Can Wild Animals Smell Period Blood

David Lawrence
• Friday, 11 December, 2020
• 8 min read

But underneath the hype and myths, there’s some truth, says Matthias Alaska, a Swedish biologist who studies animals sense of smell. While blood seems to be an important scent to animals, scientists aren’t entirely sure which of its molecular ingredients contribute to that smell and which ones spur the behaviors and reactions that they’ve seen in different species.

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Likewise, single components from the urine and body odor of predators don’t cause the same alert responses in some prey species as the full, natural smell. While the study couldn’t tell Alaska whether the dogs and tigers definitely associated trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal with prey or perceived it as blood -like,” they spent as much time investigating it as they did the real thing, and even guarded those logs the same way they did their leftover food.

They also want to see if trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal could be a blood character impact compound for other species, and whether it’s attractive to other predators like wolves and acts as a danger signal to prey animals. If it is, the odor might eventually be used as a repellant for mammal pests like mice, or something to break up the monotony of zoo life for carnivores.

A scented hunk of wood, the researchers say, makes a cheap, easy toy for captive carnivores to keep them entertained and active. The function of menstruation is a central enigma of mammalian, and especially primate, reproductive physiology.

Each cycle the uterus builds a glandular epithelium with a high secretory capacity and an elaborate microvascular, only to reabsorb or void it with the menses if implantation does not occur. In 1993, Margie Prophet hypothesized that menstruation is primarily advantageous as a defense against pathogens transported by sperm.

During mammalian insemination, she stated, bacteria from the male and female genitalia cling to sperm tails and are transported to the uterus. Menstruation, triggered by the abrupt constriction (causing necrosis of endometrial lining) followed by dilation (causing shedding of said necrotic tissue), forces loose not only the endometrial lining but sperm-borne pathogens contained therein.

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Article, Prophet also points out that other mammals with covert menstruation take advantage of some of these same benefits, as the immunological stimulation includes phagocytosis of pathogens by cells that may be expelled in cervical/vaginal mucous. Further, pro estrous bleeding (i.e. that preceding ovulation, 180 degrees off from the human cycle), which occurs in some mammals (domestic dog, coyote, etc), seems to serve a similar function.

In response/objection to this paper, Beverly Statesman in the same journal published an article outlining an alternative hypothesis about the potential adaptive value of menstruation. Her argument shares with Proper’s the implication that mammals with lower fecund ability are more likely to menstruate.

Her hypothesis also predicts the larger volume of menstrual shedding in humans and chimps in contrast to other mammals related to the increased uterine size relative to the female body (a ratio that is largely determined by the especially large head of the human fetus). The adaptive benefits have been variously explained, and it is probable that there is more than one operative explanatory model.

Whatever the small decrement in survival ship incurred by the intermittent and uncontrolled depositing of blood in the wild, it is apparently outweighed in these species by the processes described above. The Evolution of Endometrial Cycles and Menstruation The Quarterly Review of Biology, June 1996; Vol.

Broadly recently conducted an investigation to determine what type of pets are most skilled at sniffing out someone's menstrual cycle, and the results might actually surprise you. Dogs might make their awareness more obvious, thanks to their habitual sniffing, but they also generally won't mind being around an owner who is menstruating.

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Incidentally, some dogs are also adept at detecting other health-related conditions in their owners, such as migraines, urinary tract infections, and even certain types of cancer. Dr. Beth Breakwater, a veterinarian at All Wild Things Exotic Hospital, told Broadly that some male iguanas have reportedly attacked their menstruating owners.

Dr. William Rodgers, a veterinarian in North Carolina, also notes that the smell of a human menstruating is very similar to the pheromone of an adult female iguana during mating season. Be sure to make a mental note that the next time you're sporting a tampon or pad, you probably shouldn't cuddle any iguanas.

The paper was written in response to the long-standing concern that the odors associated with menstruation could lure in hungry bears, putting women at a higher risk than men of being mauled. The paper also traced the origin of the myth to a single evening on Aug. 13, 1967, when two women were killed by grizzly bears in Glacier National Park.

Even so, the unjustified spread of the menstruation/bear attack myth, in spite of the lack of corroborating evidence, raises concerns that old stereotypes regarding women, the outdoors, and the National Park Service have not gone away. As pointed out by one magazine, the persistence of the myth has reinforced the stereotype that women are not as suited for survival in the wilderness as men.

It was not until 1978 that women were allowed to don the same uniform as male rangers and assume equal responsibilities. In other words, it would appear that the real bias toward women has come from our culture and the National Park Service, not from the bears.

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We spend huge amounts of time with our pets, and they see us in many emotional and physical states. If you're a dog owner who menstruates, you likely have a gross story involving discarded feminine products.

Also, women on their periods often report that dogs tend to sniff their crotches more during that time of the month. Though considered rude in the human world, when dogs sniff your crotch, they are merely on a quest for information.

We have higher concentrations of pheromones (which is what dogs are smelling for) in our genital and anal areas. We asked Julie Heart, a PhD student in animal behavior at the Graduate from Center, PUNY, and the writer behind the column Dog Spies” on Scientific American, who told us a dog's sense of smell does let them know something is up, but that doesn't mean they understand what it is.

“I'm sure that when we are menstruating, cats can detect olfactory changes due to hormones and menses itself,” says Delgado. Delgado even had a consulting client whose cat would only urinate on the bed when she was menstruating.

Having answered that question, let's move on to a much more important one: Can our pets be trained to pick up to-go food for us when we're on our periods? On the evening of August 13, 1967, two women were attacked and killed by grizzly bears (URSS actor horrible) in separate incidents within Glacier National Park (GNP).

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Following these incidents, there was speculation that due to odors associated with menstruation, women may be more prone to attack by bears than are men (Rogers et al. 1991). The objective of this paper is to present the data available on this subject so that women can make an informed choice when deciding whether to hike and/or camp in bear country during their menstrual period.

In a study designed to test the hypothesis that bears are attracted to the odors of menstruation, Cushing (1983) reported that when presented with a series of different odors (including seal scents, other food scents, non-menstrual human blood, and used tampons), four captive polar bears (URSS maritime) elicited a strong behavioral response only to seal scents and menstrual odors (used tampons). Cushing (1983) also reported that free-ranging polar bears detected and consumed food scent samples and used tampons, but ignored non-menstrual human blood and unused tampons.

This suggests that polar bears are attracted to odors associated with menstrual blood. The responses of grizzly bear to menstrual odors has not been studied experimentally.

Rogers et al. (1991) recorded the responses of 26 free-ranging black bears (URSS Americans) to used tampons from 26 women and the responses of 20 free ranging black bears to four menstruating women at different days of their flow. Menstrual odors were essentially ignored by black bears of all sex and age classes.

In an extensive review of black bear attacks across North America, no instances of black bears attacking or being attracted to menstruating women was found (Diamond 1981, Herrera 1985, Rogers et al. 1991). Over 62 million people visited Yellowstone National Park (BNP) during the 23-year period from 1980 through 2002.

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These visitors spent over 15.4 million use nights camping in developed area campgrounds and over 956,000 use nights camping in backcountry areas within the park. Although actual statistics are not available, many menstruating women undoubtedly visit, hike and/or camp within BNP each year.

During the 1980-2002 time period, 32 people were injured by bears within BNP, an average of only 1.4 bear-inflicted human injuries per year (Gunther 2003). There was no evidence linking menstruation to any of these 32 bear attacks.

Of the 7 women injured by bears, most (57%, n=4) involved surprise, close encounters between bears and women that were hiking and were therefore probably unrelated to menstruation. Of these 3 incidents, 1 involved a female (non-menstruating) jogger in a developed area that was slowly approached then bitten by a grizzly bear, 1 (6%) involved a female Park Ranger moving an injured bear that had been hit by a car off of the road (thus was probably not related to menstruation), and 1 involved a woman (non-menstruating) in a tent in the backcountry.

It is difficult to accurately compare the ratio of males to females that are injured by bears because the park does not keep records of visitor use of the park by gender. However, the injury data for BNP does not suggest that females are more likely to be attacked by bears than are males (Gunther and Dijkstra 1996).

Although there is no evidence that grizzly and black bears are overly attracted to menstrual odors more than any other odor, certain precautions should be taken to reduce the risks of attack. A bear may smell buried tampons or pads and dig them up.

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Any charred remains must be removed from the fire pit and stored with your other garbage. Also, burning of any garbage is odorous and may attract bears to your campsite.

Cosmetics, perfumes, and deodorants are unnecessary and may act as an attractant to bears. Follow food storage regulations and recommendations, so you can avoid attracting a bear into your camp with other odors.

All odorous items that may attract bears, including food, cooking and food storage gear, toiletries, and garbage, must be kept secured from bears. Whether menstruating women attract bears has not been completely answered (Byrd 1988).

There is no evidence that grizzlies are overly attracted to menstrual odors more than any other odor and there is no statistical evidence that known bear attacks have been related to menstruation (Byrd 1988). However, park visitors have been injured and killed by bears (Gunther and Dijkstra 1996).

If you are uncomfortable hiking and camping in bear country for any reason, you should probably choose another area for your recreational activities. Responses of polar bears to human menstrual odors.

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Bear-inflicted human injuries in Yellowstone, 1970-1994, a cautionary and instructive guide to who gets hurt and why. Reaction of black bears to human menstrual odors.

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1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenia_fetida
2 www.wormsetc.com - http://www.wormsetc.com/worms-etc-blog/2010/12/eisenia-fetida-hortensis-whats-difference-red-wigglers-european-nightcrawlers/
3 wormscrum.wordpress.com - https://wormscrum.wordpress.com/scientific-name-and-classification/
4 wormfarmfacts.com - http://wormfarmfacts.com/Red-Worms.html