From immortal jellyfish and death-defying tardigrades to proposing penguins and voting bovines, facts about animals are something people love to share. Be it because of our love for animals, our fascination with the unknown, or because we like to seem smart to our friends, people love to talk about what animals can do. Unfortunately, a lot of our favourite facts out there are completely wrong. So we’ve dug up 11 amazing animal truths and 11 of the most popular animal myths.
1. Gorillas can catch human colds and other illnesses.
2. The female lion does ninety percent of the hunting.
3. The only dog that doesn’t have a pink tongue is the chow.
4. In Alaska it is illegal to whisper in someone’s ear while they’re moose hunting.
5. A tarantula spider can survive for more than two years without food.
6. If you lift a kangaroo’s tail off the ground it can’t hop – they use their tails for balance.
7. If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will become pale!
8. The blue whale weighs as much as thirty elephants and is as long as three Greyhound buses.
9. To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaw, push your thumb into its eyeballs-it will let you go instantly.
10. Even a small amount of alcohol placed on a scorpion will make it go crazy and sting itself to death!
11. The flamingo can only eat when its head is upside down.
How many of the above facts did you know?
Now… on to the myths…
1. Bee flight is not a scientific anomaly but actually well understood
No laws of physics are broken, no magic is used, and no bee straps a little jetpack to its back. Bee flight is well within the realm of physics, and we fully understand it. They’ve even built little bee robots, that copy how they fly.
2. A goldfish’s memory is longer than three seconds
And we’re not talking about five seconds here. It has been found that goldfish can remember things that happened at least five months ago, if not more. Crazy, huh?
3. Camel’s don’t store water in their humps
Really, this one kinda just makes sense. Considering how rigid a camels hump is — we can sit on them — the water would have to be frozen. Instead the hump is full of fat, storing three weeks worth of energy. It’s more their kidney that helps them conserve water.
4. Houseflies live longer than 24 hours
This one actually got me for years. I don’t know where or how this story started, but it definitely seems correct…right? Flies actually live nice, long, fulfilling lives, dying at the ripe old age of 13 to 30 days. That is, unless, you include the time they’re a pupa, then they live to be about 35 to 50 days. Talk about geezers.
5. Ostriches don’t stick their heads in the sand
They just don’t.
6. Bats aren’t blind
Their eyes, however, are shit when compared to other nocturnal animals, resulting in the need for echolocation. Really though, shouldn’t this have been common sense, I mean how else would they know that it’s night time.
7. Bears don’t actually hibernate
We’re kind of cheating here a bit. Bears do sleep for long periods of time in the winter, but it’s not actually true hibernation- instead it’s called “winter sleep”. Why don’t they hibernate: science… or the fact that their metabolic rate and body temperature don’t drop to the same degree as real hibernators… so… science!
8. A worm cut in half will not regenerate into two worms
We spent our whole childhoods thinking we were all powerful, doubling the worms in my backyard. Fortunately though, the part with the head — yes, worms have a head — will usually regenerate, as long as the clitellum is cut off with the head. What’s a clitellum? That weird looking thicker portion of a worm- the more you know.
9. You can’t get warts from frogs and toads
What’s the upside of this? Looking for your prince just become wart risk free!
10. Koala bears aren’t bears
They’re marsupials, meaning they have pouches like kangaroos. And frankly, they don’t even look like bears.
11. Wolves don’t howl at the moon
Wolves howl to communicate with each other, and not at the moon. Don’t feel bad though, this myth has been around for hundreds of years. And before you say, “well what if there are wolves on the moon”, episode 3 of the classic late 90s cartoon, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, already debunked this, so ha.
Have a wonderful long weekend everyone!