Animal noses come in all shapes and sizes, and can be an important characteristic of a species. While there are many creatures that rely on their sense of smell, a nose can also serve many other purposes.
Noses are a part of the respiratory system and can be used to condition air as it’s inhaled. Humans depend on their noses, and animals also use their noses in all sorts of interesting ways. The following animals all have amazing noses that are able to do some remarkable things.
24 Animal Noses and the Animals They’re Attached to
From animals to big noses to creatures with a powerful sense of smell, some animals have noses that are beyond belief! Every one of these creatures has a nose that helps it stand out!
These Old World monkeys have some of the most colorful noses in the animal kingdom! Male mandrills typically have bright red nostrils, with blue and purple ridges on both sides of the nose.
A mandrill’s nose color is related to its testosterone levels. Males with higher testosterone levels have more vibrant noses. Mandrills have strict social hierarchies, and an alpha mandrill will usually have the brightest nose in his horde!
2. Pinocchio Frog
At first glance, the Pinocchio frog may look like other tree frogs, but it has a 2.5 millimeter nose that protrudes from its face. Like in the classic fairy tale Pinocchio, its nose is able to grow and shrink!
When the Pinocchio frog is communicating with other members of its species, its nose inflates, which causes it to stick out and point upward. During times of low activity, its nose will deflate, causing it to droop downward.
3. Grizzly Bear
All bears have strong senses of smell, but the grizzly bear’s nose is particularly powerful. In fact, a grizzly’s sense of smell is around 2,100 times more powerful than the average human.
Thanks to their superpowered noses, grizzly bears can detect odors from up to 20 miles away! Grizzlies rely on their nose to find sources of food, including fruits, berries, and potential prey.
Not only do aardvarks have long noses, but they have an excellent sense of smell. Inside an aardvark’s snout are nine olfactory bulbs, which it uses to find the ants and termites that it needs on.
In order to find food, an aardvark has to stick its nose in the dirt. Thankfully, aardvarks are able to shut their nostrils, which keeps out dirt, dust, and insects. While aardvarks search for food with their noses, they slurp up the insects they find with their long, sticky tongues!
An elephant’s trunk includes its nose and its upper lip. These trunks are powerful tools that elephants use in all kinds of ways. Elephants can use their trunk to grab food, drink water, and communicate with other elephants.
Trunks are also powerful olfactory organs. In fact, elephants may have the most powerful noses in the animal kingdom! Studies have found that elephants have more odor-sensing genes than any other animal.
6. Proboscis Monkey
While the proboscis monkey has many unusual traits, one of its most noticeable features is its nose! A male monkey’s nose can grow to be more than 4 inches long. Many proboscis monkeys have noses that dangle below their mouths!
Female monkeys also have long noses, but their noses are much shorter than males of their species. Experts believe that female proboscis monkeys look at nose length when selecting a mate.
Dogs are known for having a keen sense of smell, but the bloodhound’s nose is hard to beat. This scent hound was specifically bred for hunting and is an expert at tracking scents.
Bloodhounds have around 230 million olfactory cells in their noses, which is more than any other breed of dog. Since bloodhounds are such excellent trackers, they’re frequently used by police when searching for evidence or missing persons.
8. Sword-Nosed Bat
True to its name, this bat has a large, long nose that resembles a sword. In addition to having the biggest nose of any bat species, this creature has exceptionally large ears!
While these bats have a strong sense of smell, their nose can also help them hear what’s happening around them. The sword-nose bat is able to produce high-frequency pulses with its oversized nose. Listening to the echo helps the bat find food and navigate its environment.
9. Snub-Nosed Monkey
There are some creatures with unusually large noses, but the snub-nosed monkey barely has a nose at all! Its nose is a tiny stump, and two long nostrils sit along its face.
While its nose may not look like much, it benefits these monkeys in all kinds of ways. For example, having a small nose with upturned nostrils helps the black-and-white snub-nosed monkey to avoid frostbite!
10. Long-Nosed Bandicoot
This marsupial has a long snout that it uses to forage for food. Long-nosed bandicoots like to dig underground and search for food in the soil. Its long, slender nose makes it easy for the bandicoot to sniff out grubs.
Not only does this animal have an elongated snout, but its nose is also very sensitive. It can even detect scents below the surface of the soil! When it finds food, it quickly uses its claws to dig in and catch its prey before it has a chance to escape.
These flightless birds have nostrils located along the tips of their extra-long beaks. Thanks to the position of its nostrils and its strong sense of smell, the kiwi can smell food before it has the chance to see it.
Unlike most birds, kiwis have very advanced olfactory chamber. Since kiwis are almost entirely dependent on their noses, they’re nocturnal and search for food at night. Kiwis primarily feed on worms, but will also eat seeds, berries, and leaves.
12. Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nose mole has a unique olfactory organ that’s unlike any other nose in the animal kingdom. Its nose is made up of 22 tendrils that are always in motion. While this mole is practically blind, its sensitive nose provides it with detailed information about its environment.
Thanks to its nose, the star-nosed mole can even smell underwater! It’s able to blow and inhale air bubbles, which lets it detect the odors of underwater prey. It also relies on its nose for its sense of touch.
13. Hammerhead Shark
Due to its unusual head shape, the hammerhead shark’s eyes are extremely far apart. Surprisingly, the same thing is true of its nostrils! This shark has one nostril on each side of its head, which allows it to detect a wider range of odors.
Since its nostrils are so far apart, there’s typically a delay in detecting smells between one nostril and another. This helps hammerhead sharks to pinpoint where smells are coming from. Once a hammerhead shark smells something, it’s able to quickly track the smell.
Like elephants, tapirs have long snouts that combine the nose and upper lip. A tapir’s nose is extremely flexible and can even be used as a snorkel when the animal is swimming underwater!
Tapirs also use their noses to grab onto branches and strip them of leaves. The length of a tapir’s nose can vary based on the species. Brazilian tapirs have the shortest noses, while Malayan tapirs have the longest.
The sawfish has a long nose extension that’s called a rostrum. Along the nose are sharp teeth, which makes the protruding nose look like a saw! While many creatures use their nose to detect scents, the sawfish can use its rostrum to cut through prey.
It also uses its nose as a shovel! Thanks to its long nose, the sawfish can dig through sediment and find sources of food, like small clams and crustaceans.
16. Turkey Vulture
When you look at a turkey vulture, you might think that it has a hole in its beak. These holes are actually the bird’s nostrils, which are so wide that you can see straight through them and out the other side!
Since a turkey vulture’s nostrils are always wide open, it’s capable of detecting all kinds of odors, even when the scent is very faint. Researchers have found that turkey vultures also have oversized olfactory bulbs. They rely on their nose to find carrion before other scavengers can detect it.
17. Elephant Shrew
Like its namesake, the elephant, elephant shrews have long noses that resemble trunks. While elephants use their noses in a variety of ways, the elephant shrew mainly uses its nose to detect and reach food.
Thanks to its nose, elephant shrews can sniff out all kinds of food sources, like spiders, centipedes, and earthworms. Its nose is also very flexible and can be used to pull prey out of the ground!
18. African Giant Pouched Rat
The African giant pouched rat is an incredibly large rodent, measuring anywhere from 20 to 35 inches and weighing as much as 9 pounds! While its size is impressive, the most notable thing about this rat is its powerful sense of smell.
Not only can these rats detect odors that are far away, but they’re able to distinguish between all kinds of scents. These rats can use their noses to detect illnesses like tuberculosis and sniff out landmines so that they can be deactivated.
Although the bushpig has a lot in common with the domestic pig, its long snout helps to set it apart. It uses its snout to sniff out food sources and root for food in the ground below.
Bushpigs are nocturnal and rely on their noses to find insects, roots, and other types of food in the dark. A bushpig’s snout is also highly muscular! Thanks to its powerful nose, it can pull roots and other objects out of the ground below.
20. Saiga Antelope
The saiga antelope has a long, downward-facing nose that hangs over its mouth. Inside each of its nostrils are mucus membranes, which it can use to warm up air when temperatures start to drop.
Not only does the saiga antelope have a large nose, but its nose is actually inflatable! It can fill its nose with air and turn it into a filter, which helps it to breathe clean air when it’s surrounded by dust.
21. South American Coati
These creatures are a part of the raccoon family and are also closely related to bears. Like their relatives, coatis have an excellent sense of smell and are able to detect all kinds of odors. A coati’s snout is also long and large.
While a coati’s snout isn’t quite as flexible as an elephant’s trunk, it can still use its nose in many different ways. As an example, coati frequently use their noses to pull insects out of rotting logs or dig them out of the ground!
22. Elephant Seal
The elephant seal’s name comes from its long, trunk-like probiscus. Its nose only gets bigger as it ages and continues to grow until the seal is around 7 to 9 years old.
While the size of its nose already makes the elephant seal remarkable, it can also use its nose in interesting ways. It can inflate its nose, which helps to increase the volume of sounds when it’s trying to scare of predators or other seals.
Commonly referred to as cows, cattle have a surprisingly potent sense of smell. A cow typically has around 1,071 olfactory receptors in its nostrils, which means it’s better at detecting scents than many breeds of dogs.
When a cow wants to smell something, it pulls back its upper lip. This helps to draw in scents and closes up its nostrils, which helps the cow focus on the odor that it’s smelling.
The anteater’s long snout is one of its distinguishing features. Its snout is long and tubular and contains both its nostrils and its mouth. That means that the anteater eats out of its snout!
Anteaters are insectivores and use their noses and long tongues to consume large numbers of ants and other insects. When an anteater is feeding, it swallows insect after insect until it’s done.