For instance, lions use their urine to mark their territory.

What's the common way to refers to these "marks"? Territorial marks? (Not sure if this is common usage, though, since Google Books only returns 328 results.)

  • Piss is a bit vulgar, and not very technical. I'd say "urine" if I were you.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 12:09
  • @Mari-LouA Sorry, I wasn't being too scientific. Fixed.
    – wyc
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 12:10
  • "Scent". The scent may be in urine, feces, or in other substances emitted by special glands. (You have scent glands under your arms and in your groin area.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


It is called scent marking (also known as territorial marking or spraying):

  • Scent marking, also known as territorial marking or spraying when this involves urination, is a behaviour used by animals to identify their territory.

  • Most commonly, this is accomplished by depositing strong-smelling substances contained in the urine, faeces, or, from specialised scent glands located on various areas of the body. Often, the scent contains pheromones or carrier proteins such as the major urinary proteins to stabilize the odours and maintain them for longer. The animal sniffing the scent mark will frequently display a flehmen response to assist in communication of the information.

  • Not only does scent marking communicate information to conspecifics, but can also indicate the presence of the territory-holder to prey species. For example, felids such as leopards and jaguars mark by rubbing themselves against vegetation.


  • +1 for spraying which is the term I'm most familiar with, but easy to miss among all the words in bold type. Urine spraying in cats
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 12:12

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