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Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Do Animals Cry?

Do Animals Cry?

Most animals don’t cry the way people do. Many animals produce a liquid that looks like tears. These “tears” have nothing to do with emotions, but are for the purpose of keeping the animal’s eyes moist and clean.

When we cry, muscles around our eyes tighten and squeeze the tear glands. Thus, the tears fall from our eyes. Animals, such as dogs, don’t have these muscles in their faces.

They can’t cry tears, but they do whimper when they are upset. Other than people, only the great apes and a few monkeys sometimes shed tears when they are upset.

When rhesus monkeys are separated from their mothers, one of their most common responses is to cry. Even rat pups emit something that sounds like crying when they are suddenly isolated.

All mammals produce tears from glands in the eye to lubricate the cornea and flush out dust and dirt. But crying as a response to emotional distress might be uniquely human.

Elephants are known to shed tears, but we don’t know their state of mind and it may be that we only call it ‘crying’ because they already have such sad-looking faces.

Content for this question contributed by Nicolle Gabo, resident of East Longmeadow, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA