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Ask A Ranger #6

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Ask A Ranger #6

Do you have a question for the Nkorho Ranger that you would like to get answered ?Ask a  Ranger
You are welcome to send in your questions by mailing to editor@africam.com
Every month a question will be picked and answered in the newsletter.


This month's question :
Why don't Cheetahs have the Jacobson's organ?

-- Katie

Answer :
With regard to this query, we have not been able to find any information that supports cheetah’s not having the organ of Jacobson. What we have found is that some mammals, particularly felids and ungulates, use a distinctive facial movement called the flehmen response to direct inhaled compounds to this organ. The animal will lift its head after finding the odorant, wrinkle its nose while lifting its lips, and cease to breathe momentarily. Flehmen behavior is associated with “anatomical specialization”, and animals that present flehmen behavior have incisive papilla and ducts, which connect the oral cavity to the Jacobson’s organ, that are found behind their teeth.

The guide’s at the lodge have also confirmed that they have seen cheetah performing what they presume to be the flehmen response, from which we can only surmise that they must have the Jacobson’s organ.