Of course, you cannot patrol something that you have not clearly demarcated. So she does a little squat, she is a girl dog, at key points around the gate, everytime she has an opportunity to slip out for a “patrol”.
Jozie’s cologne is not her own
The scent she leaves seems to send the message,
“Jozie, a psychotic dalmation, with absolutely no sense of humour, lives near here”
to the neighbourhood hounds, who for the most part, keep their distance.
Of course, the palisade fencing which encloses “her” space, means she doesn’t actually have to do too much defending.
So what is in that Jozie cologne ?
Well, if we look to her distant wild and woolly cousins, the hyenas, maybe a lot less of Jozie, than she thinks.
Turf wars between rival clans
Hyenas hang out in clans and the clan turf, IS SACRED. Unlike the modern suburban canine, hyena turf wars, are about dinner and dames, not just pride. So among the daily tasks, the clan must mark out and then defend, THEIR territory.
The hyenas spray paint bits of grass, rocks and trees with a sour-smelling secretion, as part of their defending THE TURF, ritual.
But the smell is not coming from the hyena
The some-what offensive odour, arises in special scent glands, which grace the nether regions of the hyena. But research from Michigan State University, suggests it is not the hyenas who are doing the “talking”.
The research team examined the foul smelling “cards”, left by the hyenas, as well as the contents of the scent glands, which are producing the “cards”.
Their findings – raised a bit of a stink.
Hyena talk is bug talk
It turns out, the scent gland is actually home to a collection of rather smelly bacteria. Exactly who takes up residence, depends how much touchy feely stuff happens between scent gland owners.
But as a rule, the same clans of bacteria reside in all the members of a particular hyena clan.
Translated, this means everyone from a particular hyena clan, smells pretty much the same.
Bacteria rule the world ?
The implications of this arrangement…..
The alpha animal IS actually taking orders, from the little guys in his nether regions i.e. bacteria are the real gang leaders in the hyena turf wars, they rule hyena world.
Maybe they do more than that ? Could they be running our world too ?
Mood swings and turf wars
It is not that far fetched, our little guys seem to have a hot line to our heads. We don’t know if they make us crazy, but we suspect they might be making us fat.
Could we all be zombies doing the bidding of our resident bacteria ?
Hope NOT !Evidence for a bacterial mechanism for group-specific social odors among hyenas. Scientific Reports (2012) 2. Kevin R. Theis, Thomas M. Schmidt, Kay E. Holekamp.
Interested in learning more about the chemistry of all those “friends” ?
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