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Lion Hilariously Gives “The Stinky Face” When He Breaks An Emu Egg

Left image shows a lion after he dropped an Emu egg. Right image shows the lion making "the stinky face."

When our olfactory senses tingle with an offensive odor, we often can’t help but make a stinky face. Anyone near us sees the weird scrunching of our faces, telling them that a bad smell has just assaulted us. In a recent TikTok post from the Lion Habitat Ranch in Las Vegas, their lion dropped an Emu egg and made a stinky face.

Fans from the channel asked the staff why the lions made the stink face since they ate the “stinky” egg right afterward. Their response was not what most were expecting. Lions don’t make a stinky face when something smells terrible: they make that face to help them identify what they are smelling.

The actual name for the stink face is the Flehmen response (flay-men). In the animal kingdom, this response, dubbed “the stinky face,” happens in many species. The animal’s nose scrunches and it typically shows its teeth. If the look could be translated into words, it would say, “OMG, what is that smell?”

When the stinky face occurs, the animal tries to understand an exciting smell better. While making the face, which exposes the Jacobson’s organ, the animal also inhales to bring the smell to the sensory organ.

Left image shows a lion making the stinky face. Right image shows the Jacobson's organ in a lion's mouth.
Image from TikTok.

Although most common among mammals, some snakes and lizards also have a Jacobson’s organ but don’t exhibit the Flehmen response. Humans have a Jacobson’s organ, but current studies note it is primarily vestigial (non-functioning). If you’ve ever sat next to someone with aromatic gaseous emissions, you probably had a reflexive Flehmen response. Humans tend to run away from foul odors rather than trying to understand them like the lion.

Share this if you like what you learned about this lion and his stinky face.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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