A bristle is a stiff hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

 or feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

. Also used are synthetic materials such as nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 in items such as brooms and sweepers. Bristles are often used to make brushes for cleaning uses, as they are strongly abrasive; common examples include the toothbrush
The toothbrush is an oral hygiene instrument used to clean the teeth and gums that consists of a head of tightly clustered bristles mounted on a handle, which facilitates the cleansing of hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Toothpaste, which often contains fluoride, is commonly used in conjunction...

 and toilet brush
Toilet brush
A toilet brush is a domestic implement designed for the cleaning of the lavatory pan. The modern plastic version was invented in 1932 by William C. Schopp of Huntington Park, California, USA and later patented in 1933 by The Addis Brush Company....

. The bristle brush is a common household cleaning tool, often used to remove dirt or grease from pots and pans.

Variations of bristle in the animal kingdom

Bristles are found on pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

 breeds instead of fur on most mammals. Because the density is less than with fur, pigs are vulnerable to sunburn
A sunburn is a burn to living tissue, such as skin, which is produced by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, commonly from the sun's rays. Usual mild symptoms in humans and other animals include red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness. An excess of UV...

. One breed, the Tamworth Pig
Tamworth Pig
The Tamworth is a breed of domestic pig originating in the United Kingdom, with input from Irish pigs. It is among the oldest of pig breeds but as with many older breeds of livestock it is not well suited to modern production methods and is listed as "Threatened" in the United States and...

 is endowed with a very dense bristle structure such that sunburn damage to skin is minimized. Animals named for their bristles include bristlebird
The bristlebirds are a family, Dasyornithidae, of passerine bird. There are three species in one genus, Dasyornis. The family is endemic to Australia...

s, the Bristle-thighed Curlew
Bristle-thighed Curlew
The Bristle-thighed Curlew, Numenius tahitiensis, is a large shorebird that breeds in Alaska and winters on tropical Pacific islands. It has a long, decurved bill and bristled feathers at the base of the legs. Its length is about 43 cm and wingspan about 84 cm...

, the Bristle-spined Porcupine
Bristle-spined Porcupine
The Bristle-spined Rat, Chaetomys subspinosus, is an arboreal rodent from Brazil. Also known as the Bristle-spined Porcupine or Thin-spined Porcupine, it is the only member of the genus Chaetomys and the subfamily Chaetomyinae...

, and the Trinity bristle snail
Trinity bristle snail
The Trinity bristle snail is a species of medium-sized, air-breathing, land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc.This snail is a threatened species.-Habitat:This snail is found only in isolated locales along the Trinity River and...

Bristles also anchor worms to the soil to help the worm move.
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