5 Odd Animal Behaviors Explained

(ABOUT ANIMALS/ANIMAL BEHAVIOR) The animals in our lives can do some really strange things. From fish playing dead to dogs faking injuries, here are five of the oddest animal behaviors explained.

1. Why goldfish play dead

Goldfish have a terrible habit of pretending to die. They turn belly up and float at the top of their tanks. We come out, and hold a funeral for our beloved pet fish, but then, just before burial, the fish magically comes back to life. One man’s fish, named Horatio, has even spent the last five years living upside-down. Do gold fish get a kick out of tricking people? Or is there a different reason behind why a fish is playing possum?

According to fish expert Ian Marshall a likely cause for upside-down fish is an infection in the swim bladder. The swim bladder controls balance in a fish, and an infection can give a fish a case of vertigo.

2. Why cats love people who hate cats

Anyone who lives with a cat can vouch that there is nothing as irresistible to a cat than someone who does not like cats. What is so appealing about non-cat people to cats?

Often, people who don’t like cats will refuse to look, speak to, or touch a friend’s cat. Cats interpret this sort of behavior as cat-friendly. unfriendly behavior, in the cat world, includes staring, hissing, and stalking the unwelcome cat.

3. Why horses crib

Have you ever seen a horse bite down on a feed bucket or an edge of the stall then suck in a huge gulp of air with an arched neck? That action is called cribbing, or wind sucking. So why do horses like cribbing so much?

One possible cause for cribbing is boredom. Horses are naturally grazing animals, so staying in a stall all day with set meal times leaves a lot of time for the horse to find a new method of entertainment. Cribbing is often the answer for these bored horses. What is so special about cribbing? It gets the horse high, literally. And like a drug, cribbing gets passed on from one horse to another by example.

4. Why dogs fake injuries

Have you ever watched you dog suddenly start limping, without getting an injury? Or maybe you’ve seen your dog get hurt, but a few hours after an apparant recovery, the dog starts limping again, on the wrong foot? Could dogs really be faking injuries to get attention?

Yes. When dogs are injured, their caretakers often lavish extra affection on them. And Fido is no dummy. Whenever a dog that has been injured in the past is feeling particulary left out, he or she may start limping in order to illicit the same type of response from his or her guardian as the real injury did.

5. Why healthy parrots vomit

Henry the African Grey parrot in Belfast threw up every time his caretaker David came near. What was truly baffling was Henry was otherwise completely healthy. So what caused this strange pattern of vomit?

Love. Henry was in love with his human, and showed his affection by vomiting. Veterinarian Dan Flynn explained that “Birds regurgitate as a sign of affection.” Luckily for David, Henry has transferred his affection to another bird.

— Samantha Ellis, exclusive to Global Animal