What colors can dogs actually see? What kind of animal has served as a town mayor? After reading some fascinating facts about all types of animals, you won't be able to look at little Rover or Whiskers the same.
Wondrous Facts About Wildlife
Next time you head to the zoo or a wildlife park, you can give the zookeepers a run for their money with cool animal facts.
- Cheetahs don’t roar — they chirp.
- A five-day-old moose calf can outrun an adult human.
- Elephants are the only mammals on Earth that can’t jump.
- At 85%, African wild dogs have the highest hunt success rate of all land animals (but it’s still not as high as a dragonfly’s hunt success rate).
- Polar bears aren’t actually white; they have black skin and hollow strands of hair that reflect the light.
- The word gorilla comes from the Carthaginian word for “hairy person.”
- Zebras’ intense survival instincts make them impossible to domesticate by humans.
- Female kangaroos and wallabies can pause their pregnancies to give birth in better conditions.
Amazing Facts About Aquatic Animals
Whether it's brainless starfish or seemingly ageless lobsters, sea creatures provide some of the weirdest animal facts.
- Scientists can learn a whale’s age, stress level, and habitat conditions from studying their earwax.
- Dolphins, porpoises, and whales are closely related to hoofed animals, such as cows and deer.
- The word shrimp comes from the Middle German word schrimpfen, meaning “to wrinkle.”
- There are three acceptable plural names for more than one octopus: octopuses, octopi, and octopodes.
- Lobster DNA doesn’t age, and they keep growing until they die.
- Sea stars can coordinate movement and position, despite the fact that they have no brain.
- Whale sharks’ eyes are covered in teeth (known as “dermal denticles”).
- A narwhal’s tusk is its only tooth, as narwhals have no teeth in their mouths.
Dazzling Facts About Dogs
Dogs are known as man's best friend, but their weird quirks are what make man dog's best friend.
- Dogs have unique nose prints (like human fingerprints).
- A common myth is that dogs only see in black and white, but they can actually see blue and yellow.
- Dogs can have as many as 300 scent receptors in their nose, compared to a human’s 5-6 million.
- Dogs have fewer than 2,000 taste buds on their tongue, as opposed to a human’s 9,000 taste buds.
- Dogs can be left or right-handed (or “pawed”).
- Dogs have been domesticated for tens of thousands of years — much longer than cats (around 5,000-10,000 years).
- Basenji dogs don't bark — they make an unusual yodel-like sound.
- The origin of the word “dog” is a complete mystery.
Crazy Facts About Cats
Cats can be loving or standoffish, depending on their mood. But their moodiness is not the only weird thing about them.
- Cats are the only mammals who can’t taste sugar or other sweet flavors.
- Stubbs the cat served as mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska from 1997 to 2017. The town's new mayor is Denali (also a cat).
- Cats can run up to 30 miles per hour — about half as fast as cheetahs (and even faster than Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest sprinter).
- Adult cats don’t communicate with each other by meowing; they only meow to humans.
- Cats learned to hiss by imitating snakes in the wild.
- The Egyptian word for cat is mau, which sounds quite a bit like “meow.”
- Cats, camels, and giraffes walk the same way: with both the front and back legs on each side moving together.
- Feral, stray, and pet cats kill over 20 billion birds and mammals a year and have been blamed for the extinction of 33 species.
Riveting Facts About Rodents
Whether you’ve seen a prairie dog in the wild or your pet hamster at home, you know that rodents lead very busy — and intriguing — lives.
- The kangaroo rat can survive without drinking water for its entire lifespan (average 10 years).
- The word hamster comes from the German word hamstern, which means “to hoard.”
- Rodents’ teeth never stop growing during their lives, and some rodents’ teeth are harder than iron.
- Gerbils can shed the skin from their tails to evade predators; it’s called the gerbil tail slip.
- Chipmunks, marmots, groundhogs, and prairie dogs are all in the squirrel family (Sciuridae).
- The word woodchuck is influenced by the Algonquian word otchek or wuchak.
- Small rodents, such as squirrels, mice, rats, and chipmunks, do not pose a rabies risk to humans.
- Mice are more afraid of men than of women.
- Rats are ticklish — and they like being tickled.
Brilliant Facts About Birds
Did you know that the peregrine falcon would easily beat a cheetah in a race (as long as the race was a vertical dive from the sky)? Discover more featured feats from the bird family.
- Ducks often sleep with one eye open because half of their brain is always awake and on the alert for predators.
- Ravens have been known to mimic human speech.
- Chickens and ostriches are closely related to the Tyrannosaurus rex and Velocirator.
- Flamingos can only eat with their heads upside down.
- The peregrine falcon can dive at speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
- The meanings of penguin and bald eagle both refer to having a “white head” (from the Welsh pen gwyn and the Old English balde)
- Eagles can overtake prey as large as a deer.
- Hummingbirds typically weigh less than a nickel (around 4 grams).