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The Flehman Response: Why Do Rutting Bucks Curl Their Lips?

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November 21, 2012
The Flehman Response: Why Do Rutting Bucks Curl Their Lips? - 4

If you’ve spent any time around deer in November, you’ve seen bucks exhibit a strange sneering expression. They’ll strut up behind does, sniff their rumps or their urine, and then lift their noses in the air, curl their lips and...what?

What are they doing? You can see this behavior in the video. The behavior has a funny name: the flehmen response. For a long time I figured this was named after the biologist who first observed the phenomenon, some European naturalist named Victor Flehman or something.

I was wrong. The name is derived from the German verb “to curl.” And the behavior is a way to get a deep whiff of something, exposing the vomeronasal organ to especially delicious smells. Horses do it. Cats do it. And every deer is doing it this month.

Now you know. Doesn’t have anything to do with Victor Flehman, at all.

Comments (4)

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from peteyraymond wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Dcast, put down your computer and go hunting. Now!

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from Dcast wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with "And the behavior is a way to get a deep whiff of something, exposing the vomeronasal organ to especially delicious smells". I would suggest the opposite, it is to get them smell out of their nose. Try sticking your nose in your spouses rectum, and tell me you wouldn't be snearing in displeasure! Andrew I know you were just informing us of this, but you had to know adults can be just as childish as children and had know this was going nowhere good!

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from Fishin Magician wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

good footage......money shot...........

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from LGIW wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Well my toes curl when I rut.

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from LGIW wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Well my toes curl when I rut.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from peteyraymond wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Dcast, put down your computer and go hunting. Now!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fishin Magician wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

good footage......money shot...........

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with "And the behavior is a way to get a deep whiff of something, exposing the vomeronasal organ to especially delicious smells". I would suggest the opposite, it is to get them smell out of their nose. Try sticking your nose in your spouses rectum, and tell me you wouldn't be snearing in displeasure! Andrew I know you were just informing us of this, but you had to know adults can be just as childish as children and had know this was going nowhere good!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)