This Stretched-Out Wolf's Pee Smells Like Marijuana

Illustration for article titled This Stretched-Out Wolf's Pee Smells Like Marijuana

This is a maned wolf. It’s not a wolf. It has ridiculously long legs. And it pees chemicals that smell so much like pot that once the police were called to a zoo to investigate nonexistent pot smokers.


The maned wolf is generally a welcome addition to zoos. It’s near-threatened in its native Brazil and it’s the single member of its genus of canid, not closely related to either wolves or foxes. It doesn’t require a lot of company, since maned wolves keep to themselves. It’s a striking animal, with bright red fur, dark black accents, and the long limbs of a supermodel.

Illustration for article titled This Stretched-Out Wolf's Pee Smells Like Marijuana

There is one problem with the maned wolf. It’s also known as the “skunk wolf.” It pees these things called pyrazines, hexagonal combinations of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen that break off from the urine and scent the air. A lot of animals give of pyrazines. Insects often exude pyrazines, usually as a way of keeping predatory animals away. Mammals, like the pine vole and the ordinary house mouse, give off pyrazines in their urine.

The maned wolf pees out more pyrazines than most animals. Scientists think it’s a way of marking the its territory and making it clear that other maned wolves need to stay away. This would be fine if the maned wolf’s pyrazines didn’t smell overwhelmingly of marijuana. In 2006, police responded to a complaint that someone was smoking pot at Rotterdam Zoo, only to find that the only scent on the breeze was maned wolf urine. So maned wolf pee smells too much like marijuana, even for people in Holland.

Image:, Second Image: Calle Eklund/V-wolf



I know there’s a joke in here somewhere, but, like........

.........wait, what?