How Do Animals Keep Cool?

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We are all aware of how brutal a hot summer month can get between temperatures and humidity. Humans have many ways to keep them cool, both natural and man-made. But what about the animals that don’t live in houses with air conditioning. How do animals keep cool?

The Center of Hyperhidrosis has identified 10 ways that animals keep cool, as shown below. 

1. Reptiles Hide 

turtle keeping cool in the shade

Reptiles and many other similar animals use a strategy that many humans use as well to keep cool- they hide in shaded areas. They have an amazing sense of identifying shaded, cooler areas that they can hang out in and avoid the heat and any direct sun. Plus, they have a remarkable ability to slip into small spaces that have plenty of shaded room for them to relax in. 

2. Pigs Use Mud 

pig in mud to keep cool

Unlike humans, pigs are unable to produce sweat to help them keep cool, so they found their own system that is just a little bit messier. Pigs roll around in the mud in order to help them cool down. The mud evaporates from their body to cool it down in the same way that sweat evaporates from a human body to help us cool down. Additionally, the mud offers additional sun protection from hot, damaging rays. Essentially, the mud functions as sweat and as sunscreen for the pigs- offering a perfect method for them to help stay cool for long periods of time. 

3. Chickens & Dogs Pant 

dog panting to keep cool

You are probably familiar with dogs panting on a hot day or after a lot of exertion or movement. You may not have known, however, that chickens use this same system of panting to help keep themselves cool. Panting is the practice of rapidly expelling hot air while taking in only cool air. This is a solid method of cooling the body down, which is why you will so often see dogs sticking their tongues out and panting whenever they need to get their body temperature to lower. And now you know chickens do the same thing! 

4. Rabbits Use Their Ears 

rabbit using its ears to keep cool

Rabbits oftentimes have thick, dense layers of fur that help to keep them warm in the cool months, but it can be too hot in the warmer months. That is why they have their own system of cooling in their ears. Rabbit ears are some of the only parts of a rabbit that aren’t covered in their usual thick fur. They lose heat through the blood vessels located in these large, uncovered ears, helping them to stay cool despite their natural fur jacket. 

5. Elephants Really Use Their Ears

elephant spraying water on its ears to stay cool

Elephants use their ears to help stay cool in the same way that the rabbits do- but they take it a few steps further. The blood vessels in their ears are also the way that elephants stay cool, but they heighten this cooling process by flapping their large ears around like a fan or by spraying water directly onto their ears. Essentially, the elephant has found a way to enhance and assist the natural cooling process of their body in a big way- literally. 

6. Koalas Are Tree-Huggers 

koala hugging a tree to stay cool

Koalas are frequently thought of as lazy animals, oftentimes because of how they are typically found sprawled out on a tree relaxing. Did you know though that koalas aren’t just tree-huggers out of laziness? Koalas are known to hug closely onto items that are cooler than the air to help them cool off- and typically the bark of a tree is the perfect surface to do so! So while they do use tree branches as beds to lay around on, they are also using these surfaces to help them keep cool in the intense Australian heat. 

7. Bears Change Their Coat 

bear with summer coat to help stay cool

When humans are cold, we often put on a big, thick jacket to help us get warm. When we are warm, we take off the jacket. This same general idea is what bears do to help them cool down in warmer climates. When the warmer weather starts to roll in, bears shed their thick winter coat of fur to a lighter, longer-haired coat of fur. This new summertime coat is thinner to help keep them cooler but is longer to help shield and protect them from the sun. 

8. Kangaroos Spit 

kangaroo spitting on arm to keep cool

It isn’t necessarily the most appealing idea, but kangaroos have their own unique method of staying cool that includes spitting on their arms. Kangaroos don’t produce sweat as humans do, but they can still benefit from the cooling process of evaporation from their body, so they spit or lick their arms until they are wet so their body temperature can cool from the evaporation process. 

9. Termites Build Cooling Systems 

termite mound with system to keep cool

Termites have arguably the most complex and intricate cooling system of any animal. They have essentially found a way to construct their own “air conditioning” system in the mounds they build for their homes. When building these mounds, they construct air pockets that create ventilation through convection. Simply put, termites build their own version of an air conditioning system to help keep them cool! 

10. Horses & Monkeys Sweat Like Humans 

horses sweating to keep cool

Last but not least, there are some animals that cool down using a system that humans are very familiar with- sweating. Horses and monkeys are among the few animals that can produce sweat to help them keep cool just as humans do. So after a big race or competition, you may see horses dripping sweat- just like a human would! It’s actually fairly remarkable that an animal that is seemingly so unlike humans in most ways utilizes the same cooling system. 

Humans are, of course, the most evolved animal from the above mentioned, but we use a combination of the same processes to stay cool! In order to keep cool, humans also look for shaded areas, change our clothing, have air conditioning systems, and, of course, sweat. There is such a thing as too much sweating, however. 

Hyperhidrosis, a condition characterized by excessive sweating, is a somewhat common struggle for many humans and is accompanied by a number of unwanted side effects. It is important for your body to regulate itself and stay cool, but not to your detriment. If you find yourself excessively sweating, you may have the condition known as hyperhidrosis- but our team of experts can help! Give us a call today at 212-342-1354 or learn more about hyperhidrosis and our treatment options today!

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