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Questions tagged [ethology]

The scientific study of animal behaviour, and a sub-topic of zoology.

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Do chimpanzees perform lab memory tasks well by having a good memory?

A working memory test of chimpanzees, described in this BBC Earth video, shows a chimpanzee outperforming a human. Another video shows a chimpanzee performing the test: Young chimpanzees outperform ...
Timothy Chow's user avatar
9 votes
0 answers
452 views

Do dogs who play with laser pointers get neuroses?

There are many anecdotes about "laser pointer syndrome" claiming that dogs suffer from something like OCD as a result of playing with laser pointers. Some vet clinics that propagate this ...
Arnon Weinberg's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
281 views

Did a rabbit bite Justice David Souter?

In a panel discussion titled HLS in the World | A Conversation with Six Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court [partially transcribed at Harvard At 200: Justices Look Back On Their Law School Days — And ...
user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do wombats share their burrows during fires?

In the wake of the devastating bushfires currently burning in Australia, an image has been widely shared on social media: Here is one example from Twitter, retweeted 11K times: While I have an ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
4k views

Do dolphins intentionally intoxicate themselves with puffer-fish venom?

Since late 2013, outlets as serious as Smithsonian Magazine have circulated the claim that dolphins intentionally get "high" by harassing pufferfish. It is further claimed that this is a ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
902 views

Do crows like to get dizzy? [closed]

In a lecture on the "Meaning Crisis", John Vervaeke, an assistant professor of cognitive science at the University of Toronto, and a colleague of Jordan B. Peterson, states: Caledonian crows will ...
Arnon Weinberg's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do European deer still stick to their sides of the Iron Curtain?

I found such a claim in an article here: http://nowiknow.com/the-thin-red-deer-line/ But that was a long time ago, especially if you’re a deer — they only live about ten or so years in the wild. ...
Przemysław Czechowski's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does human excrement or toilet paper attract wild animals?

One commenter on Clarification sought on the six-inch-cat-hole rule says of toilet paper, "One issue is that (even if it does biodegrade), animals may dig it up and scatter it around..." I've heard ...
Don Branson's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
258 views

Can elephants be held by a single piece of rope if they grow up conditioned to believe they cannot break free? [duplicate]

According to theunboundedspirit.com: As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
719 views

Can Rambo, the German shepherd, follow written commands?

An article on The Laughing Squid shows a German shepherd seemingly following written commands. An impressively intelligent German shepherd named Rambo, who’s learning how to read with the help of ...
SQB's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
831 views

Have badgers eaten coyotes?

Wikipedia claims that badgers sometimes eat coyotes: In North America, coyotes sometimes eat badgers and vice versa, but the majority of their interactions seem to be mutual or neutral.[19] ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do apes/monkeys open bananas from the floral end?

I often hear people lecturing about how to open a banana from the "right" end, including an explanation that this is how monkeys do it. A quick search in the internet offers a lot of examples (for ...
saramkon's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
250 views

Would a ferret (or any other animal, for that matter) insist on its caregiver to handle its offspring?

There is a video of a ferret biting on someone's hand, guiding it towards a shoebox filled with kits (baby ferrets). It tends to appear alongside the claim that the ferret wants its caregiver to meet ...
user1999728's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
98 views

Do overpopulated rats have extremely high infant mortality rates caused by competition and stress?

Dr John B. Calhoun conducted a series of experiments in the 1960's on the effect of over-population on Norway rats. Wikipedia explains: The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when ...
Aleksei Averchenko's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is the "Alpha Wolf" theory debunked?

The concept of "Alpha" originates in studies of wolves and the theory that an "Alpha" wolf leads a pack. They were very scientifically popular in the 60s/70s, and obviously dominate popular culture. ...
user5341's user avatar
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38 votes
2 answers
34k views

Do the older slower wolves lead a wolf pack?

I saw this on Facebook. Is it true? pretty cool A pack (wolves): The first 3 are the older or sick and they set the pace of the group. If it was on the contrary, they would be left behind and ...
dwjohnston's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do roosters let hens eat first?

I recently saw this Reddit comment claiming that roosters are seen as gallant because they let their hens eat first: In France, the Rooster is seen as a symbol of gallantry. This is because, (...
March Ho's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
5k views

Is tickling a form of torture for slow lorises?

The campaign Tickling is Torture by international animal rescue campaigns against people keeping slow lorises as pets (for very good reasons). One claim they make however is that tickling is torture ...
David Mulder's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do pigeons and doves refrain from mating after their lifelong mate dies?

I just came across this quote by Jerome (I don't know in what book he originally wrote it): Even the pigeons and doves don't take another partner if their companions pass away. I don't take Jerome'...
Mr. Bultitude's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
3k views

Do orangutans rape women?

Following up from the lions-attacking-menstruating-women question, I read an account that claimed male orangutans will rape a human woman, especially if she is in menstruated. Are there verified ...
Tyler Durden's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
8k views

Can lions sense menstruating women?

I had an interesting chat today with a young woman from a traditional circus family, who explained she could not grow up to become a lion tamer, because lions could smell when women are menstruating ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
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20 votes
1 answer
4k views

Have cats hunted at least 33 species to extinction?

I heard recently that cats have hunted numerous species to extinction, but I couldn't find a reliable source for this. Several sources say that they have been blamed for these extinctions, but is ...
James Westman's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
26k views

Can mice find their way back to your home from 1+ miles away?

I've read on many pest control websites that if you catch a mouse in your home that they must be taken 1+ miles away, otherwise they will easily make their way back to their old home (ie. your house). ...
Django Reinhardt's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
9k views

Did lions in Ethiopia save a 12 year old girl from rape?

The story goes, with a youtube video: A 12-year-old girl was kidnapped in Ethiopia, beaten, and almost forced into an awful and disgusting marriage, but luckily, that marriage didn't happen because ...
Brian M. Hunt's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
2k views

Can chickens be hypnotized by drawing a line in front of them?

It's commonly said that if you hold a chicken's beak to the ground and draw a straight line in front of it, it will stare at the line and not move. There's no shortage of footage on youtube to prove ...
Jack M's user avatar
  • 291
16 votes
0 answers
849 views

Does a monkey/ape flee from half peeled bananas?

There is a claim by a German philosopher, named Max Scheler. Ein Affe, dem man eine Banane halb geschält in die Hand gibt, flieht vor ihr, während er sie ganz geschält frißt, ungeschält aber selber ...
Angelo.Hannes's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
211 views

Do dogs bite more during a full moon?

In various cultures throughout the world there is the widespread belief that animals, including companion dogs, are more likely to bite when under the influence of a full moon http://www.dogexpert....
Sklivvz's user avatar
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18 votes
1 answer
4k views

Do barking dogs seldom bite?

There is a very famous proverb that "BARKING DOGS SELDOM BITE". According to the saying: The dogs which bark too much in loud tone, bite very rarely. It implies that the people who threaten you more ...
The God Damn Geek 'ANIMESH''s user avatar
16 votes
0 answers
5k views

Do crabs exemplify "crab mentality" behaviour?

Is there any verifiable evidence that crabs, in fact, behave as if they possess "crab mentality"? The term “crab mentality” is used to describe a kind of selfish thinking that runs along the ...
sashkello's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do animals commit suicide?

I've done some Googling and only found case stories without any scientific backup. Most of the case reports about animal suicide online can by easily debunked by logical reasoning. For example there ...
Jori's user avatar
  • 680
3 votes
2 answers
739 views

Do roaches die (naturally) on their backs? [closed]

First, a major qualifier here; by naturally, I mean not forced to die on its "stomach" (like by being stepped on). Secondly, I live in the U.S., so maybe this applies to only American roaches. ...
Just Some Old Man's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
20k views

Do Japanese fishermen put sharks in their tanks to keep fish fresh?

I saw the following story on Quora and when I Googled it, I got a lot of inspirational websites like Patheos.org that were hosting this same story without any citations. I would like to know if the ...
Aamil Syed's user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
11k views

Do Macaque monkeys steal money from wallets and use it to buy food from vending machines?

I saw this rumor on Reddit, which refers to factsanddetails.com and which doesn't indicate the information source. I saw a video of a monkey using a vending machine on College Humor, but that doesn't ...
Casebash's user avatar
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27 votes
1 answer
70k views

Do spiders intentionally wear water droplets on their heads?

I discovered today that there are a lot of pictures of spiders "wearing" water drops as hats. (More research: Warning -- Spiders!) However, I can't find anything related to why they might do this. ...
Raven Dreamer's user avatar
67 votes
1 answer
311k views

Do sea otters rape baby seals to death?

Popular facebook group Nature isn’t always kind and cuddly. A study showed that sea otters will restrain baby seals and then begin copulation; sometimes drowning it during the 105-minute-long ...
Wertilq's user avatar
  • 5,958
8 votes
2 answers
12k views

Can a skunk spray with its feet off the ground?

A colleague has a family story that if confronted by a skunk, if you can get its rear feet off the ground, it's unable to release its foul-smelling spray. Evidence for or to the contrary?
Mark Mayo's user avatar
  • 1,377
4 votes
1 answer
496 views

Can dolphins learn a symbol based language?

I recently stumbled across the following article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1240334/Dolphins-clever-humans--treat-like-people-say-scientists.html which makes the claim that ...
Kenshin's user avatar
  • 3,146
23 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do wind turbines kill many birds each year?

It has been claimed that due to their large size, and the velocity of their blades that wind turbines kill large numbers of birds that run into them at night, or in fog, and die. http://www....
Clatoon Adour's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
127k views

Do male penguins search for pebbles to present to female penguins?

I came across the following unsourced claim: When a male penguin falls in love with a female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her. And when he finally ...
gerrit's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did large herbivorous dinosaurs have any predators?

I went to the Natural History Museum in London today. I saw the dinosaur exhibition, and in the exhibition was this image, of an Allosaurus attacking a Diplodocus: Image by John Sibbick This ...
Dave Hillier's user avatar
  • 1,514
19 votes
1 answer
8k views

Do birds eat chewing gum they think is bread?

This image popped up in my facebook feed today. The translation reads: Did you know that: Chewing gum thrown on the street looks like pieces of bread to birds. They try to eat it, but it gets stuck ...
Simon Verbeke's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do cats get stuck in trees?

There are a number of movies and cartoons that humorously have a hero saving the day by rescuing a cat from a tree (the first one that pops into my mind is in the movie The Incredibles). There are a ...
John's user avatar
  • 745
20 votes
4 answers
27k views

Is 94% of male giraffe sexual behaviour homosexual?

I've been trying to track down the source of a claim that research has shown giraffe exhibiting a really high rate of male homosexual relations. Going through the blog spam leads me to a site without ...
Kit Sunde's user avatar
  • 18.6k
23 votes
0 answers
3k views

Are "banana traps" effective at catching monkeys?

There is a famous claim that says the way to trap monkeys is by placing a staked container with a hole cut into it just wide enough for a monkey to stick its empty hand into. The container is baited ...
Napoleonothecake's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
9k views

Can an elephant be trained to be lightly leashed?

Is been claimed that the way you keep an elephant leashed is with a chain pegged to the ground which they can easily break, just since they have learned when they where younger they could not escape ...
Napoleonothecake's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
930 views

Do bitter apple or actual orange peels prevent cats from scratching?

This article - http://www.allourpets.com/feline/stop-scratching.shtml - mentions that bitter apple or actual orange peels prevent cats from scratching? If your cat still scratches in appropriate ...
Larry Morries's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
1k views

Does chicken manure keep cats away from garden areas?

This article mentions that chicken manure can keep cats away. Chicken manure around established plants can also deter cats as they don't like the smell. Is it true?
Larry Morries's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Do we know why animals have evolved to have sex for reproduction?

I've been reading 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time (2010) and Chapter 10 concentrates on the subject of Sex. The author argues that we do not know ...
Chris S's user avatar
  • 1,599
47 votes
1 answer
258k views

Do pigs have 30 minute orgasms?

A widely circulated internet meme (see e.g. the oatmeal) states that pig orgasms can last up to 30 minutes. I've been trying to find any source or reference to back up (or refute) this claim, but ...
Juan A. Navarro's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Are there examples of exclusive homosexuality in non-human animals?

I have often heard the claim that homosexuality exists in non-human animals. Sheep and dolphins seem to be common examples. I find it easy to believe that homosexual activity exists - some animals ...
TallGuy's user avatar
  • 243