You may have heard on the tours that wolves have an excellent sense of smell. They are often able to detect a herd that is miles away just by picking up their scent in the air!
But how does this work exactly?
In mammals, the sense of smell depends on the function and number of olfactory receptors. These are a little like tiny alarms that send messages to the brain. Sometimes the messages can be about something stinky like garbage or sweet like a flower, or even something tasty!
Humans have about 5 million olfactory receptors, enabling us to pick up on a wide variety of scents. But that’s nothing compared to a wolf snout!
Wolves have 280 million olfactory receptors. Their sense of smell plays a very important role in their ability to hunt successfully and in their general survival. It not only helps them locate their prey, but it also helps them to detect if a member of the herd is sick, weak, or injured so that they can better choose their target.
For more information and to see their spectacular snouts in person, come visit us for a tour!
You can also check out this website for more fun facts.