Best fur conditioner – The brown bear
Brown bears love osha roots. Males will dig up the herb and flirtatiously offer them to females. However they also keep it for themselves and make osha conditioner! They chew the root into a watery paste, then spit it onto their paws and wash their fur with it. It’s believed the herb keeps their fur healthy and free from parasites.
Worst tasting medicine – The chimpanzee
When chimpanzees have stomach ache they seek out plants with sharp, bristly leaves which are not part of their regular diet. They then grimace in disgust as they swallow these horrible leaves whole! This irritates their stomachs, induces diarrhoea and flushes out tapeworms and other parasites. Chimps, on occasion, also reluctantly eat clumps of termite soil. This soil is rich in clay which soaks up toxins in the gut and is similar to a medicine that local herbalists offer for the treatment of stomach ache.
Best pharmacy – The elephant
Ever risked your life to visit your local chemist? Every year elephants do just that, taking a perilous journey to Mount Elgon, in Kenya. Those who make it gorge themselves on the soft, incredibly salty rock. In fact its estimated elephants have consumed 5 million litres of this rock over the past 2 million years. Why? Because salt is vital for handling the poisonous toxins that build up from their plant diet. So for elephants consuming and ‘stocking up’ on the salty rock is a form of preventative medicine.
“Best wait till I’m poorly”- The baboon
Baboons provides proof that animals tend to avoid taking medicine if they can help it. For instance, in Ethiopia, baboons live above and below the Awash Waterfall. A tree used by locals to treat worms grows in both areas. But it is only the lower baboons who eat the fruit from this tree. Similarly they are the only ones exposed to a parasite spread by water snails.
Weeks before giving birth, female Sifakas start munching plants rich in poisonous tannins. Nobody is a hundred percent certain why they do this but vets often use tannins to prevent miscarriages in pregnant animals. It could be that these expectant mums share the same thinking and are trying to protect their developing babies.
Best use of ants – Birds
Often birds can be seen hanging out at anthills where they encourage ants to crawl into their feathers. Perhaps the best best reason why birds allow this to happen is because the ants secrete formic acid which can kill lice, mites and bacteria.
Best supplements – Sheep
Sheep and deer that live in the Shetlands must graze on soil that is poor and lacking in nutrients. In a desperate bid to maintain a healthy diet, they have come with an extreme solution. They visit the nearby seabird population and bite the legs off the living chicks to get at the minerals in their bones.
Best sun protection – Hippopotamus
Hippos’ sweat is red-
Best millipede repellant – Capuchin monkey
These monkeys do something similar to what birds do with ants. Only they use millipedes instead and can be a bit more brutal. They often crush the millipedes, and rub the ‘millipede paste’ onto their fur. The paste contains toxins that repel other insects and keeps their coats free of bacteria.
Why are penguins black and white?
Answer :For camouflage. Their white fronts mean their favourite snacks such as fish don’t spot them against the light coming from above. Similarly, when predators such as killer whales swim above them, their dark backs mean the killer whales struggle to spot the penguins against the dark water below them. Unfortunately for penguins, nature gave killer whales the same highly effective camouflage…