4 Surprising Behaviors in Nonhuman Animals | What the Stuff?!

4 Surprising Behaviors in Nonhuman Animals | What the Stuff?!

(dance music) – I feel like Groot right now. – [Voiceover] I am Groot. (whimsical music) – Humans are pretty weird animals. Let me count the ways, right? But our non-human compatriots display weird behaviors of their own, including some you might think of as being human-only. Experiments done at the
University of Chicago showed that most rats will help an imprisoned pal escape
for play and companionship. Even when the rats were
presented with two cages, one containing a peer and the other a favorite
snack like chocolate, they usually got their friend out first, and shared the treat. This indicates empathy, the recognition of what
another being is feeling, and sharing that feeling with them. At the University of Wisconsin, a group of scientists began
trapping crows for research. Soon, other crows began harassing them whenever they stepped outside their lab. It didn’t seem to matter whether the researchers
changed their clothes, so they experimented by
wearing different masks. Once they’d worn any given
mask during trapping, the crows would pester
anyone wearing that mask. One researcher even put on a mask that the team had used
five years previous, and birds still descended Hitchcock-style, implying that older crows had been tweeting about
which faces to watch out for. Most animals in the wild learn through observation and imitation, but some actively try to teach
their peers what they know. Take, for example, the meerkat, which happens to include
scorpions in its diet. Instead of teaching their young ones by just letting them loose
in scorpion-studded fields, they bring home dead or nearly
dead scorpions for practice. And as the pups rack up fatalities, the parents bring back
progressively livelier scorpions until the youngsters are skilled enough to hunt on their own. Scientists have long-studied
the Laysan albatrosses at Kaena Point on Oahu for their apparent life-long
dedication to a single partner. Which was interesting, because only about 5% of animal species form such strong relationships. Then they realized that
nearly 1/3 of the birds were actually in female pairs. They had observed the
pairs protecting a nest, preening each other’s feathers, and displaying the
albatross equivalent of PDA, but the males and females
look really similar, and so the scientists never
questioned the birds’ sexes. And some of these birds had been together for more than 15 years. That’s all the animal behavior stuff we have time for today, but I want to know, what weird and awesome
behaviors have you observed in the non-human animals
that you hang out with? Tell me in the comments. And hey, if you dug this video, let me and my bosses know by hitting like, and subscribe so that you
won’t miss the next one. To learn more, like how
pigeons procrastinate, and wolves grieve, check out our article
10 Surprising Behaviors in Non-human Animals on howstuffworks.com. – [Voiceover] I am Groot.

17 thoughts on “4 Surprising Behaviors in Nonhuman Animals | What the Stuff?!

  1. I was watching some bottle-fed kittens and one kitten was really sick. Its siblings huddled around it to keep it warm. It ended up dying, but that moment still warmed my heart. 

  2. Intresting information on animals. Does anyone know how the crows could communicate how to watch out for a paticular mask that hadn't been seen in 5 years?

  3. one day while walking my dog, we happened upon a pair of squirrels. they noticed us and made an elaborate evasive path to avoid us. the lead squirrel chose the path a sequence of short 10-30foot straight lines along and across the parking lot and back to the tree line, and back to safety. after each step of the evasive strategy, the lead squirrel would stop and make sure it's partner caught up to it. the behavior exibited a bunch of qualities I had not credited to them. afterwards I thought about squirrels entirely differently. and began watching their activities more closely. squirrels are doing alot more for us than you may realize. in fact without them I don't think there could be an eastern woodland at all. it's easy to take things for granted, but have you ever considered a squirrels little leaf and twig house? it's kind of an amazing construction and late at night, when the wind blows cold, I think about those squirrels swaying at the top of the trees. how did they build that I wonder, one stick at a time I suppose. 🙂

  4. I always tell this story to people who go 'ew rats!' when I tell them I've had them as pets. I had a colony of 4 or 5 females. Since rats are prey animals, if they get sick, you usually don't see symptoms until it's too late. Sadly, one of my girls started showing symptoms late in the evening. I had planned to call the vet in the morning, but during the night, she passed. I always give my rats scraps of fleece and felt to make a nest, and during the night, when they'd notice their friend started losing body heat, they put scraps of fabric, like blankets, over her to keep her warm, leaving her face exposed. When I woke up, I was heartbroken, but more than anything, I was touched at the care and empathy they showed for their friend. I get weepy any time I talk about it. Their love for each other is no joke, and they're the best pets I've ever owned. Their only downside is their short lifespan.

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