9 Tales of Amazing Animal Behavior

Crazy-smart bees. Rogue wolves. A world-famous pig. Animals are more complex than we give them credit for. We’ve collected some of the best stories out there on the unique creatures, furry and otherwise, that enrich our lives.

The Crane Who Fell in Love With a Human

Sadie Dingfelder • The Washington Post

Cranes mate for life. But when one white-naped crane earned the reputation as a black widow, an intrepid zookeeper found an unlikely way to fight extinction.

The Dog Who Took the Witness Stand

Christopher DeCou • Narratively

Tracing the origins of the animal rights movement to one truly bizarre 1922 court case.

The Charmed Life of Esther the Wonder Pig

Jason McBride • The Walrus

What one celebrity pet can tell us about our curious and complicated relationship with animals.

How The Octopus Got Its Smarts

Elizabeth Finkel • Cosmos

Did the octopus evolve its unique intelligence by playing fast and free with the genetic code?

A Very Old Man for a Wolf

Emma Marris • Outside

He was the alpha male of the first pack to live in Oregon since 1947. For years, a state biologist tracked him, collared him, counted his pups, weighed him, photographed him, and protected him. But then the animal known as OR4 broke one too many rules.

What Are Animals Thinking and Feeling?

Carl Safina • TED

Using discoveries and anecdotes that span ecology, biology and behavioral science, a conservationist argues that just as we think, feel, use tools and express emotions, so too do the other creatures—and minds—that share the Earth with us.

Bees May Understand Zero, a Concept That Took Humans Millennia to Grasp

Kate Keller • Smithsonian Magazine

If the finding is true, they’d be the first invertebrates to join an elite club that includes primates, dolphins and parrots.

In Search of the Heart of the Online Cat-Industrial Complex

Gideon Lewis-Kraus • Wired

If you want to know why the Internet chose cats, you must go to Japan.

How Animal Psychics Helped Untangle a Mixed-up Horse

Sterry Butcher • Texas Monthly

Healing a spooked horse takes time, patience, and skill. And maybe a little help from beyond.

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