Yes, Virginia, There Is a Vampire Bat Santa

Plenty of nonhuman species give each other gifts. Here's a holiday selection


A spate of animal behavior studies in the past few years underscores that we share a lot with our fellow creatures. We share their DNA, their intelligence and, as some findings have shown, their generosity. Species ranging from tiny insects to large primates engage in gift-giving behavior—for courtship, to ensure survival and sometimes for reasons we do not fully understand. In their 2009 book Wild Justice, Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce point out that "recent research is demonstrating that animals not only act altruistically, but also have the capacity for empathy, forgiveness, trust, reciprocity, and much more as well." As a hat tip to the holidays, we present a few of the other species that share in our spirit of giving.

» View the slide show of gift-giving animals

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