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Lemur males wave their long tails to 'stink flirt'

Lemur males wave their long tails to 'stink flirt'

Stink flirting

Humans use all kinds of substances to make themselves smell better including soap, lotion, deodorant, cologne and perfume.

In the animal world, young male ring-tailed lemurs make their own fruity cologne that they use to try and attract females. The odor comes from their wrists, which they rub on their nearly 2-foot-long furry tails. Then they wave their tails in the air to spread the smell. Scientists call this “stink flirting.”

Flirting is when someone acts like they are interested in you.

Lemurs are known to make some powerful scents, even using them as a weapon like skunks. They also use scents to mark their territory, just like dogs, cats and other animals.

Like a teenage brother, cousin or friend who likes to coat themselves in body spray, young male lemurs make more stinky smells than older males, scientists have discovered. Likewise, older females seem less interested in the stink flirting than younger female lemurs.

Native to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa, lemurs are considered an endangered species because the trees where they live are being cut down by humans.

Lemurs eat strictly fruits and vegetables and can live to 18 years old and grow up to 5 to 7 pounds. Groups of them, known as troops, are led by an older female.

If you’ve watched the animated movie “Madagascar,” you may recognize Julian as the singing, dance-leading ring-tailed lemur who, as king, welcomes the shipwrecked zebra, lion, hippo and giraffe to the island.

— Brett French,


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