Sniffing a beaver's butt: a surprisingly pleasant experience

From a National Geographic story by Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, the quote of the week:

“I lift up the animal’s tail,” said Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University, “and I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum. People think I’m nuts,” she added. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.’”

Crawford is talking about castoreum, a naturally occurring anal secretion found in beavers. The furry animals use it to mark their territory. We humans, however, have also found uses for castoreum. Most notably, as an ingredient in vanilla-flavored and vanilla-scented products.

Pictured: Hardened lumps of beaver anal secretions, as stored in the Deutsches Apothekenmuseum, Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Germany. Photo by H. Zell via CC

Notable Replies

  1. Have there been any studies done on the new baby smell for baby beavers?

  2. I've been scared by two beavers in the wild in my life and that was enough for me. I can't even imagine getting close to a beaver on purpose, much less pulling up its tail and sniffing its ass.

    Nonetheless, I now want to smell a beaver's asshole. Who is the brave person who's going to hold down the beaver for me while I sniff its ass? Any takers?

  3. IMB says:

    Joanne is a brown-noser.

  4. In my last beaver encounter, it was just one extremely loud thwack and I think a hiss or growl or something. It was enough for me to clear out of there. The last thing on my mind was confronting the beaver and smelling its ass. But, now things have changed for me.

  5. Imagine his surprise.

    Finally, after sniffing the butts of rodents all round the world, the good doctor had found the fabled "Butt Butter". He allowed himself a smile as he pictured the faces of those smug bastards back at the Royal Society when he demonstrated his astonishing find. Then, he gloated, his dignity would be restored and their taunts would no longer invade his sleep.

    "Doctor Nosy Ratbutt yourself!" he thought to himself as he packed his things and prepared the beaver's cage for the long journey home.

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