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Funny monkey flea picking

Apes and monkeys (and lots of other animals as well) clean each other of dead skin, dirt, bits of leaves and other debris, and especially parasites like ticks, fleas, and lice. One study of Japanese macaques, found that overwhelmingly, what the monkeys were picking off each other were lice and lice eggs, which the cleaners then generally ate. Mmmm …

monkey-flea-picking-There are two theories about why animals engage in allogrooming, and as is often the case when two theories continue to compete for decades, both are probably true. The first idea is that it’s just about parasite removal and hygiene. Animals reciprocate in cleaning each other and removing blood suckers like ticks, fleas, and lice. The other theory is that allogrooming is primarily a social thing, a kind of snuggling with your buddy … or someone you want to be your buddy … with parasite removal as a side benefit.


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Kitten and monkey love

Kittens and monkeys are unlikely companions but as this photo show, they can get on just great both in the home environment and in the wild.