Winter Smells!

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Bai Yun sniffs the air as her cub dangles above her this morning.

Bai Yun sniffs the air as her cub dangles above her this morning.

As our weather here in San Diego goes through quick changes from warm to cold to wet, our animals are having quite a bit of fun with the change. For many of us, we can smell rain before if comes, or right afterward. We smell fresh rain on the dirt or grass, and it’s a reminder of how well nature clean things off every now and then.

For myself, I’ve always found it interesting to watch carnivores right after a good rain. Even the pandas will exhibit the behavior of throwing their head back into the air and taking a big whiff of what’s around them. I can sometimes smell a little change in the air, but nothing compared to animals’ sense of smell.

Shortly after a good rain, I begin to see the male pandas re-scent their enclosures, marking territory that is theirs and putting a good mark on there that will stick. So often they will begin to roll around and cover themselves with the scents that have been washed into the ground.

Just a reminder: our pandas will be out during the rain, as they are designed to live through harsh winters that include rain and snow. Our mild San Diego winters are very easy for them to live through. Come see us soon!

Anastasia Horning is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Big Guy on the Block.