For a waft of nature’s finest fragrances, you surely can’t beat flowers. There are so many that produce prized perfumes – roses, lavender, honeysuckle, freesias, hyacinths, lilacs, gardenia… the lovely list goes on – it’s hard to pick one that’s a waft above the rest, but the consensus cites jasmine as having the most adored aroma of them all – its richly honeyed bouquet is simply gorgeous.
But is it just flowers that you can smell in the air….?
Surely bed bugs would be the very last thing you’d consider to smell good; but believe it or not, these shunned insects apparently smell of raspberries and cinnamon! The bugs create a pheromone (a chemical signal to communicate with each other) which gives them their unexpectedly fruity fragrance. So next time you dive between the sheets, you’d better hope it’s your new body lotion that smells lovely!
Does the aroma of tangerine peel turn you on girls? It certainly ‘does it’ for the female auklet. To win around the lady of his dreams, the male auklet will emit a strong scent, which is just like a peeled tangerine! The female loves it so much that she buries her beak into his neck feathers (where the smell is strongest) to get her fix of his citrusy aftershave.
Auklets aren’t the only guys who like to smell good for their dates – male ring-tailed lemurs also like to indulge a dab or two of cologne. These fellas manufacturer a zesty zingy secretion on their wrists. The more amorous the male, the stronger their smell! They indulge in what’s eloquently referred to as ‘stink flirting’, by rubbing their fluffy tails against their wrists and wafting the scent around in the air, hoping that a passing female will fall for their citrusy charms.
As beavers spend a good deal of their time under water, you wouldn’t think they’d need a squirt of any kind of smelly stuff, but these guys produce one of the most historically prized perfumes around – castoreum – which has a sweet, vanilla fragrance. Rather less sweet is where the castoreum comes from – glands near to the beaver’s butt! The beavers use the castoreum as a conditioner for their fur and to mark their territory. From as far back as Roman times, it was used as a valuable medicine and more recently it has been added to food stuffs, as well as perfumes. Fortunately, today it’s only the beavers who wear the eau de castoreum.
Surely there’s nothing to sniff at in the sea? If only we could smell underwater, our noses would be assaulted with a heady soup of scents. Just as flowers use their fragrance to attract insects (and us!) coral reefs also produce enticing essences that travel through the currents and attract new life to come visit; the siren smell lures fish and other marine creatures towards the reef in the hope that they will set up home there – it’s just like brewing coffee when you’re trying to sell your house!
Imagine you’re trudging across a dusty, dry, desert and suddenly you think you can smell peanut butter? What kind of weird mirage is this? It could be a spadefoot toad! These illusive reptiles spend their days buried underground to keep cool and moist; their party trick is to produce a peanut butter smell. Whilst you might be tempted to sniff up this tasty aroma – beware! It’s actually a secretion that the toads make when they’re feeling stressed and it’s designed to be itchy and irritating – peanut butter allergy alert!
Guess it all makes good scent!