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Crow Takes An Ant Bath

What kind of bath now? When photographer Tony Austin spotted a crow that was acting weird, Austin decided to take a photo of it. It turns out that the crow was taking an ant bath, as the photographer noticed the crow had ants crawling all over its body. Petapixel has the details: 

Anting is a maintenance tactic birds use in which they intentionally invite ants or other insects onto their feathers and skin. Oftentimes the bird will lie down in a location covered with the insects and do certain poses while the bugs are swarming its body. This is called passive anting, and this is what Austin observed and photographed.
While there are documented observations of anting behavior, scientists still aren’t exactly sure why birds engage in it. Theories include the birds getting rid of parasites, grooming their feathers, preparing the insects for consumption, taking pleasure in the sensations, and stimulating feather growth for molting.

Image credit: Tony Austin 


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