(CNN)Exposed to a sick American bullfrog tadpole, a healthy tadpole will do its best to stay away. Garden ants and even lobsters also know to stay away when one of their own is sick.
Think social distancing is hard? For these animals, it's second nature
These animals are better at social distancing than we are.
For many humans, social distancing feels like the most unnatural thing in the world, but in other parts of the natural world, it's the norm.
When an infected animal gets too close, other animals have learned to stay away.
To see if animals behaved differently around infected animals in order to protect themselves from getting sick, researchers have been conducting studies over the past couple decades.
Joseph Kiesecker, lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy's conservation lands team, worked on one of the earlier studies and found that American bullfrog tadpoles were excellent at social distancing.
"It was clear they were using behavior when given the choice to be near an infected individual, they avoided that infected individual," he said.
Kiesecker placed a tadpole infected with a pathogen around other healthy tadpoles. The tadpoles could smell the chemicals from the sick tadpole. Detecting it was infected, the healthy ones stayed away, according to Kiesecker's findings.
During part of the study, Kiesecker also tested keeping a healthy tadpole near an infected one.
"When we forced them to stay in close proximity and then observed whether they were infected or not, the probability that they would get infected increased based on the proximity that they were to the infected individual," Kiesecker said.
Tadpoles aren't the only animals to physically distance themselves from sick members of their own species.
Garden ants also practice social-distancing behaviors when an infected ant was introduced to a group of healthy ants.
Nathalie Stroeymeyt, a lecturer at the the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, observed when ants with a fungal disease were introduced to a colony of healthy ants.
After observing the colonies once the infected ants were introduced,