Questions tagged [animal-behaviour]

Questions relating to specific or unusual behaviour shown in animals.

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51
votes
1answer
8k views

Why would a seal be flinging an octopus around above the water and then slapping a kayaker with it?

There is a video of a seal sucker punching a kayaker with an octopus, Source I suppose the seal wasn't exactly trying to hit the kayaker, but why would it be flinging the octopus around above the ...
44
votes
8answers
37k views

How to react to cattle charging towards you?

Cattle may get aggressive when threatened, or they might just imitate to be aggressive. I have seen cattle charging towards a person when irritated. How should one react if a cow or bull comes ...
31
votes
8answers
10k views

How would you help a snapping turtle cross the road?

Regardless of why they would want to cross the road, doing so is dangerous for turtles, especially since a certain percentage of the population will try to run them over. However, snapping turtles ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

Why are these turkeys circling a dead cat?

I recently came across a gif file showing a gang of turkeys circling what appears to be a dead cat. It appears to be a structured formation as the turkeys are trotting at the same pace and spacing ...
27
votes
6answers
15k views

What animal could strip all the bark off the lower 7 feet of this tree?

I was out in the woods the other day and I came across a tree. It had all of the bark around the bottom removed, and a good layer of wood removed as well. I estimated the damage was a good 7-8 feet ...
26
votes
1answer
921 views

What sort of rock climbing grade can a goat do?

It is quite well known that goats are into free solo rock climbing. Is there any evidence (even if anecdotal) of the highest grades they are able to climb?
20
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3answers
45k views

When/Where do foxes attack humans?

There is an area that I would like to explore at daytime and at night time. I have seen only two foxes in that area during the day time. One of the locals told me not to go out at night because foxes ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

Dozens of earthworms came on my terrace and died there

We've had a harsh weather turnaround lately in central Europe. It went from a pretty warm late summer to a pretty cold autumn in nearly one single night. As this happened, earthworms started to come ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do Robins tilt their head to the side before pulling a worm out of the ground?

I've seen this happen several times. The robin hops along, stops, tilts it's head slightly and then grabs the worm/grub, etc. What's the purpose of this gesture? I'm thinking it maybe helps them ...
19
votes
4answers
831 views

Is there an easy way to tell if a bee in my yard is being raised in a hive (domestic), or if it's wild (feral)?

I live in Massachusetts, in the Northeastern region of the United States. As a lover of bees, I'd like to learn how to identify some varieties, including their behavior, and how they're raised. ...
18
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6answers
6k views

Pack of coyotes in my neighborhood

Coyotes are coming through the lot next to my house. There are several. One ran across my driveway 2 nights ago. When I take my pomeranian out before bed, I hear them about 100 feet to the left of my ...
17
votes
3answers
9k views

Which animals would kill porcupines?

I found the remains a of a porcupine in the woods, with nothing left but quills and hair. As porcupines are pretty well protected by their quills, what types of animals would be capable of killing ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Will a coyote attack my dog on a leash while I'm on a hiking trail?

Is a coyote or pack of coyotes likely to attack my small dog if she is with me on a trail on a leash? I heard of someone's dog being eaten while the woman was walking her pet on a leash. She was ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Deer activity in the wet

Over the years, when out walking and on my commute through the countryside I've noticed that, when it's intensely pouring with rain, Roe deer seems to come out of the forests into open fields to eat. ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Frogs in pond attacking one reddish coloured frog?

In my garden pond I saw a bundle of frogs seemingly smothering one reddish coloured frog. Being British and always favouring the underfrog I sprayed the "attackers" with the hose until they all went. ...
14
votes
1answer
342 views

Precautions when walking through area of crocodiles

Unlike other places, in India, the region where I stay and trek, we don't have warning boards stating the crocodile threats/warnings. I have been wandering in the region for almost a decade now and ...
13
votes
1answer
28k views

How can I tell if a opossum is truly dead?

I saw a opossum (the North American kind) on a golf course the other day. It looked pretty dead - there was foam coming out of its mouth and flies buzzing all around it. However, I know opossums can ...
13
votes
1answer
823 views

What should I do if I disturb a bird of prey with a kill?

A friend of mine disturbed a bird of prey (I think it was a kestrel or sparrow hawk) that had just killed a pigeon in her back garden. The pigeon was still alive when she found it but died soon after. ...
11
votes
1answer
566 views

Can you tell if a plant is edible by watching what animals eat it?

If I see a deer munching on a particular plant, is that enough to indicate that it's safe to eat? How about other animals?
11
votes
1answer
650 views

Which types of animals would peel bark off this tree?

I'm just curious which animals would peel bark off a tree like this: It's a riparian setting in the Mid Atlantic region. I was thinking maybe a beaver?
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Butterfly Migration over Lassen Peak

Roughly 10 years ago I hiked up Lassen Peak in Northern California, and there was a huge (hundreds of thousands) butterfly migration going right over the top of the peak around this time of year. It ...
11
votes
1answer
514 views

How would a dragonfly get to above 13,400 ft (4000m)?

I found this dragonfly, here, at around 13,400 ft. The coordinates are 43°10'52.96"N, 109°39'17.74"W if anyone would like to check the location themselves. It didn't look like it was moving and as ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How would a sea turtle end up on its back?

There is a video going round of two guys flipping a sea turtle that had ended up on its back so it could get back into the water. How would a sea turtle end up on its back in the first place (it sure ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Will a Rocky Mountain Goat attack a person?

We went to Gargantua this weekend, I've been going at least once a year for the past few years, and it's not uncommon to see rocky mountain goats up at that elevation, but this time around we ran into ...
10
votes
1answer
304 views

How do you keep rodents out of your vehicle when it's parked at the trailhead?

On some backpacking trips a car could be left for a couple of weeks, what can I do to ensure that when I return the mice aren't inside and the squirrels are leaving the wiring alone?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is this squirrel doing and why?

I have sometimes noticed squirrels "pancaking" - lying flat on their stomachs. Unfortunately all my research into this subject has turned up hordes of "cute squirrel" photos and not much else... See ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Will an opossum wake up from pain stimulus if playing dead?

When an opossum is playing dead, will it keep up the act even if an animal decides to start eating it anyways? Or will it wake up once it's flesh starts getting ripped open and try to fight back or ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Things to consider when approaching deer

I often approach deer to see how near I can get and to watch them (just for fun - not to hunt). I take care for the wind and of course to be silent enough. What else should one consider stalking/...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a reason for seeing a lot of roadkill badgers in the spring?

I spent much of today cycling around quiet country lanes in South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, and saw at least 6 dead badgers on the road. I saw a few others earlier in the week on ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Do squirrels have front and full peripheral vision?

Our suburban yard in Massachusetts has a small woodsy area. We use a section for feeders for birds, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and the occasional bear or fox. In an area of ...
9
votes
1answer
170 views

What is a safe distance for large, non-predatory wildlife?

When visiting areas with free-roaming wildlife such as American Bison and Texas Longhorns, there are numerous signs warning about keeping a safe distance. They don't, however, actually specify the ...
9
votes
1answer
405 views

Dozens of dead little spiders in the snow

The winter suddenly set in here and it was pretty warm before. We walked through the snow in a central European forest and I realized a lot of "black dots" (dozens of them) as a contrast to the white. ...
9
votes
2answers
244 views

Are there any animal behaviors that can be used to predict weather conditions within a 24 hr time period?

There are many folklore tales of animals being used to predict weather. Just a few examples from the Old Farmers Almanac: When cats sneeze, it is a sign of rain. If the mole digs its hole 2½ feet ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How far does a nursing Eastern Gray squirrel travel from her nest?

It's obvious by her belly that we have a nursing squirrel, probably an Eastern Gray, Sciurus carolinensis, in our yard in Massachusetts, USA. I assume her nest is in one of our large evergreens, not ...
8
votes
1answer
709 views

What are Miner bees, and how do they differ from other bees?

While walking in a state park in New Jersey last week, my husband and I came upon what looked like anthills. This small sign was posted on a nearby tree: "Please don't step on the mounds of dirt. ...
8
votes
2answers
272 views

How can we be the most respectful to a moose when photographing it up close?

We've often heard that moose are most active in the early morning or late in the day, around dusk, and are usually near a natural water source. Every year, we travel a few hours away to areas that ...
8
votes
1answer
677 views

Will a live clam on the beach have a better chance of staying healthy if I put it in the water?

Usually when I'm at the beach, especially at low tide, there are many pieces of open or broken shells of mollusks, including clams. They can't survive without their shells, so those broken pieces are ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How to react to a fox in furious phase (rabies)?

So, I had this question. The answer was that we should kill a fox with rabies to help it. Rabies has a phase called "furious phase". The infected animal has symptoms which can directly affect ...
8
votes
1answer
387 views

Foxes in the living room - what causes this behavior?

There was another report recently about a fox sneaking in a house and resting in its living room. Due to the news report it was caused by the extreme cold weather. The fox didn't even bother the man ...
8
votes
1answer
118 views

Which climate causes the mosquito (Culicidae) to die?

We've (had) a harsh mosquito (Culicidae) year. Normally they already start to disappear around September but this year it's still getting even worse! Which climate do I have to hope for?
7
votes
2answers
399 views

Why would a raccoon climb a building?

Yesterday, there was a raccoon climbing a 20 plus story building in Minnesota, today it made it to the top and was caught in a live trap for transport to back to the wild. It brings up the question, ...
7
votes
1answer
684 views

At what age do black bear cubs have a good chance of surviving on their own?

A woman in a semi-rural Maryland neighborhood was injured by a black bear sow a day or two ago. See The Washington Post. She heard a dog barking, went out with her dog on a leash to investigate and ...
7
votes
1answer
173 views

Do jellyfish actively avoid swimmers in Mediterranean?

I swam in Mediterranean in Italy quite often. There often were white (not spectacular looking) jellyfish around - and quite a lot of them. I tried not to touch them because I was afraid to get burned (...
7
votes
1answer
221 views

Is there scientific evidence of bobcats breeding with house cats?

I have seen some barn cats that were claimed to be the offspring of female barn cats and a male bobcat (they had bobbed tails). Wikipedia says that there is circumstantial and anecdotal evidence for ...
7
votes
1answer
206 views

What most common factors cause significant fluctuations in numbers of ticks that carry Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis, has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control as existing, or probably existing, in many of the United States. The Lyme Disease Association also reports it in ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Snoring noises at night in the summer?

When I slept outside in central Europe, I often recognized extremely loud snoring noises. It's not really rattling but more like rhythmical breathing. I heard it as a kid for the first time and I ...
7
votes
1answer
215 views

Why does a fox defecate on my patio, which I use as a feeding station for critters?

This question is inspired by the question of @Sue on the peripheral vision of squirrels. It is a much less appealing question, but I figure if we can ask about animal behavior at feeding stations, my ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How to help a fox with rabies?

Rabies has a phase called "furious phase". The infected animal has symptoms which can directly affect humans. An infected dog may viciously attack any moving object, person, or animal; a caged ...
6
votes
2answers
317 views

How to stalk lynxes in the black forest?

I'm living near the black forest and one of my favorite animals are lynxes. Since 2014 the lynx-population in the black forest is growing. Still they are quite seldom and of course shy. Nevertheless I ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

Do chipmunks hibernate in woodpiles, and, if so, how do I avoid disturbing them when taking wood from the pile?

We have a woodpile, protected from wind and precipitation, under the eaves of our house. Earlier, perhaps a month earlier, I several times saw two chipmunks emerging from, and going back into the ...