Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Frozen with Fear

Have you ever heard the term FROZEN WITH FEAR?  It is real!

One thing we, as humans, seem to forget at times is that we are large and imposing and that to many smaller species, we are predators.  We receive calls quite often from people who believe a small bird or baby opossum is comforted by them holding it because the animal becomes still and is not fighting.  Many even explain to us that the animals know they are vegan or vegetarian by their scent and that is why the animal is comforted by them holding it.

Well, this is one of those instances when people are anthropomorphizing the animals they are looking at.  Assuming that all animals can smell the meat that we consume coming from our skin is really giving their noses a bit more credit than they deserve.  Also, assuming that at a time when the animal is in fear for its life it is thinking of how we smell is simply not right.  Some can for sure, most mammals can, but songbirds have very little sense of smell and what they have they don’t tend to use and any animal that is in fear for their life is not going to think clearly enough to stop and determine what you smell like.
So how do animals know which animals (including humans) are predators and which are not?  Mother Nature has given them a way to tell this without them having to get anywhere close enough to sniff the other animal!  The placement of our eyes!  If you look at all mammals, those that are meant to eat meat (including humans) have their eyes on the front of their head, those that eat no meat - herbivores (and therefore prey species) have eyes on the side of their head. 
The reality is these animals are quite literally frozen in fear.  In their reality, fighting or wiggling will make most predators kill and eat them faster.  Consider being in their position, a very large predator is holding you, would fighting really help?  Probably not.  But, if you appear sick or even dead, some predators will reconsider their choice in meals and possibly not eat you.  That is what these animals are hoping for.
It really doesn’t matter if you eat meat or not, in the natural world, humans are predators and animals are quite aware of this fact.  Our eyes being on the front of our head make this fact impossible to hide from animals.  Your change in diet did not change the placement of your eyes on your head.
Please, keep in mind your place in nature when you are around wildlife.

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