Lecture 1 – Beware!

Animals must defend themselves not only against other creatures that want to eat them, but sometimes against creatures of their own kind.

The first line of defence that animals use is warning. To warn off danger, many creatures will adopt alarm signals to scare the other away.

Physical fighting with claws is dangerous and destructive, and it is far better for the animal to avoid bloodshed. So animals have developed other ways of threatening each other. Often, they will exaggerate their own strength or fierceness. Some animals will even pretend to be a different creature altogether.

In many cases, joint action is more effective and animals will join forces to make a united threat.

In addition to protecting themselves from predation, males also have an additional problem within their specieis in maintaining their territory. Using a variety of methods, males will often 'mark' out their territory on a plot of land to signal to other males that it is theirs to keep. Once this has been secured, males may use this territory all year round all perhaps just for breeding.




David Attenborough



All lectures in the series