I had a recent request for a big cat video and decided to break out the chemistry this week!
Wildlife photographers have their work cut out for them. They need to take great pictures, but sometimes getting an animal to pay attention (or even be anywhere near you!) is tough! One trick that wildlife photographers and researchers use is cologne!
By spritzing cologne on the ground or tree trunks, big cats like tigers are instantly on alert. They usually go bonkers for the scent, rubbing themselves all over it, which gives the photographers a chance for some really great shots. Wildlife researchers use it too, spraying fur traps with the scent. This way, they can attract the big cat they need and get fur samples, all without stressing out the animals.
Why does cologne and perfume have such an effect on these animals? It all comes down to chemistry. Perfumes and cologne contain a chemical called ‘civetone’, which is a compound derived from civets (a cat-like type of mongoose!). To us, colognes smell pungent, but to a tiger, it smells like another animal. Their instinct is to replace this new, weird scent with their own, so they roll around on it, giving us the chance to get awesome pictures.
Something to keep in mind the next time you’re in big cat territory!