Do animals have emotions?
Humans have many emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, love, grief, pain, and so on.
Many animals have emotions too, particularly mammals, such as cats, dogs, horses, rodents, dolphins, apes etc.
Although animals cannot talk, they express their emotions in other ways, such as making noises and acting in specific ways – a dog wagging a tail, rubbing against a person, and even touching a human with its paws.
Larger mammals, such as elephants, are also considered to have many emotions. For example, elephants display signs of grief if they lose a member of their herd. They gather around the dead elephant and make mournful noises. They often touch the deceased animal wih their trunks.
Dolphins express happiness, excitement and other emotions, such as during attention-getting behaviours. For example, if they want to attract the attention of a human, they often bob their heads up and down or from side to side.
Apes express a range of emotions, such as delight, anger, frustration, sadness, jealousy, and so on.
Humans have many stories and experiences with animals expressing their emotions – shown in online videos and wildlife documentaries, for example.
Zoologists and animal behavioural scientists are continually learning about the range of emotions that animals display.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM