Animals Use a Clever Trick or Two to Survive in the Wild

Many unique and crafty methods are used in the wild kingdom. They are worth a look, two if you don't catch it the first time.

| May 2005


QUITE A MOUTHFUL: Pikas, hamster-like rodents that dwell in mountainous regions, are as adept at staying out of the mouths of predators as they are at getting things into their own. They throw their voices to confuse swooping eagles. It's just one of many tricks animals find crucial to their survival.

US Geological Survey/AP

Animals in the wild kingdom are crafty - they have to be. Without knowing a few tricks, they would soon perish. The peculiar skills some animals employ to ensure their own survival are quite unique.

The partridge is a bird that acts as well as any actress to protect its young. When a person or animal comes too near one of the bird's hidden nests, the partridge will promptly step out where it can be seen. It will hobble along pretending to be injured, dragging its wings as if they were broken. The bird will manage to stay just beyond reach, until it has lured the threat to its young ones away. Then, it will take flight.

The pika is a small rodent that inhabits the Rocky Mountain region. This animal saves its life by using ventriloquism.

The pika's chief enemy is the eagle. When the rodent spots one of these mighty birds, it heads for rock, bush or burrow. From this vantage point, the clever creature throws its voice. The eagle will hear the shrill cry and pounce on the spot where the sound seems to be coming from - but the mighty bird will find nothing there.

When the voice comes from another place, the eagle pounces again. And so the hunt goes on until the tired eagle gives up and flies off in search of another victim.

Many wild creatures store food for the long, cold winters. If anything should happen to the food that they stored, they wouldn't make it through the winter.

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