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Published by jack elliot

The Otter



Instinct and knowledge


An animal behaves to a certain extent by instinct.


This is a sense, or knowledge, to act in a certain way because an animal's ancestors have done it for many generations.


A dog will bark at a strange sound by instinct.


If an animal falls into water accidentally it will swim to the shore, even if it has not been taught to swim.

It knows what to do by its instincts for survival.





But some animals are taught to swim.



An otter will swim out to deep water  with its baby on its back and dive, so that the baby has to swim back.


It does this time after time until the young otter gains confidence, and learns to enjoy swimming.


This is knowledge, the result of education and not instinct.





The young have to be educated, just as we are sent to school to learn how to do things.


A cat teaches her kittens to hunt by making them chase the tip of her tail in play.


Then she will give them a mouse and show them what to do.


Lions and tigers teach their cubs to hunt; it is an essential lesson in the wild if they are not to starve.




Young animals have to be taught to be independent, to add knowledge and skill to their natural instincts.


A mother bear teaches her cubs to stay with her, to remain quiet and to hunt, and if they are disobedient she picks them up and spanks them - hard.

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