their back in their own yard, just to give it a good scratch. But if they find something smelly, they will pick that as the place to roll. It is really difficult to stop this behavior. I don't know if scolding will help, although catching the pup doing it and showing your displeasure may hit home after a while. Dogs still like to please their masters and can tell when their behavior makes the master unhappy--provided they can associate exactly what they did with the displeasure.
If you can keep as much animal droppings as possible from your yard, it will help. Then if you catch her rolling in something smelly, you can show you are unhappy with it. Hopefully, she will stop doing it after a while.
Lovebird had eggs without a mate
January 16, 2006
Hi.I have a female lovebird named Peach.She used to have a mate but he died when I got them.Ever since I got her,she bites when i get close to her.About 3 months ago,she layed 9 eggs without a mate and i didnt know what to do.I've tried to find information ever since i got her about 1 and a half years ago but i couldn't find anything.If you can help me i would really appreciate it.
Maya - USA (9697)
Lovebirds really like to be in pairs. It would be good to get her a partner. But you need to make sure they get along. That might stop her biting, but there may be some other behavior issues involved.
As far as laying the eggs go, the following articles give some information of what to do and about how she may act:
I hope that helps.
Can squirrels detect approaching storms?
January 13, 2006
can squirrels detect approaching storms?
Bob - USA (9656)
Animals seem to be very sensitive to changes in the environment. In China, they have used farm animals to predict earthquakes. So I wouldn't be surprised if squirrels are able to detect approaching storms. I've never seen any caught in a bad thunderstorm.
Surprisingly, there has been little research on this.
How can you tell if a rat is paralyzed?
January 7, 2006
how can you tell if a rat is paralyzed?
trish - USA (9592)
Sometimes a pet rat can fall and injure its spine. If it is paralyzed, it is unable to move the affected area. Like if the spine was injured, it may not be able to move its rear legs.
How can you watch every deed of a person?
December 29, 2005
how is it possible to watch the every deed of a person if we watch them all the way what they they think . n how can we know looking the same behavour means that things what they r exposing.means in case of the person how to know by watching.like if watch there behaviour like if unknown person looked us n smile at us listening our talk than what to think there no possible to watch that guy too.
saroj - Nepal (9489)
Often people do not pay attention to those around them. But if you do, you may see people doing things that do not fit what you have observed in most people. For example, if a stranger seems to smile more that most other people and if his smiles seem inappropriate to the situation, you may become suspicious about him.
Certainly, you cannot watch every deed people do, but by not blanking them out, you can pay attention enough to get an idea if their behavior is normal or acceptable.
Do lovebirds aggravate asthma?
November 17, 2005
I am seriously considering getting lovebirds. I have 2 kids that have had some asthma issues. Can lovebirds aggrevate asthma? I have been trying to find out and can't really find an answer. It seems to me, from what I have been reading, that some birds can have more dander than others. Is this true? I would greatly appreciate some help. Thanks.
Paula - USA (8994)
Many birds kept as pets can cause psittacosis (parrot fever), which is a bacterial infection due to dust from bird feathers and cage contents or a sick bird. But in general that infection is rare.
The dust may aggravate asthma in some cases, but it really isn't a major issue since there are many sources of other dust in the house that are worse. But still it might be wise to check with your doctor to see what things to avoid in the house concerning your children's asthma.
Why do squirrels switch their tails so much?
November 10, 2005
Why do squirrels switch their tails so much? What purpose does it serve them?
Bronya - USA (8897)
Cat do the same thing when they are ready to pounce on a bird or mouse. Both may do it to distract predators (or prey in the case of the cats). You start to look at the flicking tail and ignore the squirrel itself.
The flicking seems to be an involuntary action, since they sometimes do it when not under threat, like when playing with another squirrel. I've also seen them flicking or switching their tails when angry at a dog beneath a tree.
Squirrel extremely friendly to me
November 2, 2005
I have been feeding a few squirels since late spring this year. A female in particular and I, have become good friends. She allows me to pet her on head and stroke her fur. She even seems to understand when I call her (Ms Fleabag is her name)as she would look up whilst rooting in my garden.
Also, if I am in the garden and she is around, rooting for food and I dont see her, she would come up and nudge me on my leg or grab my leg with her hands for her nut.
In any event, she has been making a chattering noise with her teeth for sometime. I have seen other squirrels doing this too. Is this normal?
Last week she turned up with some fur stripped off her tail (towards the end. There was no bleeding but some bruises. I dont know if she had a fight or perhaps she was attacked by a cat (there has been one lurking around) Scabs have sinced formed.
Today, it appears that she have picked the scab with her teeth. The scab was loose and I think there maybe some bleeding. She looks a mess and I am very concerned. I dont want her to die, as we have become very close. Please advise what I can do to help her.
I am glad to know that raw peanuts are harmful. I will roast them from now on. What about raw pecans. Are they safe for my furry friends.
Poh Yee - USA (8796)
It is really wonderful that you have been able to make a friend with Ms Fleabag. Squirrels are smart animals and know who is friendly.
The chattering with her teeth seems to be a way to communicate something. I'm not sure what. Often they will flick their tails in certain ways when playing with other squirrels or when they see a cat. Also, I've seen cats chatter their teeth on occasion.
I'm guessing the injury to her tail was from another squirrel. As long as she doesn't get an infection, I am sure it will heal. Animals will often lick their wounds, which helps them to heal.
I don't know about raw pecans, so it probably is best to play it safe. Squirrels like sunflower seeds. They often will empty out our bird feeder.
I hope everything is fine with Ms Fleabag and that you can enjoy her company for a long time.
What are a large number of squirrels called?
November 1, 2005
What are a large number of squirrels called? (Packs, Family or ?) The last two days I have encountered approx. 30 squirrels running together everywhere and nowhere. While they seemed to be non-threatening, they were somewhat aggressive. I have never seen so many run together like that.
Vince - USA (8782)
A group of squirrels is called a dray. I don't think many people use that expression.
Although they're preparing for winter, I haven't heard of so many gathering together in one area. I wonder if there is some good food source there? Even if there is, it is unusual to have so many together. 4 or 5 is usually tops.
Effects of instinct over rationale in animal behav
October 17, 2005
I am interested in the effects of instinct over rational in animal behavior and would like to know the following; why do suqirrels, when a vehicle approaches at high rate of speed, dart in one direction and then switch back in the opposite. Is this a defense mechanism? Are they trying to give it the old fake and run? Or is this behavior simply a result of terror and indecision? It is interesting that, in many cases, the squirrel winds up squished as a result of his reversing direction, when he would have been perfectly safe if he had kept moving in his origonal directoion. Thank you.
Fred - USA (8586)
I think you can look at a similar behavior in a human when absent-mindedly crossing the street and being suddenly confronted by a speeding car. Most people would hesitate for a moment, first in terror, and then to decide which way to jump. That moment of indecision can be fatal to both the human and squirrel.
But it also seems that squirrels feel safer from where they came as opposed to where they are going. I always am extra cautious, because I never know what the critter will do.
Note that street-smart dogs will usually look both ways before crossing. Squirrels just seem to be oblivious and don't catch on to the danger of an oncoming car.
New pet rat bites us
October 13, 2005
We had 2 fancy rats (sisters) for almost 4 years. They were held from a young age, and kept in seperate cages, but played together often. We bragged so much about how they never bit and were as sweet as puppies.
They both died around 2 months ago, and we bought a new baby female while on a weekend vacation. I know that is kind of stressful for it. It had times of car riding, being with people, being alone. It has bitten (breaking the skin/bleeding) both of our kids and a friend when they tried to take her out of the cage. I don't want that to keep happening.
We can return her within 14 days to the store that is 2 hours away, but my son is already attatched, though distraught with worry. We don't know what to do.
What have you observed, that might give us a clue as to why she is doing this. She doesn't seem to want to come out of the cage, but once out, enjoys being out and running about or sitting on our shoulder. I doubt seriously my husband will go for the idea of getting a friend for her. We already have two parakeets, two rabbits that might have bunnies, and now one rat.
Lea - USA (8534)
The probable reason she would bite when being taken out of the cage was fear of being harmed. Being brought to a new place can be traumatic for any young animal. See if you can tempt her out the cage with some food or just leave the door open so that she can explore by herself. For a while, you might wear gloves when first picking her up. The more she is handled gently, the more she will see that it is not a threat and the more she will like it.
Note that some rats and other animals never seem to adjust to being handled. But usually that is because of abuse when younger. I think that your rat should relax more within your 14 day grace period.
Best wishes with your new pet, and I hope she adjusts well to her new home.
I found a baby squirrel
September 26, 2005
Please help. I found a baby squirrel at the base of a tree. It was so so sad because his mother was trying to cover him in leaves. But it was a dangerous location. Someone would have certainly trampled him or he could have been at risk of being harmed by dogs or hawks. It seems his leg is broken from the fall. I put him in a box filled with leaves. What can I feed him? How can I tell if he's ready to go back? Thanks so very much.
Nancy - USA (8303)
Poor little thing. It would be best if its mother can carry it back up to the nest. But if not, there are groups that help baby squirrels. See:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/contact.htm for a listing in your state.
For information on taking care of the littel fellow, see:
You could also check your local humane society if they will take care of baby squirrels.
I hope the squirrel is able to recover and be OK.
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