Cute and Curious behaviour of animals

Mar 10, 20210 comments

Animals are remarkably similar to humans in that they have to learn certain things from a very young age to assist them later in life. When they are young, animals are very playful and curious. They use their curiosity to learn and acquire the necessary skills for adulthood. If they do not learn these skills or are unable to learn certain behaviours, they will unfortunately not reach adulthood. Thus, being playful and curious is a necessity for animals. It not only develops crucial skills, but muscles as well as a fitness level, needed when they are fully grown.

Kapama playful wildlife 1

Baby animals playing allows them to develop crucial motor skills, basically developing hand-eye coordination. young predators playing, for instance, allow them to develop hand-eye coordination and depth perception, allowing them to use their protractible claws. Often you will see baby animals sniffing and eating things that they find intriguing, trying to figure out if it is or has a good flavour and if it is a pleasant enough meal.

Kapama playful wildlife 4
Here are a couple of examples:
Baby elephants do not know how to use their trunk for the first nine months. So, they swing it around, suckle it and it seems to be just an attachment on their face. However, as they play with their trunks, developing the necessary trunk-eye coordination will allow them to have flawless dexterity of the trunk once they reach adulthood. Baby elephants will also imitate their mothers feeding behaviour.
Lion cubs play together and with other members of the pride, by stalking each other and pouncing on one another. Cubs will play with balls of rhino dung, tortoises and twigs, jumping up to grab branches. This allows them to develop and learn how to hunt, in addition to them watching and assisting in a later stage with the rest of the pride. When cubs sometimes play with the dominant males, their fathers will allow them to “win” to help boost their confidence.
Rhino and Buffalo calves running around mom allows them to explore their surroundings. This allows them to burn off energy and build up an appetite for later. When coming to a sudden stop, the calf realises that its mother is at too much of a distance and the calf feels unsafe, so in return, they suddenly run back to the mother for security and comfort. All this running around also allows them to learn how to charge. When they are sparring with another rhino, this helps the calves build up confidence and coordination for trials that they will face later in life. The interaction that the calves have with other rhinos builds the necessary social skills that they will need once they are off on their own.  
Leopard cubs will often stalk, pounce and chase things such as their parent, insects and vegetation moving in the wind. The urge to subdue anything that moves is vital for later survival. Playing with a kill that the mother has brought back – teaches the cub to practice and hone reactions and techniques and gain confidence in its abilities. 
Kapama cute wildlife
Kapama playful wildlife 2
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The above behaviours are ways of developing their skills that will serve them later in life.

When you see animals smiling, it is the male of any species analysing female scent to determine whether or not she is receptive to mating. The males will walk up to the urine of a female and breath the scent in.

After doing this, the male will lift his head and pull his lips up, exposing his teeth. This is known as “Flehmen grimace”. This allows the male to pull the female pheromones from the urine into his vomeral nasal organ. The organ then sends “messages” to the male’s brain, telling the male whether or not the female is receptive. The female may be receptive but not accepting of the male.

Story by: Southern Camp Ranger Lindi Taljaard

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