Are there more differences between animals and human behaviors or similarities? My guess is its’ a horse a piece, (no pun intended). Recently after viewing the PBS channel (Spy in the Wild), I was amazed at the interactions of a few unlikely pairings, caught on spycams which are placed inside lifelike animals of the same. I was captivated while watching the effect they have among their own kind, as well as forming friendships with some improbable predators. The ability to research up close and personal with these wild animals using ‘spy creatures’ gives them a better understanding as to their habitats and human-like behaviors.
Scientists have been documenting animal behavior for many years, but with todays’ ethologists (scientific studies under natural conditions) on the rise, we are learning about their social behaviors and the bonds that they form; animal intelligence so-to-speak. The Prairie Dogs, for example will kiss each other, then releasing the feel-good hormone. They call out to one another (with a squeak) while standing on their two hind feet, bobbing up and down in order to make sure they’re all on the same page; it’s amazing to watch. Their calls (squeaks) will change if they feel threatened by an oncoming predator, enabling one another to take cover. Another animal that also hangs tightly together are the Meerkats. The queen meerkat is the one who has litters, which can be up to three times a year, but her friends…which can be as many as fifty are also there to help serve and protect. These animals will put their life on the line when predators (such as deadly snakes) come near. Their friendship with one another is remarkable.
Unlikely pairings actually exist in the wild. Beginning with crocodiles’, when the baby spy crocs were placed in their nesting place, they noticed birds in close range also having their eggs hatching. But when the large crocodile approached, it decided to protect the small spy crocs even if they weren’t hers. As another large croc came out of the water, nearing this nesting place, the croc defends the spy babies, then lashing out at the other, while also protecting the birds and their nest. Unusual…I definitely thought so. These unlikely pairs exist among many in the wild. In fact, last week on face book I viewed an Alaskan malamute licking the face of a stunning white owl, while the owl reciprocated, and same goes for a lion and a coyote. Scientists are finding out that animal intelligence goes far and beyond what we first thought. Many of these animals are capable of having lots of emotions, while others enjoy new found friendships through bonding experiences of their own. It’s captivating and reveals so much of the way nature works around the globe.
I enjoyed viewing this show, and find it to be a great learning experience about all animals in their natural surroundings. The show will continue to air upcoming episodes of ‘Spy in the Wild’ … Wednesdays in March on PBS. For those that haven’t had the opportunity to watch this, you may view a few of its’ past episodes online at www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/spy-in-the-wild . As I look forward to further viewings of this show, it made me ponder a few thoughts, and I’ll share the one that I think of most; “wouldn’t it be great if we (as humans) could all get along with one another, like some of these unlikely pairs in the wild?”
Make your week count.