Even in the animal world there are strategies, behaviors and remedies to counter the spread of infectious diseases a great war that is fought every day, making the most of the possibilities that nature offers.
Christian Lenzi, ethologist, co-founder with Chiara Grasso of EticoScienza, and author of «The secrets of immunity. Everything we can learn from animals about hygiene and infection control»(Lindau editions) has written a real sample of habits, behaviors and actions that animals put in place to fight this war.
We thus discover that chimpanzees also practice quarantine, removing contagious patients to preserve the health of the group. That the lemurs they rub the millipedes on their fur because they exploit the stinging power of the liquid that these tiny animals produce to ward off enemies. That elephants they use the mud of the pools of water as a protective cream to defend themselves from the sun’s rays and that giraffes they have their fur cleaned, as if they were going to a wellness center, by the bufaghe, small and very nice red-billed birds, which continually nibble on the parasites from the backs of large African mammals. But we also find out that animals defend themselves against viruses and bacteria, for example, by using aromatic herbs to disinfect the nest, as some birds do, while the monkeys groom each other to remove pesky pests.
In short, there is a lot to learn from the animal world about cleanliness and immunity. In fact, the book, written in full pandemic by SARS-CoV-2, between spring and early summer of 2020, was born from the question that Christian Lenzi asked himself during the lockdown and the cleaning surplus to which we all underwent to counter the spread of the pandemic: but how do animals do it? In the end, it also becomes an invitation not to compromise ecosystems precisely to avoid exposing oneself to the arrival of unknown diseases.