Instead of waiting for a sneeze, animals clear their noses on purpose.
“We see the apes blow their noses all the time — either one nostril at a time or both simultaneously” – Tracy Fenn, supervisor of mammals at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida, writes via email. The gorillas often use their own fingers and taste test the result.
An adult female bearded capuchin monkey has been observed by researchers in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara National Park for a while. They were stunned when she used sticks to probe her nose and teeth. The nasal probe usually triggered a sneeze reaction in the monkey.
Scientists have observed two chimpanzees in Tanzania using nasal probes, such as sticks—including one male who used them to trigger sneezes and clear his nose.
Genteel bonobos mamas have a special method of helping their babies breath better. “I’ve seen mother bonobos using their mouths to suck the snot out of a congested infant’s nose,” Fenn says.
Besides, many hooved animals have forward- or upward-facing nostrils, can choose to blow outward to clear their nasal passages. If there is anomaly, animals such as giraffes, dogs tend to adopt a casual “drip and lick” approach rather than deliberate attempts to blow by their long tongues.
A whale or dolphin’s blowhole might seem like a nose-blowing apparatus, but it’s not really – Quincy A. Gibson, a biologist at the University of North Florida, says. The blast we see when these animals breathe through their blowholes is air, water, and mucus. While dolphins will sometimes intentionally exhale forcefully that way, it’s more a cough than a nose blow.
And last, but certainly not least, some pawed animals, like dogs, let mucus drip down their little snouts before licking it off.