Dewlaps

What is a dewlap? Dewlap is the name of the flap of skin underneath the lower jaw that stores extra fat. A great majority of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have a dewlap. In some species, it is more prominent. What’s a dewlap’s purpose? That depends on the species of animal. Let’s look at a rabbit’s and an anole lizard’s dewlap:

RABBITS

Mature females have a pronounced dewlap. However, don’t assume that just because you can see your rabbit’s dewlap that it’s a female. Obese males sport prominent dewlaps too. Why does a female need a prominent dewlap? When she becomes pregnant and needs to build a nest to give birth, she’ll pluck out the fur from her dewlap to line her nest. When she experiences a false or pseudo-pregnancy, if she’s stressed or experiencing a hormonal imbalance, she’ll also pluck out her dewlap fur.

By the way, a normal dewlap should feel fleshy and soft and not have swelling or a hardness to it. A dewlap can be easily checked. Just gently pull the dewlap away from the neck.

ANOLE LIZARD

The male anole lizard have brightly colored dewlaps that they use to attract a mate or warn a rival. To a female anole lizard, the bigger and brighter the dewlap, the better they’ll like him.

Still confused about what exactly a dewlap is? Find a senior citizen or an overweight human. That “double chin” — that’s what a dewlap is.

 

Guest Star: Buddy and the Bunnies

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(This is not Buddy, but looks very much like him.)

I have a friend, a single mom who lives with her teenage son. They have three cats and two bunnies in their home. Last week, they had a wee problem with their toilet and it overflowed into their apartment. Normally, the bunnies are kept in the son’s bedroom, but the water went into his room and the bunnies are currently (temporarily) being accommodated in the kitchen until the management company finishes installation of the new bedroom carpet. Buddy has never been feral, in fact, never been outside; he has never had to fend for himself and use his natural hunting abilities. He is a very sweet, cuddly fluffball. When I visited them this week, Buddy was just staring at those poor bunnies, even being so bold as to stick his paw into the cage and pawing at them.

It’s amazing how little it takes for a cat to revert back to their hunter state, isn’t it?