Do Animals Ever Dance When They Hear Music?

Many birds sing, but only humans dance, right? Wrong. Enter Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo who became a media sensation after being filmed "dancing" to 1980s hits such as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "Another One Bites the Dust." Now 23 years old, Snowball has demonstrated 14 unique dance steps, which scientists say he performs not for food or reward, but just as a way of interacting with his human owners. Snowball grabbed his first bit of fame on YouTube in 2008, but he has since appeared in numerous TV shows and ads, including showing off his moves in a Taco Bell commercial featuring the Rupert Holmes hit "Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song)." The cockatoo is a species of parrot, but Snowball is the first animal of any kind -- besides people, of course -- that has been documented dancing to a beat.

A closer look at the cockatoo:

  • Cockatoos have a normal lifespan of about 60 years, but a cockatoo named Cookie was 83 when he died at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago in 2016.
  • The tallest cockatoo is the red-tailed black cockatoo, which can grow to a height of 26 inches (65 cm), while the heaviest is the palm cockatoo, which can weigh 35 ounces (1 kg).
  • There are 21 species of cockatoo, all of which are native to Oceania, which includes Australia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.
More Info: The Independent

Discussion Comments


I don't think an insect is an animal but your story is interesting. I was wondering about horses dancing. Maybe the horse is just following the lead of its owner.


Snowball is the first animal to dance? I doubt it. I remember clearly when I was a kid growing up in Africa, that we had an insect or worm of some type that lives in the dust. We locate them during the dry season because they burrow not too deep into the soil dust while they leave their trail on the dust above.

Their habitat is a small mound of the soil/dust with a funnel shaped depression at the top of the mound serving as their entry point. So when we find this funnel, we the children gather and sing to it a special song, calling on it by name to come out. Then this tiny creature dances to the beat and rhythm of the song and comes out from its hideout dancing to the tune of the song. Well, how about that?


It is quite entertaining to watch these wonderful birds!! Demand environmental sanity NOW -- protect the Amazon, primary forest, birds, and All species!!

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