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Archive for June 24, 2011

White-tailed Deer’s Sense of Smell

Being popular prey animals, white-tailed deer have evolved an extremely good sense of smell, sight and hearing.   Their elongated noses are filled with an intricate system of nasal passages that contain millions of olfactory receptors – up to 297 million (dogs have 220 million, humans just 5)!  As the tongue in this photograph infers, deer lick their nose to keep it moist, which helps odor particles stick to it, improving their sense of smell.  Not only do deer use their sense of smell to avoid predators (including hunters), but they use it to communicate with each other, as is evident from  the seven scent glands on their head, legs and hooves.