Anting

What is Anting?

Anting is a behavior found in birds in which they rub insects, most commonly ants against their skin or feathers. They may rub the insects against their skin or feathers or chew the insects and the rub the saliva mixture on their body. Over 200 species of birds are known to display this behavior.

Function

It is thought to help in bird’s self-defense, as the insects secrete certain substances such as formic acid which may act as the bactericide, fungicide or¬†insecticide.

Some animals other than birds, such as squirrels are also known to display a similar behavior.

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