Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 559–576 | Cite as

Which Chemical Constituents from Dog Feces are Involved in its Food Repellent Effect in Sheep?

  • Cécile Arnould
  • Christian Malosse
  • Jean-Pierre Signoret
  • Charles Descoins


This study is an attempt to identity the active chemicals (signal) of the odor of dog feces that suppress feeding in domestic sheep. The repellent effects of the odors of dog, wolf, pig, and sheep feces (potential predator and nonpredator species) were assessed on sheep, using a food-choice situation. The odors of wolf and dog feces had the highest repellent effect. A total pentane extract of dog feces was split by micropreparative gas chromatography and the fractions obtained were analyzed and presented to sheep in a food-choice situation. The quantitatively major constituents of the pentane extract, identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, are indole and fatty acids. In food repellency tests, indole had no repellent effect. The active odorous signal contained in dog feces appears to consist of fatty acids mixed with neutral compounds acting synergically. These experiments underline the complexity of this biological signal and constitute a first step in the development of a practical repellent for ungulates.

Sheep fecal odor volatile constituents domestic dog Canis familiaris wolf repellency interspecific communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, D. H., Baines, D. A., Faulkes, C. G., Jennens, D. C., Ning, P. C. Y. K., and Tomlinson, A. J. 1990. A natural deer repellent: chemistry and behaviour, pp. 599–609, in D. W. Macdonald, D. Müller-Schwarze, and S. E. Natynczuk (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  2. Albone, E. S. 1984. Mammalian semiochemistry. The investigation of chemical signal between mammals. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester.Google Scholar
  3. Albone, E. S., and Fox, M. W. 1971. Anal gland secretion of the red fox. Nature 233:569–570.Google Scholar
  4. Albone, E. S., and GrÖnneberg, T. O. 1977. Lipids of the anal sac secretions of the red fox, Vulpes vulpes, and of the lion, Panthera leo. J. Lipid Res. 18:474–479.Google Scholar
  5. Arnould, C., and Signoret, J. P. 1993. Sheep food repellents: Efficacy of various products, habituation and social facilitation. J. Chem. Ecol. 19:225–236.Google Scholar
  6. Arnould, C., Orgeur, P., Sempere, A., and Signoret, J.-P. 1993. Repulsion alimentaire chez trois espèces d'ongulés en situation de pâturage: Effet des excréments de chien. Rev. Ecol. (Terre Vie) 48:121–132.Google Scholar
  7. Arnould, C., Rampaud, M., Signoret, J.-P., and Vernet-Maury, E. 1994. Specific effect of predator odors on their potential preys. European Chemoreception Research Organisation, XIth congress, Blois.Google Scholar
  8. Brinck, C., Erlinge, S., and Sandell, M. 1983. Anal sac secretion in mustelids: A comparison. J. Chem. Ecol. 9:727–745.Google Scholar
  9. Buglass, A. J., Darling, F. M. C., and Waterhouse, J. S. 1990. Analysis of the anal sac secretion of the Hyenidae, pp. 65–69, in D. W. Macdonald, D. Müller-Schwarze, S. Natynczuk (eds.), Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  10. Bullard, R. W., Leiker, T. J., Peterson, J. E., and Kilburn, S. R. 1978. Volatile components of fermented egg, an animal attractant and repellent. J. Agric. Food Chem. 26:155–159.Google Scholar
  11. Crump, D. R. 1980a. Thietanes and dithiolanes from the anal gland of the stoat (Mustela erminea). J. Chem. Ecol. 6:341–347.Google Scholar
  12. Crump, D. R. 1980b. Anal gland secretion of the ferret (Mustela putorius forma furo). J. Chem. Ecol. 6:837–844.Google Scholar
  13. Davies, J. M., Lachno, D. R., and Roper, T. J. 1988. The anal gland secretion of the European badger (Meles meles) and its role in social communication. J. Zool., London 216:455–463.Google Scholar
  14. Dohi, H., Yamada, A., and Entsu, S. 1991. Cattle feeding deterrents emitted from cattle feces. J. Chem. Ecol. 17:1197–1203.Google Scholar
  15. Goodrich, B. S. 1983. Studies of the chemical composition of secretions from skin glands of the rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, pp. 275–290, in D. Müller-Schwarze, R. M. Silverstein (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 3. Plenum Press, New-York.Google Scholar
  16. Goodrich, B. S., Hesterman, E. R., Shaw, K. S., and Mykytowycz, R. 1981. Identification of some volatile compounds in the odor of fecal pellets of the rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus. J. Chem. Ecol. 7:817–827.Google Scholar
  17. Jacob, J., and Schliemann, H. 1983. Chemical composition of the secretion from the anal sacs of Civettictis civetta (Schreber, 1776). Z. Naturforsch. 38c:497–500.Google Scholar
  18. Jacob, J., and Schliemann, H. 1986. The anal sac secretion of viverrids from the genus Genetta. Z. Naturforsch. 41c:325–336.Google Scholar
  19. Malosse, C. 1990. A simple and efficient fraction collector for micropreparative capillary gas chromatography. J. High Resolut. Chromatogr. 13:784–785.Google Scholar
  20. Marnane, N. J., Matthews, L. R., Kilgour, R., and Hawke, M. 1982. Prevention of bark chewing of pine trees by cattle: The effectiveness of repellents. Proc. N.Z. Soc. Anim. Prod. 42:61–63.Google Scholar
  21. Muller-Schwarze, D. 1990. Leading them by their noses: animal and plant odors for managing vertebrates, pp. 585–598, in D. W. Macdonald, D. Müller-Schwarze, S. E. Natynczuk (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  22. Ödberg, F. O., and Francis-Smith, K. 1976. A study on eliminative and grazing behaviour. The use of the field by captive horses. Equine Vet. J. 8:147–149.Google Scholar
  23. Pfister, J. A., MÜller-Schwarze, D., and Balph, D. F. 1990. Effects of predator fecal odors on feed selection by sheep and cattle. J. Chem. Ecol. 16:573–583.Google Scholar
  24. Preti, G., Muetterties, E. L., Furman, J. M., Kennelly, J. J., and Johns, B. E. 1976. Volatile constituents of dog (Canis familiaris) and coyote (Canis latrans) anal sacs. J. Chem. Ecol. 2:177–186.Google Scholar
  25. Raymer, J., Wiesler, D., Novotny, M., Asa, C., Seal, U. S., and Mech, L. D. 1985. Chemical investigations of wolf (Canis lupus) anal-sac secretion in relation to breeding season. J. Chem. Ecol. 11:593–608.Google Scholar
  26. Schultz, T. H., Flath, R. A., Mon, T. R., Eggling, S. B., and Teranishi, R. 1977. Isolation of volatile components from a model system. J. Agric. Food Chem. 25:446–449.Google Scholar
  27. Sokolov, V. E., Albone, E. S., Flood, P. F., Heap, P. F., Kagan, M. Z., Vasilieva, V. S., Roznov, V. V., and Zinkevich, E. P. 1980. Secretion and secretory tissues of the anal sac of the mink, Mustela vison. J. Chem. Ecol. 6:805–825.Google Scholar
  28. Sullivan, T. P., Crump, D. R., and Sullivan, D. S. 1988. Use of predator odors as repellents to reduce feeding damage by herbivores. III. Montane and meadow voles (Microtus montanus and Microtus pennsylvanicus). J. Chem. Ecol. 14:363–377.Google Scholar
  29. Swihart, R. K., Pignatello, J. J., and Mattina, M. J. I. 1991. Aversive responses of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, to predator urines. J. Chem. Ecol. 17:767–777.Google Scholar
  30. Tiedman, G. T., Oh, J. H., Oita, K., and Christoffers, G. V. 1976. Wildlife damage control II: Partial identification of the active ingredients in big game repellents derived from fish and eggs. 172nd National Meeting of American Chemical Society, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  31. Vernet-Maury, E. 1980. Trimethyl-thiazoline in fox feces: a natural alarming substance for the rat, p. 407, in H. van der Starre (ed.). Proceedings of the VII International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste VII.Google Scholar
  32. Weldon, P. J., 1990. Responses by vertebrates to chemicals from predators, pp. 500–521, in D. W. Macdonald, D. Müller-Schwarze, and S. E. Natynczuk (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  33. Weldon, P. J., Graham, D. P., and Mears, L. P. 1993. Carnivore fecal chemicals suppress feeding by alpine goats (Capra hircus). J. Chem. Ecol. 19:2947–2952.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cécile Arnould
    • 1
  • Christian Malosse
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Signoret
    • 1
  • Charles Descoins
    • 2
  1. 1.I.N.R.A./C.N.R.S., U.R.A. 1291Laboratoire de Comportement AnimalNouzillyFrance.
  2. 2.I.N.R.A.Unité de Phytopharmacie et Médiateurs ChimiquesVersailles CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations