From locating water sources to defending their honour, animals use their sense of smell and their natural scent in some very weird and wonderful ways!

A group of Ringtailed Lemurs

Ring-tailed Lemurs – the stinkiest wins!

When it comes to defending their honour, it’s the lemur’s nose, not strength, that decides who wins.

Male Ring-tailed Lemurs have scent glands on their wrists and shoulders that produce an odour guaranteed to offend any nose.  The males will rub their tails over these glands to coat it with the pungent smell and then wave their tail in the face of their enemy. The one with the most offensive stench wins. 

Two Asian Elephants raising their trunks

Elephants – the nose knows

We’ve all seen an elephant use their trunk like an extra limb to reach, grab and move objects out of their way, but it’s also a pretty handy GPS!

Elephants can sniff out water sources up to 19km away! This comes in pretty handy in the wild, as an elephant is able to use their powerful sniffer to detect any predators at water sources and choose the safer watering hole.

Binturong walking down a branch

Binturong – smell like a snack!

These South-east Asian mammals naturally smell like hot buttered popcorn! Their rather delicious scent is used to mark their territory as they move throughout their tree-top home.

Their el natural odour is a result of urine soaking their feet and tail as they *ahem* go to the bathroom. Scientists believe that the same chemical compound that gives popcorn it’s mouth-watering scent can also be found in Binturong urine.

Spotted Hyaena

Hyaena – butt-er paste

We all know the distinct laugh and whoop of a Spotted Hyaena having a chat, but did you know they also use smell to tell each other what’s going on?

Spotted Hyaena’s produce a foul-smelling odour from an anal gland that also has the interesting nickname ‘hyaena butter’ due to its consistency. Since they roam large territories, they will rub this paste on objects to guide their way home and on each other to update pack members on ‘who’s who’ in the clan.