06 October 2009

Hunter-Gatherers

Our friendly neighbor Kiko, who is an Alaskan Malamute, loves to come over to our house.  Not for any real companionship reason - it's just that he always finds tidbits of yesterday's (and sometimes last week's) meal under Olivia and Elsie's chairs.

I think Elsie must be getting back to her roots.  DEEP roots, I mean.  She's been nipping off at the strangest times, only to be found underneath the dining room table, thoughtfully chewing secret things.  I'm not even sure what, since I swept only yesterday, but this is her favorite place to find food.  Not in a high chair, or even on my lap.  But on the floor.  Under the table.

I thought it might be that she likes to eat close to the earth.  So I would give her a biscuit or a rice cake and plop her down.  I'd glance away for a second and she'd be gone.  A scattering of rice cake to throw me off the scent, but I'd soon find her in the usual place.  Chomping away.



I recall a study I did in college to determine whether squirrels preferred whole peanuts to "shelled" (i.e. no shell - I'm not sure why they call it that) ones.  My findings led me to conclude that they preferred the whole ones, and that it was because it stimulated an ancient response where one had to struggle for food in order to enjoy it.  Maybe this is the same thing.

So now I'm debating putting her regular food on the floor for her to find.  Or getting a dog.

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Wow. Why does it makes me so happy that Elsie does this?? Maybe I believe it will make her a "survivor"? ;)

AJP said...

Ivan always ate food off the floor too! It's one of the main things that made me think I might not mind having a dog after all, but we're not allowed to have one here. :)

Katie B said...

Oh man, I remember doing that squirrel experiment.

Mara Noelle said...

I believe it was Erma Bombeck who said, 'sure, you can eat off my floor. A few cheerios here, a few raisins there...." :-)

Jackie Hagan said...

Jamal was a hunter gatherer. He'd eat mulch, berries, sticks, etc. from outside. Inside, he'd refuse to eat from a bowl. We'd place food on chair seats and he'd happily walk around and find it and eat it. Another great activity was his "caves" -- he'd make little places to hide himself and food -- like a chipmunk. It all stopped when we found 2 empty syrup bottles and an empty bag of chocolate chips. From then on I'd hunt for his stashes and break up his hiding place!

Lizzy Q said...

Speaking of syrup, the other day we were at Ganni & Papa's house (Nathan's parents), and Olivia was found drinking a bottle of syrup. Between that and butter, I'd say she'd found her favorite foods.