11 Animal Facts That Sound Fake, But Are 100% Legit

The sheer size and variety of the animal kingdom means there are plenty of interesting facts about animals many people simply don’t know. With millions of years of evolution behind them, coupled with the fact that creatures live in a variety of different environments, it should come as no surprise that there are lots of animal facts that sound fake.

Whether it is the seemingly depressing lives some creatures live or the crazy behavior they rely on to attract mates, you’ll certainly be surprised by these amazing animal facts. There are even some pieces of information that correct common myths or misunderstandings about living things still believed to this day. Whatever you think you know about animals, chances are you’re about to learn something new.

Dolphins Can Keep Active For More Than 15 Days

Photo:  NASA/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Mammals that live in the water have a unique problem in that they have to come to the surface regularly in order to breathe. Dolphins have seemingly come up with a unique way of addressing this issue. They are able to stay awake and active for extended periods of time by only allowing half of their brain to sleep. Researchers found that they didn’t become exhausted after 15 days of continuous activity despite the fact that other animals would have had to sleep at some point. They effectively give one half of their brain a rest and sleep with just one eye closed, allowing them to stay alert for potential threats and travel to the surface of the water for oxygen.

Tardigrades Are The Hardiest Creatures On Earth And Can Survive In Space

Photo: Goldstein lab – tardigrades/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Ever since they were first discovered in the 1700s, tardigrades have been considered one of the hardiest of all earth’s creatures. They can survive an incredible range of temperatures, including just one degree above absolute zero and a staggering 150°C. They are capable of repairing their DNA, allowing them to live without water for decades in a state of suspended animation, only coming back to life when they make contact with water. Researchers have even found that they can survive the vacuum of space without any harm coming to them.

The Antechinus Has So Much Sex It Disintegrates

Photo:  Mel Williams/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The antechinus is an Australian mammal that closely resembles a common mouse. When they reach one year of age they suddenly stop producing sperm as they prepare for their mating season. With no way to create more sperm, the creatures have to spend the next few weeks having sex as much as possible in order to pass on their genes as they will not get another chance. This forces them to do almost nothing other than mating – something which completely exhausts them. In fact, the constant mating causes their immune system to fail as their bodies are filled with so much testosterone. They literally begin to fall apart as infections ravage their defenseless bodies.

Armadillos Often Give Birth To Identical Quadruplets

Photo:  Bird Photos/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

The distinctive female reproductive system of nine-banded armadillos has a rather strange quirk: the animals almost always give birth to sets of identical quadruplets. This is because armadillos only produce a single egg that then splits into four parts after being fertilized. The exact reason for why this happens has never been fully explained, though some researchers believe it may help stop interbreeding if the quadruplets are all the same sex as they would not be able to mate.

Sharks Are Older Than Trees

Photo: Hermanus Backpackers/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Although it might seem outlandish to claim that sharks are older than trees, the truth is that they have been around a lot longer. The first species of what scientists classify as trees emerged some 350 million years ago in the form of the extinct Archaeopteris. Meanwhile, the first sharks evolved around 400 million years ago. This makes them roughly 50 million years older than trees and significantly older than many living things on Earth.

Thousands Of Garter Snakes Mate In Huge Balls

Video: YouTube

Red-sided garter snakes have one of the most unusual mating techniques in the animal kingdom. After emerging from eight months of hibernation, the snakes begin to huddle together in small dens within cave systems. Thousands of them can come together in these huge writhing balls as males try to find a female to mate with. Any female is quickly swarmed as there might often only be a few dozen of them compared to the thousands of male snakes.

Almost All Calico Cats Are Female

Photo: User:Howcheng/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Calico cats are any of several different breeds that have a very particular pattern to their fur coat. This usually means that they will be predominantly white with patches of black and orange mixed in a tortoiseshell-like appearance. Under normal circumstances the genetic mix required to create this pattern necessitates that all calico cats are female. This is due to the fact that the specific colors are linked with the X chromosome. Only specific mutations that see males with three chromosomes, two of which need to be X, can have a calico pattern and it is exceedingly rare.

Bald Eagles Court In The Air

Video: YouTube

The animal kingdom is full of bizarre mating rituals. The bald eagle has one of the most distinctive as it takes place entirely in the air. The male and female will come together while flying, linking their talons together so that they are attached to one another. They then dive towards the ground performing a cartwheel-like tumble until they are moments from hitting the ground and then suddenly they separate.

Hummingbirds Can Fly Backwards

Video: YouTube

The hummingbird is probably the most capable flying animal in the world. They can beat their wings at an astonishing rate of 80 times per second and this gives them the ability to perform feats that no other bird can do. In order to sip nectar from plants, hummingbirds are actually able to hover in the same place like a helicopter. They can even fly backwards – something no other bird has been observed to do.

The Mantis Shrimp Vaporizes Water With Its Powerful Punch

Photo: Tony Shih/via Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

The mantis shrimp probably takes the title for being the most powerful puncher in the animal kingdom. The small crustacean is capable of delivering a blow that can reach a top speed of some 60 mph. It uses this lightning-fast punch to either club prey or spear them with barbed appendages. The movement is so quick that it causes the water around them to vaporize.

Peacocks Are Male – Females Are Actually Called Peahens

Photo: Kenneth Lu/via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Although most people refer to the entire species as peacocks, the truth is that only the males are called this. In general, the birds are actually peafowl and females are known as peahens. There are also some notable differences between the two sexes. While the males are incredibly colorful, with iridescent plumage and huge tails, the females are far drabber. They often will have a much shorter tail and gray or brown feathers.

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