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Material and methods

Wooden logs impregnated with one of four odor stimuli was presented to meerkats (Suricata suricatta), and Eurasian wolves (Canis lupus) kept at Kolmården Wildlife Park in Östergötland, Sweden. 

Before the start of every observation day, one type of odor stimulus was applied on five wooden logs before placed in the enclosure.Each of the four odors used with a given species was presented five times resulting in a total of 20 observations days per species. The odorized logs were presented only on non-rainy days to avoid that the rain would remove or dilute the odors on the logs.

For both species the behavioral responses that each individual performed during every interaction with a log were recorded.

Odor stimuli used: 

  • Blood odor component (trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal)
  • Blood from two species, horse (Equus ferus caballus) and pig (Sus scrofa domestica)
  • Meat odor component (2-pentylfuran)
  • ​Fruity odor (isopentyl acetate)
  • ​Solvent (diethyl phthalate)

Odor stimuli presented to the meerkats were:
1) blood odor component, 2) horse blood, 3) fruity odor, 4) solvent

and the wolves were presented with:
1) meat odor component, 2) pig blood, 3) fruity odor, 4) solvent

Left: Five wooden logs, in this picture impregnated with pig blood. Right: Logs in the enclosure of the meerkats.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/01/17