Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. While many may think this common question is open to debate — or even a little silly — it’s actually neither. In psychology circles, the mirror test is considered an important evaluation of self-awareness in animals and a sign of the normal development of cognitive skills in children.
Humans are typically 18 months old before they are able to recognize themselves in the mirror. Among animals, currently only higher primates, dolphins, orcas, elephants and, surprisingly, European magpies are known to recognize that what they see in a mirror is a reflection of themselves. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that while pigs show no sign of recognizing their own reflections, they are able to use other information seen in the mirror, such as identifying the location of food placed behind them.
That doesn’t necessarily mean other animals aren’t intelligent enough to know when they run across other signs of themselves. The animals who “pass” the mirror test rely on vision as their primary sense. When a young cat or dog first sees his image in the mirror, he often reacts as if a strange animal suddenly appeared. But when the image doesn’t pass the “sniff test,” the pet generally decides to ignore it for good. Animals do recognize their own urine smell, however, as anyone who has ever walked a male dog knows. Checking “pee-mail” and hitting “reply all” with your own scented urine is a priority in any male dog’s to-do list.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Marine Corporal Seth Hill got the chance
to see Bbazy, a retiring bomb-sniffing dog
who served with him for three…
Dog bathroom issues can be frustrating
(and gross) to deal with. Thankfully, we've
got solutions to your…
We’ve all experienced it: the singularly
soul-crushing moment when someone
says they don’t like dogs.
First comes denial, then anger. The five
stages of flea-nial are tough to deal with,
but Dr. Andy Roark will get you…
An expert explains which protein sources are best for pets and how much of it cats and dogs need to consume.
The glamorous Siberian is an agile feline who wears a thick double coat with a neck ruff — perfect for keeping warm.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.