Hugh Pickens writes: "Animals use trickery of all sorts in the wild—for instance, some birds fake injuries to lure attackers away from their young but the deception is usually aimed at rivals or threats, not potential mates. Now the NY Times reports that on the wild plains of Kenya a male topi antelope will try to keep females from leaving his territory by pretending that a predator might be in the area. When a female appears to be leaving, the male will run in front of her, freeze in place, stare in the direction that she is going and snort loudly. Typically, that snort means that a predatory lion or cheetah was spotted, but in this case the male is faking it. “He doesn’t look at the female. He takes a rigid stance exactly as if there were a predator there,” says Jakob Bro-Jorgensen who studied the behavior of hundreds of topi antelopes in the Masai Mara National Reserve and observed the males acting this way time after time. Tricking a female into sticking around for a few extra minutes gives the buck more chances for sex and denies other males the opportunity. The female antelope generally retreats back into the male’s territory and although it would seem that they might catch on after a while, getting fooled does not have much of a downside, while ignoring what might be a real warning could be deadly. “It’s too dangerous to take the chance,” says Bro-Jorgensen."