Is it ever acceptable to spit on yourself?
The Western desert of Australia is one of the hottest places on earth.
As a result, the animals that live there have found ingenious ways of keeping themselves cool in the searing heat.
One of the simplest yet most effective methods is employed by the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus).
The largest living marsupial, this clever “roo” keeps cool by covering itself in its own saliva.
Yep. It technically spits on itself.
As the moisture evaporates it has the effect of cooling the kangaroo’s skin.
This allows the animal to keep its body temperature from climbing too high even in the scorching midday sun when the outdoor heat is at its peak (up to 50 degrees celsius).
Oh and if you think that covering yourself in your own saliva is seriously gross then you clearly haven’t met a turkey vulture (Cathartes aura).
They employ a technique called "urohydrosis" which means they pee on their legs and feet.
It gets worse.
It’s actually a liquid mixture of urine and feces that, as it evaporates in the heat, helps to keep the bird's body temperature in a safe range.
Once it dries, a white chalky residue is left which has the added benefit of acting like a sunblock to keep their legs cool.
Disclaimer: Neither of the above are recommended processes for keeping yourself cool in the Australian outback for perhaps obvious reasons.
To discover more about nature’s endlessly clever ways of solving problems and how we can learn from them register your interest in our upcoming Biomimicry course from BiomimicryUK.