Okapi Bonds With Mom at Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo welcomed a rare Okapi calf on February 3! He has been named Jabari, Swahili for ‘brave’.
Learn more about this unique species at Zooborns.
these are some of the cutest renditions of fish I have ever seen!
dangit a buncha my favorite fish are on here and it’s super cute
I wish I’d made this thing.>8O
If only one child watched COSMOS tonight and decided to pursue the sciences, our world is definitely better for it.
Bull the Rhinoceros
This giant buddy actually lived much of his life at the Toronto Zoo after being born in South Africa. Bull, a male white rhino, came to the Museum following his death of old age. He’s one of our boldest and most awesome specimens.
I met Bull in life, and I’ll finally get to see him again soon!
I base this thought on 4 years of a biology undergraduate major with emphasis on animal behavior, 4 years of veterinary school including many reptile/exotic electives, 5 years of experience as an exotics technician, and 15 years of reptile keeping.
Now then. Let me rephrase my previous post. I believe that reptiles can feel some emotions but not in the way humans think. We anthropomorphize animals entirely too much and we place our own emotions on them and expect that they feel how we do in the same situations. Reptiles can have personalities. Some reptiles of a specific species that is known to be very aggressive can be quite tame and docile and vice versa. You can have multiples of a species and each one will behave slightly differently. Reptiles can feel fear and aggression for sure. Can they feel happy? I doubt it. They just don’t have the brain structure for it.
Reptiles will come up to the front of their enclosures when their owners come near, some will even come toward a finger or a hand placed in the tank. There are some that will just hang out on your hand while you stroke them. What does this mean? In the former case it means they are smart or at least can experience conditioned learning. Reptiles “learn” that when their owner approaches they will be fed. In the latter case they are just doing what they do. They do not feel threatened sitting on an open hand and the hand is warm so why expend energy moving? Can I say for absolutely certain that they cannot feel happiness? No. But neither can I say that another human being can or cannot without asking them. The anatomy of the reptile brain and the way they behave along with countless other data points gives us enough information to comfortably say that they do not experience higher emotion.
Uromastyx flip onto their backs when threatened and flail their arms as a signal that they are stressed, give up, and want to be left alone. This is not a sign that they want to be tickled. We cannot put our own experiences onto animals, it just doesn’t work that way. Does this make reptiles any less of a pet than a dog or a cat? No of course. I love reptiles and think they are absolutely amazing creatures. They don’t need to feel happy, sad, love, rejection, or any other emotion to make them worth studying or owning. Just having a reptile that doesn’t feel stressed and so will sit on your hand is pretty cool in and of itself. We don’t need to add an emotional reason to the experience to make it worth while.