Friday, May 5, 2017

When good animals make bad decisions

Life is full of choices and animals have to make them every day, such as where to live, where to feed, and which other animals to interact with. These decisions are often based on an animal’s perception of their surroundings – is it raining, am I too cold, is that a predator I smell? The consequences of getting this wrong could mean the difference between life and death.
The Striped Marsh Frog is a widespread species found throughout Victoria. 
But for some animals, the impact of the modern human environment on their habitat can cause confusion, leading to bad decisions and possible extinction.

Many insects, for example, are attracted to light reflected off water, but artificial surfaces like roads and the sides of buildings can mimic these natural reflective surfaces. The end result is that when the insects lay their eggs, they can’t hatch.

Similarly, some species of marine turtles use moonlight to navigate toward the ocean after hatching, but may instead head inland, attracted by streetlights along the shoreline.


Read the University of Melbourne Pursuit article - “When good animals make bad decisions.”

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