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Stray Dogs in Moscow Master the Subway

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the fetch-the-L-train dept.

Idle 27

Biology professor Andrew Poyarkov thinks that stray dogs in Moscow have learned to use the subway to get around the city. He thinks they are using the rails in the morning to get to the center of town were food is more plentiful before returning to where they live each evening. "They do not just go to the subway station, they actually board the trains. They seem to have learned how long they need to stay on the train to leave at the right station. Sometimes they fall asleep and miss their stop. Then they get off take another train back to the center," he says.

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27 comments

WTH (1)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 4 years ago | (#29056209)

So I must be a dog then.... Except for the finding food in the morning -- I usually just find a stack of paperwork

Traffic lights... (3, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29057323)

Dr Poyarkov said he had also noted the same dogs waiting for a green light to cross the road.

There are no subways where I live, but I've been noticing that for years now.
Also, there are nearly no roadkills in the cities. Unlike along the country roads.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29061951)

I thought dogs were color-blind, at least in regarding red and green.

Are they guessing the meaning of the light by the position?

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29063615)

Are they guessing the meaning of the light by the position?

That is the theory I've heard of.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29071679)

I suspect they aren't looking at the traffic lights, they're watching and/or listening for the starting and stopping of the traffic itself.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29063085)

Also, there are nearly no roadkills in the cities. Unlike along the country roads.

You live inland? No, seriously.

I'm in a coastal town which has been here for in excess of a thousand years, but the streets of the whole town (not just the harbour area) are still littered with the flattened remains of seagulls.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29063711)

Yes, inland. I was referring to dogs anyway.
Not many roadkill pigeons either though, despite their clear laziness.
Sometimes they (pigeons) will slowly walk away from in front of a moving car as if they know that you won't run them over cause you may have to clean your car later.

Back to dogs... When dogs are moving around in a pack - they don't really give a fuck about the traffic.
I've seen packs of about half a dozen to dozen dogs slowly and lazily crossing a major street despite a rather large and rather loud truck coming straight at them.
Apparently, they've figured out that nobody wants to risk damaging their car by running over half a dozen dogs.

And yeah... Truck driver slowed down to let them pass.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29063855)

Apparently, they've figured out that nobody wants to risk damaging their car by running over half a dozen dogs.

I saw photos of a car belonging to a friend's father - as part of his car sales business - which had been wrapped around a cow. "Wrapped around" is a local euphemism, but here it was pretty accurate. 1 tonne of cow versus 3/4 tonne of car makes for a rather messy scene.
(The crash scene was a winding country road and the cow didn't have any lights on, so the police didn't investigate little things like, was the driver speeding (yes), pissed out of his tiny skull (yes), driving the car with the owner's permission (no, the owner being the business, strictly speaking), insured (well ...). Equally, since the farmer lost several hundreds of pounds worth of cow, they didn't give him too much trouble about not keeping his fences secure. Then again, since everyone involved was a FreeMason ...)

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29065325)

Like I said... City dogs. Reasonably well lit city streets.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29079059)

They also had an opportunity to learn. A random cow which is out of the fence for the first time has no idea how to cross a street. Dogs that have been doing it for a long time, with human role models all around, are a different story.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29078363)

Unless it's a Smart, or an original BMC Mini, I can't think of a car that weighs 3/4 of a tonne. Pretty much everything is heavier than that.
A Smart is about 725 kg, a Mini maxed out at around 686 kg, depending on the version.

The new Mini weighs 1132 kg. Probably more than the cow, unless it was one huge mother....
And most other cars go up from there in weight.

Not to say that it wouldn't make a big mess, even if the car was 75% heavier than the cow. After all, cows don't have crumple zones, so they tend to be dead weight when you hit one....

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29079339)

Unless it's a Smart, or an original BMC Mini, I can't think of a car that weighs 3/4 of a tonne. Pretty much everything is heavier than that.

I guessed. It was a 3-door Astra of some variation ; "went like shit off a shovel". And with it being nearly 20 years since I moved out of that flat, I don't have any better description. To me, it was white (with red splotches), 4-wheeled, and totally wrecked, which answered all important questions.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29106677)

Well, there was one more important question that you missed:

Did you get free hamburger? :-)

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29110115)

Did you get free hamburger? :-)

from a year-old wreck of a cow? ... I wouldn't have put it past El Runtissimo.

Some years previously the mountaineering club hit a yearling deer with a Transit van (mini-bus ; 2-ton truck with a passenger body). Venison steaks all round, except for the club's token vegetarian. Waste not, want not.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29081983)

Might be their old instincts showing up when in a pack? (which in itself is their old behavior) After all, they were/"are" invulnerable.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29072127)

Were they observed solo, or was the dog merely following herds of people crossing...

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29072313)

I've seen both.

I'd come to a traffic light where a lone dog is waiting for the green (lower) light to turn on paying no attention at humans, and then again there were cases where a dog would join humans standing and cross when they do - when the green is on.
I've never seen them become impatient and cross during red light - like humans do.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29074723)

I've never seen them become impatient and cross during red light - like humans do.

I've actually seen a dog wait when humans go ahead on red. And not a guide dog either (which you would wait for a signal from their charge who will in turn wait for the audible signal many lights give or some other clue).

I couldn't tell you what signal the animal was waiting for (it may have been reacting to the fact that not all the humans walked before getting the green signal, or it may have been aware of the meaning of the light positions) but it certainly seemed to know when the correct time to cross was and wasn't.

Re:Traffic lights... (1)

junglebeast (1497399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29079689)

There are no roadkills in the city because there are no homeless people in the country. This is because homeless people eat the roadkills.

Not where I live... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29079969)

Some of them ARE crazy - but not THAT crazy.*
Why should they? They can always beg enough money for a meal.

 
*Not that there is something essentially crazy about eating roadkill (if it is fresh and properly prepared) or about being homeless.
A rabbit hit by a car or by a bullet - same thing.

On the other hand...
A stray cat or a dog that lives on garbage, potentially poisoned rodents and can have rabies - NOT a recommended diet.

adaptation (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29057341)

evolution at work either adapt and survive or don't and die out

Re:adaptation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29097717)

This has nothing to do with evolution. It's simply learned behavior.

Some people could use a lesson (1)

jbudofsky (1279064) | more than 4 years ago | (#29058333)

Now if only we could hire these dogs to teach the tourists...

KGB in disguise (1)

maxgoodlife (1618565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29073959)

They must be the pink-slipped or benched KGB in disguise!!

Magpies do similar (1)

warp_kez (711090) | more than 4 years ago | (#29074353)

I have been watching the magpies in my area. Most birds just cross the road, but magpies will turn their heads left and right, then cross the road.

Crows have also been observed using busy intersections for crushing the shells of nuts by dropping them or whatever they want broken up, onto the road where cars run over the food-stuffs.

Bamse (3, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29082023)

Sounds similar to the story of Bamse [wikipedia.org] , the Norwegian navy dog who learned to use the bus network in Scotland to round up the seamen from various pubs when they were due to set sail. There was also a Labrador that learnt to use taxi ranks in London a few decades ago - its owner used to take it on long walks and return by taxi. Eventually he stopped due to ill health, but the dog would carry on with the walks, patiently wait at a taxi rank until one of the drivers noticed and took him home.

My dad had a dog like that (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 4 years ago | (#29095273)

More than 50 years ago, my dad had a dog that would take the bus to the city, and come back home again the same way. In the beginning the drivers just thought the dog was with one of the passengers, but after a while they noticed the same dog over and over again with different passengers, or even boarding alone. Somehow the dog always managed to take the right bus home.
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