Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Escape Response

  • Emily Patterson-Kane
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_270-1



An escape response is a coordinated response by an animal to end exposure to a noxious stimulus or potentially dangerous experience. Escape responses may be innate or learned and function to improve the survival of the animal.


An escape response functions to terminate a negative experience or exposure to a hazard. It will take a form likely to produce this outcome, which may be fleeing, hiding, or releasing materials. For example, a marine mollusk such as an octopus may release ink (Derby 2007), or an insect such as an aphid may drop from a branch (Gish and Inbar 2006). Many animals will flee rapidly from a threat along an unpredictable trajectory or zigzag path. Predator escape is one of the most commonly studied escape responses; however, it may be shown in response to a range of stimuli such as temperature extremes, a source of pain, or any sudden intense stimulus.

Escape responses with a known and predictable form may...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Welfare DivisionAmerican Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)SchaumburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Patterson-Kane
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Welfare DivisionAmerican Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)SchaumburgUSA