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Blue Bottles to Ward Off Stray Animals: Just Superstition!

Updated on July 7, 2020

When I initially heard about using blue bottles to keep the menace caused by stray dogs and cat at bay, it was difficult to grasp. The road to our servant quarter has been made unusable by defecating stray dogs so we decided to experiment with blue bottles. Three used water bottles were filled with indigo-mixed blue water and hanged on the boundary walls with a gap of 3-5-meters. To our utmost surprise, we found that stray dogs did not enter this road since then and we got rid of defecating dogs approximately for a fortnight. We were happy to see this but one day someone informed that fresh faecal matter was lying on the road. We were perplexed. Has our experiment failed?

We observed for the next few days and there were no faeces again on the road. It made us conclude that blue bottles were useful in warding off stray dogs during the day but not in the night. Or there could be another reason. Dogs defecating on this road had failed to notice the hanging water bottles. Anyways, we’re keeping a watch on it and still finding blue bottles useful in warding off the stray dogs. It can not be said with certainty about cats as observing cats was difficult.

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To gather evidences in support of our observations, we took help of google and searched the web for similar observations in other cities. Similar instances were reported 3 years ago in a leading newspaper where a similar trend of hanging some water bottles in Gangtok was noted. Water bottles filled with Indigo were seen positioned on the sidewalks, doors, verandahs and in the gardens of houses. As per the report, a veterinary expert explained that dogs are obedient animals and the bluish bottles affect them psychologically and they receive a signal that they are not supposed to defecate at that spot. Another expert justified with a different explanation according to which blue colour signifies sanitized or hygienic areas to the dogs.

Another report from Kolkata showed that the city was in grip of ‘indigo fever’ to ward off stray dogs and a trip down city by lanes found bottles filled with indigo water tied to collapsible gates, windows and outside the main entrances of houses. Several explanations provided by the residents in support of the spurt of blue bottles in the city. A scientific study published in a news paper is attributed to the spurt which said that dogs were afraid of colour indigo. In a study conducted in Russia it was reported that dogs are not colour blind as traditionally believed and they can distinguish between yellow and blue colours. Other interesting explanation in support of the blue bottle is that the light of lamp posts makes these bottles look magical and menacing at night and this scares dogs.

Some people may believe it and some may not. They might think it is rubbish and just another superstition. Experts do not see any scientific explanation for it, though we have found the tactic useful.


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