Problem solving of wild animals in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia

Rowell, Misha K., and Rymer, Tasmin L. (2023) Problem solving of wild animals in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia. Austral Ecology, 48 (2). pp. 313-322.

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Abstract

While many species of animals can solve food-baited problems, most studies are conducted in captivity, which may not reflect the natural behavioural and cognitive abilities of wild animals. As few studies have explored problem solving of Australian animals generally, we investigated the problem solving abilities of native Australian species in natural rainforest in the Wet Tropics of Queensland. We baited multiple types of puzzles (matchbox task, cylinder task, and tile and lever tasks on a Trixie Dog Activity Board) with different food types (seeds, fruit, sardines) and placed the puzzles in front of trail cameras. We noted the species captured on camera, whether or not individuals interacted with the puzzles, the number of interactions with puzzles, and whether or not different animals solved them. We found that seven species from multiple taxa (mammals, birds, reptiles) could solve food-baited problems in the wild, providing the first evidence of problem solving in these native species. As problem solving may help animals cope with anthropogenic threats, these results provide some insights into which Wet Tropics species may potentially be more vulnerable and which ones might be better at coping with changing conditions.

Item ID: 77144
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: behavioural flexibility, cognition, innovation, novel object, rainforest
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. © 2022 The Authors. Austral Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Ecological Society of Australia.
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2022 08:14
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310403 Biological adaptation @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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