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Discussion in 'Nature' started by Phocal, Jul 17, 2017.
How much is known about the short term memory of birds such as those, with regard to effective stalking tactics? For example, once they see a man in a canoe appear and depart again, how long is it before they forget about men in canoes, or do they retain the info, filed under "Infrequent, unclassified potential threats with yellow feet" or something? I guess it depends to a large degree on how often it happens — eventually they will become conditioned to whatever it is, provided it doesn't attack them — but I wonder what the dynamic is in the "very infrequent human presence" case. If one was to paddle stealthily past them every 30 minutes, say, would they think "WTF is THAT?" each time, or would it be more like "oh geez... AGAIN?"?
Crazy story, nice captures. Any pics of the spider bite? ;-)
Let's hope not
Yowch! I saw the opening spider colony photo and went Uh... Don't like spiders. Was it one of those that bit you?
But, I guess it was worth the pain and effort to get those shots. Your patience (and stamina) was rewarded. Whew.
But spiders... not my favorites.
Crows can reportedly distinguish a farmer with a hoe from a hunter with a shotgun, and thus ignore the farmers.
I have no idea if that's only learned from experience, or if it can be communicated and shared between crows.
I used to see spider colonies like that in my younger days in the mangrove swamps (that have since been filled in for housing) One would often walk in a long way before realising you were surrounded by spiders and had to find the way out. These colonies would cover half a football field.
Nice story and photos
The "on foot" versus "not on foot" human factor seems to pervade much of the animal kingdom — the larger mammals of the African plains, for instance, are generally extremely tolerant of a human presence, either ignoring it or retreating from it, provided that the humans aren't on foot. The moment that we assume our unique, erect, bipedal outline, however, we are perceived as a threat, and are much more likely to provoke aggressive defensive behaviour. For example, lions will typically ignore the presence of vehicles, or at most show mild interest, whereas they will voluntarily keep their distance from us if we're on foot. Similarly, elephants — especially those with at least some human conditioning, which these days is sadly most of them — are quite happy to be observed by humans sitting quietly and calmly in open vehicles (the humans, not the elephants), even from really close quarters, but will frequently become restless, adopt an alert defensive formation and possibly charge in response to humans approaching too closely on foot. No animal likes to be taken by surprise, of course — stumbling across a dozing lion is a bad idea, since by doing so one will have suddenly materialized well inside their run boundary or, worse still, inside their attack boundary, meaning that there's a good chance they'll make a defensive attack. I imagine the same sort of thing applies to your alligators, too?
The "on foot"/"not on foot" distinction fascinates me though. I believe that many species of animal have vision systems which are tuned into movement and outline, so I guess that sitting down quietly in a car or kayak will be a pretty effective way of confusing them.
Did you see the spider that bit you. Some times Yellow Sac spiders produce a bit that can mimic a Recluse bite and they are very wide spread here in the US. The various species of Recluse spiders live in very specified locations (many don't know that there is a Desert Recluse that can symptoms similar to its famous cousin or that in a very specific location in LA that a South American species lives in a particular building - this spider is much more dangerous than any US species. The symptoms of a Brown Recluse are "A red ring forms around a white wound (looks like a target or bullet). A blister develops on the skin surrounded by red, although some systemic reactions have been reported. Not much is known about most spiders venom as many don't have fangs that can penetrate human skin. Bites in areas of poor circulation can cause problems like you had from a Recluse. Here in the NW the Hobo was thought to produce such bits but there are no longer listed as a species of concern.