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File:Lobo marcando su territorio-2.jpg

A wolf marking its territory.

Animal scent marking (also known as Spraying or territorial marking) is behavior used by animals to identify their territory.[1] Most commonly, this is scent marking, accomplished by depositing strong-smelling chemicals such as urine at prominent locations within the territory. Often the scent contains carrier proteins, such as the major urinary proteins, to stabilize the odors and maintain them for longer.[2]

Examples include:

  • Felids such as leopards and jaguars mark by rubbing themselves against vegetation.
  • One ungulate, the Blue Wildebeest, uses scent marking from two glands, the preorbital gland and a scent gland in the hoof.
  • Dogs and other canids scent-mark by urination and defecation,
  • Cats scent-mark by rubbing their faces and flanks against objects.
  • Many prosimians use territorial marking; for example, the Red-bellied Lemur creates territories for groups of two to ten individuals in the rainforests of eastern Madagascar
  • The male Diademed Sifaka alos scent marks defended territories in some of these same rainforests.
  • Many ungulates, for example the Blue Wildebeest, use scent marking from two glands, the preorbital gland and a scent gland in the hoof.


The ventromedial nucleus (VMHdm) has a role in the male vocalizations and scent marking behaviors.[3][4][5]

See also[]


  2. Hurst JL, Robertson DHL, Tolladay U, Beynon RJ (May 1998). Proteins in urine scent marks of male house mice extend the longevity of olfactory signals. Anim Behav 55 (5): 1289–97.
  3. Yahr and Green, 1992
  4. Flanagan-Cato et al. 2001
  5. Harding and McGinnis, 2005

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