10 Animals to Copy Off This School Year

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

The time is approaching for students to heave a collective groan and start hitting the books once again. And while we don’t condone copycatting, these brainy animals would be great cats to copy off if you find yourself seated next to one this semester:

  • Art: Octopuses understand the power of artistic expression. They can change the color patterns on their skin to blend in with their surroundings, and when threatened, they shoot ink to blur the potential predator’s view and make an escape. Michelangelo, eat your heart out.


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  • Algebra: In math classes, buddy up with a dolphin. These math-minded mammals rely on complex nonlinear mathematics to help them navigate the ocean and hunt for food via sonar.


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  • Gym: Give a dog a ball, rope, or even just some open space and watch what happens. Canines can always show us how to score an A+ in fun.

  • English: Baboons can tell whether a group of letters is a real word or just gobbledygook, so they might even tell you where your Grapes of Wrath paper needs some help.


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  • Sociology: Empathetic rats will free their restrained cagemates, even if it means they will then have to share a mound of chocolate. So you know they’ll have no problem sharing their notes on helpful behavior in social groups.

  • Choir: If you forget the words, stand next to a nightingale. They can learn 60 different songs after hearing them just a few times. (And their melodic singing might mask any off-key notes from their human classmates.)


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  • Geography: Loggerhead turtles are geography whizzes who navigate by reading the Earth’s magnetic field.


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  • Psychology: Since elephants flirt with each other and argue about directions, they’re likely always up for a rousing Mars vs. Venus debate.


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  • Political Science: No matter which side of the aisle your political beliefs fall on, try to buzz on over next to a diplomatic bee in poly sci. When decisions affect the whole hive, bees put it to a vote.


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  • Home Economics: Perhaps they’re an exclusive “in crowd,” but prairie dogs describe humans based on physical characteristics, including clothing. Pair up with one in the sewing room, and hopefully you’ll never hear, “Oh, here comes the girl who always wears that god-awful purple tracksuit.”


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And the most important lesson that we can learn from animals? Having compassion for them.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind