Flehmen response by Male Lions

Flehmen response by Male Lions

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This image is part of the feature Mystery of Smell

Credit: TONY CAMACHO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A lion or lioness exhibits the Flehmen response after sniffing or smelling the urine or faeces of another lion or lioness. The cat will lift his or her head, and hold their lips back in a strong grimace for a period lasting several seconds. Cats have a vomeronasal organ (often called the organ of Jacobson) located above the palate. By sniffing deeply, and then pulling back their lips, they are in fact 'testing' the chemical content of the urine left behind by the earlier animal. This action plays an important part in enabling male lions to determine whether a female may be entering an oestrous cycle. These two males are brothers and they were photographed in the Auob riverbed of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Southern Africa.

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Keywords: africa, african, behavior, behaviour, big cat, biological, biology, cat, endangered, fauna, feline, flehmen response, grimace, kalahari, kgalagadi transfrontier national park, lion, male, males, mammal, nature, panthera leo, pheromones, predator, scent, southern africa, teeth, vomeronasal organ, vulnerable, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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