Animal Defenses

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nimal Defenses

Animal

AnimAl BehAvior t
Animal Communication Animal Courtship Animal Defenses Animal Hunting and Feeding Animal Life in Groups Animal Migration

Defenses
ChristinA WilsDon

Animal

Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses Copyright  2009 by Infobase Publishing All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information, contact: Chelsea House An imprint of Infobase Publishing 132 West 31st Street New York NY 10001 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Wilsdon, Christina. Animal defenses / Christina Wilsdon. p. cm. — (Animal behavior) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-60413-089-8 (hardcover) 1. Animal defenses. I. Title. II. Series. QL759.W55 2009 591.47—dc22 2008040116 Chelsea House books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quantities for businesses, associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call our Special Sales Department in New York at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755. You can find Chelsea House on the World Wide Web at http://www.chelseahouse.com Text design by Kerry Casey Cover design by Ben Peterson Printed in the United States Bang EJB 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 This book is printed on acid-free paper. All links and Web addresses were checked and verified to be correct at the time of publication. Because of the dynamic nature of the Web, some addresses and links may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. Caption: A thorny devil, native to Australia, is camouflaged in shades of desert browns and tans. The spikes on its body also help protect it from predators.

Contents
1 Avoiding Danger 2 Escape Artists 3 Animal Armor 4 Bad Smells, Bad Tastes, and Powerful Poisons 5 Venomous Stings and Bites 6 Mimicry  Fighting Back Glossary Bibliography Further Resources Picture Credits Index About the Author

7 22 38 55 73 91 107 124 126 128 130 131 136

1
Avoiding Danger
A cheetAh skulks through the tall grass of the African savannah. Head lowered, she stares intently at a herd of gazelles. Her spotted coat blends in with the dry grass, making her nearly invisible as she sneaks up on her prey. The gazelles continue to graze. Between bites of grass, each one snaps up its head to check out its surroundings. Bright eyes scan the horizon. Ears swivel to pick up the slightest sound. Nostrils flare to sniff for the scent of a cheetah, lion, or other hungry predator. Suddenly, a few gazelles snort and stamp their feet. The entire herd goes on high alert. The black bands that run down the gazelles’ sides quiver, passing along the message: “Danger!” Then, some of the gazelles begin bouncing as if on pogo sticks. They spring high in the air with their backs arched and legs stiff. They land on all fours, and then leap again. The cheetah pauses. The gazelles have seen her. It is impossible to launch a surprise attack now. The cheetah depends on one short-lived, startling burst of speed to chase down a gazelle. The gazelles, however, also run fast, hitting speeds of up to 40 miles (64 km) an hour—and they can keep up this speed much longer



8

AnimAl deFenses

This female springbok, a kind of antelope, bounces into the air with an arched back and stiff legs. This motion is called stotting or pronking. Springbok typically use it to show predators that they are fi t and hard to catch. Research shows that cheetahs often avoid hunting stotting springbok.

than a cheetah can. Their odd jumping behavior, called stotting, signals to the cheetah, “We have seen you, so do not bother to chase us—we are strong and healthy and can outrun you.” If the cheetah is lucky, perhaps she will find a gazelle fawn hidden in the grass. However, the fawns have tawny coats and can lie still as a stone for a long...
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