A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

How to Get Dry Without a Towel

What dogs, cats even hummingbirds do when they get wet

Remarkable photo by Carli Davidson. See more at her site.

David Hu, a researcher at Georgia Tech, has studied how dogs shake themselves dry.

Using slo-mo video of his poodle and other dogs, Wu demonstrated that dogs – and furry animals of all kinds – have gotten it down to a fine art.

The shaking begins at the head and proceeds down the body, ending with flicks of the tail. The research shows that starting at the head provides a solid point for the energy wave to propagate down the animal’s body. And the head can also twist more than the rest of the body, resulting in higher amplitude waves.

They do it so well that washing machine designers have been taking note.

But what hummingbirds do is even more remarkable.

The Anna’s hummingbird is found in cloud forests and the neo-tropics where rainy days are common, and is able to remain active even in very wet weather. Until recently, nobody knew how they could do it.

Now Victor Manuel Ortega-Jimenez and Robert Dudley, both of the University of California, Berkeley, have published a paper describing how the Anna’s hummingbird whips its head back and forth through more than 180 degrees and at the amazing rate of 132 times a second. And while flying through the air!

It’s shaking, navigating and flapping all at the same time.

The two researchers used cameras that showed how the extremely delicate bird shakes its head with such acceleration that it can reach a g-force of 34. (Racing cars typically reach less than 6g).

“It is the extreme mobility,” Dudley said. “Its head is going through 180 degrees in a 10th of a second or less. It is just extraordinary.”

Why does a humming need to be such an expert at this? The Anna’s hummingbird weighs less than an eighth of an ounce. When you’re that small, a single drop of water is a lot of extra weight to be carrying around.

Check out the video that the two researchers took: