Message Number: YG821 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Brett Middleton
Date: 2001-03-06 15:23:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Another Behavior Question (Bullying)

RRC <rrc961@m...> wrote:
> Regarding Fara Shimbo, well, I hate to disagree but I must.
> Third, dominance behaviors are not best defined by fighting as much
> as they are by submission. When you put down a bowl of food, who eats
> first? Who waits for the food, even waiting until the others leave?
> Those are the types of behaviors which better signal dominance
> hierarchies than simple fighting.

I just reviewed the pertinent chapter of her behavior book, and this
is, in fact, her point. Though she admitted to not having enough data
to draw solid conclusions, she couldn't *find* any patterns of
submissive or deferential behavior, even when she did some experiments
such as withdrawing food for 24 hours and then providing food in a
container that could only be accessed by one ferret at a time. She
also tried withholding water and then providing a single water bottle.
Thus, her take was that fuzzy A does not attack fuzzy B because A wants
B to be more deferential, but because A wants B to *not exist*.

Mind you, I'm not swallowing this theory whole, but she *does* seem to
have some of her ducks lined up, unlike many ferret owners who casually
talk about dominance relationships among their fuzzies without really
knowing anything about the subject. Of course, I have to give a great
deal of weight to opposing views expressed by posters such as yourself
and Sukie, especially since I have no observations of my own to
contribute. (Someday maybe I'll be out of rental housing. If you hear
a mysterious booming noise, that'll be the fuzzy population exploding
in my vicinity.)

As for the "cold fusion" effect: I don't know Ms. Shimbo, nor do I
know anything about her background and qualifications other than the
hints she's dropped in her books, so I have no basis for judging in her
case. However, I'm certainly familiar with the phenomenon, on both a
personal and professional level. B-)


*SLMW 1.0* My wisdom is legendary. Um, or is that "mythical"? ...