On 10/19/2007 9:26 PM blacklight plucked Senior Frog's Magic Twanger
> We live surrounded by Australian wilderness. My dog Rusty is very
> disciplined and doesn't chase, bite, chew or eat other creatures. He
> reacts with great curiosity to anything alive, usually wagging his
> tail and anticipating some great excitement. Strangely, I can
> recognize from a distance whenever he has spotted a snake. He always
> backs a step and freezes, totally tense, totally focussed. It seems,
> there is a red warning light flashing in his brain - though he never
> had a bad experience with snakes. I observed similar behavior with my
> previous dogs. Is there something hard-wired in dogs which makes them
> automatically apprehensive of snakes?
> Greetings - Klaus
> The Nature Cards
I'll hazard a guess that it's the same survival instinct most of us
humans have towards snakes. It may be a combination of instinct and
learned behavior. Orangutans who were separated from their mothers at
an early age do not exhibit the "freeze / avoidance" response when
encountering a snake. They will attempt to play with it.
On the other hand, when I lived in South Carolina, I had cats who would
prey upon rattle snakes. My cats were always leaving rattles and heads
on my front porch as "gifts". Even the kittens would get in the act.
After watching mom hunt rattlers the kittens would go after the baby
rattlers. I think the predatory response was inborn in these cats. But
the hunting technique had to be learned.
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Brian M. Kochera
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