The numerous possible strategies and tactics for counteracting stimuli an animal usually has at its disposal imbue flexibility and power to the animal's adaptive responses when it faces an adverse environment. But when an animal responds to environmental stimuli, it is not necessarily under stress or distress. Responding to stimuli is a normal biological feat routinely carried out by every normal, unstressed creature that lives. Typical scenarios of environmental stimuli and animal responses run a wide gamut. Modified versions of nine schemes created by Donald M. Broom and Kenneth G. Johnson follow:
1. In the face of stimuli, internal steady state is maintained with ordinary basal responses. State of being is very well.
2. Complete adaptation achieved with minor extraordinary response. Stimuli provoke adaptation. Fitness and performance may be briefly compromised, but wellness promptly returns.
3. Sometimes, animal response to stimuli over time is neither extraordinary nor adequate. For so long as the impingement continues, fitness and performance may be reduced minor stress and fairness ensue but after that, wellness returns.
4. Stimuli elicit some minor extraordinary response, but over time this is inadequate for complete adaptation. Both fitness and performance decrease awhile (fairness), after which wellness returns. Stress is present at scheme 4 and above.
5. An animal's extraordinary response over a long period achieves only incomplete adaptation. Although fitness remains relatively high, performance is reduced. The animal experiences overall fair-being.
6. To completely adapt, an animal sometimes must mount an extreme response. During adaptation and recovery periods, fitness and performance decline. The animal is only fair.
7. Despite some extraordinary response to stimuli, complete adaptation is not achieved long term. Fitness and performance decline; the animal becomes ill.
8. In some cases, an extreme response does not result in complete adaptation even long term reducing the ill animal's fitness and performance.
9. An environmental stimulus may be so enormous and swift that the animal succumbs before it can respond.
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