Play behaviors are usually the most controversial and most difficult behaviors to categorise. At Wolf Park, we define play as having the following characteristics:
- Behaviors may be performed out of sequence and/or at different intensities than when the behavior is performed with serious intent eg. in a mock hunt the “prey” may be mock killed first and then chased.
- “Play” partners may switch roles with a dominant animal acting as a subordinate and visa versa.
- “Play” may incorporate certain exaggerated motions and expressions eg. the characteristic “play face” (lips horizontally retracted, jaws slightly open, ears pulled straight up and back or folded flat)
Wotan (left) displaying a “play face”
There are 3 defined categories of play behavior: Agonistic, Social and Solitary.
I’ve got one of the authors of the ethogram looking over my entries and hopefully will have the first one up tomorrow!
It was a very rainy, stormy and miserable day today but the interns got a lot of indoor work done and a lot of newsletters prepped and ready to be sent out to all our members and sponsors!
Our photographer Monty Sloan took this lovely picture of Timber playing with Her Man, Wotan in the rain. The weather didn’t bother them at all! Timber is currently in our main enclosure (Turtle Lake) and is hopefully preparing for puppies now. We put Wotan with her as well so she can have some fun with him and he can hopefully teach her how to den and prepare herself for pups. This is Timber’s first litter so she’s a little bit inexperienced. But Wotan’s being adorable and finding food for her and putting up with her antics. He’s even regurgitated some food for her. He’s such a good wolf!