The animal kingdom is full of amazing facts. It’s a world that never ceases to amaze us with all sorts of wonders and incredible feats. There are animals that can do seemingly impossible things such as traveling faster than a sport’s car or having the ability to kill someone with a mere brush of its hairs. On today’s list, I have searched high and low to find some of the most interesting animal facts out there. There are SO many, but I have narrowed them down to 25. These are 25 Amazing Animal Facts You Might Not Know.
Punch of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp
If you enter into a boxing match with the peacock mantis shrimp, you will lose. This little guy can throw a punch at an average speed of 50 mph (80.47 kph) and holds the title of the world’s fastest limb movement. The shrimp accomplish this incredible feat thanks to a small saddle-looking structure in its arm. When the arm is cocked, this structure is compressed and acts like a spring, which when released, expands and provides the energy for the punch.
Fastest Jaws in the Animal Kingdom
The peacock mantis shrimp may hold the title for the fastest limb movement in the animal kingdom; however, it has nothing when you compare it to the speed of a trapjaw ant’s jaw. This Central and South American ant can close its jaws at a staggering speed of 115 to 207 ft/s (35 to 63 m/s). That’s about 78 to 145 mph (125 to 233 kph).
A Flamingos' Color
Did you know that flamingos’ feathers are naturally white? The feathers turn pink thanks to the flamingos’ diet, which is high in beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment that’s found in the algae, larvae, and brine shrimp that flamingos eat.
The Clownfish Sex Change
You might have heard that all clownfish are born male. This, however, is not entirely correct. Clownfish are born with immature male and female sex organs. However, the truly remarkable feat is that these brightly colored fish can change their sexes depending on their environmental conditions. If for example, a female within the clownfish group dies, the largest remaining member of the group will become female, and the second largest individual will become the breeding male after its male sex organs fully develop.
Bats are not blind
You might have heard the expression “blind as a bat.” Well, guess what, bats are not blind. Even though bats, in general, do use echolocation to navigate and catch prey, bats are not entirely without sight. Depending on the bat species, they could have excellent sight and smell, or maybe be slightly colorblind.
Cats Can't Taste Sweets
Oh, I know some of you are going to have some serious doubts about this animal fact, but here it goes. Cats can’t taste sweet stuff. (I can see those comments already!) However, it’s true. Rather than sweets, cats prefer meats. This is because cats lack 247 base pairs of the amino acids that make up the DNA of the Tas1r2 gene, and as a result (in simpler terms), this lack of base pairs hinders the creation of the protein that would permit cats to taste sweets. Though there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, scientists are pretty confident of cats’ inability to taste sweet things. With that said, scientists also know that cats can taste things that we can’t, such as adenosine triphosphate, also know as ATP, which is the compound that gives energy to living cells.
Bees and STDs
If you think humans are the only ones who have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) think again. Bees, yes BEES, can suffer from STDs as well. Nosema is a unicellular fungus that leads to the STD nosemosis, the most widespread disease of honeybees. Symptoms of the STD include dysentery, disjointed wings, and absent sting reflexes.
Sloth's Take a Long Time to Poop
You’re probably aware of the Sloth’s famous aptitude for speed or lack thereof. But I bet you’ve never considered how much time it takes for a sloth to poop. Now that you have that picture in your mind (you’re welcome), the Sloth can take anywhere between one to two weeks to digest its food with some meals, even taking a whole entire month for others! Talk about a major case of constipation!
The Cutest Indestructible Microscopic Bear
What is probably one of the cutest microscopic animals is also one of the most indestructible. Tardigrades AKA water bears are microscopic animals that average about half a millimeter (500 micrometers) in length. That’s roughly the size of a period at the end of a sentence. These “eight-legged pandas” can be found all over the world in some of the most extreme and harshest of conditions. Tardigrades have been known to survive exposure to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 Celsius), -458 degrees F (-272 C), the vacuum of space, and pressure six times stronger than the ocean floor.
The True Polar Bear Color
Do you know the true color of a polar bear? If you said white, you are not entirely correct. Polar bears may appear white, but underneath all of that fur lays a cover of black skin, which helps them soak up the sun’s warming rays. AH, but their fur is white, right? Technically, wrong again. Polar Bears’ fur is transparent or clear, but thanks to the hairs’ characteristics such as their hollow core filled with air and the fact that they have light scattering particles inside them, the polar bears’ hair appears white to the human eye.
Political African Buffalos
Humans are highly political beings, and one of our political exercises is the ability to vote. However, voting is not a strictly human action. Did you know that African Buffaloes vote as well? African buffalo are herd animals, and they often make group decisions about when and where to move by voting. The way they do this is by standing up, staring in one direction and then lying back down. This denotes what direction the buffalo is voting for. Another interesting aspect to this is that only female buffaloes vote.
A Dancing Sea Lion
Can you dance? You probably can. In fact, most humans can to some degree. (Whether they can do this well or not, that’s another story. I digress.) Did you know, however, that there is another mammal that can dance? A dancing sea lion has shocked scientists and has become the first non-human mammal with a proven ability to keep a beat. Ronan, as the sea lion is named, was first trained by researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz to keep a beat. Today, Ronan can dance to just about any song you throw at her.
Virgin Births in the Animal Kingdom
You may not believe this, but some animals don’t need to mate in order to have offspring. You can literally say, these animals can have virgin births! In something called parthenogenesis, the mother provides both sets of the DNA necessary to create an embryo. This kind of reproduction has been observed in animals such as the leopard shark, pythons, whiptail lizards, salamanders, and even turkeys!
Thickest Fur in the Animal Kingdom
What animal do you think has the thickest fur in the animal kingdom? The answer might surprise you. If you said, “Bear,” you are mistaken. The correct answer is otters. Yup, those small little cute-as-a-button swimming darlings have fur that has as many as 1 million hairs per square inch on the densest parts of their body!
It’s a well known and obvious fact that humans laugh. But what about animals? Do they laugh as well? Apparently, some do. Researchers at Germany’s Humboldt University have observed that rats giggle when tickled. These researchers have shown “for the first time that laughter can be elicited by stimulation.” The laughing rats were so excited that “They were jumping around” and chasing the hand of one of the researchers. Simply adorable!
Cows Prefer Slow Music
Music is powerful and can elicit strong responses from people like crying, dancing, head banging, etc. However, music’s power can extend well into the animal kingdom. Enter cows. It has been recorded that cows produce more milk when they are exposed to slow music. According to researchers at the University of Leicester School of Psychology, cows produced 1.54 more pints per day when slow music was played for them, versus more upbeat tunes. Of course, the experiment is a bit controversial, and there isn’t a strong scientific consensus.
How would you like to control animals with your mind? Well, you just might be able to! Research students in China have been able to create a brain-to-brain interface technique, which allows them to control…cockroaches. With this interface, students have been able to guide a living cockroach along S-shaped and Z-shaped paths. Can you imagine, all the cockroaches under your control?! Ooh, I just imagined that….aaaand nope. I rather kill them. Kill them with fire.
When you think of a dangerous animal, a caterpillar is probably the last animal to come into your mind, but it shouldn’t be. The caterpillar known as lonomia oblique kills more people than snakes in some parts of the world. This caterpillar has a powerful defense mechanism via its hairs, which contain venom that keeps human blood from clotting. Any person that brushes against these hairs will experience extreme uncontrolled bleeding which can and has lead to death.
Bats Eat a Huge Amount of Bugs per Hour
Bats are extremely beneficial to our environment. Especially when it comes to bug control. One bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized bugs per hour. That’s one thousand mosquitoes and other types of bugs you wont have to worry about biting you and transmitting some crazy disease. GO BATS!
The Largest Animal EVER
We all know that whales are large animals. In fact, you may even know that the blue whale is the largest animal today. But, did you know, that the blue whale is not only the largest animal alive today, but is the largest animal to have EVER lived. That’s larger than dinosaurs or any sea creature, EVER. It’s estimated that the blue whale’s tongue alone weighs as much as an elephant. Blue whales can reach sizes of up to 100 ft. long (about 30.5 meters) and can weigh upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons).
The Fastest Land Animal Alive Today
You may be aware that cheetahs are fast. But HOW fast may just blow your mind. Cheetahs have been documented to go from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 96.6 kph or 26.82 m/s) in just three seconds. That’s faster than most sports cars. Some scientists believe that in the wild, Cheetahs may even go faster. This incredible speed makes the cheetah the fastest land animal alive today.
The Fastest Marine Animal Alive
The Cheetah may be the fastest land animal alive today, but there is one animal that can travel faster than the cheetah, the sailfish. This bizarre looking fish has been clocked at speeds reaching 68 mph (96.56 kph or 30.4 m/s). Michael Phelps who?
The Fastest Animal on the Planet
Though the cheetah and the sailfish have pretty impressive speeds, they can’t match the speed of this avian creature. The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of up to 200 mph (that’s 200…not a typo, also that’s 321.87 kph or 89.41 m/s for our metric friends) while diving for prey. This makes the peregrine falcon the fastest animal on the planet while diving.
The Brazilian Wandering Spider's Bite and Four Hour Erections
The Brazilian Wandering Spider’s bite has a very interesting side effect. This spider’s bite gives its victims a painful four-hour erection. Now before you start tossing your Viagra pills away let me warn you, the Brazilian wandering spider is officially the world’s most venomous spider and is known to kill its victims in just two hours.
Hummingbirds Fly Backwards
Hummingbirds are amazing. You’ve probably seen a couple in your backyard or maybe on your hummingbird feeder. Generally, they are very small birds; in fact, you might even mistake them for a large insect. However, these incredible birds hold a special record in the animal kingdom: they are the ONLY birds that can fly…backwards. They use this incredible feat to help them get in and out of flowers as they go about gathering nectar.