Picture of hedgehogs A hedgehog is any of the small spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha.
In order to survive, all animals must eat and avoid being eaten. They also driven to reproduce so their species does not die out. Most animal behaviour is geared to these basic goals. Some behaviour is learned, the rest is controlled by instinct.
Picture of a Pufferfish: Pufferfish defend themselves by inflating their bodies with water. Along with their spines, this makes them harder for bigger fish to swallow. Many other species are also covered with spines to protect them from even the largest of predators.
How do animals defend themselves?
Animals behave in many different ways to escape danger. Some are camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. Behaviour such as keeping still completes their disguise. Some species defend themselves with more complex behaviour, such as pretending to be injured or dead. Hedgehogs and armadillos roll into a ball to ward off predators.
Picture of Armadillo
Some interesting facts about armadillos include:
- Armadillos enjoy eating ants and they can devour up to 40,000 in one meal. Each armadillo eats up to 200 lbs of bugs a year. That's over 6 billion pounds of bugs for the entire US population of 'dillos per year.
- Armadillos sleep over 17 hours a day, with 3 hours of REM sleep. Humans only have 2 hours of REM sleep.
- Armadillos are the only mammals that always give birth to four identical young. All four develop from the same egg and share the same placenta.
How important is instinct?
Instinct plays a major part in the behaviour of animals, especially animals that are not reared by their parents. For example, when danger threatens, snals instinctively withdraw inside their shells. Animals also learn by trial and error, repeating actions that are productive and abandoning ones that are not.
Baby birds such as goslings (young geese) instinctively follow the first animal they see after hatching. This is usually their own mother, but goslings have also been known to waddle around after humans and dogs.
Why do animals follow regular cycles?
All animals follow regular cycles to help them survive. Many creatures are active by day, when their sense work best. Others come out at night to avoid predators, or take advantage of feeding opportunities. Most animals also follow yearly cycles, usually bearing young when food is abundant.
Clownfish hide from their enemies among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones. The fish's skin releases chemicals that stop the anemone's cells from firing. Clownfish are found in tropical seas around the world.
Labels: How Animals Behave