50 Incredible Animal Facts You'll Want to Share

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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.

Why Do Ants Die After the Queen Dies?

iStock
iStock

Eduardo Fox:

A fundamental fact about social Hymenoptera (wasps, ants) that most people, including entomologists, are unaware of: They cannot live without their larvae.

Next time you see an ant’s nest, a bee hive, or a hornet’s nest, remember: That structure is essentially a neonatal ICU!

Why? Look at an ant’s body below:


Clker.com via Quora

Did you notice the waist? I tell you: The individual’s stomach is located after the thin waist. That means an ant cannot eat solids.

Now, take a look at an ant’s larva (a & b, below):


Notice the waist? There’s none. It means larvae eat solid food!

So, this is what happens: Ants are working hard together in that nest mainly to bring up hundreds of babies. They come out to get food and bring it back to the nest, then they chew it up and place it on their larvae. Larvae will swallow and digest the food for them. Especially protein. Larvae secrete nutrient-rich liquids back to the ants, which is their main source of amino acids and fatty acids.

Who lays eggs to produce larvae? Queens.*

What happens when queens die? No eggs, hence no larvae.

What happens when there are no larvae? Bad nutrition, ultimately no reason for the nest. Ants gradually get disorganized, and after a few weeks they die.

Wasps and more "primitive" ants can more easily produce a new queen who will be the next mated female in the hierarchy. However, if none of them is fertile enough and mated, the nest won’t last long. Bees work differently.

* Important technical notice: Queens normally live longer than workers. Nowhere in this answer did I mean to imply that larvae can somehow enable workers to live as long as queens!

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

Watch a Gulper Eel Inflate Like a Terrifying Balloon

OET, NautilusLive.org
OET, NautilusLive.org

Since launching in 2008, the Ocean Exploration Trust's Nautilus research vessel has live-streamed a purple orb, a transparent squid, and a stubby octopus from the bottom of the ocean. The latest bizarre example of marine life captured by the vessel is a rare gulper eel that acts like a cross between a python and a pufferfish.

As Thrillist reports, this footage was shot by a Nautilus rover roaming the Pacific Ocean's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument 4700 feet below the surface. In it, a limbless, slithery, black creature that looks like it swallowed a beach ball can be seen hovering above the sea floor. After about a minute, the eel deflates its throat, swims around for a bit, and unhinges its jaw to reveal a gaping mouth.

The reaction of the scientists onboard the ship is just as entertaining as the show the animal puts on. At first they're not sure what they're looking at ("It looks like a Muppet," someone says), and after being blown away by its shape-shifting skills, they conclude that it's a gulper eel. Gulper eels are named for their impressive jaw span, which allows them to swallow prey much larger than themselves and puff up to intimidate predators. Because they like to lurk at least 1500 feet beneath the ocean's surface, they're rarely documented.

You can watch the inflated eel and hear the researchers' response to it in the video below.

[h/t Thrillist]

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