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The results of the present study demonstrate that wolves are able to detect and behaviorally respond to the blood odor component trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal as efficiently as to the whole chemical mixture of horse blood. This, in turn, supports the suggestion that wolves, like four other carnivore species, may perceive trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal as blood-like, similar to humans. Whether there are other blood odor components capable of eliciting behavioral responses in carnivores as efficiently as trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal, or whether this odorant indeed is the key compound of mammalian blood, is further to be elucidated.

The significantly higher number of interactions with the horse blood and the blood odor component compared to the fruity odor and the solvent further demonstrates a higher interest in prey-associated odors compared to non-prey-associated odors. This was also true in four other carnivore species, suggesting that prey-associated odor stimuli, such as blood or a blood odor component, may be efficiently used as environmental enrichment for captive carnivores. 

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/03/16