“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”
There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation. Migratory animals like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely, and use magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation by the sun.
Peter Borchelt, a New York animal behaviorist, wondered if Holly followed the Florida coast by sight or sound, tracking Interstate 95 and deciding to “keep that to the right and keep the ocean to the left.”
But, he said, “nobody’s going to do an experiment and take a bunch of cats in different directions and see which ones get home.”
The closest, said Roger Tabor, a British cat biologist, may have been a 1954 study in Germany in which cats placed in a covered circular maze with exits every 15 degrees most often exited in the direction of their homes, but more reliably if their homes were less than five kilometers away.
The parasitic fly lays eggs in a beeâ€™s abdomen. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hivesâ€”often at nightâ€”on a solo mission to nowhere. These bees often fly toward light and wind up unable to control their own bodies. After a bee dies, as many as 13 fly larvae crawl out from the beeâ€™s neck. The beesâ€™ behavior seems similar to that of ants that are parasitizedâ€”and then decapitated from withinâ€”by other fly larvae from the Apocephalus genus.
Zombie bees via ebertchicago.
The Atlantic has an article about a parasite found in cat poop that might be doing something along the same lines to humans, and then a good rundown of other similar parasites.
Whatâ€™s more, many experts think T. gondii may be far from the only microscopic puppeteer capable of pulling our strings. â€œMy guess is that there are scads more examples of this going on in mammals, with parasites weâ€™ve never even heard of,â€ says Sapolsky.