Animals can typically be unpredictable and shock us with their uncommon habits, however some newsworthy critters take this even additional, leaving scientists and the general public fully baffled.
Whereas the bizarre behaviors on this checklist are a testomony to the complicated brains of our furry, finned and fork-tongued pals, there’s additionally a darker aspect to a few of these acts. People continued to disrupt and destroy the pure world in 2023, placing many animals below strain and inflicting some to behave in bizarre methods. Listed here are 10 of the strangest animal behaviors documented in 2023.
Kangaroo tries to drown canine
In October, a person captured a video of a kangaroo because it tried to drown his canine. Mick Moloney needed to rescue his canine Hutchy from the Murray River in Victoria, Australia, after a male jap grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) held Hutchy’s head underwater. Moloney acquired Hutchy to security however took a punch from the kangaroo for his efforts.
This is not the primary time kangaroos have behaved this fashion round our canine companions, and the marsupial was in all probability simply looking for its personal security. Kangaroos have discovered to hop into water to defend themselves towards assaults from canines.
Crocodile has “virgin start”
Researchers introduced the primary crocodile “virgin start” in June. A feminine American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) laid a clutch of eggs at a reptile park in Costa Rica after being alone for 16 years. This type of asexual copy had by no means been documented in crocodiles earlier than, though it is recognized to happen in lizards, snakes, birds and sharks.
The crocodile’s clutch did not hatch, however genetic evaluation of a fetus inside one of many eggs revealed it was nearly similar to the mom. The research’s authors famous that offspring born on this approach typically endure abnormalities and do not survive.
Dolphins raid crab pots
Bottlenose dolphins had been noticed stealing bait from fishers in western Australia. The dolphins used their noses and tooth to pilfer fish from nets meant for crabs. Wildlife conservationists filmed this habits for the primary time in 2023, revealing the other ways dolphins discovered to open the fishers’ pots.
“Probably the most primary model is that the dolphin grabs the bait which sits on a hook or steel pin contained in the crab pot,” filmmaker Axel Grossmann advised Stay Science in November. “So basically the dolphins pull the fish off the pin or break it down into edible items.”
When fishers tried placing bait beneath the pots, the dolphins discovered to flip them over, and once they tried utilizing bait packing containers, the dolphins discovered to open them. Finally, fishers and conservationists developed a dolphin-proof design.
Elephant peels banana
A zoo elephant taught herself to peel bananas by watching zookeepers. Pha, a feminine Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) on the Berlin Zoo in Germany, rips off the stem of a banana, pinches the frayed pores and skin along with her trunk and makes use of the fruit’s weight to peel. It is an ingenious twist on the human technique, which usually includes two arms and opposable thumbs.
Keepers on the zoo used to feed Pha peeled bananas when she was a calf, which might be the place she acquired the concept. Pha solely peels ripe bananas with brown spots. She eats inexperienced and yellow bananas entire and rejects brown bananas. When fed in a gaggle the place her bananas would possibly get stolen by different hungry elephants, she peels solely her final banana, presumably to savor it.
Crocodiles save canine
Three mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) seemingly helped a younger canine that had been chased right into a river by a pack of feral canines by nudging it to security. The researchers who witnessed the occasion interpreted the crocodiles’ actions as empathy. Additionally they reported that the species seems to make use of sticks as bait to catch nesting birds and is interested in flowers. Nevertheless, an unbiased professional was skeptical of their findings.
“Crocodilians do have a classy suite of behaviors,” stated Duncan Leitch, a biologist who specializes within the neurophysiology of reptiles on the College of California, Los Angeles, advised Stay Science in September. “However a few of these conclusions are utilizing a human definition of intelligence and looking for that in crocodilians.”
Whale kelping goes world
Researchers first documented humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) taking part in with seaweed in 2007, however the habits, often known as “kelping,” is now so widespread, it is turn out to be a world phenomenon. Seaweed probably acts as a physique scrub for the whales, and so they could use it to take away parasites, deal with their pores and skin or simply play with it.
“It is one thing they do collectively as a social occasion or by themselves,” Olaf Meynecke, a researcher at Griffith College’s Coastal and Marine Analysis Centre in Queensland, Australia, advised Stay Science in September. “They put the seaweed on their head and roll round in it; they attempt to transfer it round with their pectoral fins as nicely.”
Orca eats seven sea otters entire
In September, scientists described a beached orca (Orcinus orca) with seven intact sea otters in her stomach. Orcas do not usually eat sea otters (Enhydra lutris) and usually chew the marine mammals they do eat, so researchers had been puzzled why this orca devoured down the ocean otters entire.
To make issues even stranger, this killer whale was discovered on the coast of one of many Commander Islands within the Russian Far East, removed from the orcas’ regular vary between the Gulf of Alaska and the coast of California. One of many sea otters was caught between the orca’s oral cavity and esophagus, which may have been the explanation for the orca’s demise.
Ants detect most cancers in urine
In January, researchers found that ants can sniff out most cancers utilizing their antennae. Silky ants (Formica fusca) usually use the olfactory receptors of their antennae to seek out meals or mates, however the researchers educated them to seek out tumors as an alternative.
As soon as the ants discovered to affiliate the urine of tumor-bearing rodents with sugar, the researchers discovered that the ants spent 20% extra time subsequent to urine samples from cancerous rodents than subsequent to urine samples from wholesome rodents. The ants may function low cost and environment friendly most cancers detectors sooner or later, although way more science must be accomplished first, the researchers stated. Canine may also be taught to smell out most cancers, however researchers discovered that ants are simpler to coach.
Mice kill largest flying birds
Invading mice killed eight wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) — the world’s largest flying birds — on a distant island between South Africa and Antarctica. The mice have been consuming native seabird chicks on Marion Island for many years, however taking down adults is a brand new phenomenon — and it is worrying conservationists.
People inadvertently launched home mice (Mus musculus) to the island within the nineteenth century after the rodents hitched a trip on ships. The island’s native wildlife is not geared up to defend itself towards rodents as a result of it did not evolve alongside the mice. The Mouse-Free Marion undertaking will attempt to use rodenticide to kill off the mice earlier than they’ll do any additional hurt to wandering albatrosses and different threatened species that decision the island residence.
Orcas sink two boats
Orcas within the Strait of Gibraltar sank two boats in 2023 and attacked various others with ruthless effectivity. Why orcas have began attacking boats is an open query, however the habits could stem from a traumatic expertise, play, frustration or a brief fad throughout the inhabitants.
Within the Nineteen Eighties, an orca inhabitants within the Pacific went by a part of carrying lifeless salmon on their heads for no apparent purpose, so it is potential for orcas to select up momentary behaviors and train them to one another. The coordinated boat assaults are only one instance of how orcas present their terrifying intelligence.