25 Odd Animal Behaviors You Might Not Be Aware Exist

Posted by , Updated on February 13, 2024

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


Fainting Goats

Fainting GoatsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Kamikaze Birds

Kamikaze BirdsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Cows all face the same direction when they eatSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Whales “voices” are getting deeper every yearSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Predicting Earthquakes

Predicting EarthquakesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.



SmokingSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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!


Warring Chimps

Warring ChimpsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

Most animals fight, but chimpanzees do it in a decidedly human manner. They perform raids, employ tactics, and capture territory.


Animal-Eating Plants

Animal-Eating PlantsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

Known as Pitcher plants, these carnivorous flowers typically consume insects and bugs. Sometimes though they have been known to trap rodents and even birds.


Troubled Teenagers

Troubled TeenagersSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Animal-Eating Herbivores

Animal-Eating HerbivoresSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Compensation for uglinessSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Squirting BloodSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Grief and BurialSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Running backwards

Running backwardsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

Completely blind and in the dark, naked mole rats can run just as fast backwards as they can forwards.


Underground bully

Underground bullySource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Holding grudges

Holding grudgesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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

Weasel War DanceSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

Ferrets will perform a series of frantic sideways hops whenever they get excited


Animal torture

Animal tortureSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Fecal attraction

Fecal attractionSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

Hippos attract their mates by urinating and defecating simultaneously.


Creating a husband

Creating a husbandSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Alcoholic monkeys

Alcoholic monkeysSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.



HandstandsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

The spotted skunk does handstands to scare off predators.


Suicidal cows

Suicidal cowsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.


Death circle

Death circleSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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 Super SnapSource: wikipedia, Image: wikimedia

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.