Does the Siberian chipmunk respond to the snake by identifying it?
Siberian chipmunks were presented with snakes and 4 control animals (tortoises, frogs, eels, quails) in a large outdoor pen to examine whether the snakedirected behavior of the chipmunk is a response to identifying the snake or simply an exploratory behavior toward generally strange objects. The animals were presented to chipmunks in 3 manners; tethered, anesthetized, and in perforated opaque boxes and in wire netting boxes. In “tethered” and “anesthetized”, chipmunks responded significantly more intensively to snakes than to other animals. When the animals were presented in the boxes, that is, when chipmunks could perceive only olfactory stimulus from the animals, they also showed the strongest response to snakes. The results suggest that 1) snake-directed behavior of chipmunks is not a general exploratory response toward strange objects but a response to identifying the snakes, and that 2) olfaction is an important cue for the chipmunks to identify snakes.
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