Love Vanilla? That's the Smell of Beaver Butt

An anal secretion is used to flavor foods, perfumes
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2013 4:15 PM CDT
Updated Oct 6, 2013 7:00 PM CDT
Love Vanilla? That's the Smell of Beaver Butt

(Newser) – Like vanilla ice cream? Don't read this—because the smell of a beaver's butt is key to at least some vanilla flavoring, Time reports. More specifically, beavers like to mark their territory with a musky, vanilla compound located in sacs between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Manufacturers have been extracting it for 80 years to flavor foods and perfumes—but it's tricky, because the compound often mixes with urine and anal gland secretions.

story continues below

"You can milk the anal glands so you can extract the fluid," wildlife ecologist Joanne Crawford tells National Geographic. "You can squirt it out. It’s pretty gross." But she admits to sticking her nose in there and taking a whiff: "People think I’m nuts. I tell them, 'Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.'" For the record, the slimey brown compound is extracted by anesthetizing a beaver and "milking" its nether regions. Ice cream sundae, anyone? (Read more beavers stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.