Hunger is likely to be the main driver of stone juggling in otters, new research has shown.

Researchers from the University of Exeter have carried out an extensive study into why captive otters tend to play with stones, commonly referred to asrock juggling”.

The dextrous mammals are often seen lying on their backs and batting the stones into the air, catching them and rolling them around their chests and necks.

Experts had suggested the behaviour might help the animals practise the foraging skills they need to extract foods from complex prey such as mussels and clams.

However, while the new research showed that young and older otters tended to juggle more than reproductive adults, these frequent jugglers were no better at solving food puzzlessuggesting the practice does not hone foraging skills.

Instead, the study showed that otters juggle more when hungry, in anticipation of feeding times in captivitysuggesting that it could be excitement for food.

Mari-Lisa Allison, lead author of the study said: “Zoo visitors are often enthralled by the ottersplayfulness. Surprisingly, very few studies have investigated why otters are so keen to juggle stones. Our study provides a glimpse into this fascinating behaviour. While hunger is likely to drive rock juggling in the moment, the ultimate function of the behaviour is still a mystery.

For the new study, the research team analysed rock juggling in Asian small-clawed (Aonyx cinereus) and smooth-coated (Lutrogale perspicillata) otters found in zoo environments.

While the species are closely related, Asian small-clawed otters perform extractive foraging movements to exploit crabs and shellfish, while smooth-coated otters forage on fish.

The team set a series of puzzles for the otters to solve in order to gain access to a reward of food, to see whether the otters that juggled more frequently were faster at solving the puzzles. They also investigated whether sex, age and hunger levels could explain why some otters juggled more than others.

The team found that both juvenile and senior otters juggled more than adults. The authors suggested that the function of the behaviour may change over an otter’s lifetimeaiding development in juveniles while potentially keeping the brain active in seniors. Otter parents may have been juggling less as they did not have the time while looking after their pups. However, rock-juggling frequency did not differ between species or sexes.

Crucially, otters juggled more whenhungry”, indicating that juggling may be a misdirected behaviour in anticipation of feeding time.

Senior author Dr Neeltje Boogert added: “While it did not appear that frequent jugglers solved food puzzles faster, more research is needed to exclude thepractise makes perfecthypothesis to explain rock juggling in otters.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-05/uoe-ojs050520.php

World news – GB – Otters juggle stones when hungry, research shows

Building on its expertise in the areas of digital, technologies and processes , CSS Engineering you in your most ambitious transformation projects and helps you bring out new ideas, new offers, new modes of collaboration, new ways of producing and selling.

CSS Engineering is involved in projects each customer as if it were his own. We believe a consulting company should be more than an advisor. We put ourselves in the place of our customers, to align we incentives to their goals, and collaborate to unlock the full potential their business. This establishes deep relationships and enjoyable.

Our services:

  1. Create professional websites
  2. Hosting high performance and unlimited
  3. Sale and video surveillance cameras installation
  4. Sale and Installation of security system and alarm
  5. E-Marketing

All our achievements here https://www.css-engineering.com/en/works/

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here