We share our beautiful planet with millions of species of animals. While it might seem like we know pretty much everything about them, there are things that can actually surprise us. For instance, did you know that there is a species of spider that actually cooks its food in the hot South African desert? Or that sharks are not the most dangerous animals in the world? Like that, we have gathered some interesting facts about animals that will help you expand your brain.
1. A bear can run faster than a horse.
It’s true that grizzly bears can outrun a horse, but only for a short distance. They can outrun humans with ease and outrun horses uphill, downhill, or along a slope for around 50 to 100 yards. This is because bears have very little endurance whereas horses can run at a top speed of 55 mph for as far as 3 miles. Horses can, however, cover very long distances at slower speeds.
2. Cows are more dangerous than sharks.
Movies like Jaws portray sharks as something you need to be afraid of. It turns out though that you should be afraid of what’s on land rather than the ocean. Every year, cows claim more human lives than sharks do. While sharks claim about 5 lives every year, cows are known to take about 22. By spreading malaria, mosquitos claim thousands of more lives than sharks do every year. Deer are also known to take more lives than sharks, mainly by running out in front of cars.
3. Elephants are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror.
In a study, researchers discovered that not only do elephants recognize themselves in a mirror, but they are actually self-conscious. During the experiment, researchers painted an “x” on the forehead of one of the elephants and observed that the elephant, named Happy, repeatedly touched the “x” using her trunk. Researchers noted that more than half of chimpanzees examined typically fail this test.
4. There is a species of spider that cooks their meals on the hot desert sand.
The Spoor Spider of the Namib desert in southern Africa simply does not capture its prey and eat it. Instead, it captures ants and cooks them. According to Ripley’s, the spider first makes a blanket of web and sand to hide itself and also utilizes a line of web as a tripwire. When ants or any other insects move over the blanket, the spider strikes and then cooks it with the help of the desert.
5. Jaguars have the strongest bite of any cat on the planet.
Relative to its size, the jaguar has the strongest bite of any big cat. According to research conducted by Adam Hartstone-Rose and colleagues at the University of South Carolina, a jaguar’s bite force is only three-quarters as strong as a tiger’s bite force. However, given that jaguars are considerably smaller, relatively, their bites are stronger. “Pound for pound, jaguars pack a stronger punch” than a lion or tiger, says biologist Adam Hardstone-Rose. While the data does show that in terms of sheer power, jaguars can’t compete with tigers, but proportionately speaking, the smaller felines have the strongest bites.
6. It’s not just crows but pigeons are also capable of remembering people’s faces.
For long, we have known that crows and ravens can remember human faces as well as hold grudges against those who wrong them. A new study revealed that pigeons too have this ability, capable of recognizing faces, even when the person changes their attire. From the study, researchers believe that the birds might also show resentment and anger toward people who were aggressive with them.
7. Giraffes talk to one another using infrasonic communication.
Infrasonic communication simply means that giraffe’s talk to one another with sounds that are extremely low pitched, low frequency. This means that the frequency is so low that it’s inaudible to human ears. Researchers believe that the animals are capable of using this technique to communicate with other animals several miles away.
A team of biologists from the University of Vienna and Tierpark Berlin recorded more than 900 hours of audio from giraffes at three European zoos, and looked for signs of infrasonic noise. While they were unable to find any infrasound, they did stumble upon something potentially even more interesting: a low-frequency vocalization that’s quiet, yet still within the range of human hearing. The hums only occurred at night, with an average frequency of about 92 hertz.
8. Axolotls have the ability to grow back almost any part of their body.
An axolotl is an adorable underwater creature that is capable of regenerating body parts — including its brain. According to scientists, it’s the only terrestrial animal that is capable of regenerating extreme structures in the body. They can regenerate the front portion of their brain, called the telencephalon. The reason why they are able to do this is because their bodies react to damage differently than humans. Today, these creatures are being studied to better understand why our bodies cannot heal the same was as theirs.
9. Beetles use the Milky Way to find their way.
It is true that beetles are able to use the Milky Way as a form of orientation. An international team of biologists led by Dr. Marie Dacke of Lund University, Sweden, has discovered that African dung beetles use the Sun, the Moon, and the starry sky for orientation. “Even on clear, moonless nights, many dung beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths,” Dr. Dacke added. “This led us to suspect that the beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation—a feat that had, to our knowledge, never before been demonstrated in an insect”. Dr. Dacke and her colleagues reported their findings in a paper in the journal Current Biology.
10. You should never keep goldfish in a small container or bowl.
The ornamental fish will look nice in a bowl but the truth is that you should never keep them in tiny bowls. Keeping goldfish in bowls, vases or small tanks drastically reduces their life expectancy as well as quality. According to The Goldfish Tank, goldfish bowls are the equivalent to putting your goldfish in the toilet and expecting him to show you his best colors. Not only are they uncomfortable for the fish, they are too small to filter. Goldfish also require a lot of oxygen and a bowl does not have enough surface area to properly aerate it.