Incredible Animal Facts You've Never Heard Before
There are millions of different animal species on Earth, a large portion of which are still unknown to us. Even the ones that we know about still largely remain a mystery. Though we know they exist, we still have much to discover about their behaviors and anatomies.
Some of the things scientists have learned, however, seem too strange to be true. Get ready to learn some of the weirdest, wildest and coolest facts about animals.
Sea Otters Are Skilled at Using Tools
Using tools was once thought to be a uniquely human skill. But as it turns out, we’re not quite as special as we believed we were. Many species of animals around the world use tools to find and gain access to food.
Octopuses Have Three Hearts
You don’t have to peek at an octopus for more than a minute to realize how different its biology is compared to our own. At first glance, it looks almost alien — like it belongs on another planet, not in our oceans. And indeed, these creatures are just as strange on the inside as they look on the outside.
Ravens Are Pranksters
Ravens give a whole new meaning to the expression "bird brain." They’ve gained a reputation for being one of the most intelligent species on the planet, bird or otherwise. Ravens are members of the corvid family, which is full of exceptionally smart birds like jays, magpies, crows and others.
Orcas Can Speak Dolphin
Haven’t you always wanted to talk to animals? You may never become Dr. Dolittle, but orcas may be living your dream under the ocean waves. Killer whales have their own dialects that vary from group to group.
Butterflies Taste Using Their Feet
Butterflies don’t have typical mouths like we (and other animals) do. Instead, they eat using a straw-like appendage called a proboscis. This allows them to drink the juice and nectar that they need to survive. But without mouths, how do they taste their foods?
Zebra Stripes Are Natural Insect Repellents
Zebras are known for their unique black and white stripes, but until recently, scientists didn’t know why these markings existed. For a long time, people believed that zebra stripes served as camouflage, keeping them concealed from lions and other predators.
Sloths Have Incredibly Slow Digestive Systems
Sloths are slow-moving in every sense. These animals sleep between 15 and 20 hours every day and spend most of their awake time eating. As herbivores, their diets consist mainly of leaves, shoots and buds, along with some small insects. Though eating takes up a minor part of their day, digestion is quite the opposite.
Axolotls Can Regrow Body Parts
You may recognize these little cuties by their feathery horns and glassy, wide-set eyes. These salamanders live in the water permanently and are also known as "the walking fish." But did you know that they hold a secret superpower?
Elephants Have a Lot in Common With Humans
We may not look anything alike, but humans and elephants have more similarities than differences. Elephants live in complex societies, with one matriarch leading a family group. They also have many of the same maternal instincts, caring for their babies for much longer than other mammals do.
Snow Leopards Can’t Roar
Snow leopards are ferocious in many ways, but you wouldn’t know it from their noises. Unlike many other big cats, snow leopards can’t roar. Instead, they can only make a purr-like sound known as a chuff. This is because their vocal cords are less developed than other cats’.
Crocodiles Have a Long Lifespan
In appearance, crocodiles are the closest thing we have to dinosaurs in our modern age. Though these creatures may actually not be prehistoric, they can live for a very long time. Crocodiles have a lifespan of up to 100 years.
Pigeons Can Count
Ravens aren’t the only smart birds flying around these days; pigeons are also surprisingly intelligent. One example of their intelligence is their ability to count and do basic math. According to one study published in the journal Science in 2011, pigeons can do math at the same level as monkeys.
Koalas Sleep a Ton
Most people could learn a thing or two from koala bears. We walk around, constantly sleep-deprived, waiting for the weekend when we can finally turn off our alarm clocks and get some rest. Most adult humans don’t even get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night.
Horned Lizards Have a Crazy Defense Mechanism
Animals use all sorts of different techniques to protect themselves from predators. Some animals use camouflage to blend into their environments. Some live in hard shells that are difficult for predator teeth to penetrate. And others, like the horned lizard, squirt blood out of their eyes.
Deer Are Super Speedy
Never try to outrun a white-tailed deer; you’ll lose every time. These deer can run up to 35 miles per hour. On top of that, they’re also incredible jumpers. They can reach heights of seven feet from standing and up to 10 feet when running. Deer can even bound well, covering 30 feet in a single leap.
Cats Know Their Names
However, they may not always choose to respond. House cats are very smart. But, they’re also very independent and don’t like to be told what to do. Your pet does, in fact, know that you’re calling its name. But whether it decides to come or not is entirely up to the animal itself.
Vampire Bats’ Saliva Prevents Blood From Clotting
Unlike their fictional namesakes, vampire bats don’t actually drink blood. They make small incisions with their teeth and lap up the blood as it drips out. This would be a rather short meal if it wasn’t for their spit.
Reindeer Eyes Change Color
Much like the leaves of a maple tree, reindeer eye colors change with the seasons. As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, the arctic reindeer’s eyes shift from gold to blue. So what causes this weird and wonderful transformation?
Wombat Poop Is Shaped Like Cubes
Wombats are super adorable, but this isn’t their only claim to fame. What they’re possibly best known for is their unique bathroom habits. This may be one of the rarest skills in the animal kingdom; no other animal poops perfect cubes.
Dolphins Have Names
No, we’re not talking about Flipper. Dolphins actually have unique names that they use to refer to each other. According to a 2013 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, bottlenose dolphins have specific whistles that they use for one another.
A Group of Ferrets Is Known as a Business
Picture a business of ferrets. We know what you’re imagining: a bunch of ferrets wearing suits and carrying briefcases, sitting behind computers and chatting about their weekend plans by the water cooler. While this may be adorable, it isn’t quite where the name originated.
Frogs Can’t Freeze to Death
Despite their small size, frogs are very tough and can survive in the most extreme of environments. Like many other animals, frogs hibernate during the winter. But how do they survive below-freezing temperatures without dying? They freeze themselves.
Squirrels Adopt Orphaned Babies
Squirrels aren’t typically thought of as social animals. Unlike chimpanzees and lions that spend most of their lives surrounded by family, red squirrels tend to be very territorial and live in isolation. But as it turns out, a squirrel’s mothering instinct is as strong as other animals’.
Cows Have BFFs
Animals have personal relationships much like humans do. Cows have strong social ties to the other animals that they spend their time with. Surprisingly, they may even have best friends. In 2013, researchers at the University of Northampton completed a study on the subject.
Painted Turtles Have a Unique Winter Survival Tactic
Not everyone is lucky enough to travel south for the winter. But the cold, harsh weather can make survival difficult. Creatures must evolve and learn how to live through freezing winter conditions. Painted turtles have a particularly unique way of making it through the chill.
Some Worms Jump
In general, worms are creatures that deserve celebration. Earthworms aerate the soil, help plants grow and can help humans catch fish. For all they provide us, we should be grateful for the humble worm. But, that doesn’t change the fact that they can also be quite unsettling.
Tigers Have Striped Skin
As the largest of all the wild cats, tigers are truly incredible works of nature. In addition to giving them their distinct look, the tiger’s stripes also serve an incredible purpose. They break up the outline of their bodies and make it more difficult for other animals to see the big cats at night. This helps them to be even better hunters.
Dominant Giraffes Have Darker Spots
How important are giraffe spots? They can tell you a lot more about these long-necked animals than you think. Believe it or not, dark spots on a giraffe indicate that they’re dominant and prefer to be solitary.
Octopuses Can Taste With Their Arms
Just how smart and dangerous are octopuses? These animals can travel up to 25 miles per hour, can camouflage their bodies and can use defensive ink squirts against predators. However, when they’re not escaping from jars, they’re tasting their next meal with their arms.
Slugs Have Four Noses
Did we say noses? We meant tiny, moving tentacles. And yes, there are four of them. A slug uses two of these tentacles to smell, and the other two are stalks that house their eyeballs on the top. Although these tentacles might look strange up close, they serve an important purpose.