on A Hyena Does Something Strange

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Gillian Lacey

Sounds like something my dogs would love to roll in whilst on a walk! Perhaps its a similar sort of behaviour. All I know is they have to have a bath afterwards because the smell is absolutely revolting…………………………………..

Jean Kreiseler

Those of us who walk our dogs in the often find them rolling in dead animal remains and fox poo. I am sure it is an act from before they were domesticated. They then have to be put under a tap or plunged into a stream or pool and scrubbed to remove the stench!

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Master Tracker

Not sure why they do this but our dog, a Siberian Husky, would roll over and over in cattle dung and even on a dead seal carcass on the beach. Interesting that this behavior occurs with predators and scavengers in Africa as well.

Jill Larone

Very interesting, Shaun. My two Whippets used to rub themselves in dead worms whenever they’d find them in the grass (and I didn’t get to them in time to intervene). The smell would be awful and was followed by a trip into the bath. I could never understand that either but was told the same, that it was instinctive behaviour to hide their scent from prey.


Interesting encounter Shaun. I too can relate to the stench. My now deceased angel would roll over a very dead carcass and come back covered in disgusting stuff along with maggots. Guess they think they smell terrific. Heartening to know that wild animals do the same. Thanks for the enlightening article.

David Montgomery

I’ve always wondered about this and never felt the “smell masking for hunting” to sufficiently explain why animals do this… I wonder if rolling in foul smelling poop & dead animal carcasses could be a way of warding off certain types of disease carrying insects? Certainly wouldn’t keep the flies away, but curious if may be effective on insects like ticks & mosquitoes that are naturally attracted to living hosts for blood? Or maybe it has something to do with the fecal/ bacteria enzymes in poop & decaying carcass? Like many of natures mysteries, eventually we just may discover there’s more to why animals roll in the nasty smelling things then we initially thought… or maybe it simply is that they really just love the smell of Eau de dead python…?

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10 April, 2798
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