Home | About Dr. Coren | Library/ Book Excerpts
Publications | Discussion Board | Contact Dr. Coren

B O O K   E X C E R P T S
Cancer Sniffers | Doggie Dishes | What Do Dogs Feel? | G.I. Spot | Doggie Glasses? | Heavenly Dog
The Intelligence of Dogs | Women, Dogs, and Spiritual Beliefs
| The Left-hander Syndrome
Why We Love the Dogs We Do | Dog as Machine?
| What Do Dogs Sense? | Sherlock Dog | Sigmund Dog
Sleeping Dogs
| Sleep Thieves | Noah’s Ark and the Wet Nose

Noah’s Ark and the Wet Nose

Excerpted from "What Do Dogs Know?":

Any discussion of dogs' sense of smell ultimately leads to the greatest, most imponderable question about dogs -- the question that nags at children and leaves their parents groping for an appropriate answer: why do they have wet noses?

Scientists have many answers for this. One is that evaporation or moisture from the nose helps cool the dog. Another is that added moisture in the nose makes the dog more sensitive to odors.The most boring answer is that many digs simply lick their noses with their tongues, thus wetting them.

A folk tale that goes back to biblical times gives yet another answer. When God flooded the world, the story goes, all life on the planet was inside of Noah’s ark. The two dogs Noah had chosen constantly patrolled the ark, checking on the other animals, and generally just poking around as dogs do. One day, the dogs were taking their daily stroll when they noticed a coin-sized leak, throuh which water was rushing in at a rapid rate. One dog quickly ran for help, while the other dog gallantly stuck his nose in the hole to plug it. By the time Noah and his sons arrives to repair the hole, the poor dog was in great pain and gasping for breath, but a major disaster had been averted. According to this tale, dogs’ cold, wet noses are simply a badge of honor, conferred upon them by God in memory of that heroic act.

Back To Animal News

Copyright © 1999 Stanley Coren.
No images or text on this website may be reproduced or republished in any form
or via any medium without the prior written permission of the copyright holder.