By Jonathan Peter Balcombe
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Additional resources for The exultant ark : a pictorial tour of animal pleasure
Fox kits spend a large proportion of their time playing, usually with the highest-caliber toys available: one another. Through activities such as chasing, fleeing, pouncing, biting, falling over, and wrestling, they learn vital skills for social and predatory behavior as adults. That is the adaptive basis for play. The immediate reason they do it is that they enjoy it. Photo: Allen Thornton. belding ’ s ground squirrel (Urocitellus beldingi), Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. Belding’s ground squirrels live in high-elevation meadow habitats in the western United States.
The fox was dancing around in front of her, play-bowing and then bounding away. The cow would give a playful chase and then stop, waiting for the fox to initiate again. I watched for several minutes before both animals went back to “normal” behavior. Foxes also engage in solitary play. I recently watched one trotting across a field rimed with frost. She flopped onto her side and propelled herself along the slippery grass a few feet before getting up again. Not surprisingly, I’ve included an image of playing foxes (kits, in this case) in this book (see page 37).
Studies have shown that animals behave flexibly and hedonically in the presence of food choices. , shortbread, pâté, or Coca-Cola). If they happen to find their regular (and less palatable) commercial rat chow at the end, they quickly return to their cozy nests, where they stay for the remainder of the experiment. 8 Reptiles also appear capable of making food choices based on the anticipation and experience of pleasure. 9 Furthermore, the lizards’ willingness to retrieve the tidbit varied with the cost/benefit of making the trip; as the temperature near the lettuce was set lower, the iguanas were more likely to stay put and eat the reptile chow.
The exultant ark : a pictorial tour of animal pleasure by Jonathan Peter Balcombe