As escape behavior (also: flight response ) is called in the behavioral sciences all movements that serve an animal to by fleeing to bring to an actual or alleged attackers in security if it the flight distance does not comply. The escape behavior is particularly influenced by the release of the hormone adrenaline .
The escape behavior is usually innate in all essential elements, but can be modified through experience. It is probably the behavior towards which the greatest selection pressure is directed in any environment , since a single “failure” can lead to death. This explains, for example, the very different escape behavior of the brown hare and the wild rabbit : typical hare escape behavior is shown when the hook is hit, which means that the brown hare can suddenly change its direction of escape and almost at right angles; a rabbit, on the other hand, specifically takes refuge in its burrow. The reason for these differences in escape behavior is that hares only live above ground, while rabbits live in burrows.
In addition to the brown hares, whose escape behavior became proverbial in the phrase " show the rabbit breading ", domestic horses , for example, are also considered to be typical " escape animals ":
“In its phylogeny, the horse's body has specialized in this behavior. The sensory organs are aimed at an early perception of an enemy and the pronounced efficiency of the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system and respiratory tract enable the horse to flee quickly. This behavior has persisted to a large extent despite the domestication and is the greatest challenge for humans when using the horse. "
Wild ungulates are sometimes observed to seek human settlements in flight from predators.
In tribal history, escape behavior is closely linked on the one hand with exploratory behavior and agonistic behavior , on the other hand with the recognition of warning signals from other animals. For many small mammals living on the ground, for example, it is vital to quickly recognize where a soil enemy is in order to flee in the opposite direction. In the case of an attacker from the air, on the other hand, the direction of escape does not play a particularly important role, since in this case it is important to seek cover as quickly as possible.
Exploratory behavior, on the other hand, aims, among other things, at tapping new sources of food, but carries the risk of becoming a victim of predators particularly easily in unknown terrain. In agonistic behavior, the willingness to switch between aggression , defensive behavior and flight behavior is an elementary prerequisite for success, for example in a duel for sexual partners. Escape behavior can trigger an inhibition of aggression by withdrawing from the territory of a superior opponent , but it can also lead to the fleeing animal falling into the prey pattern through the escape behavior and triggering a pursuit through this key stimulus.
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- Birds adapt their escape behavior to the speed limits. On: tagesspiegel.de from August 21, 2013
- cf. Escape behavior on Spektrum.de , viewed on September 9, 2015
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- Markus Schumacher: Behavioral Biology, p. 25. Accessed April 10, 2018
- Thomas Gehle: On the biology and ecology of the brown hare. Prepared for the German Wildlife Foundation, April 2002, p. 20, full text (PDF)
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- Märkische Allgemeine: Hunting through the village: women want to save deer from wolves