It's been a slow week for photos, due to the smoke making everyone tired, but we did get some interesting questions this week. That's great because it gets me thinking more about my anteaters than I might about somethings, like play. So I thought I would share the answers with you.
Well first question was how introducing Pua to her new mate will work. The current estimate is about 2-3 weeks on that, so fingers crossed.
I'll introduce them slowly. They do have the potential to harm each other. When I got Stewie he was caged at first when Pua was out and then where let out together but I kept them apart and he was caged while I slept. He had never seen another anteater besides his mom so was scared of Pua but didn't mind the other animals. Pua wanted to play with him right away but he would
growl and hiss at her then she'd growl and hiss back because he was disrespecting her. They got to where each would play with me while they were near each other. One wrestling each hand then one day they started playing with each other. It only took them about a week to get to playing with each other. Pua was willing sooner so I think it will mostly depend on the male.
The second question came from a biology professor in Alaska who's specialty is play behaviors in animals. He and his students have been watching Pua and Stewie's play videos. So the question was what they do to signal play any behaviors or vocalizations. For example most dogs will play bow to initiate play, which is a vary obvious cue.
Tamanduas being the unique critters they are signal play instead by a lack of signal.
The main indicator is a lack of sound. When Pua and Stewie first met Stewie was scared of Pua. She tried to be friendly but he would hiss and growl at her so then she would hiss and growl back. They got used to each other over the course of a week. They could play with me near each other one wrestling each hand.
One time Pua leaped onto Stewie. At the time I was shocked she was the aggressor and pulled her off of him. It occurred to me after that she hadn't hissed and had made a silent attack, so was playing, however Stewie, like me, had assumed it was a real attack and hissed at that time. Next time we were all playing together and she pounced on him I let her go and he too realized she was playing and they were fine from then on.
They are very quiet when they play. There is some huffing and puffing and Pua would pinch to hard and make Stewie whine, though that never stopped him playing with her.
If one wants to play and the other doesn't they are simply ignored. Stewie would instigate play by pouncing on Pua often knocking her over. She would either play or get back up and ignore him. She would often want to play when Stewie was sleeping and he'd just curl up tighter in a ball and ignore her. Though sometimes he would give a little half hearted play and then go back to ignoring her.
I get the same reactions when I instigate play. She will play back, ignore me completely or paw at me a couple times then go on with her business. When she wants to play with me she just starts by grabbing or pouncing on me. Though she has learned to ask me too. She will climb up onto a shelf and then look at me, often with claw ready for battle, till I come.
On a rare occasion Pua has offered to play with the cat when she had been playing with me and was excited. She did this by standing up showing her claws but again was silent. Kat just ignored her. When she first met Kat she stood and hissed with claws ready. It took her quite awhile to get over her natural fear of cats.
We should be getting a new mate for Pua in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing how they get to know each other this time around. They aren't left alone together till I am sure they are getting along smoothly.
And a video of Pua and Stewie playing, with music to get rid of the loud TV
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