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Enrichment

SCENT

Tiger exhibits flehmen behavior

The sense of smell is extremely important to animals, it helps them to understand their environment and who is in it. It also gives them a way to mark their place in the world. Providing new smells in an animal's exhibit can cause excitement or alarm and often triggers territorial behaviors like rubbing and scent marking. A wide variety of scents are used for enrichment, including spices, perfumes and urine, as well as animal fur.

Our clouded and Amur leopards like poultry seasoning, cardamom, dirty tapir straw and binturong fur. The tigers love "Obsession" and "Charlie" perfumes. The camels aren't very picky, they like most food extracts. On the other hand, the tapirs, tree kangaroos, binturongs and gibbons are very particular - they go for banana extract!

This tiger behavior, which looks a lot like a grimace, is called flehmen. It is used to draw a scent to a sensitive, chemical sensing organ in the roof of the mouth called the Jacobson's organ.  

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Try it at home!


       
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