Adult meerkats teach their young to hunt scorpions safely by first presenting them with dead scorpions and then soon after with live scorpions that the adult had already removed their deadly stingers from
“Teachers look away now: animal behavioural studies are blurring the boundaries between humans and animals, and challenging the idea that teaching is built on intelligence.
“”People used to think of teaching as a clever behaviour,”” says Alex Thornton of the University of Cambridge. “”In other words, you couldn’t teach unless you were aware of the ignorance of your pupil.””
Nevertheless, it now seems that meerkats – which although cute are not thought to have any great levels of intelligence – routinely teach pups how to hunt.
Although meerkats live in large colonies, they tend to be solitary hunters. That means meerkat pups can’t learn how to hunt by simply joining the adult foraging expeditions, says Thornton. Neither is it likely that they will serendipitously learn how to deal with scorpions and other tasty morsels.”