Animals

Pregnant woman and bats

Admin | 17 May 2020

What better way to wait out a pregnancy than by travelling to a warm destination, lying on the beach and drinking cocktails right? It turns out the same is true for bats…well… almost. Scientists in Mexico studied six populations of Geoffrey’s tailless bats (Anoura geoffroyi) during the four seasons. They found that bats migrate in summer to roost in warmer areas. Nothing strange here right, plenty of animals do that? True. What is strange however, is that ambient temperature has been found to correlate to gender ratios in A. geoffroyi. The months between April and September saw the proportion of females rise to greater than 50%. This included both pregnant and non pregnant female bats. Not only this, but colder, drier months saw the proportion of females drop to 30%. Besides the obvious joy of spending your summer in a warmer area, what other reasons exist for bats to migrate? Well, what else do pregnant woman love? That’s right, food! The warmer climates have been found to better accommodate plant life, including those with nectar. Being nectarivorous, that is, nectar-eating, these bats rely on food sources of high energetic content. Nectar producing plants provide this, which is the second reason for their migration. Lastly, we also know that bats spend more energy to maintain homeostatis, such as body temperature, in colder environments. Warmer environments therefore help to optimize energy use (Wojciechowski et al, 2007). So if you were wondering what female bats and pregnant women have in common, then wonder no more!

 

Read more on this here

Read more on energy use here

Pig farmers: cold hearted or caring?

Admin | 6 April 2020

One may often hear a farmer speaking of that which he raises to ultimately kill, in an endearing way. Most farmers claim that they love their animals, even though they are raising them for slaughter. What is the truth behind this contradiction? Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College posed the same question. This dilemma, better described as ‘the meat paradox’, looks at the phenomenon where people claim to love animals, such as pigs, but are often willing to have them on their dinner plate. It is thought that one tactic used to void the paradox is to reduce the animal’s ability to suffer. You may have heard the saying ‘Fish don’t feel pain, they’re cold blooded’. This might make one feel less guilty when catching fish, and/or consuming other types of meat. In this instance, the researchers wondered what pig farmers thought about their pigs’ ability to suffer. They found that pig farmers did not try to reduce their animals’ capacity to suffer, and in fact noted that they are particularly sensitive to pain and discomfort, especially hunger. Also included in the sample group were animal science students. They too considered a pig’s ability to suffer significant. Although some farmers make their money from raising and killing their pigs, they are still able to care about their livestock, and so they themselves face the meat paradox. The psychological effects this could have on farmers remains unknown for now.

 

Links

Read more on this here

Read more about the meat paradox here

Article photo sourced here