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Behavior Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 284 comments and questions on Behavior issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 15 letters




How did squirrel know there were seeds in the feeder? Squirrels USA
Are our behaviors genetically inherited? Special Types Uganda
Squirrel wanted to come into my house Squirrels USA
Want to bring 10 squirrels with us when we move Squirrels USA
Squirrels come to visit every day Squirrels USA
Are their two types of behavior: good and bad? Special Types Tanzania
Squirrel seen carrying another squirrel in its mouth Squirrels Canada
My dog rolls Dogs Roll USA
Wants video clips from TV show Candid Camera USA
Faimly of squirrels withough tails Squirrel Defenses USA
I think my daughter is mentally ill Special Types USA
Dog likes to roll in perfumed clothes Dogs Roll USA
Behaviour in observational studies Observations UK
Squirrel brought me an apple to eat Squirrels Canada
Upset that pet squirrel moved to neighbor's yard Squirrels USA

Next 15 letters

First 15 letters


How did squirrel know there were seeds in the feeder?

May 15, 2012


my bird feeder has been empty at least two weeks now.i put new seed in this morning at about eleven oclock i hadd a squarelin did he know there was new seed in it.before for two weeks no sign of the rodent.thank you.

forest - USA (22652)


Squirrels have good noses and can smell the seeds. Their good sense of smell is how they find the nuts they bury.

The squirrel could have been doing his daily rounds and could smell that you had put the bird seeds in the feeder.

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Special Types

Are our behaviors genetically inherited?

April 2, 2012


my question is, Are our behaviors genetically inherited or are as a result of the environment? has culture played some roles in the formation of our behaviors, how?

Katandi - Uganda (22552)


There has been a debate among scientists concerning behavior called "Nature versus Nurture". In other words, whether it is .

For some types of behavior, genetics plays a major role, while other behaviors it is the environment or training that determines the behavior. So, in all behaviors, the result is a mixture of genetics and environment in varying proportions.

For example, young children behave in a basically selfish manner. However, over the years, they learn to have a behavior of sharing with others. Of course, there are some adults who never learn to share.

A culture sets rules and standards where they expect members to adhere to those standards. A person who does not adapt his behavior to cultural rules can be ostracized from the group.

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Squirrel wanted to come into my house

April 1, 2012


There was a squirrel that was on my porch the other day and when I approached he hid behind the large flower pots and even tried to jump into a closed window. That seemed normal to me but when I walked away I thought it would run off but I checked a couple of minutes later and it was still on the porch but now sitting next to the door. Eventually he left.
I then went inside and had left the door slightly open and as I was going back out, there he was. He looked as if he was about to come inside if I hadn't shown up in the doorway. It seemed odd to me. Also he seemed to have a skin issue and not a lot of fur on his back and tail. Is he diseased? - thanks for your help

Greg - USA (22548)


I used to feed squirrels peanuts on our back porch. Certain squirrels would come at specific times of the day. However, soon they got brave and would come right inside when I opened the screen door. Since then, I stopped feeding them, but occasionally one would come up to the door like the "good old days".

It is possible that someone in your neighborhood has been feeding the squirrels, so this fellow though he'd try a different house.

Some squirrels can get skin disease or mites that cause the skin to get raw or to lose some hair. It isn't anything to worry about, although it may be uncomfortable for the little critter.

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Want to bring 10 squirrels with us when we move

October 20, 2011


we have about 10-15 squirrels that are pets we rescued as babies from hurricane ike years ago. they live in the backyard as wild and free as they should ...but they are tame ,friendly and we know them by name as we give them fruits and nuts daily . here is my question...we are thinking about moving across town. but my husband will not move if we cant bring his squirrels with us... is it possible to move them with us ??? and if so any advice on how to ...

tawnee - USA (22103)


Squirrels get very friendly and set up a regular visiting schedule if they know you will feed them. I know that you can get attached to these little friends.

One problem you might have is catching the squirrels. Since they are outside, they are also somewhat independent with their own lives. They also probably have nests made in the nearby trees.

Another problem I see concerns the other squirrels who live in the new area. There may be some territorial fights when new squirrels are introduced.

But still, it may be possible if you bring some to the new place, release them and feed them right away, so they know where the food source is. You might be able to do it a little at a time.

Best wishes in deciding if to move your squirrels. Let me know how things work out.

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Squirrels come to visit every day

October 12, 2011


I have several trees in my backyard -- and a couple of squirrels seem to live in one and visit daily. I've left a few roasted peanuts for them on the fence. Sometimes at midday, both will come rushing along the backyard fence from neighbors' yards and rush up a tree.
At other times, one squirrel will be in yard when I come out to sit and it will bury nuts/seeds in the lawn. Then rush up a tree and rush down and turn flips in the air. Sometimes it rushes around the yard and then rushes up to within 3 feet of me and crouches. I can't tell if it's just playing, wants food or is about to attack? It doesn't seem afraid. If i make loud noise, if only backs off a few feet. Any advice would be helpful!

- USA (22066)


Squirrels tend to have regular routines. If you put out the peanuts at a given time, they will come at that time, expecting their treat.

Younger squirrels like to play by chasing each other up and down a tree and sometimes doing flips and such.

Blue Jays like to watch the squirrels bury their nuts and often go to dig them up right afterwards.

When the squirrels come up to you, it is probably checking to see if you have some more nuts to eat.

They are fun animals to watch.

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Special Types

Are their two types of behavior: good and bad?

September 20, 2011


How if we say there are two types of behaviour,which are
a.Proper or good behaviour.
b.Improper or bad behaviour.
I'm I correct?

Japhet - Tanzania (22001)


In general, behavior concerns how a person or animal responds to external stimuli and actions.

When you start to judge whether the behavior of a person is good or bad, you are talking about the person's character. See Succeed with Positive Character for more information.

Also note that there may be situations where the behavior is not really proper or improper.

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Squirrel seen carrying another squirrel in its mouth

September 14, 2011


my friend observed a squirrel carrying what appeared to be another squirrel,alive, in its mouth.the squirrel being carried was in a ball. we were wondering is this something they do with the injured, or the young to transport them? we found it rather odd but interesting as we had not seen this before. please advise, the curiosity is killing us! thanks!

suzanne - Canada (21987)


In the Spring, mother squirrels may carry your squirrels from one place to another. However, squirrels also can be cannibals. When a squirrel is carrying a full-sized squirrel, it is either injured or dead. Typically, the squirrel being carried will be eaten in some safe location.

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Dogs Roll

My dog rolls

April 23, 2011


i found your page very informative on this "rubbing" my hairless Chinese Crested dog loves to roll do on dried worms and bird poop. thank you for the info and end quiz.

may - USA (21505)


I'm glad that the material was useful to you.

It can be a nuisance, but dogs will be dogs.

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Candid Camera

Wants video clips from TV show

February 5, 2011


I am doing a presentation and I would like the clips that you talk about in your study. Can you send the clips to me?

Shalice - USA (21152)


Unfortunately, the material mentioned was from the old Candid Camera Show, done so long ago that it was in black and white.

You might be able to get the clips through the Candid Camera website.

Best wishes in your presentation.

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Squirrel Defenses

Faimly of squirrels withough tails

January 28, 2011


we recently moved to the country in bealeton, va and surprisingly have a family of squirrels with no tails that we feed daily. they get along with other squirrels but seem to get bullied a bit. I read somewhere this could be a genetic defect and/or ground water contamination (arsenic?) but I worry it's potentially from animal abuse (tail collectors). there are a couple of young ones, one very old one, a couple of adult male/females. they do not mingle with the other squirrels.

some have a little stub, some nothing at all. they seem to be more chatty too. the one old male has a skin problem of some sort but I think the sunflower seeds and almonds we feed them has helped it.

do you have any clue and/or referrals on this?

annie - USA (21102)


I know that some hunters collect squirrel tails after they kill the squirrel. It would seem too difficult to catch a squirrel to cut off its tail. Although I'm sure their are some nut-cases that might do such a thing.

Since it is the whole family, it probably is a genetic defect. Since they aren't as agile as the other squirrels, they probably are easier to pick on. Squirrels also communicate with their tails, so that may be another problem.

We had a squirrel at our feeder who had a stump tail. However, after about a month, he stopped coming. I assumed some animal killed him. Also, an older female with a skin ailment comes here to feed. Some of her past litters also come to feed.

Hopefully you tailless squirrels will be doing fine, since you are feeding them well.

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Special Types

I think my daughter is mentally ill

January 24, 2011


My Daughter, Leslie is i think mentally ill. She is always following squirrels around the park and is barking like dogs. No docter's have an answer to her mental problems. Please, PLEASE help me bring my daughter to be normal and social like everyone else at her school.

John - USA (21067)


It certainly depends on how old your daughter is. Some children are fascinated with animals and almost relate to them better than with other children. In fact, your daughter may not be mentally ill, but instead she has special skills.

The famous "dog whisperer" related to animals better than humans when he was a child. Now he is well-known for his ability to train animals.

Never think of your daughter as mentally ill. That is for someone who sees things that aren't there and such. Instead think of her as being special, and she should respond to your different attitude.

Best wishes for your daughter and her health.

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Dogs Roll

Dog likes to roll in perfumed clothes

October 9, 2010



I am doing some research on why dogs roll in smelly things, but my situation is a little different. Our Jack Russel Terrier mix likes to rolls in my daughters clothes that have perfume on them. We tested this theory by spraying perfume on the dogs bed...she obsessively rolled and rolled on her bed for quite a doesn't seem to matter what kind of perfume it is...Do you know why, because it isn't poop, urine or dead animal?

Kelly - USA (20509)


Well, you are lucky that your dog isn't rolling in real smelly stuff. Sometimes cats will roll on the ground around their house, eager to mark the ground as bearers or two get the smell of their property on them. This might be the same thought process of your Jack Russell. She may associate things in your house with the perfume and want to get the smell on her to indicate that a house is her place.

Sometimes dogs seem to like to roll in things that are just unusual and not something like poop. For example, our dog likes to rule on the white markings of a soccer field or football field.

Perhaps, the behavior is more complex than we understand.

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Behaviour in observational studies

October 5, 2010


how can you rate behaviour in observational studies? how can behaviour be sampled in observational studies? What are the advantages of choosing a participant observation design instead of a non-participant design? Thank you!

Jaya - UK (20487)


When you examine the behavior of individuals, animals or groups by observation, you can classify the different types of behaviors. Rating a behavior makes it a judgment, and being nonjudgmental is preferred.

Once you have a list of behavior traits, you can classify various traits you observe. You really need to have a sufficiently large sample to draw any statistical conclusions.

Advantages of participant observation are that the approach is close to everyday interaction, involving conversations to discover participants' interpretations of situations they are involved in.

Disadvantages of the participant observation design are seen at:

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Squirrel brought me an apple to eat

September 26, 2010


There's an apple tree on the mountain behind my work, I go there often and eat the apples. As such, one day I was having difficulty reaching the apples (I'd been picking all I could reach) and a squirrel brought one down to the ground and left it there. Then it ran back up to eat apples from above (they're messy eaters and bits of apple fall down when they're eating, then they discard the rest of the apple from the top of the tree).
I ate the apple it brought down, which I believe was for me. I'd never seen a squirrel do that in all the days I'd spend on my breaks eating the apples and watching the squirrels play.

I would like to know if you have any tips on communicating to the squirrels to bring me apples in the future, as I don't know what it is I did to entice it to bring down an apple and place it on the ground, unbitten. I was shaking the tree, and pulling the branches down trying to get at it, I was throwing downed half-eaten apples up into the tree in an attempt to knock a fresh one down... I don't know.

They climb up so easily, how can I train one, or get one to know that I'd like one, so it can bring one down for me in the future?

p.s. This is a serious inquiry. I'm not finding help anywhere online on getting along with squirrels, only how to get rid of them. Think outside the box, they could be very useful if we stop looking at them as pests!

Michelle - Canada (20439)


Squirrels are very intelligent and clever. It is difficult to tell if the squirrel was actually trying to help you get an apple or just happened to leave one near you. They don't normally help out other squirrels, although they will bring food to their mate or to their babies. Perhaps this squirrel felt a kinship to you.

Two particular squirrels there my whole will run to the patio door when they see become whole, seeking a handout of some peanuts or such. They recognize me, but it isn't anything where I am communicating with them.

Some people have trained nearby squirrels to come when the click acorns together, but again it is a case of reacting to potential food. I don't think it would be easy to get them to bring food to you.

I guess if you had a pet squirrel that you have at home, you might be able to train it to get apples for you. However, it might take some time to really train it to perform such a task.

It is a shame that some people consider squirrels as pests. They are good animals and enjoyable to watch and interact with.

Even if you can't get them to bring you apples, enjoy them as your little friends.

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Upset that pet squirrel moved to neighbor's yard

August 9, 2010


We have a squirrel we raised from a baby here in SW Colorado and we released her out behind our house and she visits us everyday plus to feed on nuts and whatever other treats we have for her. She had built a nice nest back behind our house and used it for about 3-4 weeks but now we have noticed that she has another bigger one back behind our neighbors property. My question is this: What would cause her to leave her nest she built in a tree in our backyard and build another in a tree in our neighbors? We watched her spend a lot of time on the nest in our yard, even giving her pieces of rope which she stuffed in her mouth and carried up to her nest. When she was weaned off the milk and started eating solids we bought a squirrel house for her which she started in for about 2 weeks and then built her own nest in a tree 40' high in our yard, but now we don't understand why she abandoned this home and built another up in a tree in our neighbors yard. What could be the reasons behind this?

Rick - USA (20209)


Although it is a joy to be able to watch your squirrel and to have her live in the tree in your yard, it is sort of like when children grow up and leave home to go on their own.

A probable reason your squirrel moved to the other tree is that it she wanted her own, natural nest that may seem safer to her. Perhaps she just wanted more independence.

The big thing is that she still can come back to visit and get snacks from you. Who knows, she may decide to go back to the old nest or use it as a storage bin.

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