25 Quick Animal Facts and Anecdotes to Lift Your Spirits
Animals are amazing, and learning some quirky things about them is good for the ol’ mental health. Here are 25 silly, sweet facts and anecdotes about some of the animals with whom we share the planet.
- One researcher described how a male bonobo slapped a female one and five unrelated females responded by chasing him down. He messed around, and he found out.
- Wolves win Father’s Day. When pups are born, wolf daddies will guard the family in the den, bring home food (with the help of other pack members), and even play with the little ones.
- On farm sanctuaries, turkeys can recognize their favorite visitors and come running up to greet them upon arrival.
- Nonhuman primates go through a mourning period when a loved one dies. They hold vigils or wakes and even turn to friends for comfort.
- Mice like to play! In one study, an exercise wheel was set up in an outdoor space and wild mice were all about it.
- Cows have panoramic vision that lets them see more than 300 degrees at a time, compared to only about 180 degrees for humans.
- Wild dolphins off the coast of Australia sometimes get crafty in the “kitchen,” using sea sponges as tools to find fish hiding in the sand.
- Chimpanzees selectively share food with their friends or other chimpanzees who seem likely to return the favor one day. And scientists have observed elephants cooperating with each other in order to get food, proving that they understand the importance of teamwork.
- Rats show empathy. In lab studies, when free-roaming rats came across a rat trapped inside a little cage, the free rats opened the door to help the caged one escape.
- Cats have excellent memories (200 times better than that of dogs) and are able to remember incidents up to 10 years later.
- If you’ve ever yawned after seeing someone else yawn, you have something in common with chimpanzees, birds, and dogs, who all appear to find yawns “catching,” too.
- Many animals—including sockeye salmon, cats, dogs, reindeer, butterflies, scorpions, and some birds—can see ultraviolet light, even though it’s invisible to humans.
- Chickens—who can remember the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds—form complex hierarchies in which every chicken knows their own place on the social ladder.
- Lobsters carry eggs for nine months, have a long childhood, and can live for 100 years or longer.
- Clams canchange from male to female once during their lifetime.
- With 250,000 brain cells, ants are considered to be the world’s smartest insect. Ant colonies are so efficient that mathematicians used them as models to build a supercomputer for NASA.
- When squirrels know that they’re being watched by potential thieves, they pretend to bury an acorn while actually concealing it in their mouth.
- Lobsters have a dominant claw (called “the crusher claw”). It’s on the right side for some and on the left for others. And some lobsters are ambidextrous!
- The migration of monarch butterflies takes longer than their life spans.The butterflies migrate up to 3,000 miles every year from Canada to Mexico, but individuals don’t live long enough to make the entire round trip.
- Crocodiles can potentially live forever.The gradual deterioration of the body caused by aging that occurs in humans doesn’t happen for crocs. Instead, they die only from causes like disease, starvation, or predation. Sea urchins, lobsters, clams, tortoises, turtles, and alligators are also biologically immortal.
- Otters link arms while sleeping so they won’t float away from each other.
- Bats are mammals, so rather than laying eggs, they have live births—like humans! And what’s more, they’re the only mammals who can fly.
- If you factor in weight, spiderweb silk is five times stronger than steel.
- A baby chicken can outsmart a human baby. A chick who’s only a few days old can understand that objects still exist even if they’re hidden from view, which is more than researchers can say for young children, who don’t grasp object permanence until they’re about 8 months old.
- Manta rays can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. That’s as much as a Toyota Prius!
Every animal is unique, but they all want to live free from harm. Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.