Tool use and animals: How birds are chipping away at its definition


Tool use among animals is nothing new; the definition has been ever evolving as new examples are brought forth for examination. Eleven variations now exist of the original definition, with the most current stated,

…(as the) external employment of an unattached or manipulatable attached environmental object to alter more efficiently the form position, or condition of another object, another organism, or the user itself, when the user holds and directly manipulates the tool during or prior to use and is responsible for the proper and effective orientation of the tool.

by Dr. Robert Shumaker, in his book, Animal Tool Behavior: The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals. Using these terms, a segue is offered for animals classified as “borderline” tool users, to be re-considered for categorization as tool users. Such would be the case of the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Continue reading “Tool use and animals: How birds are chipping away at its definition”

Why does my cat do that?

My cat is just, weird.

Have you ever come home and felt a furry tickle against your calf or ankle, only to look down and see your cat brush his or her face along your skin? My cat favors my shoes and makes sure she gets her entire body dragged along one edge before repeating with the other side of herself.

Why does my cat rub his/her chin on me the moment I get home?

Cats have facial glands which secrete a pheromone which acts like a mark of territory. By brushing their chins and mouths along us, the chair, the table, another animal, they are affectively saying, “That’s mine, back off.”

How does my cat arch his/her back when I pet them?

What about the response you get when you stroke your cat’s back? Does a bow and raised hindquarters sound familiar? This is a common mating response, which innately reacts the moment pressure is applied to the rear end or base of a cat’s tail. Continue reading “Why does my cat do that?”

Fun facts about 7 animals from around the globe

Facts about animals: Animal trivia from around the globe!

  • Blue-eyed shag
    Blue-eyed shag
  • Brazilian insects
    Brazilian insects
  • Black and White rhinoceros
    Black and White rhinoceros
  • Asian lion
    Asian lion
  • Barbary macaque
    Barbary macaque
  • Koala bear
    Koala bear
  • Holstein cow
    Holstein cow
  1. The Blue Eyed Shag, indigenous to Antarctica, feeds in groups of hundreds, referred to as a “raft.”
  2. Brazil has the largest number of the one million species of insects in the world, accounting for 9% of the world’s total population.
  3. Black and White Rhinoceroses indigenous to central and southern parts of Africa, differ not in color, but in lip shape. Black Rhinos have a pointed upper lip, White Rhinos have a square upper lip.
  4. Only 200 Asian lions exist. Listed as endangered on the world conservationist list, India’s Gir Forest reserve is the only home left to the remaining individuals.
  5. Barbary Macaques are the only wild primates, aside from humans, found in Europe. These little guys are tailless and live on the top of Gibraltar. (If interested in a day’s hike up the rock, here’s a link with TripAdvisor’s conversation on how to do just that.)
  6. The name Koala comes from a Dharuk, aboriginal tribe of Australia, word which translates to, “no drink.” While it is true that Koala’s rarely drink water because they take in enough from dewy leaves of eucalyptus plants, these guys have been known to consume small quantities of water.
  7. The world record for highest milk yield from a single cow comes from Wisconsin. A Holstein by the name of “Ever Green View My 1326-ET” produced 72,170 pounds of milk in one year.