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Articles on Animal behavior

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Dogs use their tails to communicate. Eastimages/Moment via Getty Images

Why do animals have tails?

An anthropologist explains some of the many ways animals use their tails, from balancing as they walk to attracting a mate.
Photographing a bear in Yellowstone National Park at a distance the National Park Service calls safe – at least 100 yards from a predator. Jim Peaco, NPS/Flickr

Making room for wildlife: 4 essential reads

The recent goring of a tourist who approached within 10 feet of a bison in Yellowstone National Park is a reminder that wild animals can be dangerous and people should keep safe distances.
How do they stick their landings? Alex Turton via Getty Images

We used peanuts and a climbing wall to learn how squirrels judge their leaps so successfully – and how their skills could inspire more nimble robots

How do squirrels leap through trees without falling? It takes strength, flexibility and finely tuned cognitive skills.
A behavior from kittenhood persists in many adult cats. Byron Chin/flickr

Why do cats knead with their paws?

According to a veterinarian, the behavior some people call ‘kneading the dough’ or ‘making biscuits’ is a clue your cat feels comfortable around you.
Female elephant seals take seven-month feeding trips during which they balance danger, starvation and exhaustion. Dan Costa

Risk versus reward on the high seas – skinny elephant seals trade safety for sustenance

By measuring how and when elephant seals sleep, researchers were able to figure out how elephant seals change their risk-taking behavior as they gain weight.
A leap and a plunge into the snow could earn this arctic fox its supper. Jupiterimages/PHOTOS.com via Getty Images

How do arctic foxes hunt in the snow?

Arctic foxes have a few special talents that help them sneak up on unseen prey and pounce.

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