Do only humans need to wipe bottom their bottom?

14 February 2010


Rolls of toilet paper



Are humans the only animal that needs to wipe its bottom?


Helen - That's really a good question actually, do other animals have to keep themselves hygienic in that particular area? As far as we know, we haven't found any animals that actually have invented a tool for keeping themselves clean in that way. There maybe jokes about bears and rabbits but they are just jokes.

Chris - Isn't it called their tongue?

Helen - Exactly. I think most animals do actually just keep themselves clean by washing themselves. You know what cats can do - they've got the clever trick of putting their leg behind their neck and they keep themselves clean that way. Another thing some people with cats and dogs might have noticed is their pets doing something called "scooting", which is dragging their ass across the ground. Often pet owners get worried about why their dog or cat might be doing this - it is often after they've been to the toilet and they wonder if it's something connected to it.

Chris - They usually wait until they've got into the room with the best and the most expensive carpet...

Helen - Well there are various factors like that to consider. But veterinary surgeons really think that it's likely to be a parasitic infection, it could be worms, they are feeling very itchy and they want to scratch themselves. It's also could be an infection of something that is charmingly called the anal glands which are something many predatory animals have.

Either side of the anus they have these glands which produce scent chemicals. It is where a skunk produces smell from and it's what makes a fox turd smell like a fox turd and dog turds like a dog turd, and so on. They use that to mark their territory when they are defecating. If those get infected they can also be quite painful and that's why dogs and cats can drag themselves along the ground as well. And if your pet does seem to be doing that it's probably best to take them to the vet and get that sorted out.

So no, I don't think any animals actually use toilet paper but if they need to they will keep themselves clean in other ways.


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