Well, it’s official: summertime is HERE. Summer is a great time to relax and kick back and just *enjoy* yourself. With that in mind we’ve decided to take a break this week from writing about various ways to keep one’s home clean and tidy and instead… Well, we all know how humans clean themselves. Showers, baths, etc. Nobody wants to read about that because we’ve all been there, done that. But, how do birds clean themselves? Is it true that certain species of shrimp clean other fish? Now THAT is something interesting! Dive in and we hope you learn a thing or two!
- How do dogs clean themselves?
Ahhh yes, dogs! We’ve all seen dogs grooming themselves and this may come as a surprise –especially if you’ve got a big, stinky hound– but dogs are overall considered to be fairly clean animals. Always licking themselves –especially after doing their business– and always cleaning their paws, these pups try to keep CLEAN!
- Ok! Now what about cats?
These purr-ty felines are built to CLEAN (themselves)! According to petfinder.com, “When it comes to personal hygiene, cats are the epitome of cleanliness. They are naturally equipped with the implements to groom themselves: a barbed tongue with which to lick, forepaws they moisten with saliva and use as a surrogate washcloth, and teeth to dig out tougher debris. Believe it or not, adult cats may spend as much as half of their waking hours grooming themselves, their relatives and friends.” The article goes on to talk about a cat’s “licking pattern,” “if you’ve ever watched a cat groom her face, you’ve probably noticed the highly stereotyped manner in which she does it: first saliva is applied to the inside of one paw, then, using an upward circular motion, the cat begins rubbing her nose with her paw from back to front. The cat will then reapply saliva to that paw and, using semi-circular motions, groom behind the corresponding ear, the back of the ear, the forehead and over the eye.” Goodness!
- Cool! But how do birds clean themselves?
Now… Birds are a little bit different. They aren’t licking themselves clean like your dog or your cat. Sometimes, they’re not even using water! In order to fly it is vitally important for birds to keep their feathers clean. According to besgroup.org, “Bathing involves fluffing the feathers and vigorously beating the water. At the same time the head is dipped into the water regularly. The bird then shakes off the excess water and flies off to dry. The feathers need to be preened. Each feather, particularly the wing feathers need to be passed through the beak so that they are cleaned and the separate filaments put back in place.” But what if there is no water around? “If water is not available, some birds will take sand or dust bath. They roll about the loose sand or dust and shake vigorously about. The sand or dust particles are believed to absorb excess preen oil as well as remove dry skin and ectoparasites. These include lice, mites, fleas, ticks and what have you that damage the feathers or even suck the blood of the birds. Evidence of dust bathing is the presence of bowl-shaped hollows on the dry ground.”
- Wow! What about everyone’s favorite maid-crustacean, the scarlet cleaner shrimp?!
Ahhhh, yes, the scarlet cleaner shrimp! What a cute and friendly fellow, offering its cleaning services to fish passing by. According to washingtonpost.com, “Coral reefs are home to ‘cleaning stations.’ In Hawaii, the scarlet cleaner shrimp swim crawl around their hosts like a five-star maid service tidying up your house. The larger fish recognize the cleaners by certain behaviors and let them remove parasites, bacteria and dead skin cells from their bodies.” They even let the shrimp crawl around inside their mouths! Wow!
- Ok! Last one, how do elephants clean themselves?
According to that same Washington Post article, “elephants, rhinos, and other mammals take baths by rolling in dust and mud. Like birds, shaking the dust or caked mud off their bodies removes dead skin and many unwanted critters. Elephants have the added ability to spray their skin with dust or water, using their trunks like built-in garden hoses.”
Whoa! Happy summer, folks. Hopefully the next time you see a cat or dog grooming itself, or a scarlet cleaner shrimp inside the mouth of a much larger fish… Well, hopefully you’ll think of us! If you’ve got a fun summer vacation coming up and LOVE the idea of coming home to a very clean, very tidy home — please give us a call!