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14 of the Cleanest Types of Animals

Have you ever wondered which animals are classified as the cleanest in the world? From the calm and contented badger to the curious and mischievous sea otter, we are going to take a closer look at some of the planet’s most pristine animals.

These creatures manage to keep themselves spotless and free from most of nature’s messier elements while they go about their daily routines. We’ll examine how they stay so clean, why it’s essential that they do, and what makes them unique among all other creatures on earth.

So let’s dive right into discovering just how these remarkable creatures maintain their spotless reputation in an otherwise dirty world!

The 14 Cleanest Animals in the World

1. Cats

Black-footed cat
Black-footed cat | image by Jonathan Kriz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Felis catus

Cats are known for their fastidious grooming habits. In fact, they spend almost 50% of their waking hours cleaning themselves by chewing, licking, and scratching.

Fortunately, these furry creatures possess several tools that help them achieve this level of cleanliness. These include rough tongues covered with tiny, sharp, and scoop-shaped spines made of keratin) and whiskers. Their tongues help them remove dirt, dead hair, and parasites, while the whiskers sense dirt particles on their fur and alert them to clean it off.

2. Badgers

badger european
European badger | Image by andy ballard from Pixabay

Scientific name: Meles meles

Badgers are known to be incredibly clean animals, with some scientists believing their high level of cleanliness is due to the complex social hierarchy within their family units.

Badgers groom themselves and each other in order to stay clean, and the adults even teach their young how to groom. They have specialized front teeth that help separate their fur and pick out parasites, keeping their coats in tip-top condition.

On top of the routine social grooming, badgers also engage in social scent-making, rubbing scent glands under their tails on each other’s fur to mark territory and ensure the group has the same odor.

3. Sea Otters

Sea Otter floats on the sea
Sea Otter floats on the sea | image by Dave Bezaire via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Enhydra lutris

Sea otters are arguably one of the cleanest animals in the world. These curious and mischievous creatures spend a lot of their time grooming themselves to keep warm in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Sea otters have specially adapted fur, which lets them trap air and keep their entire body warm and dry, even when they dive into freezing water. They groom themselves by rubbing their fur with stones or sea shells to remove dirt and parasites that accumulate in their thick coats.

This process can take up as much as five hours a day, but it is essential for their survival. They also clean their fur with their teeth and claws, which helps keep their coats free from dirt and debris.

4. Rattlesnakes

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake | image by Larry Smith via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Crotalus

When you hear about rattlesnakes, you likely think of something slimy, dirty, and dangerous. However, rattlesnakes are quite clean and take great care to keep themselves spotless and free from parasites.

Rattlesnakes have special “horned scales” on their bodies that help them shed their skin in order to rid them of dead cells, parasites, dirt, and other debris. This process is known as ecdysis, and it helps keep these slithering serpents from becoming covered in dust and other pollutants.

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5. Polar Bears

Polar Bear
Polar Bear | image by 358611 from Pixabay

Scientific name: Ursus maritimus

White, snowy, and spotless – polar bears are also incredibly clean animals. Despite living in some of the planet’s most extreme conditions, which constantly exposes them to dirt from the Arctic terrains, these bears still manage to keep themselves spotless and free from parasites.

Polar bears often jump around and roll in water and snow to clean their matted fur, especially if it’s filled with blood, dirt, and debris from a hunt. Doing this helps them remain clean and blend in with their icy surroundings.

6. Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants
Red Imported Fire Ants | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Formicidae

Ants not only keep themselves clean, but they also ensure their homes are spotless and well-maintained. These industrious insects clean their colonies by removing dead bodies, dirt, and food debris. They also build the nest and repair any damages caused by rain or other external factors.

Species like wood ants often fight bacteria, pathogens, and parasites in their nests using antimicrobial chemicals mixed with tree resin and other natural materials. These mixtures help them keep their nests clean, odor-free, and free from disease-causing organisms.

With this kind of organized behavior and commitment to cleanliness, it’s no wonder ants are considered one of the tidiest animals in the world.

7. Common Pigeon

Common pigeon foraging
Common pigeon foraging

Scientific name: Columba livia

Pigeons are among the most common birds in the world, often seen strutting around cities, parks, and other urban areas. These gentle, small-billed birds of the doves family are surprisingly clean and well-groomed.

Common pigeons have dusty, dull-colored plumage, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. These birds spend a lot of time preening themselves to keep their feathers clean and well-maintained. They also use their beaks to remove dirt and parasites that may accumulate on their feathers over time.

In addition, common pigeons often build “dust baths or sand baths” for themselves by kicking up dust in a pile. They then roll around in a pile and use it to clean their feathers. This behavior helps them maintain a neat, clean look and keeps their feathers free from dirt and parasites.

8. Pigs

Domestic pig
Domestic pig

Scientific name: Sus scrofa domesticus

Pigs are often associated with filth and dirt because of their tendency to root around in mud and muck. However, the truth is that pigs are actually quite clean. These chubby beasts can be trained to use a litter box just like cats or dogs!

These intelligent animals always look for the cleanest spot in their pen to lie down and sleep. They also regularly groom themselves, using their snouts to dig up dirt, mud, and debris from their fur, leaving them neat and tidy.

Pigs also take frequent mud baths to protect themselves from sunburn or insect bites. But interestingly enough, pigs don’t actually like to be covered in mud. Instead, they will often work hard to keep as little mud on their bodies as possible.

9. Birds of Paradise

Birds of paradise feasting in the gutter
Birds of paradise feasting in the gutter | image by Andrea Lawardi via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Paradisaeidae

These exotic birds are known for their stunningly bright feathers and intricate courtship dances. Part of these birds’ mating rituals includes the males cleaning and tidying up their performance stages.

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They carefully weed, groom, and remove any debris from their courtship grounds to ensure a spotless area for their performances. This ensures that the females are not distracted by dirt and debris, allowing the males to show off their dazzling colors and elaborate dances without interruption.

10. Rabbits

European Rabbit
European rabbit | image by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus

Rabbits are cute and cuddly with beautiful, soft furry coats, but did you know that they are also some of the cleanest animals in the world?

These small mammals spend a lot of their time grooming themselves. They use their tongues and front paws to lick and groom their fur, ensuring it stays neat, soft, and free from dirt. The grooming process also helps the rabbits whisk away any unwanted shed fur.

Rabbits are also known for having excellent litter-box habits, just like cats, which helps them stay clean and free from germs.

11. Tigers

A tiger roaring
A tiger roaring

Scientific name: Panthera tigris

While there are many differences between tigers and their domesticated cousins (house cats), they share one important trait; a commitment to cleanliness. These ferocious animals like to keep a pristine environment and a tidy appearance.

Tigresses never take their meat into their sleeping areas; instead, they take it to a specific eating area away from their den. Tigers also spend long periods grooming themselves, using their rough tongues to remove dirt and parasites from their fur.

Finally, tigers are known for taking frequent baths in water sources such as streams or pools. This helps them keep their fur clean and free from dirt while also helping them cool off in hot weather.

12. Naked Mole Rats

naked mole rats underground
Naked Mole Rats underground | image by Cheryl via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Heterocephalus glaber

Despite their funny name, naked mole rats are actually one of the cleanest animals in the world. These tiny creatures inhabit underground burrows, where they live in large groups.

To keep their burrows clean and free from dirt, the naked mole rats have developed a very organized system for waste removal. Every day, several of these animals will be assigned to gather dirt from each level of the burrow and carry it away so that the living area remains tidy.

Interestingly, these tiny animals spend more time grooming themselves than cats do. While grooming their fur is essential to keeping it clean and healthy, it also helps them communicate with each other in the group and build lasting relationships.

13. Beavers

North american beaver on ground
North American beaver on ground

Scientific name: Castor canadensis

Beavers are known for their industriousness and engineering skills, but they also have a reputation for being some of the cleanest animals around.

Not only do these creatures spend a lot of time grooming themselves and their families, but they also work hard to keep their homes tidy. These large rodents construct dams and lodges that are customized to their environment. They then fill these structures with mud and sticks, creating waterproof and airtight homes.

Beavers also keep their living areas clean by regularly removing debris from their lodges. This helps them stay healthy and comfortable in their dwellings without the risk of getting dirty or infested by parasites.

14. Songbirds

Eastern yellow robin perching
Eastern yellow robin perching

Scientific name: Passeri

Songbirds are quite meticulous when it comes to their nests. They remove any fecal matter and discard uneaten food, eggshells, and dead chicks to make the nest less detectable by predators. This protects their vulnerable chicks while keeping their homes clean and free from disease-causing bacteria.

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Songbirds also pay attention to their appearance, preening themselves frequently with their beaks to keep their feathers neat. Depending on the season, these colorful birds alternate between water and sand baths to keep their feathers free from dirt and parasites.

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