Do Animals Have a Concept of Squeamishness, Weirdness, Creepy Etc.?

Inspired by a mountain lion with another set of teeth growing out of the top of its head.

As you can imagine, a person with a deformity of that type would find their social life considerably constrained, even for ordinary interactions, not to mention dating. But how does an animal look at something like this? Would they get creeped out, or just take it in stride?

Similar question, I suppose, at the human revulsion for things like insects, bodily excretions, or blood/gore. Do things of this sort exist among non-humans?

At first glance, there is a concept of Neoteny, in which the young of a species seem “pleasing” to the eye, and therefore inspire the parents and other adults to be caregiving and protective. Accordingly, one would assume that the adults of any species deem non-neotenous creatures to be less attractive, thus making a judgment call about such things.

Also, species recognize from birth identifying characteristics of predatory species and flee from them (snakes,raptors,etc.), which would seem to qualify as a kind of innate squeamishmess.

I’d argue that animals only have the concepts of squemishness, creepiness, weirdness, horniness, &c. The thing they can’t do is think, “that creature looks weird, but I will still be his friend because he has a great personality”.

Animals certainly do employ strategies like avoiding other members of their species that seem “sick” as part of an evolutionary strategy to avoid contagious diseases themselves. But mountain lions are a quite solitary species themselves – if this one was not physically hindered by his deformity, I don’t think he would necessarily even notice being “shunned” by the other mountain lions.

Wow, that smells gross! I’m gonna roll in it.

At least one dog knows “Creepy” when he sees it.
(Short video absolutely SFW and Kids, click without fear.)

How would we know?

My cats seem to. But how can we tell for certain?

[quote=“TreacherousCretin, post:5, topic:742809”]

At least one dog knows “Creepy” when he sees it.
(Short video absolutely SFW and Kids, click without fear.)


:smiley: Poor guy.

I think leahcim nailed it in post #3 above – at least as far as we can ascertain from a human perspective.

Most all dog owners will have an account of some non-threatening inanimate object or another that gets an undue reaction from their pooch – either revulsion/avoidance or vocalized protests (growling, barking). One of my dogs growing up was petrified of white plastic garbage bags. Another went nuts whenever he saw one of us wear certain hats (while other hats were totally OK).

I’ve seen both dogs and cats have some pretty stark revulsion to odors. Canned tobacco seems to be an almost universal pet repellant to my experience, with unlit cigarettes not being far behind. The family cats similarly regard sliced green vegetables (esp. green peppers and celery) with disgust.

It may have been the creepy factor that affected a small spaniel of mine who reacted badly to non-human primates, especially those wearing human apparel.

One time there was a TV ad featuring an orangutan wearing a Sony Walkman* and she went berserk barking at the screen.
*a primitive portable electronic device for reproducing music.