Cats Dogs Other Reptiles

Animals Vs. Mirrors


When your rambunctious rover or your playful pup spot themselves in a mirror, it will either ignite an explosive reaction or it will be an absolute dud. Some dogs have absolutely no interest in the dog in the mirror and will simply not react at all. Other times, if your dog runs across a mirror suddenly and unexpectedly, then your pooch might be startled into a reaction. It’s usually that familiar bark that you’ll hear. Once they realize that there is no threat, they’ll usually just move on.

Then you have your super playful, overprotective and just downright crazy dogs. These are usually the dogs that see their reflections as another dog. They’ll either see it as a threat and bark like crazy or they could invite it to play. They might jump around and bat or bite at the mirror to get the other dogs attention. Which they are already have and it excites them further. Most dogs will get bored with this once they figure out that they can’t actually interact with this animal. Puppies tend to take a little longer to reach this conclusion.

Once your dog has experienced this, ‘dog in the mirror’ altercation, they generally won’t exhibit this same response again. So if your dog reacts this way, then you should definately watch and laugh because it may not happen again. Although, there are dogs that will forever bark at mirrors.


It’s much the same with cats and kittens. Their first time seeing a mirror is always the most memorable. If your feline friend is older and has somehow managed to avoid mirrors up until this point, then the reaction will likely be more hostile and territorial. You’ll witness more up raised back fur, hisses, claws and strange noises coming from your kitty.

Kittens, on the other hand, just want to play with their new furry friend that they can’t seem to reach. They might try to do this on several different occasions before they lose interest in trying to actively touch their friend in the mirror. Some never do lose this playful interest.

Birds in cages have been known to bond with their mirror image, believing it to be their mate. Wild birds are more aggressive and territorial during mating season. This is when they have been seen attacking mirrors and windows. They see this new bird as a rival and will try to drive it away by pecking, clawing and beating their wings at it.

Horses that are housed in stables show greater physical and emotional health if they are housed with a mirror in their stall. They see this other horse and it makes them feel as if there is another horse in there with them and not feeling alone improves their mood. Everything is better with a friend.

Lizards appear to be split on their opinions when it comes to mirrors. They might sit and stare at it admiringly or gently touch it like an old friend. Others will become increasingly aggressive and attack the mirror violently.

It seems that all animals respond a little differently when seeing their reflection for the first time. It’s important to remember, if you try this with your pet, to closely gauge your pets reaction. If your pet becomes excessively aggressive toward the mirror, use your discretion and remove the mirror when needed. Some pets are easily stressed and prolonging this stressful event could be harmful to their health. There is also a chance that the mirror may break and injure your animal. While it is most likely amusing for us, it might be just a horribly stressful and traumatising experience for them. Know your pet.


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Julie Antonson

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