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How do animals transfer their cubs without biting them?

Cub's survival instinct

By adalberto alejandrinaPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

Mammals tend to have very responsible mothers who spend long hours with their young, protecting them and teaching them survival skills.

However, in the long-term process of getting along, it is inevitable to transfer the young. Some mammals can walk well from birth, and some mammals need the mother to bring them with them.

The more common ones are those where the cubs hold the mother firmly and transfer them together, and there are those who directly put the cubs into the "nursery bag" like the Australian marsupials, and the other - probably the most common one, is to hold the cubs in their mouths. transfer.

So the question is, how do these animals transfer their cubs without biting them? You must know that lions and tigers can easily bite off the necks of large herbivores.

For the mother, it probably did, but judging from the mouth shape of these animals holding their cubs, they didn't hide their teeth.

The most common of those mammals that carry their pups are the carnivores and rodents, which all have long canines or incisors and are not particularly easy to hide.

But even so, it is very simple for these animals to transfer with their cubs in their mouths.

Let's take lions as an example. Although their bite force is amazing, it doesn't mean it has to. Their mouths also have strong muscle control, which can release pressure according to different situations.

This is especially evident in pet cats, who often pick up mice and squirrels to play with without killing them.

As long as the mother doesn't bite hard, it shouldn't be too much of a problem for the pups. But as far as transfers go, it's a two-way process.

In other words, the mother can't pick up the cub if the cub doesn't cooperate. For example, if the cub moves randomly during the transfer process, not only the transfer cannot be completed, but it may even lead to injury and death of the cub.

So, there's an evolutionary mechanism at work here, which is that when the pups are caught by the nape of their mother's neck, they're very quiet and don't make any struggles.

And what's interesting is that most of the time the cubs will be very cooperative and curl their hind legs slightly, trying to avoid their paws or body touching the ground.

In theory, these behaviors of the pups are a conditioned reflex action, a survival instinct endowed to them during long-term evolution. After all, the need for transfer must exist, and what else can quadrupeds use other than their mouths, and it is normal for cubs to have such a conditioned reflex.

But in fact, it wasn't just grasping the back of the neck that triggered the pups' conditioned reflex.

A 2013 study looked at pups' responses to transfers from their mothers. When pups were picked up, they became soft and taut immediately, even when the researchers simply mimicked the mother's grip. showed remarkable consistency.

Responses were attenuated when a small amount of local anesthetic was applied to the neck area of ​​pups, and when the back of the neck was clamped without being suspended.

The answer is obvious. In addition to grasping, the feeling of being in the air also triggers the cub's quiet and curling instinct when it is transferred.

Friends who have pet cats and dogs may know that it is not necessary to hold them when transferring them, and it is easy to transfer them by pinching the back of their necks.

In addition to imitating the instinctive mechanism that triggers the cubs, there are actually some reasons to do this, that is, why do they not suffocate? Why not resist because of pain?

The reason is that the skin and hair on these animals' necks tend to be looser, which means it's harder to suffocate them if they get caught.

Also, the skin in these locations is largely devoid of nerve endings, which is why they don't feel pain even when we grab the back of the neck.

In fact, these animals tend to retain some of this instinct in adulthood - you can try adult pets, which has a lot to do with the skin on their necks.

It is said that humans have also been found to have this instinct, and if a baby is crying, just lightly grab the back of their neck and they will stop crying.

But as a father, I have personally tested it, and scratching the back of the head is basically ineffective.

However, I have also personally tested it, and the effect of suspending and shaking the baby is very good - it can basically make the baby quiet in an instant, which may be in the process of simulating the transfer, triggering their most primitive instinct.


About the Creator

adalberto alejandrina

scientific exploration

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