Tampa Wildlife and Animal Removal

Wild Animals and Emotions

If your lap is big enoughand/or your dog is small enough, pick it up and look deeply intohis/her eyes. You might be amazed at what you see, because those eyes are capable of expressing outwardly a lot of what’s s going oninside … love, anger, fear, remorse, sadness -- the whole range of what we unfeeling refer to as human emotions.

Dogs are not alone in this. More and more, Tampa animal experts as well as people everywhere are coming to recognize that the ability to “feel” and to respond to those feelings exists at many levels of the animal kingdom. Now that we recognize these capabilities, Florida animal behaviorists, social scientists and ordinary folks are looking more deeply into the animal kingdom and recognizing that emotions are present across a broad range of creation.

It’s easy enough to recognize emotional characteristics in domesticated Florida animals and pets. But what about their wild counterparts? Of course they possess emotions, and you only have to visit the local zoo or a marine exhibit to see for yourself. Nowadays, everyone’s in love with Tampa dolphins, drawn by their intelligence, playfulness and even moodiness, almost of which have an emotional component. And anybody that visits a zoo quickly learns that monkeys, great apes and baboons are pretty adept at responding both positively and negatively to each other and to their visitors: frowning, smiling, vocalizing, acting out; displaying a whole range of expression that until recently was considered part of being “human.”

And biologically speaking, why should this not be so? When conceptualizingOn the Origin of Species in the mid-1800s, Charles Darwin initially intended to treat the subject of emotion in lesser Tampa animals in a chapter of the book. As he progressed, Darwin realized that there was much more to it. The result was the publication of a separate treatise,The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, in 1872.Darwin had his critics and doubters, but the seed that he planted took root. A century and one-half later, his thinking is almost universally accepted, and is central to such disciplines as anthropology, psychology and symbology.

Relationships almost always entail emotional involvement, whether at the human or lesser Tampa animal level, and so we’re no longer surprised to see it among members of the same species. But a surprising phenomenon reported by one scholar even found instances of cross-species bonding, including among predators and would-be prey. In one example, a Florida rat snake befriended, rather than consumed,a dwarf hamster. In another, a lioness adopted baby oryxesfive different times. Who can explain love?

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