Field Stories

Do you know what this tigress is doing?
By Anish Andheria | December 29, 2015

Credits: Anish Andheria
A tigress in Tadoba smells the air around her, likely trying to analyse the scent left behind by a male. This behaviour – when an animal curls back its upper lip, exposes its front teeth and inhales with its nostrils closed – is called Flehmen. The pose is usually held for several seconds and is performed by a wide range of mammals including ungulates and felids. The behaviour facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal.

 

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