Robot squirrel aids animal behavior study
April 4th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Robot squirrel aids animal behavior study

This might sound a bit nutty, but U.S. researchers are using robot squirrels to learn more about how real ones interact with their main predator, rattlesnakes.

The lifelike robot, built by a team from the University of California, Davis, can replicate two behaviors squirrels display when confronted by a rattlesnake.

Research by the late Donald Owings, professor of psychology at UC Davis, observed that rather than scamper off squirrels would approach a snake "head-first in an elongated posture, making flagging movements with their tails."


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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. oppo

    I think they are trying to understand attack and defense strategies, hoping to find some simple defense from snake attacks.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. LOfromMO

    I wonder how much taxpayer money will be spent to learn that rattlesnakes eating squirrels has been going on for centuries and is part of Mother Nature's way of balancing out the wildlife ecosystem?
    Let's spend some taxpayer money, while we're at it, to do a study to learn how humans interact with cattle only to end up eating them as hamburgers.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm |


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