The Key to Social Species

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Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

Different styles of communications for different animals.

Stacie Stradling, Journalist

Melissa Starling, a postdoctoral researcher from the Unversity of Sydney, has information on how animals have different emotions that they communicate to each other and the people who own them. Communications between animals and the owners had gotten better over time. Animals show  affection to their owners on a daily basis.

We can also get an idea of how happy an animal is by what they do. Play is one of the most reliable ways to tell if an animal is happy, as only happy animals play.

— Melissa Starling

“Animals use their tails for steering, holding, balancing, and swimming, but they also use them as a way to talk to each other. A dog wagging its tail is one example, and we usually read a waggy tail as a sign that a dog is happy. But that’s not the only way dogs can show they’re happy, and there are lots of animals that don’t have tails or don’t use them to talk to each other,” Starling says. “For example, cats purr when they’re happy (although some cats also purr when they are in pain). Guinea pigs whistle when they are excited and purr when they are content. Rabbits twitch their noses when they are content, and they also can make a purring sound by grinding their teeth. This usually means they are happy, but like cats, sometimes they do it loudly when they are in pain.”

So, there are a lot of different ways animals can show they are happy, but sometimes they do the same thing when they are in pain. How confusing. There are signs that show that animals communicate physically as well as emotionally.

Tail speak to understand cats. (Photo Courtesy of: Google Images)

“Often we can get a good idea if animals are happy or unhappy by looking at how they are behaving in general,” says Starling. “A cat that purrs because it’s happy may also be winding her body around your legs, or sitting in your lap relaxed, holding her tail high in the air, or rolling over on her back. All this shows she is trusting and interested.”

Animals that are relaxed and not tense are usually happy and content. There are seven simple ways to communicate with animals.

We can also get an idea of how happy an animal is by what they do,” says Starling. “Play is one of the most reliable ways to tell if an animal is happy, as only happy animals play. Happy, playful animals will jump into the air, pounce, kick their feet up while they run, and generally be more energetic than they need to be.”

So, to know when an animal is happy, people need to look at more than what one body part is doing, and they might need to watch them to get to know them. To be a good friend to the animals, people should give them the freedom to choose the pets’ own activities, and that will show people what they like. Happy animal-watching!