Category Archives: Animal behavior

Discusses new research into behaviour of animals

Ins & Outs of Fluid balance in Desert Animals (Part 1)

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Maintaining their hydration is a major problem for desert animals. Large mammals e.g. Gemsbok & small mammals e.g. rodents use different strategies to cope with arid conditions. We will discuss the special behavioral or physiological adaptations that have evolved in … Continue reading

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Uncoupled heating: Warthogs lack brown fat & live in burrows.

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One obvious reason why warthogs live in burrows is to escape from their predators. But another important reason is for temperature control and in particular to keep warm in the cold months (1). Temperature in animals is regulated by changes in … Continue reading

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Brain Blood Flow in Owls: why they can turn their heads 270 degrees

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This blog will discuss why the owl twists his head and how it is able to do it without cutting of his brain blood supply. It was triggered by the fascinating new research by Fabian de Kok-Mercado, Michael Habib, Tim Phelps, Lydia … Continue reading

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Hyenas: the “how” of female masculinization (Part 4)

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Ambiguous genitalia at birth can be produce by genetic and/or hormonal causes. Genetic causes e.g. true hermaphrodites with gonads containing both female & male genes are very rare. More frequently ambiguous genitalia are caused by mutations in genes controlling sex hormone metabolism of … Continue reading

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Hyenas: the “how” of female masculinization (Part 3)

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In part 3 we will discuss normal mammalian testosterone metabolism using a simple input/output model. We will first look at its basic biochemistry & its influence on external genital development in the fetus. Finally in part 4, using this basic … Continue reading

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Hyenas: the why of female masculinization (Part 2)

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The disadvantages for the female hyena of having a masculinized urogenital tract when giving birth are clear (see part 1) but are there advantages for the hyena’s society of a having a masculinized and very dominant female? The “why” question … Continue reading

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Cigarette butts are for the birds: toxins protect nestlings

Cigarette butts thrown from car windows along the roads or discarded all over the place in camp sites in game reserves  have always been a minor  irritation for me.  Unlike plastic bags, tins & bottles they are too small for the … Continue reading

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Not too hot and not too cold: mammals (endotherms) in the Kalahari. (Part 6)

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The Kalahari Desert can get extremely hot in summer & very cold in winter. Large & small mammals in the desert maintain their optimal temperature despite these large changes in ambient temperature. As we have previously discussed in the reptiles behavioral mechanisms … Continue reading

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Not too hot and not too cold: reptiles (ectotherms) in the Kalahari.(Part 5)

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The Kalahari desert can get extremely hot in summer & very cold in winter. Snakes & lizards in the desert have to maintain their optimal temperature despite these large changes in ambient temperature. Behavioral mechanisms play an essential role & when … Continue reading

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Listen to the songs that dassies sing

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I didn’t realise just how interesting dassies are! Searching for their latin names for my keywords in my photography portfolio opened up a fascinating world. The information below was copied from two websites. They also have an unusual method of temperature regulation for mammals, but that … Continue reading

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