List of abnormal behaviours in animals

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Abnormal behaviour in animals can be defined in several ways. Statistically, abnormal is when the occurrence, frequency or intensity of a behaviour varies statistically significantly, either more or less, from the normal value. This means that theoretically, almost any behaviour could become abnormal in an individual. Less formally, 'abnormal' includes any activity judged to be outside the normal behaviour pattern for animals of that particular class or age.[1] For example, infanticide may be a normal behaviour and regularly observed in one species, however, in another species it might be normal but becomes 'abnormal' if it reaches a high frequency, or in another species it is rarely observed and any incidence is considered 'abnormal'. This list does not include one-time behaviours performed by individual animals that might be considered abnormal for that individual, unless these are performed repeatedly by other individuals in the species and are recognised as part of the ethogram of that species.

Most abnormal behaviours can be categorised collectively (e.g., eliminative, ingestive, stereotypies), however, many abnormal behaviours fall debatedly into several of these categories and categorisation is therefore not attempted in this list. Some abnormal behaviours may be related to environmental conditions (e.g. captive housing) whereas others may be due to medical conditions. The list does not include behaviours in animals that are genetically modified to express abnormal behaviour (e.g. Reeling mice).

A polar bear performing stereotyped pacing.
An Asiatic elephant performing stereotyped rocking and trunk swinging.

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Behavior Consultation[1]
  • Abnormal Behavior in Animals. (1968). Edited by M.W. Fox. W. B. Saunders Company, Toronto.

External links[edit]

Media related to Animal behavior at Wikimedia Commons