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Flehmen is targeted and at the open mouth and the attitude recognizable scenting of several mammals (such as chamois , musk oxen , camels ( dromedary and Bactrian ), horses , dogs , cats , elephants and other) to specific odors, such as sex smells and especially pheromones with Help a special development of the olfactory bulb and the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson organ, also in humans ). When flehing, the animals open their mouths a little and stick out the tip of their tongues - often to take in the urine of their fellow species. When inhaled, odorous substances are then passed along the palate or into the vomeronasal organ and can both be smelled and tasted . Flehmen is an expression of behavior that is mainly observable during the reproductive period ( sexual cycle ).

Although flehmen usually occurs when there is a “surprising, intense smell”, it can also be a sign of colic in the horse .


  • Guidelines for riding and driving. Vol. 4: Keeping, feeding, health and breeding . Published by the German Equestrian Association (FNverlag), 9th edition, Warendorf 1997, ISBN 3-88542-284-0
  • Swamynathan Rajanarayanan, Govindaraju Archunan: Identification of urinary sex pheromones in female buffaloes and their influence on bull reproductive behavior. Research in Veterinary Science, Volume 91, Issue 2, October 2011, pp. 301-305
  • Swamynathan Rajanarayanan, Govindaraju Archunan: Occurence of Flehmen in male buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) with special reference to estrus. Theriogenology 2004 Apr; 61 (5): 861-6
  • R. Sankar, G. Archunan: Flehmen response in bull: role of vaginal mucus and other body fluids of bovine with special reference to estrus. Behav Processes 2004 Jul; 67 (1): 81-6

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus Loeffler, Gotthold Gäbel: Anatomy and Physiology of Pets. UTB, 2013, ISBN 3-8252-3924-1 , p. 401
  2. Guidelines, Vol. 4, p. 297.
  3. Guidelines, Vol. 4, p. 283.