Animals are fascinating creatures. The more you consider all of the cool facts about animals, the easier it is to see how truly amazing nature really is. Enjoy these weird animal facts that are sure to be educational as well as entertaining!
41 Weird Animal Facts for Curious Minds
Weird Facts About Dogs
Dogs are known as man's best friends, but they do have some weird quirks.
- Just like people have unique fingerprints, each dog has a unique nose print. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) actually accepts noseprints as proof of a dog's identity.
- When dogs turn around in circles before lying down, they are following an ancient instinct that tells them to check for threats before assuming a vulnerable position.
- While no dog is guaranteed not to induce an allergy attack, several dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic, including poodles, schnauzers and the basenji.
- A common myth is that dogs only see in black and white, but this is not true. They can actually see blue and yellow.
- Although basenji dogs aren't silent, they don't actually bark. Instead, they make an unusual yodel-like sound. No other dog breed makes the same sound.
- Dogs' noses stay wet most of the time. This helps keep their sense of smell at peak capacity. A dry nose could mean your dog isn't feeling well.
Unusual Facts About Cats
Cats can be loving or standoffish, depending on their mood. Their moodiness is not the only weird thing about them.
- Cats do not have the ability to taste sugar or any kind of sweetness. They are the only mammal that does not have the ability to taste a sweet flavor.
- Housecats sometimes seem to take joy in knocking things over. There's a simple explanation. They're bored and want you to pay attention to them.
- Ever wonder why cats often get stuck in trees they have climbed? It's because their claws all curve downward, which prevents them from going down the trunk headfirst. The only way for a kitty to climb down is to do so backward, which many cats won't do.
- Does your housecat crawl inside a drawer, cabinet or other small space to sleep? It's because they feel safe in small spaces where they're tucked away from danger (real or perceived).
- Stubbs the cat served as mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 years, from 1997 to 2017, before he passed away. The town's new mayor is Denali. He is also a cat.
- Kneading behavior is common in cats, but they don't always knead for the same reason. Some knead to indicate they are comfortable and content, while others need to fluff up a soft place to sleep or to mark their territory.
Strange Facts About Other Pets
Not all pets are cats and dogs. Discover some interesting facts about other pets.
- When Calvin Coolidge was president, he and his wife had a pet raccoon that lived with them in the White House. The raccoon's name was Rebecca.
- Pet rabbits will let you know when they are happy. Their noses twitch and wiggle virtually constantly when they're content. Hopping behavior is another sign. They'll often hop and twist in the air when they're happy.
- Gerbils weren't always desirable pets. They were actually called desert rats before being promoted to families as good companion animals to be kept as pets.
- Ferrets are true carnivores, which means they need a protein-filled meat-based diet. They cannot survive on dog or cat food, as it has too many carbohydrates and does not provide them with sufficient protein.
- The teeth of guinea pigs continue growing throughout their lifetimes. It's very important that they munch on food frequently, as this helps keep their teeth ground down to an appropriate size.
- Every turtle carries salmonella bacteria in its intestinal systems. It does not harm the turtle, but humans have to be very careful when handling turtles or cleaning their tanks. Proper handwashing is critical!
Wild Facts About Birds
Discover some unusual facts about animals that can fly.
- The fastest animal on earth is a bird. When the peregrine falcon dives in its quest for food, it exceeds the speed of any other animal. The Guinness world record is held by a peregrine falcon named Frightful, who was clocked in a 242 mile per hour (mph) dive.
- Ducks often sleep with one eye open. This seemingly strange behavior is a safety mechanism. They're able to keep half of their brain awake at any given time, so they're always about to be on the lookout for predators.
- Birds are great gardening assistants. They eat a lot of the bugs that can destroy gardens (aphids, caterpillars, mosquitos, and more) and help pollinate plants. Many gardeners plant certain crops specifically to attract birds to the garden.
- Woodpeckers have hoarding tendencies when it comes to acorns. They'll snatch acorns by the thousands and store them away for winter by wedging them into holes they drill in trees with their beaks.
- Hummingbirds have something in common with cats. Both types of animals have small hairs on their tongues. These hairs help hummingbirds drink nectar efficiently.
- Parrots aren't the only type of bird that can imitate human speech. Ravens do a great job repeating what humans say.
Fun Facts About Wildlife
There are many cool, interesting facts about animals that live in the wild. You may have an opportunity to see some of these animals in-person at a zoo or wildlife park.
- Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world. They can run up to 70 mph. Their claws function as cleats when they run, and they steer with their tails.
- Reindeer hooves change sizes with the seasons. During the warmest months of the year when the ground is not frozen, their hooves expand. When the ground gets hard during the winter, they shrink.
- Moose babies (called calves) become mobile very quickly. By the time a young moose is five days old, it can run faster than a person. They also grow and put on weight very quickly.
- Siberian tigers are the largest wild cat in the world. Sadly, they are also the most endangered. Male Siberian tigers can reach as much as 660 pounds.
- Small rodents, such as squirrels, mice, rats, and chipmunks do not pose a rabies risk to humans. They have never been known to transmit the disease to humans and almost never infected with it themselves.
- Women are in charge in the world of hyenas. They live in clans, each of which is led by a dominant matriarch. Female hyenas are bigger than males and more aggressive.
Odd Facts About Farm Animals
Discover some weird facts about animals that are commonly found on farms.
- While "sweating like a pig" is a common expression to describe someone who is perspiring heavily, it's not an apt description. That's because pigs don't actually sweat. When they need to cool down, they like to roll in water or mud.
- Farmyard chickens typically start laying eggs when they are four and a half months old. A single chicken can lay up to 250 eggs in a year.
- Female cows aren't actually referred to as cows until after they have given birth to a baby calf. Heifer is the term for a female cow that has not yet had a baby.
- Donkeys can live a really long time. In the wild, the average lifespan is 25-30 years. In captivity, such as on a farm or in a zoo, they can live 40-50 years.
- Fainting goats are a real thing, but they don't actually faint. They're actually the Myotonic goat breed, but are often referred to as Tennessee fainting goats. When they are startled, their muscle cells contract and stiffen. This often causes them to fall over, which gives the appearance of fainting.
Weird Facts About Aquatic Animals
No discussion of weird animal facts would be complete without including sea creatures.
- Marlins, sailfish and swordfish can outswim all of the other fish in the ocean, and some highway drivers too. They can swim at a speed of up to 70 mph.
- The internal organs of shrimp are located in their cephalothorax region. The cephalothorax consists of their head and shoulders. There are no organs in their tails.
- While most sharks are carnivores, scientists have discovered that bonnethead sharks are actually omnivores. In addition to meat, they also regularly dine on seagrass.
- Scientists can learn a lot about whales from studying their earwax. The buildup of wax in a whale's ears can reveal the animal's age, its stress level and what contaminants may have been present in the water.
- The blood of octopuses is blue. That's because their blood is copper-based, unlike the iron-based blood that most animals have. This helps them survive life in the deep ocean, where oxygen is scarce and the water is very cold.
- Dolphins have two separate stomachs. They use one to store food and another to digest it.
Animals are really amazing. This is just a small list of some of the many cool, weird and even unbelievable facts about the many animals in existence. If you enjoyed these fun facts, review some of our other articles about amazing animals. Start by discovering a selection of interesting facts about opossums. From there, explore some amazing facts about albatrosses. You'll be on your way to building a solid body of knowledge about many different types of animals.