50 Fun Facts About Animals You Might Not Know –
African giant pouched rats
Trained African giant pouched rats have found thousands of unexploded landmines and bombs. Researchers have also trained these rats to detect tuberculosis and now they are training them to sniff out poached wildlife trophies being exported out of African ports.
2. Sea otters are one of the only natural predators of sea urchins which makes them a keystone species in helping to maintain the balance of kelp ecosystems. Because they help maintain the kelp ecosystem, they are indirectly helping to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
3. The Pudús are two subspecies of South American deer from the genus Pudu and are the world’s smallest deer. Pudús range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 inches) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 inches) long.
4. Olm is a species of an aquatic salamander that takes 14 years to reach sexual maturity. It has an estimated life span of 58 years. When food is scarce it reduces its activity and metabolic rate, to the point where they can survive without food for 10 years.
5. Secretary birds are famous for its snake-stomping legs. A single kick can 195 Newtons of force. They often use kicks to incapacitate and kill their prey. Their kick is powerful enough to shatter a human hand. They are also famous for their long eyelashes.
The milk of pinnipeds (seals) consists of up to 60% fat, allowing the young to grow fairly quickly. Pups can gain over 2.2 kg (4.9 lb) per day while nursing.
7. Alpacas have been bred for centuries for their luxurious fiber because it is both water and fire resistant. But nowadays some free range turkey farms have started using alpacas to guard their flocks from foxes, since alpacas are extremely territorial and will accept the turkeys as part of their herd, defending them by chasing off predators.
8. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. Scientists estimate that a single opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks in a single season, but will never contract or carry Lyme disease.
9. The Golden Plover is a bird that hatches with the power of camouflage fully activated. These fluffy birds match their mossy Arctic nesting site perfectly.
10. Female rabbits have up to an 80% chance of developing cancer if they are not spayed by the age of 4.
North American porcupine
An adult North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) has about 30,000 quills that cover almost all of its body. The quills are hollow and used primarily for defense, but also serve to insulate their bodies during winter. They cannot throw their quills.
12. The Ocean sunfish is the largest known bony fish in the world, weighing in at about 2 tonnes, with a diet of jellyfish. The female can produce as many as 300,000,000 eggs at a time.
13. There is a bird called the horned screamer, named after the unique unicorn-like horn on the top of their heads, and their peculiarly loud scream.
14. Skunks, who are notoriously known for their rather fowl spray emitted when afraid, try to warn their assailants through dance. They will stomp, whisk their tail, jump around, and do handstands, all in an attempt to scare them away.
15. Microtityus minimus is the world’s smallest known scorpion species. It measures 0.4 inches from end to end.
Sand cats are extremely difficult to study in the wild. Their furry soles prevent them from sinking in soft sand which makes their footprints nearly invisible. They have learned to crouch low and close their eyes when a light is shown on them, preventing any reflection off of their eyes.
17. Like many fruit-eating pigeons, the Pink-necked green pigeon is thought to be an important disperser of fruit seeds in forests and woodlands and is thought to be one of those responsible for helping the return of many of the Ficus species to the islands of Krakatoa.
18. The Honey Possum is the only non-flying animal in the world to live solely on a diet of nectar and pollen. Whilst their young are born weighing only 0.005 grams, honey Possum males have the largest sperm of any mammal in the world (0.36 mm).
19. An orchid mantis uses an aggressive ‘flowerlike’ mimic that attracts pollinators as prey items.
20. In the mornings the ring-tailed lemurs’ sunbath to warm themselves. They face the sun sitting in what is frequently described as a “sun-worshipping” posture or lotus position.
The Hammer-headed bat, the largest bat in Africa has been observed attacking live chickens. With a lifespan of over 30 years, it is also a carrier of the Ebola virus.
22. The bearded vulture is the only known animal whose diet is almost exclusively bone. In fact, it usually disdains the actual meat and lives on a diet that is typically 85–90% bone marrow.
23. Red-lipped batfish is actually a pretty bad swimmer, so it uses its highly adapted pectoral fins that are large enough to help it walk across the ocean floor.
24. Harvest Mice like crawling into flowers to eat the pollen and sometimes even fall asleep in them.
25. Boxer or Pom-Pom Crabs carry around live anemones in each claw to protect them from predators. When a pom-pom crab lacks sea anemones, it steals one from another crab and splits it into two fragments that regenerate into identical clones of the original anemone.
Ducklings have abstract thoughts. Within hours of hatching, these baby birds can learn concepts like “same” or “different” — and they do so faster than human infants.
27. Slow lorises are the only known venomous primates. The venom comes from brachial glands on their forearms and from their saliva. When threatened, the slow loris will lick the brachial patch prior to biting the aggressor.
28. The black heron uses a hunting method called canopy feeding. It uses its wings like an umbrella, creating shade that attracts fish.
29. Bushbabies pee on their hands to have more traction on branches and to be able to find their way back to their nests.
30. Some stoats (also known as weasels) turn completely white in winter – except for the tip of their tail, which remains black. Their name is thought to have derived from the Dutch word for “naughty.”
Luzon bleeding-heart is a species of a ground dove which has a reddish hue extending down the belly, furthering the illusion of blood having run down the bird’s breast. They are shy and secretive, and very quiet, and rarely leave the ground except when nesting.
32. Japanese macaque wash their food in saltwater before they eat in order to both clean it and enhance the taste. They also make snowballs for fun.
33. Huskies have a lot of special adaptations for dealing with cold weather. For instance, when they sleep, they put their tails over their noses. The tails are specially adapted to act as warm air filters so the dog only breathes warm air.
34. The shoebill is noted for its slow movements and tendency to stay still for long periods, resulting in descriptions of the species as “statue-like.”
35. Pangolins have soft, pale scales when born, which begin to harden by the second day. They are the only mammal with scales and it’s also the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet, and is in danger of being eaten to extinction.
Southern viscacha is a species of viscacha, a rodent which is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. It is a colonial animal living in small groups in rocky mountain areas. They do not venture far from rocks so that they can plunge underground if danger threatens.
37. Prairie dogs have such a complex means of communication that they can embed descriptions of predators within their calls, and even have a specific call to describe a man with a gun.
38. The laughing falcon is a bird that has a loud cry that sounds like happy/sad/crazy laughter, and it specializes in eating snakes.
39. Helicocranchia pfefferi a.k.a piglet squid is a funny looking squid that is about the size of a small avocado and can be found most commonly in the deepwater (greater than 100 meter or 320 feet) of virtually all oceans.
40. There are birds called “sociable weavers” who construct nests which can weigh 2,000 pounds, measure 20 feet wide, and house up to 500 birds. Birds that shirk their duties on creating the nest’s main thatch structure, and focus instead on their individual chambers, are chased away from the nest.
The Dumbo Octopus lives 7000 meters down in the ocean. They are about 20 centimeters long and use their ears to swim.
42. The Nicobar Pigeon is the closest living relative of both the extinct dodo and Rodrigues solitaire. It is the only living member of its genus, Caloenas.
43. The Matschie’s tree-kangaroo lives high up in the trees of Papua New Guinea. Their long, sharp claws allow them to scale tree trunks like a cat. These kangaroos have been observed jumping to the ground from up to 30 feet high in a tree without getting hurt.
44. The Norwegian Lundehund is one of the world’s rarest and oldest dog breeds. It has six toes, extremely flexible joints and was bred specifically to fetch puffin eggs.
45. The hoatzin is the last surviving species of a line of birds that diverged from all other birds 64 million years ago, just after the dinosaur extinction event, and that hoatzin chicks have claws on their wings.
By placing stones, bones and shells in and around his nest by size — from small to large — the male bowerbird creates an optical illusion, known as forced perspective, making his nest appear larger than it actually is from the point of view of prospective mates.
47. Pygmy Seahorses which measure only about the size of a human fingernail, change color after birth to match whatever seafan they land on, regardless of the color of their parents.
48. Megapodes are birds that hatch fully feathered and active, already able to fly and live independently from their parents.
49. The Manul (or Pallas’ cat) of Central Asia has the longest and densest fur of all the cat species.
50. The Golden-Tailed Gecko, native to Australia, is known to shoot a sticky, foul-smelling substance from its tail when threatened.