The Surprising Reasons Your Dog Curls Up in a Ball Before Going to Sleep

iStock/LTuray
iStock/LTuray

Besides being great companions and painfully cute, dogs can be a little quirky. Between their funny expressions and odd behaviors, each of our furry friends has eccentricities that make us love them even more. But some of the adorably weird things they do are actually an innate part of being a canine, which might come as a surprise to some pet parents.

Take, for example, when dogs curl up in a ball before falling asleep. To the average pet owner, this probably just seems like a way to get comfortable before dozing off. And while that could be part of it, Dr. Margaret Gruen—an assistant professor of Behavioral Medicine at NC State University's College of Veterinary Medicine—said that the behavior is also firmly rooted in evolution.

"When dogs sleep in the wild, especially where it’s cold, they’ll dig a nest and curl up into it," Gruen told Vetstreet. This gives them warmth—tucking into a ball conserves body heat. It also protects their most vulnerable organs in the abdomen from would-be predators."

Yes, she's saying your dog gets into this position so no one comes for their organs. It sounds silly for your beloved pooch, but it's a reasonable tactic for their wild ancestors.

The next reason makes more sense, and it's that your dog is making his or her own nest when they curl up in an attempt to stay safe in a possibly foreign area. Even if your dog is at home, they still often revert back to basic instincts when getting ready for sleep, as it's a vulnerable state. Which makes sense. And it turns out that there's a whole host of reasonable explanations for your dog's other odd behaviors; here are just a few of them.

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Massive Swarms of Migrating Dragonflies Are So Large They’re Popping Up on Weather Radar

emprised/iStock via Getty Images
emprised/iStock via Getty Images

What do Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio all have in common? Epic swarms of dragonflies, among other things.

WSLS-TV reports that this week, weather radar registered what might first appear to be late summer rain showers. Instead, the green blotches turned out to be swarms of dragonflies—possibly green darners, a type of dragonfly that migrates south during the fall.

Norman Johnson, a professor of entomology at The Ohio State University, told CNN that although these swarms happen occasionally, they’re definitely not a regular occurrence. He thinks the dragonflies, which usually prefer to travel alone, may form packs based on certain weather conditions. If that sounds vague, it’s because it is: Johnson said that entomologists haven’t worked out all the details when it comes to dragonfly migration. They do know that the airborne insects cover an average of eight miles per day, while some overachievers can fly as far as 86.

Based on the radar footage shared by the National Weather Service’s Cleveland Office, the dragonfly clouds seem almost menacing. But, while swarms of any insect species aren’t exactly delightful, these creatures are both harmless and surprisingly beautiful, at least up close. Anna Barnett, a resident of Jeromesville, Ohio, even told CNN that witnessing the natural phenomenon was “amazing!”

Amazing as it may be to see, it’s hard to hear news about unpredictable animal behavior without wondering if it’s related in some way to Earth’s rising temperatures. After all, climate change has already affected wasps in Alabama, polar bears in Russia, and no doubt countless other animal species around the world.

[h/t WSLW-TV]

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