Self-medication is not uncommon in the animal kingdom. Animals of several species rub their bodies with pungent or noxious substances, possibly to treat or prevent infections from microorganisms or repel parasites like ticks. A new study shows coatis, relatives of the raccoon, take advantage of soap left out by tourists to give their fur a good cleaning. By focusing on warm, moist areas, these coatis might be using soap to self-medicate.
Read my latest PLOS Ecology post: Rub A Dub Dub: Ring-Tailed Coatis Wash Up With Soap.