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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Personal grooming (also called titivating and preening) is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body. In animals, it is a species-typical behavior that is controlled by neural circuits in the brain.

In humans

Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleaning the hair, combing it to extract tangles, and styling. It can also include cosmetic care of the body, such as shaving.

In animals

A domesticated tortoiseshell cat grooming herself.

Individual animals regularly clean themselves and put their fur, feathers or other skin coverings in good order. This activity is known as personal grooming, a form of hygiene. Extracting foreign objects such as insects, leaves, dirt or twigs, are all forms of grooming. Among animals, birds spend considerable time preening their feathers. This is done to remove ectoparasites, keep them in good aerodynamic condition, and waterproof them. To do that, they use the preen oil secreted by the uropygial gland, the dust of down feathers, or other means such as dust-bathing or anting. During oil spills, animal conservationists that rescue penguins sometimes dress them in knitted sweaters to stop them from preening and thereby ingesting the mineral oil which is poisonous. Felidae cats are well known for their extensive grooming. One reason advanced for such grooming is to remove all traces of blood and other matter so as to not alert prey with the scent. Cats groom so much that they often produce hairballs from the fur they ingest.

Grooming as a social activity

Many social animals adapt preening and grooming behaviors for other social purposes such as bonding, social structure enforcement.

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See also

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