Giant pandas roll in horse manure to keep warm, study finds
Two compounds in fresh faeces inhibit cold sensation, Chinese researchers say
Giant pandas have been seen smearing themselves with horse manure in the wild, and the sweet smell of scat isn’t the only reason – it appears the manure helps them tolerate low temperatures, according to a study.
Unlike insects that make a beeline for faeces, digging for olfactory cues to locate food, attraction to excrement across mammal species is rare. But researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences observed that a giant panda subspecies in China’s Qinling Mountains tended to seek out and sniff fresh horse manure and then roll over it.