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What do you think of the canine behavior at Scotland's Overtoun Bridge?

  1. TheSingularity profile image60
    TheSingularityposted 5 years ago

    What do you think of the canine behavior at Scotland's Overtoun Bridge?

    I see you have a lot of info on animal behavior. I am researching the tragedies at Scotland's Overtoun Bridge, where hundreds of dogs have been compelled to jump to their death. What do you make of this? Check out my article "Strangest Places in the World Part 1" for a little synopsis.

  2. Larry Fields profile image80
    Larry Fieldsposted 5 years ago

    According to Wikipedia, research suggests that the dogs are jumping in response to mink scent.

    They also favor jumping over the parapet, rather than the exposed side of the bridge. This suggests that there's an element of not looking before they leap.

    Are the dogs committing deliberate suicide? I don't think so.

    However at least one Orca has committed suicide in captivity, by swimming at full speed into the concrete barrier at the end of the large pool area. Escaping a life of unbearable loneliness and boredom by an act of will. Whodathunk that an animal would have that much understanding about life and death?

    1. TheSingularity profile image60
      TheSingularityposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I've also felt there must be a "leaping before looking" element, or some sort of optical illusion in the bridge's construction that confuses the dogs vision. Coupled with the mink scent, that could be it!

  3. Mazzy Bolero profile image80
    Mazzy Boleroposted 5 years ago

    I've read about this, too, and I am not 100% convinced by the mink theory - though it's probably the most feasible suggestion.

    From the details the stories give, I wonder why a) Dogs jump at that particular point on the bridge each time. Minks do nest near rivers and have a strong musky scent - but why always at that point?  b) Dogs seem to jump when going towards the estate, never when going away from it. If the mink smell was strongest at that point for some reason, they would surely jump when crossing the other way as well c) There is no evidence that dogs go crazy looking for minks once they reach the other end of the bridge.

    There is also the fact that only dogs with long noses are said to jump; why should this be? Long noses don't necessarily signify a stronger sense of smell; beagles and bassett hounds have even better smelling power - don't they ever try to jump?

    Squirrels are said to nest under the bridge itself, but would a squirrel scent or sound be strong enough to lead a dog to jump? They say many dogs have died there since the 1960s. What about pre-1960?  Mink arrived in Britain from the 1930's onwards for fur farming and some escaped. If no dogs jumped before the mink came, as your hub suggests, that would obviously support the mink theory.

    The stories tend to be written with a view to entertain and enhance the mystery rather than solve it, so it's hard to find all the facts.  If I took a dog there, I'd keep it on a leash!

    1. TheSingularity profile image60
      TheSingularityposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I feel the same way about the mink theory. My inner skeptic wants to believe it, but certainly there are bridges near nesting mink in other areas as well, so why don't dogs jump off of those bridges?