What are animal reactions to death?

  • Thread starter revv
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  • #1
revv
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This might be a little unsettling for some and I don't know exactly where to post this but here we go...

What would the reaction of say a mother cat be in the moment if you where to take one of it's baby and kill it in front of them? Would they attack you? Would they show some signs of sadness? Would they even be aware? I have the feeling the mother cat wouldn't do anything at all, are they able to understand what just happened?

There's a few things to also take into consideration like if the mother is familiar and comfortable with you around.

Take this scenario for example... you are laying on the ground petting it's baby with the mother and then you just slam it into the ground, what would the reaction be like?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
revv
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I know animals experience grief but they do this after the fact that the body hasn't moved in a long time isn't this the case?
 
  • #5
berkeman
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What would the reaction of say a mother cat be in the moment if you where to take one of it's baby and kill it in front of them?
I think you should try this with an animal more your size, to make it a more fair experiment. Say, a mama bear and her cub. Be sure to have a friend take some video of your experiement, so you can properly be nominated for the 2020 Darwin Award.
 
  • #6
revv
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More like if they realize what death looks like
 
  • #7
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Death is an abstract concept, so no, they don't understand it philosophically like us humans, but certainly many animals especially scavengers know how to detect a dead animal.
 
  • #8
revv
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I think you should try this with an animal more your size, to make it a more fair experiment. Say, a mama bear and her cub. Be sure to have a friend take some video of your experiement, so you can properly be nominated for the 2020 Darwin Award.

But if the mother bear is familiar and comfortable around you... would they still try to attack you? Of course any wild animal will attack someone if they just run and try to hurt there cubs.
 
  • #9
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But if the mother bear is familiar and comfortable around you... would they still try to attack you? Of course any wild animal will attack someone if they just run and try to hurt there cubs.
Would you not lash out at someone who murdered your loved one just because you knew them a bit?
 
  • #10
revv
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Would you not lash out at someone who murdered your loved one just because you knew them a bit?

Yea I probably would but where talking about animals here
 
  • #12
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btw, there are tons of animals that use "play dead" as an evasive maneuver. So it's not so clear cut.
 
  • #13
revv
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Death is an abstract concept, so no, they don't understand it philosophically like us humans, but certainly many animals especially scavengers know how to detect a dead animal.

So why can't they understand it philosophically like us humans if we are both animals?
 
  • #14
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So why can't they understand it philosophically like us humans if we are both animals?
Same reason we can't change color like chameleons. We happened to evolve with a sophisticated brain.
 
  • #15
berkeman
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But if the mother bear is familiar and comfortable around you... would they still try to attack you?
Just be sure that someone gets this experiment on video. That's all I'm asking.
 
  • #16
Rive
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But if the mother bear is familiar and comfortable around you... would they still try to attack you?
Most likely, yes. In 'panic' or 'fight' mode any animal will just jump without thinking.
Just watch some cat videos and you will understand.
 
  • #17
revv
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I think there's too many variables for the reaction to take into consideration, you can delete this thread.
 

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