50 Incredible Animal Facts You'll Want to Share

iStock
iStock

Arm yourself with trivia from the animal kingdom.

1. TRAINED PIGEONS CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PAINTINGS OF PABLO PICASSO AND CLAUDE MONET.

2. THE PEACOCK MANTIS SHRIMP CAN THROW A PUNCH AT 50 MPH, ACCELERATING QUICKER THAN A .22-CALIBER BULLET.

3. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT WILD CHIMPS IN GUINEA DRINK FERMENTED PALM SAP, WHICH CONTAINS ABOUT 3 PERCENT ALCOHOL BY VOLUME.

4. THE CHEVROTAIN IS AN ANIMAL THAT LOOKS LIKE A TINY DEER WITH FANGS. 

5. CAPUCHIN MONKEYS PEE ON THEIR HANDS TO WASH THEIR FEET.

6. ONLY THE MALES ARE CALLED PEACOCKS. FEMALES ARE CALLED PEAHENS.

7. DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES FORM A HEART WITH THEIR TAILS WHEN THEY MATE.

8. BABY ELEPHANTS SUCK THEIR TRUNKS FOR COMFORT.

9. TIGERS HAVE STRIPED SKIN AS WELL. EACH PATTERN IS AS UNIQUE AS A FINGERPRINT.

10. THERE WAS ONCE A TYPE OF CROCODILE THAT COULD GALLOP.

11. A GRIZZLY BEAR'S BITE IS STRONG ENOUGH TO CRUSH A BOWLING BALL.

12. SEA OTTERS HOLD HANDS WHILE THEY'RE SLEEPING SO THEY DON'T DRIFT APART.

13. PRAIRIE DOGS SAY HELLO BY KISSING.

14. ANIMAL BEHAVIORISTS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT CATS DON'T MEOW AS A WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. IT'S A METHOD THEY USE FOR GETTING ATTENTION FROM HUMANS.

15. DESPITE THEIR APPEARANCE, ELEPHANT SHREWS ARE MORE CLOSELY RELATED TO ELEPHANTS THAN SHREWS.

16. FLAMINGOS ARE NATURALLY WHITE—THEIR DIET OF BRINE SHRIMP AND ALGAE TURNS THEM PINK.

17. ALBERTA, CANADA IS THE LARGEST RAT-FREE POPULATED AREA IN THE WORLD.

18. RED-EYED TREE FROG EGGS CAN HATCH EARLY IF THEY SENSE DANGER.

19. WHITETAIL DEER CAN SPRINT AT SPEEDS UP TO 30 MILES PER HOUR.

20. BLUE JAYS MIMIC HAWKS' CALLS TO SCARE AWAY OTHER BIRDS.

21. IN THE UK, THE BRITISH MONARCH LEGALLY OWNS ALL UNMARKED MUTE SWANS IN OPEN WATER.

22. ALL CLOWNFISH ARE BORN MALE—SOME TURN FEMALE TO ENABLE MATING.

23. MORAY EELS HAVE A SECOND SET OF JAWS THAT EXTENDS FROM THEIR THROATS.

24. THE AXOLOTL CAN REGENERATE ITS LIMBS.

25. HARTEBEEST EVADE PREDATORS BY RUNNING IN ZIGZAG PATTERNS.

26. ANTEATERS DON’T HAVE TEETH.

27. FRUIT BATS DON'T USE ECHOLOCATION—THEY HAVE EXCELLENT SENSES OF SIGHT AND SMELL.

28. MALE RING-TAILED LEMURS WILL "STINK FIGHT" BY WAFTING SCENT AT EACH OTHER.

29. LYNX HAVE LARGE FEET THAT ENABLE THEM TO RUN ON VERY DEEP SNOW.

30. IN 1924, A LABRADOR RETRIEVER WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE AT EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY FOR KILLING THE GOVERNOR'S CAT.

31. IN AN AQUATIC TRAFFIC JAM, ALLIGATORS WILL GIVE MANATEES THE RIGHT OF WAY.

32. NINE-BANDED ARMADILLOS ALWAYS GIVE BIRTH TO IDENTICAL QUADRUPLETS.

33. CATS CAN'T TASTE SUGAR. THEY DON'T HAVE SWEET TASTE BUDS.

34. DUCKS LIKE TO SURF. THEY HAVE BEEN OBSERVED RIDING TIDES AND SWIMMING BACK TO RIDE THEM AGAIN.

35. THE AFRICAN PENGUIN IS ALSO COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE "JACKASS PENGUIN" BECAUSE IT MAKES DONKEY-LIKE BRAYING SOUNDS.

36. BIRDS ARE IMMUNE TO THE HEAT OF CHILI PEPPERS.

37. HONEYBEES CAN GET SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES.

38. A NARWHAL TUSK IS ACTUALLY AN EXAGGERATED FRONT LEFT TOOTH, AND UNLIKE MOST TEETH, IT'S SOFT AND SENSITIVE ON THE OUTSIDE WITH A TOUGH INTERIOR.

39. CARIBBEAN SPERM WHALES HAVE THEIR OWN REGIONAL ACCENT.

40. WOMBAT POOP IS CUBE-SHAPED.

41. A BABY PUFFIN IS CALLED A PUFFLING.

42. BALD EAGLES SOUND SO SILLY THAT HOLLYWOOD DUBS THEIR VOICES.

43. ACCORDING TO TIME, THE ANNUAL NUMBER OF WORLDWIDE SHARK BITES IS 10 TIMES LESS THAN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE BITTEN BY OTHER PEOPLE IN NEW YORK.

44. FEMALE BATS GIVE BIRTH WHILE HANGING UPSIDE DOWN, CATCHING THE BABY IN THEIR WINGS AS IT DROPS.

45. TOUCANS CURL INTO LITTLE BALLS WHEN THEY SLEEP.

46. HORSES ARE DISTANTLY RELATED TO RHINOCEROSES AND TAPIRS.

47. SOME CATS ARE ALLERGIC TO HUMANS.

48. DESPITE THEIR LACK OF VISIBLE EARS, PENGUINS HAVE EXCELLENT HEARING.

49. LIONS INHABITED MANY AREAS OF EUROPE UNTIL THEY WERE HUNTED TO EXTINCTION IN THE REGION AROUND 100 BCE.

50. MALE PLATYPUSES HAVE VENOMOUS SPURS.

A Dracula Ant's Jaws Snap at 200 Mph—Making It the Fastest Animal Appendage on the Planet

Ant Lab, YouTube
Ant Lab, YouTube

As if Florida’s “skull-collecting” ants weren’t terrifying enough, we’re now going to be having nightmares about Dracula ants. A new study in the journal Royal Society Open Science reveals that a species of Dracula ant (Mystrium camillae), which is found in Australia and Southeast Asia, can snap its jaws shut at speeds of 90 meters per second—or the rough equivalent of 200 mph. This makes their jaws the fastest part of any animal on the planet, researchers said in a statement.

These findings come from a team of three researchers that includes Adrian Smith, who has also studied the gruesome ways that the skull-collecting ants (Formica archboldi) dismember trap-jaw ants, which were previously considered to be the fastest ants on record. But with jaw speeds of just over 100 miles per hour, they’re no match for this Dracula ant. (Fun fact: The Dracula ant subfamily is named after their habit of drinking the blood of their young through a process called "nondestructive cannibalism." Yikes.)

Senior author Andrew Suarez, of the University of Illinois, said the anatomy of this Dracula ant’s jaw is unusual. Instead of closing their jaws from an open position, which is what trap-jaw ants do, they use a spring-loading technique. The ants “press the tips of their mandibles together to build potential energy that is released when one mandible slides across the other, similar to a human finger snap,” researchers write.

They use this maneuver to smack other arthropods or push them away. Once they’re stunned, they can be dragged back to the Dracula ant’s nest, where the unlucky victims will be fed to Dracula ant larvae, Suarez said.

Researchers used X-ray imaging to observe the ants’ anatomy in three dimensions. High-speed cameras were also used to record their jaws snapping at remarkable speeds, which measure 5000 times faster than the blink of a human eye. Check out the ants in slow-motion in the video below.

Plano, Texas Is Now Home to a Dog-Friendly Movie Theater

K9 Cinemas
K9 Cinemas

For dog owners in Plano, Texas, movie night with Fido no longer just means cuddling on the couch and browsing Netflix. The newly opened K9 Cinemas invites moviegoers—both human and canine—to watch classic films on the big screen.

The theater operates as a pop-up (or perhaps pup-up?) in a private event space near Custer Road and 15th Street in Plano. On the weekends, patrons can pay $5 for dogs, $9 for kids, and $12.50 for adults to see popular movies in the 50-seat space. Snacks—both the pet and people kind—are available for $2 apiece. Dogs are limited to two per person, and just 25 human seats are sold per showing to leave room for the furry guests.

Pet owners are asked follow a few rules in order to take advantage of what the theater has to offer. Dogs must be up-to-date on all their shots, and owners can submit veterinary records online or bring a hard copy to the theater to verify their pooch's health status. Once inside, owners are responsible for taking their dog out for potty breaks and cleaning up after any accidents that happen (thankfully the floors are concrete and easy to wipe down).

K9 Cinemas is currently showing Elf (2003) and Home Alone (1990) for the holiday season. Dog and movie enthusiasts can buy tickets online now, or wait until January when the theater upgrades from padded chairs to couches for optimized puppy snuggle time.

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