Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Kingston, Ontario
It's important to consider that we're looking at this through a captive animal point of view. There is no need to compete, no worries over food, or getting eaten. Animals aren't starving, or terrified. That's when emotions come in play with them. Of course, many a time animals will not show any sort of "magical bond" with people, simply because they are animals, and they don't have to love everyone.
I find stories like "wild lion adopts gazelle fawn" or "wild raven adopts stray kitten" the most interesting. The kitten one, there was a kitten, and basically a raven adopted him. The bird let the kitten follow it, the bird brought food for the kitten, and so on. They still live together happily. The lion one was more a lioness had lost her cubs and ended up catching a baby gazelle and cuddling it non stop. Did not end well, of course the gazelle died of starvation. I think the lioness did this about 3 times, she didn't eat the baby after it had died. A sign of mourning for her own lost cubs perhaps?
Another one, probably one of the most interesting I've read, were stories in my book on African leopards. One involved a young male they were following. He had made one of his first kills: a baboon. The researchers realized that there was a baby baboon still clinging to it's dead mother, only a few hours old at most. The leopard reacted quite oddly... he picked up the baby and cuddled it. When some hyena came by, the leopard took the baby up into a tree. The baby would cling to the leopard, if it ever strayed off the leopard would pick it up again. They slept together through the night, though eventually the baboon succumbed to hypothermia. After that, the leopard left the dead baby alone, and finished eating his kill.
Goes to show, animals do show emotion in the wild. Of course usually there isn't time for feelings in the wild. Though most often for their own kind, we are witness to some strange things sometimes.
Reptiles, I don't know- they're starting to convince me. I still feel the snake acts purely on instinct. Despite some touching videos, I still feel that a large enough snake would consider you a meal, as would a large enough betta. xD
It's an interesting question, especially for believers of evolution. That is our main question in anthropology- where did we come from? What makes us human? Well, if we all evolved from the same roots, then animals must share many of our traits. They've proven this on many an occasion. I don't think there is a definitive line- some cats don't like people, some cats love people. Some people are social, others are on the fringes of what we want to call "human." Know that no human can ever fathom the thoughts, feelings and motivations of another species, for we can't even understand each other at the best of times.
taking a break from fish-keeping.
3 lovely male betta still keep me company.