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The other side of animals: What happens when animals see their reflections in a mirror?

Most animals looking at a mirror for the first time often respond socially – they act as if their reflection is another animal, but after a while, this social response tends to subside. Some animals lose interest at this point, but others will go on to explore the mirror and investigate how they can make the reflection move using their own body.


According to experts, humans are about eighteen (18) months old before they are able to recognize themselves in mirror. Currently among the animals, some mirror tests has shown that, only bottlenose dolphins, elephants, higher primates, magpies and orcas are able to recognize; that the image they see in a mirror is a reflection of themselves. 

In the case of cat, the first time it catches a glimpse of itself in a mirror; they usually start behaving strange and ‘stupid’. They’ll puff themselves up really big, walk on their tiptoes, and maybe even try to attack their own reflection in the mirror


Because cats tend to be territorial; seeing their reflections in the mirror, and thinking they are seeing another cat, may react by puffing themselves up and trying to defend their territory from the new intruder. . Little cats or dogs on seeing themselves for the first time in a mirror, often reacts as if a strange animal has suddenly appeared.

Some animals also…example dogs; because they do not have the ability to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, as humans and some animals do; in their first encounter, or seeing themselves in the mirror for the first time, may react as if the image is another dog. On seeing this, some dogs display less jovial postures toward the dog-image staring back, such as body stiffness, unwavering staring, or raised hackles. Some dog may just simply ignore the reflection.

A monkey seeing its image in mirror, also behaves as if it has seen a stranger in the mirror. The female monkey showed more eye contact, friendly behavior and fewer signs of anxiety in front of the mirror than they did when exposed to unfamiliar partners.


Meanwhile, trained rhesus monkeys can learn to recognize themselves in a mirror; they can use mirrors to check out their genitals and comb their hair.

There are many animals; on realizing that their body movements are linked to the movements in the mirror, start to using the mirror as a tool to examine themselves.


What do you know about animal’s reactions in front of a mirror?


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