Yup! Over everything from how to parent to who should eat first.

Politics. Religion. For some reason all sorts of divisive topics of conversation get brought up at holiday dinners across the country causing all sorts of rifts. So are humans the only ones that bicker with their families? Nope! Even animals fight!


White-tailed deer bucks © Jim Cumming | CWF PHOTO CLUB

It’s no secret that dating in the deer world can get…well..rather rowdy. In fact, rutting season can be downright deadly. However, many deer will avoid violence by walking the runway. That’s right! Male deer stags will strut alongside each other to size each other up. Sometimes that little bit extra swagger can settle the score with a weaker deer calling “uncle” to the stronger of the two.

Prairie Dogs

Young Prairie Dogs © Corliss Lilly | CWF PHOTO CLUB

Have you ever seen a picture of Prairie Dogs smooching? Cute, right? Not quite! Turns out, they’re not locking lips romantically. These small mammals are actually pressing their mouths together to bare their teeth. Odd….but it’s all in the name of recognition. If a male Prairie Dog spots an intruder, he’ll kick into protective mode, ready to defend his burrow, females and young.

Red Squirrels

Red Squirrels © Julie DeRoche | CWF PHOTO CLUB

When it comes to defending their turf, Red Squirrels are small but mighty. Yet a Yukon study found that even these temperamental small mammals have a survival secret. Becoming best friends with their neighbours. Scientists (and it seems Red Squirrels) have found that when they are friendly with their neighbours they have a much greater chance of survival! Red Squirrels might be keeping the whole squad safe by calling out when a predator is nearby or sharing their snacks.

Song Sparrows

A variety of shrubs is a great way to help our feathered friends.
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) feeding on red sumac fruit. @Jean Landry | Getty

If you always thought Song Sparrows were singing love songs, you’d be wrong. Males also sing to claim their territory. These little crooners have between eight to 10 songs up their sleeves…err…feathers to keep an intruder in line. Researchers at the University of Washington found they’ve got a pattern when it comes to defending their territory. Step one: Match the intruder’s song to let them know you’ve got their number. Step two: Bust a move and wave those wings. That’ll usually do the trick and the intruder will fly away but if they’re being particularly stubborn and won’t hit the road, guess what? It’s time to attack!

Mute Swans

Researchers at the University of Exeter discovered that Mute Swans might not be the graceful bird we all thought them to be. They’re hardcore foodies. In fact, they’re willing to burn the midnight oil and sacrifice sleep to secure the ultimate feeding turf.

Zebra Finches

Canadian critters aren’t the only wildlife that lean towards the dramatic side. Down under in Australia and Indonesia, Zebra Finches air all their dirty laundry. While they might be joined at the hip in lifelong partnerships, they also bicker like old married couples. While the female sits on the eggs and the male goes out to forage, she’s keeping track of time. If he shows up late, there is hell to pay. Researchers prevented male Zebra Finches from flying home to the nest and when they did come home late, they began to squabble. They didn’t bicker at a higher volume, but they did increase the frequency and urgency of their squawks.

Listen to this story (and more) in the CWF podcast, “Your Connection to Wildlife” >