You’ve probably been royally annoyed after a dog has decided to shake its soaking wet body right next to you. But after seeing these animals shake in slow motion, going from completely drenched to dry in only seconds, you may wish you had looser skin as well.
Nature reports David Hu and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta used a high-speed camera to study 16 mammal species that use this method of speed drying — including mice, dogs, tigers and bears. What they found was that the animals tailor their shake speeds to get dry fast without wasting energy.
As Nature puts it “this is not just another cute animal video compilation. This is science.” Still, you’ll be glad you’re front of a computer screen instead of holding the camera when you check out all the wet, slow-mo glory:
Here’s more on their research:
Some furry animals are aided by loose skin, which “whips the fluid around much faster than if the skin was tight”, says Hu. This generates forces of between 10 and 70 times that of gravity — high enough that the animals have to close their eyes to prevent damage from the extreme centrifugal forces. In addition to observing live animals, the scientists studied in detail how drops were ejected using a ‘robotic wet-dog-shake simulator’ that they built in the lab.
Scientists hope studying how animals shake will help them create man-made equipment for fast drying using similar techniques.
Results were published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.