May 14th, 2006


Variations in Pea-Fishing Strategies Among Domestic Rodents

It gets quite warm in the upper half of our townhome, so we have been devising strategies to keep ourselves and the rats reasonably cool in the absence of air conditioning. One thing the rats like is a dish of water with some frozen peas in it. Today I noticed that they were all retrieving peas in different ways.

1. Clio reached in with her right paw, waved it around until it contacted a pea, then picked out the pea with just that paw and ate it immediately.

2. Thalia patted around with her paws until she found a clump of peas, then reached in and grabbed several in her mouth. She then scampered off to a safer location, shook her nose to get all the nasty water off, ate the peas, and shook her paws dry before going back for more.

3. Niobe grabbed a couple of floating peas off the surface, then decided all this water was a bit much and went down to the bottom of the cage to see if the other rats had dropped any.
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Another answer

Huzzah, someone else replied to the post you should all go add a question to right now! Upon further reflection, I think two of the three questions asked will stay in e-mail until such time as I get around to figuring out how to build an appropriate filter.

The third question is the ever-popular "Why Tiger Spot?"

Long, long, ago, when the internet was new and kids were instructed never ever to give out their real names online, my parents signed us up for AOL and I picked that for my screen name. Just Tiger didn't seem long enough, so I added the Spot to distinguish myself. There wasn't a whole lot of meaning at that time, but it grew on me (I used it for my superhero alter ego and everything) and I discovered that it was never taken anywhere, so it made an excellent consistent identity. I am strongly in favor of consistent identities, so that people who know me in one place can recognize me elsewhere, and so that I don't have to remember a whole lot of different names (I have enough trouble keeping other people with multiple names straight; I don't need to add myself to the problem!).

People object to it sometimes on the grounds that tigers don't have spots, but in fact normal tigers have two spots, one on the back of each ear. One of these days I will get around to finding a good photo to turn into a user icon.