3.2 Predator/Prey Distinction
Given that fursonas are generally thought of as “idealized” versions of the self,[tagcite tags=3.12] and given that some traits associated with predators (e.g., assertiveness, strength) may be desirable, we were interested in testing whether furries were more likely to choose predator species over prey species for their fursonas. Rather than classifying the species ourselves, we asked participants to indicate whether they considered their fursona species to be a predator, prey, both, or neither. The results are presented in the table below.[tagcite tags=S11]
Classification of Fursona Species as Predator or Prey
Predator species were nearly five times more common than prey species were among fursonas. The distinction was even more pronounced among therians and otherkin (see Section 7
for more information about therians). We then tested whether people with predator or prey species differed in personality: furries whose fursonas were predator species were significantly more extroverted than those whose fursonas were prey species. This suggests that there may be an association between fursona species and personality.[tagcite tags=3.10]
In another study,[tagcite tags=ff16] we tested a hypothesis submitted to us by a furry: because predator species attack prey species in real life, and because there are some personality differences between people with prey and predator fursonas, are furries with predator fursonas more likely to bully or attack furries with prey species? To test this, we asked participants in one study whether they considered their fursona to be a predator, prey, both, or neither. We then compared the responses of the “predator only” participants to the “prey” only participants, specifically with regard to questions that had to do with being bullied and bullying others in the fandom. Analyses found that there are no significant differences in the extent to which predator and prey furries are harassed or harass others because of their fursona species.[tagcite tags=10.3] They did not differ in their expectations for how predators or prey are expected to act, nor was either group more likely to believe that people should be treated differently because of their fursona species. The only notable difference in attitudes between predator and prey species was that predators were more likely than prey to say that if a person doesn’t like how they’re treated because of their species, they should choose a different species. It should be noted, however, that even though predators agreed with this statement more than prey, both groups still overwhelmingly disagreed with this statement.