The animal world is hugely alluring, and some of their day-to-day behaviors come with mind-blowing incidents. However, they can feel many things and express different emotions. We are often amazed by how they feel happiness, sadness, loneliness, and anger. But did you ever think about how do animals show their gratitude?
What is gratitude?
If we start a discussion about animals’ behavior of gratitude, we need to understand “gratitude”. Gratitude is one of the most profound emotions among humankind. It requires intent and reflection. But, in general, the majority would agree that animals feel and show gratitude towards their kind and humans.
Animals and their gratitude behavior
If you pay attention to an adopted dog or a cat, you feel their emotions greater than an average appreciation. Suppose these animals lacked love and care for a prolonged period. The slightest care may leave a lifetime impression. Cats are also pretty different from dogs when they express themselves. The dog tends to hug and kiss the caretaker when they show it.
People who rescued birds have also experienced more than friendly behavior. The most important thing is, this feeling of closeness is mutual. A family saved a squirrel after an incident of an owl attack. Once the squirrel gets better, the family lets her go home. But the squirrel has visited the family for eight years, even after that. So, you must wonder, if this is not gratitude, then what is it?
Researchers have found that long-term memory abilities are essential to feel and express gratitude. Furthermore, non-human primates have visualized this ability.
During a cold storm, two chimps have been kept out in their shelters by mistake. People opened the door for them to get in. But they paused for a few seconds. Chimps waited to grab a chance to throw their arms around their caretakers.
African impalas do not groom each other involuntarily. But if they receive a favor, they tend to return it. They remove ticks from parts of the body that each cannot reach itself. The vampire bat survives only on blood, and the adult vampire bats skip their meals. But other bats regurgitate blood to feed them.
What is symmetry-based reciprocity?
Researchers tend to describe animals’ behavior differently. The “symmetry-based reciprocity; the mutual help are due to correlation rather than a complex feeling of gratitude. They say that animals return the favor as they tend to interact and spend time with each other. According to specialists, friendly behavior is inspired by their reciprocal interactions rather than gratitude. Chimpanzees also have shown similar behavior, but their behavior has been distinguished among different social partners.
Within human society, gratitude is the glue and lubricant. But the question of “how do animals show their gratitude?” remains open. It will require further explorations. Yet, somehow, it is evident that chimpanzees and other non-human primates can develop a basic form of proto-gratitude.