Tag Archives: Animal Intelligence

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Try, try again. And again. And then some more, until you succeed.

That  was all I said when I first posted this, but then I watched it again. We can learn more from our little cousin than that.  

Not only does she keep on and on and on. She finally seems to realize that leaping with the cracker, as she’s been trying to do, is not going to work. That’s better than many people, already.

So she stops, climbs up on top, looks around, and seems to think. “Oh, now I see!” She jumps back down and does it right, by climbing instead of trying to jump with the cracker. And it works.

Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, look around, and see what we’ve been doing wrong. Then maybe we can figure out how to do the job right, like this little mouse did.

Yeah, I know. I’ve anthropomorphized the little creature, and probably given her credit for too much brain power. But, at the very least, she tried new ways and she never stopped until she finally got it right. 

Wild Dolphin Asks Divers for Help

It was entangled in fishing line and had a hook embedded in its pectoral fin. It was so entangled in fishing line that it couldn’t move or swim properly. (I say “it” because I have no idea whether this dolphin was male or female.) It was in trouble and needed help.

If this is real — and it looks real to me — a wild dolphin in trouble seems to actually ask a human diver for help. Thankfully, this particular diver was both able and willing to provide that help.

The dolphin seems to know humans are potentially dangerous, but also that we might be able to help it. It ignores the manta rays, which have neither the intelligence to know it is in trouble nor (probably) the compassion to care. It seems to come in slowly toward the man. Cautiously. But it has little choice, because it will probably die without help.

It first swims slowly past the diver, twisting and turning as if to show the man its predicament. Then it comes back and stays as long as possible while the man works to remove the entangling fishing line — until it has to return to the surface for air.

Even then, it returns for more help and lets the diver poke and prod its body as he removes more fishing line and frees its range of motion. But eventually the dolphin swims away with the hook still in its flesh.

Why did it swim away before the rescue was complete? I have no idea. Maybe removing the fish-hook hurt too much. Maybe it could no longer control its fear of the icky humans. Figuring out why humans do what we do is difficult enough; reading the mind of a cetacean is even riskier.

Regardless, it seems to me this is one more in a long line of incidents showing how intelligent and sentient some non-human animals are.

Cat Rescues Tot

This is an amazing set of videos, evidently compiled from a home surveillance system. The pictures were obviously taken from several angles, edited, and joined into a single video to tell the story. A large dog viciously attacks a small boy on a bike without apparent provocation. It grabs him by a foot and appears to be trying to drag him away when a cat suddenly comes to the boys rescue. You have to see it!

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on the net as to the validity of the videos. I’m no expert on video editing and assembling, but it looks real to me.

Personally, it seems to me the cat was simply rescuing a helpless member of her own family. Her pack or pride, if you prefer. It is my definite opinion that cats and dogs, as well as other mammals and birds, seldom get credit for their own intelligence and the empathy and affection that some of them show. They are more than just robots running on instinct.

I know almost nothing about the jungle cats from which modern house cats descended, but lions live in prides, feed and protect one another’s cubs, and cooperate in hunts and battles against other prides or groups of hyenas or baboons. Though it is less well known, feral house cats also form societies and cooperate with one another in various ways that appear to be for the good of the group.

Social animals like humans, wolves and dogs, some kinds of cat, porpoises, many kinds of bird, and others survive best in groups. Therefore, individuals who learn to live well as part of the group tend to survive best. This is why we develop morals and social skills that seem to benefit the group. It is actually for the benefit of the individual, but it helps everybody involved.

It seems clear to me this cat was protecting the “cub” that belonged to another member of her “pride.”

I tend to be more of a “dog person” (though my dogs never ran loose like this one). Regardless, THIS IS ONE GREAT CAT!