Animals come in all shapes and sizes, some may appear cute whereas others can look ferocious, and some can just look downright disturbing. However, they all have a special place in our lives as they forever surprise us and keep us enchanted with their strange features and abilities. Here we will take a look at 11 things you never knew about animals.
1. Live Entirely Off the Blood
Vampire bats conjure up imagines in our heads of Dracula with blood-covered fangs preying on humans and their blood, and this could not be more accurate as their diet is actually blood. In fact, what makes vampire bats unique is that they are the only animals in the world that live entirely off the blood. That would even make Dracula envious!
2. Organ Mutation
When we think of sea cucumbers we think of something, well, quite like a cucumber. So imagine a cucumber that when attacked, defends itself by squirting its internal organs out of its bottom! Furthermore, those organs will grow back so there is no damage to themselves. Weird, eh!
3. Two Sexes
We are all defined by our sex, and in humans, that is male or female with the odd rare case of hermaphroditism. Imagine, though, if you could change your sex at will, or to take advantage of environmental reasons. Imagine further that you could be both sexes at the same time! Welcome to the wonderful world of fish where both of these aforementioned things regularly happen. A case of having your cake and eating it!
4. Stone Eaters
We are all aware of just how dangerous crocodiles can be and the fact that their diets vary enormously and can contain anything from buffalo to lions to even the odd unlucky human. Would you then be surprised to hear that their stomachs are full of stones, that stay with them all their lives? It has taken years to understand the real reasons, but now scientists believe that they do it so that the stones act as ballast when they’re diving. How clever!
5. Excellent Hunters
Did you know that panthers are actually either leopards or jaguars and they become known as panthers because they have melanin in their skin which gives them their dark appearance? Even more fascinating is the fact that if you (dare!) to look at them closely they have exactly the same markings as normal leopards and jaguars which lack the melanin. This mutation has allowed panthers to become excellent hunters and also give them their mysterious reputation.
A dog is a man’s best friend, so the saying goes, but did you know that dogs can also be beneficial to our health? They do this in a number of ways such as by acting as therapy dogs when we are in need of comfort or companionship in our lives. If you visit here, professionals can advise you how they will help you to destress and overcome anxiety and depression, and they can also help with training your dog. Dogs can also help to alleviate children’s allergies and are great fun to be around, so they aren’t just one-trick ponies!
7. Mimic Voices
We all know that parrots have a famous ability to mimic human voices and other sounds, but do they actually understand what they are talking about, or are they effectively a feathered dictaphone? Well, studies have shown that actually they do show the cognitive reasoning skills of a 4-year-old child. They understand the concept of zero and also bigger and smaller, so next time you are chatting nonsense to a parrot why not try engaging its brain, you might find you have a new best friend!
If you are into your horseracing then pay attention, because this could make you a lot of money. Horses can actually display their mood and emotions through their facial characteristics and their vocalizations. So, next time you are watching horses around the parade ring keep an eye out for signals of bravado and confidence and you might just pick that next short-priced winner!
For some reason, people have always been scared of spiders, long before they sat through the petrifying arachnophobia for the first time, so let’s add to your fear of this particular animal by telling you that young spiders will sometimes cannibalize their mothers! That’s right, when food becomes scarce the Australian Flower spider will sacrifice itself for the benefit of its offspring and she will let them attack her with their venom, reducing her to mush that they can dine on. Thanks, mum!
10. Furry Friends
Polar bears have black skin. You think I’m talking nonsense, everyone knows they’re white, right? Wrong, they really do. Polar bears are unique in that their fur is transparent and reflects light giving them their white appearance when actually they have brown skin. Without this adaptation, they wouldn’t be able to survive in the white arctic north as they would be easily spotted by their prey.
11. Sound Killers
In the animal world, there are definitely some unusual methods of killing prey, but perhaps one of the strangest belongs to the pistol shrimp. This shrimp crashes its claws together creating such a noise that it immediately stuns its prey, allowing it an easy meal. In fact, they are able to generate a sound of over 200 decibels, which is pretty damn loud when you consider that the human eardrum can burst at 150 decibels!
The animal kingdom never ceases to surprise us with the thousands of oddities that its many species provide. Animals can change sex to suit their needs or the environment, they can survive purely on a diet of blood and can excrete their internal organs as a defense mechanism. Even domesticated pets such as dogs can help to keep us mentally healthy and can help children reduce their allergies. Horses and parrots can (almost) communicate with humans and some mother spiders will let their young dine on them if there is a lack of food. What a wonderfully diverse planet we live on, that hopefully will continue to throw up surprises before we threaten her very existence with our human behavior.