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Revista de Etologia

Print version ISSN 1517-2805


MENEZES, João Carnio Teles de. Spontaneous approach and apparent play solicitation by a young free-living tayra Eira barbara (Carnivora: Mustelidae) in responseto the observer's presence. Rev. etol. [online]. 2014, vol.13, n.2, pp. 25-29. ISSN 1517-2805.

In a fragment of Atlantic Forest in Eldorado, Mato Grosso do Sul, Central-West Region of Brazil, a juvenile tayra (Eira barbara) spontaneously approached the observer while he was coursing a trail alone. The animal walked in a normal pace and, upon reaching his boots, alternatingly sniffed them and receded afterwards, assuming a posture that much resembles the play bow, a play signal displayed almost exclusively by canids. This is a rare report of a free-living animal that sought interaction with a human in a non-agonistic manner, instead of avoiding it as expected. It may also be one of the few examples of interspecific play in the wild, in case the observed posture was indeed a play bow. Interactions between humans and other animals are usually observed in situations in which the animal is used to the presence of people and often obtains food from these interactions, or when humans are not recognized as threatening by the animal. None of these scenarios seem to explain the observed behavior; individual traits such as boldness or, most likely, exploratoriness, on the other hand, may do so.

Keywords : Human-animal interaction; social play; play bow; interspecific play; animal individuality; Brazil; Atlantic Forest.

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