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This page highlights stories and information that shows that animals are capable of anger.

This page is part of a section concerning animal sentience which relates true stories, information and accounts of animal sentience.
For an introduction: Animal Sentience Stories

Emotion Love Altruism Empathy Pleasure Intelligence and ingenuity
Friendship Jealousy Grief Language


 Sixth Sense

Animals Have a Sense of beauty

Animal Morality Mental Health  

Click the links above to go to read stories and information that highlight these characteristics and abilities in animals.


Albeit not a positive emotion, and despite emphasis on its avoidance it is sometimes a justified one which we all exhibit from time to time. Anger shows that we are sentient beings reacting to the often difficult lives that we all lead, the hurts and frustrations. It is part of the many facets that make us who we are, but is anger an emotion peculiar to ourselves or is it an emotion that we share with other animals.

On a physical level it is obvious that animals have the capacity for anger as we share the same neuro-chemicals, such as serotonin and testosterone, and brain structures, such as the hypothalamus that are important in the expression and feeling of anger, aggression and revenge.*1

It is notorious that Bees express certain emotions, as of anger, by the tone of their humming; and according to H. Muller (p. 80), the males of some species make a peculiar singing noise whilst pursuing the females.

Charles Darwin The Descent of Man

As you may have read in other sections Darwin considered that animals have emotions, the following are further examples from his book the Descent of Man.

Discussing the new art of barking, according to Darwin Dogs did not bark prior to domestication and selective breeding, he describes the various types of bark for different situations and to express different emotions including anger:

Although barking is a new art, no doubt the wild parent-species of the dog expressed their feelings by cries of various kinds. With the domesticated dog we have the bark of eagerness, as in the chase; that of anger, as well as growling; the yelp or howl of despair, as when shut up; the baying at night; the bark of joy, as when starting on a walk with his master; and the very distinct one of demand or supplication, as when wishing for a door or window to be opened. According to Houzeau, who paid particular attention to the subject, the domestic fowl utters at least a dozen significant sounds.

Darwin mentions also the possible display of anger by the males of migratory locusts of Russia and Chiasognathus (a genus of stag beetle  Argentina and Chile).

With respect to the migratory locusts of Russia, Korte has given an interesting case of selection by the female of a male. The males of this species (Pachytylus migratorius) whilst coupled with the female stridulate from anger or jealousy, if approached by other males.

Beetles stridulate under various emotions, in the same manner as birds use their voices for many purposes besides singing to their mates. The great Chiasognathus stridulates in anger or defiance; many species do the same from distress or fear, if held so that they cannot escape;

Darwin also considered that voices of birds and monkeys reflected their emotional state:

With birds the voice serves to express various emotions, such as distress, fear, anger, triumph, or mere happiness.

Even monkeys express strong feelings in different tones— anger and impatience by low,—fear and pain by high notes.

Some dogs and horses are ill-tempered, and easily turn sulky; others are good-tempered; and these qualities are certainly inherited. Every one knows how liable animals are to furious rage, and how plainly they shew it. Many, and probably true, anecdotes have been published on the long-delayed and artful revenge of various animals. The accurate Rengger, and Brehm state that the American and African monkeys which they kept tame, certainly revenged themselves. Sir Andrew Smith, a zoologist whose scrupulous accuracy was known to many persons, told me the following story of which he was himself an eye- witness; at the Cape of Good Hope an officer had often plagued a certain baboon, and the animal, seeing him approaching one Sunday for parade, poured water into a hole and hastily made some thick mud, which he skilfully dashed over the officer as he passed by, to the amusement of many bystanders. For long afterwards the baboon rejoiced and triumphed whenever he saw his victim.
The descent of man

Angry Crows

New research reveals that crows get angry and have excellent memories

Upset a crow and he or she will get angry and will remember your face for five years or more and take action against you with the aid of other crows scolding and forming mobs of vengeful birds.

In addition to anger it is interesting to note that crows learn not only by direct experience but also through social means as the information relating to perceived miscreants spreads throughout entire crow communities.

Since the mob members also then indirectly learn about the threatening person, the findings demonstrate how just a single crow's bad experience with a particular human can spread information about this individual throughout entire crow communities.

Given that crows have impressive memories, people who ruffle the feathers of these birds could experience years of retribution.

Bothered crows may at first "give harsh calls, which we call 'scolds' that attract other crows who are nearby to join in the mob," according to study co-author John Marzluff. "The mob of two to 15 birds hounds us, sometimes diving from the sky to within a few meters or less -- This pursuit lasts about 100 meters (328 feet) as we walk away."

Read more from the Discovery News Website:

Angry Birds: Crows Never Forget Your Face
Mess with a crow, and it will remember your face for over five years, research shows. By Jennifer Viegas

Although the next segment is not a pleasant story with its tragic end of a loss of life, it does demonstrate that animals can get angry and a mountain goat that we may normally envision as non dangerous may become a killer albeit probably without intention.

An hiker in the Olympic National Park was gored to death by a mountain goat. While the party of three were taking a break to rest they were joined by an agitated mountain goat who pawed the ground and bleated menacingly before following the group as they continued their trek. While his companions went ahead the experienced hiker used to handling wild goats stayed behind while the goat walk by him until suddenly the animal launched an attack lowering his horns he gorged the hiker in the thigh, severing an artery he bleed to death within minutes.

Read the full story:
Man Gored by Angry Mountain Goat Is the Only Animal-Related Fatality in Olympic National Park History. Time for a Lawsuit!

Angry sheep

More on Anger from around the internet

Animals become angry in the same way humans do. We share common neuro-chemicals, such as serotonin and testosterone, and brain structures, such as the hypothalamus that are important in the expression and feeling of anger, aggression and revenge.
It's easy to identify anger and aggression, too. Even octopuses get angry. Their pearly white skin turns red when they are agitated. Birds can display tremendous anger.
Researcher Irene Pepperberg studied Alex, a clever grey parrot, for decades, and noted that when something happened that Alex didn't like, he got very angry.
If he was fed a pellet of bird food rather than a cashew, which he preferred, he would narrow his eyes and puff up his feathers indicating his displeasure.

Read more:

Rabbits get angry

Rabbits live in a social group like chimps or humans and have a highly developed social order. They use sounds, scents and body language to communicate. They are extremely sensitive, extremely loving, but they also get angry like no other 'pet'. Dogs will lay a pile on your bed, but rabbits will get angry and express anger right at you. They will nip, and if they really don't trust you or have been badly mistreated they will bite. If their nails are too long you can get badly scratched. If your bunny is angry, hold something up to his teeth that he can express his anger on such as a piece of newspaper, a towell or something. Let him vent for awhile. Wear gloves and sleeves if necessary and avoid the head.

Rabbits most certainly get angry. Our adopted rabbit does not like having to come indoors at night during he winter and can get quiet agitated lashing out with her paws though she never bites. She does sometimes growl.

Angry cats

Cats get angry for various reasons says Sophi s a Yahoo contributor, such an unclean litter tray, after two or three days of an unchanged litter tray your cat may follow you around meowing angrily. The same reaction may ensure if you do not change his her water daily, cats do not like stale three days old water and also do not like an empty feeding bowl.

Read More

Why Do Cats Get Angry?
Sophie S

This page  will be updated and added to when further information and stories are found. If you have a story to tell about animals and anger please consider including it here by e-mailing Christine Contact

* I have endeavoured to provide accurate references for stories found on the internet however some of the stories are so frequently repeated that the original source is not easily identifiable. If you see any story here that is yours for which you have not been credited for or have not given permission for its inclusion please Contact me.



Banner photograph Happy July 4 from Casey Goat



Credit Photo: (c) 2008 by Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace. Picture taken at Farm Sanctuary.

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Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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