Have you ever wondered why animals lick salt licks?
Salt licks are an important source of minerals for animals that cannot get them from their normal diet, but for humans the risks far outweigh the potential benefits.
In this blog post I will explore why animals lick salt licks and why humans should not follow suit.
So if you’re curious about why animals enjoy licking salt lollies, humans shouldn’t… keep reading!
Can humans lick salt lollipops?
Humans can technically lick salt licks, but it’s not a necessary or healthy behavior.
Salt licks are typically used by animals that live in areas where natural sources of salt are scarce, such as deer, horses, and cows.
These animals will lick the salt lick to improve their mineral intake, as salt contains essential minerals such as sodium and chloride that are essential for survival.
People should be mindful of how much salt they consume, as increased sodium intake can cause health problems such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
Keep in mind that one lick of salt shaker usually contains much more than this recommendation.
Humans can get all the essential minerals, such as sodium and chloride, from a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
There is no benefit to licking a salt lick; in fact, it can even be harmful to your health.
Are there any nutritional benefits for humans from licking salt licks?
While many animals rely on salt licks to nourish their bodies, humans do not profit from licking them.
Salt lollies are not designed for human consumption and may contain other substances such as pesticides or heavy metals that can have a negative effect on human health.
Instead, people should get their essential minerals from a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
Aside from the nutritional benefits, licking salt lollies can be quite a strange and fun experience.
Why do animals lick salt licks but not humans?
For many animals, salt licks provide minerals such as sodium that help them survive.
When natural sources of these minerals are rare, deer, horses and other animals rely on salt deposits to replenish what they need for their muscles and to maintain the proper balance of fluids in their system.
On the contrary, humans have unlimited access to both natural and man-made foods that are full of essential minerals and nutrients.
Not only that, but we also have a variety of salt on hand…such as table salt…which can be used as a flavor enhancer or simply a supplement for these much-needed minerals.
Animals are adaptive creatures, refining their diet and behavior based on the environment they live in – a stark contrast to humans who have access to a variety of food sources.
This helps explain why animals might find salt licks attractive while it is not something that would motivate humans in any way.
Animals have different nutritional needs than we do, ones that require licking mineral-rich substances such as those found in salt licks.
Salt licks are usually made from compressed salt mixed with other minerals and trace elements essential for animal health and well-being.
While salt is the main ingredient, salt lollies may also contain other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
These minerals are important for maintaining a healthy balance of fluids in the body, nerve and muscle function, and general health.
The composition of salt licks can vary depending on the intended use and the specific animal for which it is intended.
For example, salt licks for deer may contain different minerals than salt licks for horses.
In addition, some salt licks may be formulated to provide specific nutrients for certain animals with special dietary needs, such as pregnant or lactating animals.
Salt licks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from blocks to granules and pellets.
Blocks are the most popular form of salt licks as they are easy to place on the ground where animals naturally congregate.
These blocks boast a unique blend of compressed salt with other minerals and trace elements for added nutrition, with many also treated with petroleum to retain their shape in harsh weather conditions.
Salt lollies are expensive to consume to supplement any deficiency when sources of nutrition become more difficult to find.
Salt blocks can be placed around animal habitats to provide natural grooming and cleaning, but when combined with water they become a unique form of mineral-rich nutrients.
Salt licking, however, provides animals with direct access to essential minerals and trace elements when natural sources are scarce or insufficient.
What is a mineral block and how does it compare to a salt lick or a salt block?
Mineral blocks are feed additives formulated to provide the essential minerals and trace elements necessary for optimal animal health.
The use of mineral supplements can increase the overall diet of cattle, horses and other animals that may not be receiving a balanced diet.
This is especially true when these creatures cannot access their essential nutrients naturally or require additional minerals in their diet.
Mineral blocks come in a variety of sizes, such as granules or pellets, and are usually located on the ground where the animals congregate…much like a salt lick.
These mineral blocks typically contain essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc that help regulate fluid balance within the body while promoting healthy nerve and muscle function.