The Distance of Smells

What animal smell can be detected over a great distance, and what animal can detect a smell from a long distance? 

Humans can detect the smell of a Skunk from a long distance away. The Skunk, a mammal in the Mephitidae family of mustelids from North America, has two scent glands on each side of its bottom. The bad smell is a mixture of sulphuric chemicals that keeps predators away.


The smell of a Skunk is so powerful that a human can smell it up to 5.6 kilometres (3.5 miles) away.

The Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in the Lamnidae family has an acute sense of smell due to a nasal (nose) organ called the olfactory bulb. It can detect the smell of a drop of blood in 100 litres (25 gallons) of water, and can sense small amounts of blood 5 kilometres (3 miles) away. 

Great White Shark

Photographer of Great White Shark photo: Terry Goss, August 2006

Photographer of Skunk photo: Wallace Keck, City of Rocks National Reserve, America, April 2011


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