Sep 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm #1332517
Several times I've been sitting quietly watching animals and noticed that their behavior changed when my gaze fell on them. Bear with me here. Once I was a in a very large meadow and observed a deer walking along more than a hundred yards away. I was lying down. When my eyes fell on it, it would stop or else move behind a rock or tree. When I looked elsewhere, it would resume walking. This happened several times. Again the deer was way too far away to see my eyes. In fact I was wearing sunglasses to boot. Another time I was watching colony of marmots and pikas. I was laying in the grass for several hours. They were used to me being there. Again, when I looked in the direction of activity, both species would freeze or hide. When I shifted my gaze elsewhere, they would all go on their merry way. In this instance I was closer than with the deer above, but still it's hard to imagine that they could see my eyes shift. Again, I was wearing sunglasses. Many times I've seen deer move between me and an obstacle when they were in the vicinity, so they clearly understand field of vision. It's the long distance bit that has me curious.Sep 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm #2226365KatttBPL Member
If the animals are so far away that they cannot see you make a move when you look at them, then I have no idea… Otherwise, I know that they react to movement, even if slight. Also, looking straight at an animal particularly us predators with eyes facing forward, is going to cause alarm. I have been able to get much closer to animals by keeping my gaze to the side and never straight toward them. Same with my movement; a straight line is a threat, but a casual zig zag is less likely to concern prey. Besides that, I think we don't know all that much about the ways that animals ( us included ) perceive the world around them.Sep 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm #2226373Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
bear with me????Sep 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm #2226376
It just came out that way.Oct 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm #2231359
"Also, looking straight at an animal particularly us predators with eyes facing forward, is going to cause alarm. I have been able to get much closer to animals by keeping my gaze to the side and never straight toward them." Yes we're all advised to look to the side when confronted with a bear, not directly at it. I've had at least one instance where this seemed to work–along with gentle vocalizations and a non-threatening attitude. So it's the eyes, not the rest of our bodies, that an animal focuses on? I mean, our gaze: seeing the animal or looking away and 'not seeing' the animal, even though our bodies haven't moved. Maybe our gaze says: "I'm aware of you and possibly a threat"; whereas an averted gaze says "see, I'm not paying attention to you, I'm interested in something else, not a threat."Oct 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm #2231371Buck NelsonBPL Member
Animals ARE often very aware that we are looking at them. Along with eyes, there are other body language clues as well that let them know that we are interested in them and hence a possible threat. I had a big pack of wolves heading my way in the lodgepole once. One by one they became aware of my presence. I don't think most of them even looked me in the eye, but picked up on the body language of the other wolves, noted me in their peripheral vision and trotted past. I could just read that they all knew I was there, and I think they all knew that I had seen them.Oct 10, 2015 at 10:12 pm #2231380Ralph BurgessBPL Member
I'm camping in Glacier NP…. bear with me. Has that blind buck sensed my presence? No idea. It stopped moving, does it have ESP? Still no idea.Oct 10, 2015 at 11:44 pm #2231394David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
My dog knows I'm going to go for a walk before I do.Oct 11, 2015 at 8:17 am #2231416Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
It was t esp. You were staring at them with giant, unblinking eyes… A threat. They dont know sunglasses arent eyesOct 11, 2015 at 10:43 am #2231432
My body didn't change position. My head may have slightly turned, but just enough to avert my gaze. So my sunglasses are kosher to the pikas and marmots when I'm looking slighty away to the left or right. Again, when confronted by a bear, we're told to avert our gaze: not look the animal in the eyes. But our bodies stay in place; really, we're still facing forward,eyes front, just our gaze is averted. It' pretty subtle. But it means something to the bear. I was joking about esp. I just wanted to point out something obvious: animals are very sensitive to being looked at, to the point of almost having a proverbial sixth sense. It seems extraordinary to me; and so, esp in lieu of another word.
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