When humans want to relax, they do plenty of weird things. (Please don’t email me examples. I don’t want to know.) And we rub strange elixirs all over our bodies in the interest of both beauty and avoiding bugs. So, really, should we be so surprised that birds do the same?
This, according to NPR’s Robert Krulwich, is how birds chill out:
The bird version is to sit on an anthill so that hundreds of ants crawl all over their bodies, or, even better — and I hope you can imagine how fabulous this must be — some birds gobble up mouthfuls of squashed ants and rub themselves all over.
For you, that might be a flashback to an acid trip. For birds, it’s … well, it almost definitely feels good, but they could be using it for any number of purposes including:
- Insect repellent
- Skin soother (molting is hard on the skin)
- Dealing with the everyday stresses of being a bird. Flying is hard, OK?
This sounds weird, but given what we know about the human beauty industry, now that the birds’ secret is out the ant bath will be the new hot spa treatment for 2013.