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The nose may not know: Dogs’ reactions to rattlesnake odours

By Michele M. Mulholland, Victoria Olivas, Nancy G. Caine

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According to anecdotal reports from dog (Canis lupus familiaris) owners and data from veterinary studies, domestic dogs often fail to avoid, and indeed will approach, venomous snakes. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that odours associated with rattlesnakes will elicit investigation, but not a negative emotional reaction, from domestic dogs. In a repeated measures design using newspaper on which southern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus helleri) and other stimulus animals (rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata; mouse, Mus musculus; and snail, Cornu aspersum) had lived, we found that dogs did indeed sniff the rattlesnake stimuli more so than rosy boa or snail, but less than mouse (p 

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 204
Pages 108-112
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Domestic animals
  2. Emotions
  3. Laterality
  4. olfaction
  5. Snakes
  6. venoms