Why Animals Lick Salt Licks But Humans Shouldn’t

Have you ever wondered why animals lick salt licks? While it’s a common behavior among many species, it’s not something humans should be doing. Salt licks provide an essential source of minerals to animals that cannot get them from their normal diet, but for humans, the risks far outweigh any potential benefits.

In this blog post, I’ll explore why animals lick salt licks and why humans shouldn’t follow suit. We’ll also look at some healthy alternatives that can help us meet our mineral needs without putting our health in danger.

So if you’re curious about why animals enjoy licking salt licks yet humans shouldn’t…continue reading!

Cow Licking a Salt Lick

Can Humans Lick Salt Licks?

Humans can technically lick salt licks, but it is not a necessary or healthy behavior. Salt licks are typically used by animals that live in areas where natural salt sources are scarce, such as deer, horses, and cows. 

These animals will lick the salt lick to supplement their mineral intake, as salt contains essential minerals like sodium and chloride that are necessary for their survival.

Humans should be mindful of the amount of salt they consume, as a heightened sodium intake can result in health problems such as high blood pressure and an elevated risk for heart disease or stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, adults ought to restrict their daily consumption of sodium up to 2,300 milligrams; ideally no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. Keep in mind that one lick from a salt lick usually contains much higher amounts than this recommendation.

Humans can gain all the essential minerals, such as sodium and chloride, from a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. There is no added benefit to licking a salt lick; in fact, it may even be detrimental to health. Therefore, humans should not resort to lapping up salt licks for sustenance.
On a related note, if you are curious about licking that Himalayan salt lamp you may have sitting on a shelf in your home I wrote an entire article on that, check it out here!

Are There Any Nutritional Benefits To Humans From Licking Salt Licks?

Although many animals rely on salt licks to nourish their bodies, humans do not gain any benefit from licking them. It is unhealthy for humans to consume too much sodium as this can cause high blood pressure and increase the likelihood of heart disease or stroke.

While giving a salt lick a…well, lick won’t necessarily hurt you doing so often could have adverse effects. Salt licks are not designed for human consumption and may contain other substances like pesticides or heavy metals which can negatively affect human health. As such, it is best to avoid licking salt licks. 

Instead, humans should obtain their essential minerals from a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Doing so will ensure that your mineral intake remains within the recommended guidelines set by the American Heart Association.

Nutritional benefits aside, licking salt licks can be quite a strange and amusing experience. If you do decide to take part in this peculiar activity, it is best to proceed with caution and only lick a salt lick now and then for the novelty of it, and even then…sparingly!

Why Do Animals Lick Salt Licks, But Not Humans?

For many animals, salt licks provide minerals like sodium that aid in their survival. When natural sources of these minerals are rare, deer, horses, and other animals rely on salty deposits to replenish what they need for their muscle and to maintain the right balance of fluids in their system.

Salty Foods

On the contrary, humans have unlimited access to both natural and man-made food sources that are jam-packed with essential minerals and nutrients.

Not only that, but we also have multiple forms of salt available at our fingertips…like table salt…which can be used as an enhancer for flavor or simply a supplement for those much-needed minerals.

Animals are creatures of adaptation, honing their diets and behaviors based on the environment they inhabit – a stark contrast to humans who have access to various food sources. 

This helps explain why animals may find salt licks appealing while it is not something that would encourage humans in any way. Animals have different nutritional needs than us, ones which necessitate licking mineral-rich substances like those found at salt licks.

Is A Salt Lick Just Salt?

A salt lick is typically made of compressed salt mixed with other minerals and trace elements that are essential for the health and well-being of animals. While salt is the main ingredient, salt licks can also contain other minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

These minerals are important for maintaining a healthy balance of fluids in the body, nerve and muscle function, and overall health.

The composition of salt licks can vary depending on the intended use and the specific animal it is intended for. For example, a salt lick for deer may contain different minerals than a salt lick for horses. Additionally, some salt licks may be formulated to provide specific nutrients for certain animals with specific dietary needs, such as pregnant or lactating animals.

Salt licks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and forms ranging from blocks to granules and pellets. Blocks are the most popular form of a salt lick as they can easily be placed on the ground where animals naturally gather. These blocks boast a unique combination of compressed salt alongside other minerals and trace elements for added nutrition, with many also treated with mineral oil so that their shape is preserved through adverse weather conditions.

Is A Salt Lick The Same Thing As A Salt Block?

While salt is the key component in salt licks and salt blocks, their use is quite distinct. Salt licks are for animals to consume to supplement any deficiencies when nourishment sources become harder to find. Contrary, salt blocks serve primarily as grooming aids as well as fermenting agents.

Salt blocks can be placed around an animal’s habitat to provide a natural source of grooming and cleaning, while when combined with water they become a unique form of mineral-rich nutritional supplementation. Salt licks, however, provide animals with direct access to essential minerals and trace elements when natural sources are scarce or inadequate.

What Is A Mineral Block And How Does It Compare To A Salt Lick Or Salt Block?

Mineral blocks are a feed supplement formulated to provide essential minerals and trace elements that are necessary for optimal health in animals. Whether you’re tending to a pregnant or lactating animal, these blocks can be tailored specifically to meet their personal dietary requirements.

Utilizing mineral supplements can enhance the overall diet of cattle, horses and other animals that may not be receiving a balanced nutritional intake. This is especially true when these creatures are unable to access their required nutrients naturally or require additional minerals in their diets.

Mineral blocks exist in an array of shapes, like granules or pellets, and are usually located on the ground where animals assemble…much like a salt lick. These mineral blocks typically include essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc which help regulate fluid balance levels within the physique while promoting healthy nerve & muscle functioning. Additionally, they may contain vitamins that aid in sustaining general health alongside amino acids & other vital nutrients.

It’s important to remember that mineral blocks are not a substitute for a nutritious diet, but rather an addition to it. The composition of these blocks can differ depending on their intended use and the animal they’re meant for; therefore, consulting with either your veterinarian or animal nutritionist is paramount to find out which block best suits your specific creature or herd.


Hi, I'm Chris. Who knew there could be so many interesting things about salt?!

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