Odd Creatures 

Spa therapy helps Japan’s snow monkeys cope with the cold

Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, have been enjoying regular baths in the hot spring at Jigokudani in Japan for decades — and have even become a popular tourist attraction. A team of researchers led by Rafaela Takeshita of Kyoto University in Japan have now published the first study to scientifically validate the benefits of this behaviour. These findings indicate how behavioural flexibility can help counter cold-climate stress and have likely implications for reproduction and survival. The study is available in Primates, the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre, which is published by Springer.

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Odd Creatures 

Mice ‘eavesdrop’ on rats’ tear signal

Tears might not seem to have an odor. But studies have shown that proteins in tears do act as pheromonal cues. For example, the tear glands of male mice produce a protein that makes females more receptive to sex. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on March 29 have found that rat tears contain proteins with similar functions. The new study also shows that mice pick up on the rats’ tear proteins, too. The chemical cue appears to tip the mice off to the fact that predators (i.e., rats) are around.

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