Animals are unpredictable, mainly because they speak a different ‘language’ than we do. But to some degree, most animal behaviors are relatively similar. However, there are some animal behaviors that are just plain odd and can be either mind-blowingly awesome or downright frightening. From a shrimp that can create a sonic boom underwater to goats that faint when they’re surprised, these are 25 Odd Animal Behaviors You Might Not Be Aware Exist!
Featured image by jinterwas via Flickr CC2.0
Also known as myotonic goats, these are domestic goats whose muscles completely freeze for about 10 seconds when they feel panic. This usually results in the goat falling on its side.
During the months of September and October on dark moonless nights, hundreds of birds dive to their deaths in the village of Jatinga, India. Contrary to some rumors, however, the birds do not actually throw themselves into the ground. They are usually speared and killed by superstitious local villagers. Scientists believe that some combination of environmental factors causes the birds to become disorientated and fly towards the village lights. Attempts have been made to educate the locals.
Cows all face the same direction when they eat
Well actually they pick one of two directions, either north or south. Scientists are still not sure why.
Whales “voices” are getting deeper every year
It is only by a few hertz but for the last 40 years almost every recorded whale song has gotten progressively deeper over the course of time. Numerous theories have been put forth including everything from noise pollution to global warming.
From worms to dogs, numerous animal species supposedly have this “super power” which has been recorded since the days of ancient Greece. In fact, some are said to predict earthquakes up to one week in advance. As usual, we are not exactly sure why and just as a disclaimer, some scientists reject this as coincidence.
Yes, even animals can get addicted to this vice as the case of Tori, the Indonesian Orangutan, goes to show. Her zoo keepers even have to deal with her tantrums if she doesn’t get her daily fix!
Most animals fight, but chimpanzees do it in a decidedly human manner. They perform raids, employ tactics, and capture territory.
Known as Pitcher plants, these carnivorous flowers typically consume insects and bugs. Sometimes though they have been known to trap rodents and even birds.
Over the course of the last few decades, young elephants throughout Africa have been known to search out and kill rhinos for no apparent reason. Park rangers decided to institute a “big brother” program that paired young elephants with older elephants that would hopefully prevent the troubled teens from acting up. Incredibly enough the program worked and rhino deaths have gone down.
Plants aren’t the only unexpected carnivores in the world. Some herbivores like cows and sheep will also turn on their fellow farm animals if their food is low in nutrients.
Compensation for ugliness
Zebra finches have been known to lay slightly larger eggs when their mate is considered to be less attractive. Supposedly the extra nutrients and room to grow are meant to compensate for the father’s poor genes.
Squirting blood as a defense mechanism would be bad enough but Horned Lizards take it a step further by squirting it out of their eyes!
Grief and Burial
Elephants have several seemingly human rituals concerning death and the dead. For example, they have been known to visit gravesites regularly, to bury their dead, and even spend time in “grief” around the body of a fellow dead elephant.
Completely blind and in the dark, naked mole rats can run just as fast backwards as they can forwards.
On the subject of naked mole rats, the queen mole rat is the only female in the mole rat colony that can actually have offspring. Why? Because she pushes the other females around so as to cause them stress and prevent them from procreating.
Crows have the ability to remember human faces, and apparently if they don’t like you they won’t forget you either. Scientists who trapped some crows for research made this discovery when the crows would constantly heckle them whenever they walked into the lab. By using masks they came to realize that the crows actually held a grudge against the people who had trapped them. Interestingly enough, the children of the crows would later carry on the same grudge.
Weasel War Dance
Ferrets will perform a series of frantic sideways hops whenever they get excited
Ichneumon wasps find a victim (usually a caterpillar), inject their eggs into the victim’s body, paralyze the victim, and then eat it while it is still alive. The worst part, however, is that the wasp consumes the fatty deposits and digestive organs first. This keeps the caterpillar alive for as long as possible.
Hippos attract their mates by urinating and defecating simultaneously.
Creating a husband
Histiostoma murchiei, a female mite, lays eggs without needing fertilization. When her sons grow up she copulates with them and the sons die shortly thereafter.
In St. Kitts, the vervet monkeys developed a taste for alcohol over the course of the past few centuries by eating fermented sugar cane. Recently they even started stealing alcohol from local resorts.
The spotted skunk does handstands to scare off predators.
Although scientists have a hard time establishing that animals might be suicidal, recently in Switzerland dozens of cows mysteriously plunged to their deaths over the side of a cliff.
Army ants are blind and therefore will follow the smell of their neighbor in order to reach the nest. Sometimes the chemical trails of a large group of army ants can get looped around into a circle. The ants will therefore continue walking around and around until they drop dead from exhaustion.
The Super Snap
The pistol shrimp has been dubbed the loudest animal in the sea. In order to stun its prey it snaps its claw at supersonic speed. The resulting sound is actually a sonic boom and the shockwave that the snap creates is powerful enough to stun its prey. To make things really mind blowing, the temperatures of the resulting shockwave momentarily gets as hot as the surface of the sun.