Mammal shake magic

Buster Brown says, “I’ll shake it off when I’m good and ready.”

Check out Alexis Madrigal’s piece on the science behind the wet dog shake-off.

But think about a dog’s skin. You know how loose it is? I had previously thought the main purpose of loose dog skin was so that they would look funny on But it turns out there is another more important reason. Because the skin is loose, it can whip around farther and faster than the backbone can. The skin, to which the fur is attached, travels at three times the speed of the backbone, which, according to the math, generates nine times as much force on the water droplets, helping fling them off. That’s the magic of the mammal shake.

In addition to the mention of upside down dogs, I’m now thinking we need a whole website devoted to slow-motion videos of wet dogs shaking off.  The video below of all different kinds of animals shaking off is a must watch.

About emily douglas

Emily Douglas authors The Unexamined Dog blog and writes regularly about "pit bull" advocacy, humane education and the parallels between the education field and the dog world. Emily and her dog, Peaches volunteer as a registered therapy dog team in the Southeast Michigan area, where their visits are affectionately known as Peach Therapy.
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