Bright Guy

Cool facts on just about everything

Terrestrial Biology

  1. Ceratocaryum argenteum is a plant in South Africa that produces seeds that look and smell like antelope dung.  The dung beetle, which eats and lays its eggs in dung, is tricked by this seed. The beetle rolls and seed away and buries it for its own needs, unwittingly dispersing the seeds of the deceptive plant!

  2. Zebra finches have been observed 
    singing the weather to their unborn offspring!  They live in central Australia, by calling near the end of the incubation period they can help prepare their young for the heat (particularly when it's hotter than 26C).  The chicks when they hear this song will alter their growth rate, reducing their body mass which is an advantage in higher temperatures.
  3. Hyalinobatrachium dianae is a new species of frog found in Costa Rica.  It has translucent skin on its underside and has eyes making it look a lot like Kermit, the Muppet. It was also noted to have a unique call of a single note of 0.4-0.55 seconds sounding more like an insect.
  4. The scientific name for the western lowland gorilla is Gorilla gorilla gorilla.
  5. Alpacas can die of loneliness which is why they must always be kept in pairs.

  6. A study has suggested that horses can differentiate between happy and angry human faces.  When they saw the picture of an angry human face their heart would race, they'd look at it with their left eye (a response from the right side of the brain where the fear response is located in horses) and would put their ears back.

  7. The bombardier beetle uses a toxic spray from the tip of its abdomen to defend itself from predators.  The compound, a mix of hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, creates an exothermic reaction reaching temperatures of 100 C that occur inside the beetle.  It has a specialised flexible internal membrane able to absorb the pressure of the explosion.  It can spray roughly 20 times!

  8. Elephants can predict when it will rain!  They normally communicate at a very low range (10 - 20 cycles /second) but now it's been found they can hear the low frequency of thunder upwards of 300 km away!  This has been an age-old belief.  The animals migrate to areas of higher elevation when they hear the thunder which is believed to get them out of the way of the oncoming water and closer to the fresh vegetation on the newly irrigated hillside.
  9. Chimpanzees have been observed drinking alcoholic plant sap using plant leaves.  They make "leaf sponges" by taking handfuls of leaves, crushing them into an absorbent sponge, then dipping it into the liquid and sucking out the contents.
  10. pink spot on the head of Leatherback turtles has been found to literally be a window on their brains! This thin pale skin allows sunlight to reach the pineal gland of the brain which has light-sensitive neurons. It's believed this allows the turtle to sense the time solar radiation and determine the "equilux" (when the day/night are the same length).  This signals the approach of winter and determines when to begin migrating.
  11. Caribou (or reindeer) experience several months of complete darkness living in the Arctic.  In order to survive their eyes remain dilated for extended periods of time.  It's been found that the tapetum of their eyes changes colour from gold in the summer, to blue in the winter because this dilation impedes the normal flow of fluids within the eye.  This increases the pressure and changes the colour and also allows for improved vision in the low light in the arctic.
  12.  Mexican free-tailed bats have been observed "jamming" each other's echolocation!  This allows one bat to trick another and steal its prey!  It projects a jamming signal that covers the range of sound that can produce and the first bat is unable to catch the insect.

  13. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus is the largest carnivorous dinosaur known to have existed.  12.6-18 meters in length weighing, in some cases, over 20 tonnes this massive dinosaur was originally discovered in 1912.  Unfortunately, the bones were destroyed during WWII after the museum in Germany where they were housed was bombed.  It's believed to have been terrestrial but capable of wading through the water as well.

  14. The Greater Vasa Parrot, native to Madagascar, have been observed using tools.  Specifically using pebbles or date pits and grinding seashells to ingest the resulting calcium powder.

  15. Dung Beetles have been found to use the Milky Way to navigate!  The beetles form dung balls and roll them away for safe keeping.  To ensure they're rolling in a straight direction away it's been observed that on a moonless night, they continue a straight bearing.

  16. Proportional to body size, a mite from California has been found to be the fastest land animal!  They can run about 300x their body length per second (equal to a human running faster than the speed of sound)!

  17. Ants, living on medians in Manhattan, are believed to consume upwards of 2100 lbs of junk food that falls on the ground.

  18.  Elephants can distinguish human voices!  They've also been found the difference between men, women, and children.  Researchers recorded voices of Maasai and Kamba tribes speaking their native languages.  Maasai traditionally spear elephants to protect their cattle while the more agricultural Kamba do not pose a threat to elephants.  When they hear Maasai, the elephants are observed taking defensive positions.

  19. T-Rex lived closer to us than they did to the Stegosaurus.
  20. A study has demonstrated that the eastern mole has stereo-smell.  This applies directionality allowing them to find food (as they're nearly blind and have a poor sense of smell).

  21. A study has found that mammals all urinate for about 20 seconds regardless of their size.  A dog (bladder is 1.4 litres) and an elephant (160 litres) both empty their bladders at the same time.  Larger animals have larger and longer urethras increasing the force of gravity on the urine and increase the rate of emptying.  This doesn't work for animals less than 2.2 kg because the of the surface tension of the urine.  It's believed this lowers the risk of predation.

  22. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) will lay their eggs in an alcohol-soaked environment when they sense parasitic wasps in their environment (see study).  The wasps normally inject their eggs into the fruit fly larvae along with venom which suppresses the hosts' immune system.  The fly is normally exposed to high alcohol levels because of regularly eating fermented and rotting fruit.  The wasps cannot survive in this environment.
  23. Fairy circles can be found in Southern Africa varying from 1 to 50 meters in diameter.  Recently it's been discovered that termites (specifically Psammotermes allocerus) may be responsible!  Grass will utilise the water and lead to its rapid evaporation, but consuming the vegetation leaves a bare patch that can store more water than the surrounding soil.
  24. Female Hottentot golden moles use the size of male moles' penises as a guide to their suitability as a mate (study).  The mole, endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, is blind and lives in tunnels underground.
  25. There are only 500 Ethiopian wolves left making them the rarest dog in the wild.  Research suggests that they're becoming genetically fragmented.  Living in the Ethiopian highlands, the animals have specific needs and don't generally travel far beyond their range.  This means the six sub-populations in the country are not mixing, limiting genetic diversity putting them at risk for rabies among other diseases.

  26.  High-speed video analysis has found peacocks will create mesmerizing displays with their feathers by causing them to vibrate at a frequency similar to that of a guitar string while the "eye-spots" remain stationary due to small hooks.

  27. Crows can recognise human voices!  The Researchers believe this allows the bird to differentiate between other birds and determine which species will have food.  In the case of humans, which provide food and which are threatening.
  28. A study found that Labrador retrievers have a genetic mutation which acts as a hunger switch for the brain.  When food is given as part of the training routine, the dogs will do anything to get a treat.  When comparing Labradors who were seeing eye dogs versus the general Labrador population, 80% had the mutation versus 20%.  Initially, the dogs were bred to put on weight easier so that they could have insulating fat when swimming in the cold North Atlantic.
  29. Research discovered that melanophila acuminata (fire-chaser beetles) are attracted to forest fires up to 120 km away!  The females lay their eggs in freshly burned trees (as they no longer have protective sap).  Their fire sensing abilities come from pits located where the legs attach to their body.
  30. To cool off, dung beetles use moisture from the dung and wipe it on their face.  They expend a lot of energy moving the dung (up to 50x its body-weight).

  31. For the first time, a Goffin's cockatoo has been observed using tools!  This is rare for bird species.  Researchers used nuts see how their test bird, Figaro, used a splinter of wood to fabricate the appropriate tool.

  32. The kitti hog-nosed (bumblebee) bat is the smallest mammal.  They're found in western Thailand and south-east Burma.  The species lives in limestone caves with females giving birth to a single offspring every year.
  33. Bonobos, the closest extant relatives to humans, have been found to communicate about food quality!  Researchers identified five distinct calls in sequences to differentiate preferred foods from other foods.  While chimpanzees grunt when food is found, they do not identify it's quality.  When "good" quality food is found, such as kiwi fruit, a high pitched sound is made .  When a poorer food is discovered, an apple, in this case, a "low-preference" call is made .  Fellow foragers will interpret these sounds and refocus their search efforts around the area where the preferred food was found.
  34. The largest spider (by size) is the "giant huntsman spider" discovered in Laos in 2001 (red circle).  Believed to be a cave dweller, very little is known about the species.  This places the Goliath bird eater (left), a species of tarantula, in the number 2 spot (though still largest by weight).
  35. It takes 16 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of steak.
  36. Great albatross have the largest wingspan of any extant species (the largest exceeds 340 cm [11.2 ft]).  This facilitates extremely long glides (22-23 m of forward glide for every 1 m of downward glide).  These birds are also able to fly while sleeping.
  37. Cats have the ability to drink salt water!  Their kidneys are so efficient that unlike dogs and humans they can survive and even thrive; their blood osmolarity is also higher meaning they have lower targets to achieve.

  38. The most chromosomes in a living organism can be found in the Ophioglossum (adder's tongue) which has 1,262. The fewest are found in the jack jumper ant with 2 (males have 1 and are haploid).  Humans have 46.
  39. Bonobos regularly engage in homosexual and heterosexual activity.  It's been found that when invited to have sex with high-ranking females, they call to tell other group members as it's believed this elevates them in the social group.  Unlike chimpanzees, bonobos are not male dominated and have strong social relationships between females.

  40. When Pachycondyla chinensis ants find food that's too large for one to carry, they return to the nest and retrieve a helper.  The 'helper' ants are carried to the food where they aid the 'scout' ant in bringing it back to the nest.
  41. Orangutans have been found acting out some of their requests using gestures.  It's believed this suggests that the animals might have an understanding of the minds of others as well as the potential grass roots of human languages.  This video demonstrates an animal 'asking' the caretaker to open the coconut with his machete.

  42. The Racket-tailed Drongo will mimic alarm calls of other birds.  They then use these alarm calls to scare away those birds and steal their food.

  43. Juvenile albatross spend their first 5 years of life on the ocean.  As they don't nest at this age they never go to shore.
  44. Juvenile T-Rex' have been found to have filamentous structures thought to be precursors to feathers.  It is believed these were used to keep the young dinosaurs warm before they grew large enough to maintain body heat.
  45. The brain/body ratio of a human is about 500x larger than a stegosaurus.
  46. Researchers in South Africa found worms living in solid rock 3.6 km underground in a gold mine!  This was the first time a complex species has been found at this depth.  The worm, Halicephalobus mephisto, is about 0.5 mm long.
  47. All dog breeds are separated by only 0.2% in DNA.
  48. Humans are 2-4x more likely to be attacked by a lion in the 10 days following a full moon (study).  Lions hunt best at night.  The blazing moonlight hinders their ability to hunt their usual game so they're more likely to attack humans.
  49. Fruit-eating bats living in the tropics, pound for pound, can drink more alcohol than humans without appearing drunk.  Fruit in the tropics ferments, naturally producing alcohol.  Bats with 0.11 grams per 100 ml (legal limit is 0.08) show no signs of impaired coordination maintaining their ability to fly using echolocation.  Their constant exposure to ethanol naturally selected for bats who could 'hold their liquor'.
  50. The rhinoceros beetle can carry 850x it's body-weight!
  51. Some reptiles use 'temperature dependent sex determination' which means that reptilian eggs will become male or female depending on the surrounding temperature.
  52. Gorillas have been observed 'playing' tag.  One will approach another, hit, then run away.  Then their roles will switch.  Similar to humans this appears to be important for maintaining a competitive advantage.
  53. Racoons dedicate the same proportions of their brain to touch as we do for sight.
  54. Pterosaurs are the earliest known vertebrates to have flown.  It's believed they could fly 5,000 km without eating and varied in size from a sparrow to an aeroplane.  The largest had a wingspan of 12 m (40 ft) and weighed 500 lbs.
  55. A group of kangaroos is called a 'mob'.
  56. The world's most venomous spider, the Brazilian wandering (banana) spider.  Its neuro-toxin is 5.5x more potent than the black widow.  Only 0.006 mg are needed to kill a mouse.  If a bitten human survives they will still experience extreme pain for days and a painful erection which can lead to impotence.
  57. During the rainy season in the Amazon, fire ants will clump together and form a raft which they can maintain for weeks.  This allows them to survive and thrive in the rain-forest.  Ants on the bottom breath oxygen that's trapped between their bodies.  Their goal is to keep the queen and newborns dry.
  58. A report in the Journal of Experimental Biology has found that Zebras may have stripes because it confuses biting flies.  The bugs are attracted to polarised light (black stripes).  By adding a striped pattern, it's thought to give the impression of nothing being there.  The thinner the stripes, the greater the effect.  These bugs typically fly at about 1 meter above the ground so the legs and face have the thinnest stripes. Zebras' hair is thinner than most animals suggesting the need for this adaptation.
  59. Before laying eggs, Hornbill females will find an opening in a tree, climb in and seal it.  Males then feed females and chicks through this aperture, protecting the nest from predators.

  60. The mutable rain frog (Pristimantis mutabilis) is the only known vertebrate to change its skin texture from tuberculate to almost smooth.  The marble sized frog can achieve this change is about 10 seconds.  This is thought to be used as a form of camouflage.
  61. You cannot 'kill' a virus because they're non-living protein structures that require a host to survive.
  62. Pigeons have to bob their heads to walk.
  63. Some millipedes use hydrogen cyanide as a form of protection.  This is released through pores in their skin. Capuchin monkeys rub the millipedes on themselves as a form of mosquito repellent.
  64. The largest bone-bed ever documented was found near Hilda, Alberta.  The 2.3 sq.km.

  65. Snow leopards can leap as far as 45 feet (13.7 meters)!
  66. The Jesus Christ lizard can run 20 m on the water with its webbed hind legs.  They can grow up to a foot in length and live 8 years.
  67. Earwigs have two penises that are larger than its body.  The second is believed to be there in case the first snaps off.
  68. Scientists have created a fully functional, synthetic cell.  This goes against 'all cells come from preexisting cells'.  This cell's 'parents' was a computer.  To prove they created it, the developers inserted their names, a website and 3 famous quotations into its genome.
  69. Armadillidiidae (Pill Bug) have organs similar to gills...except they live on land.  They have to keep these organs moist.  They are a key species between land and water.
  70. Tapeworms can grow up to 80 ft in length.
  71. Cows produce about 190 L of saliva per day and (milking cows) produce 1500 gallons (6000 quarts) of milk per year.
  72. Dragonflies can fly backwards just as quickly as forward.
  73. The leopard got its name because it was thought to be half 'leo' (lion) and half panther (pard).
  74. The Newfoundlander is thought to be the strongest of any dog.  They excel at water rescue due to their great strength, webbed feet and acute swimming abilities.  Pictured is a Newfoundlander trained to rescue swimmers in Italy.
  75. Flying Snakes, living in south- and south-east Asia, can glide up to 21 m!  They flatten their bodies and glide through the air by undulating their body.  They land by reorienting their tail so it hits the ground first, like a landing gear, leaving their head for last.
  76. The pigments on the backs of oriental hornets have been found to drive solar cells!  Scientists hypothesise that they harvest sunlight for energy.  Unlike other hornets, these ones are active at mid-day (instead of the early morning) when the sun it's at its peak.  The yellow pigment, called xanthopterin, traps light in a complex microstructure preventing reflection.
  77. Ibycus rachelae is a 4 cm long slug found in a Bornean rainforest.  The female slugs use 'love-darts' made of calcium carbonate.  This pierces and injects a hormone into a potential mate increasing production.
  78. Ostriches have never been observed burying their heads in the sand.
  79. Cats have 32 muscles in each ear.  They are the lowest life form with a folded cerebrum and are able to walk with only spinal control (humans require brain control, otherwise become paralysed).
  80. The world’s tiniest fossil footprints have been found in Canada.  The researchers dated the prints at 315 million years created by a salamander-like creature.  The fossil, found in Nova Scotia’s Joggins Fossil Cliffs, was only 8 mm in length!
  81. Chameleons' eyes have 360 degrees of sight, capable of moving their eyes independently and can see in the UV spectrum.  It is thought that these animals are deaf due to the lack of a vomeronasal organ and an inner ear.  Their tongues can extend longer than their body length and move at 0.003 of a second.
  82. A T-Rex can yield about 1700 litres (450 gallons) of gasoline.
  83. Cold blooded animals are 10x more efficient than mammals because energy is not 'wasted' as heat.
  84. 1 lb of armadillo meat has 780 calories.  They have 4 babies at a time, they're always the same sex and perfect quadruplets.  They sleep an average of 18.5 hours per day and can walk underwater.
  85. Tamri goats, native to Morocco, climb trees!  They are attracted to berries of the Argan tree.  Their faeces is also of value used by locals to produce an oil used in cooking and in cosmetics!
  86. Armadillos received Leprosy from humans when European settlers first settled in the Americas.  Armadillos are now responsible for 1/3 of all Leprosy cases in the United States.
  87. A study has revealed rats show empathy.  One rat in a cage could only be freed by a second rat.  A series of tests demonstrated that the free rat intentionally acted to relieve the caged rat from distress.
  88. Temperature crickets (family Gryllidae) can be used to predict the temperature!  They chirp at a known rate which changes (slows) with declining temperature.
  89. The golden mole swims through the sands of African deserts.  It has fur protecting their eyes from constant scraping.  As passing sand continuously produces high pitched sounds, they're tuned to incredible low sounds.
  90. Macaque monkeys have a hierarchical system whereby animals from the higher class can take food from the lower class.  If the lower monkey refuses, the group will beat him.
  91. Endospores are created by bacteria as a way of 'hibernating' during tough times.  These spores can live almost indefinitely!
  92. Praying mantis' have excellent eyesight, capable of seeing 18 m (60 ft) away.  They live 12 months and, while mating, the female will eat the male's head.
  93. Red Foxes have been found to prefer facing magnetic north (or within 10 degrees) while hunting (statistically they have a higher success rate).  It is believed that foxes see a shadow on their retina that is darkest towards magnetic north.  When the shadow lines up with a sound it heard (from an animal in tall grass or under the snow) it launches itself into the air and comes straight down on its prey!

  94. Constrictors know when their victim is dead by sensing their fading heart beat!  It's been discovered using dead rats with tubes and pumps to simulate a heart beat, that snakes only stop once the pulse ceases.  This is the first time these animals have made 'judgement calls', something typically reserved for higher vertebrates.

  95. Most spider webs are comprised of silk that is covered with a sticky glue.  However, the Uloborus plumipes, or the "feather-legged lace weaver" has been found to use an electrostatically charged, fluffy, wool-like substance instead.  The spider shoots nano- filaments from different spigots that are then twisted together into a rope 
    (along with an organ called the cribellum, see electron microscope image on the right).  This process creates incredible electrostatic charge allowing for thinner, stronger and stickier fibres compared to conventional spiders.
  96. Researchers have trained pigeons to detect cancerous versus normal tissues within 80% accuracy!  They were trained for two weeks by being shown cancerous and normal tissues.  If they pecked the "cancer" or "no-cancer" button correctly, they were rewarded.  Pigeons have vision similar to that of humans.  It's hoped the research can help determine what the most important diagnostic features are and improve physician training.

  97. Why do worms come out when it rains?  Worms can pull oxygen out of the air or water using their skin (so they won't drown).  Worms instinctively will come out at night, triggered by the dew on the grass, because there are no predators or sunlight to dry them out.  As worms cannot see, they also come out when it rains (because they cannot tell the difference).
  98. Porcupines can pull out their quills using their teeth (should they be accidentally quilled).  If they are not pulled, muscle contraction will slowly drive them forward which could potentially hit vital organs.
  99. Orangutans can only have one offspring every 6 to 7 years, the longest of any mammal.
  100. A camel can live 8 days without water in 50 C weather.  Its hump can weigh up to 80 lbs.
  101. The star-nosed mole has spades for paws.  It has the ability to swim under frozen lakes to catch bugs.  It has 22 fleshy arms on the front of its face that are so sensitive that they could differentiate between 600 pin heads placed against its face at the same time.  It uses tunnels to travel and eats anything it finds in them.
  102. The tapetum lucidum is a membrane found in the back of some animals' eyes.  They allow the animal to see in low light conditions by recycling the low amounts of light.  This results in eyes that 'glow'.
  103. Elephant shrews use 'highways' that they have constructed, and memorised, in the tall grasses of the African Savannah to escape from predators.  They spend their entire life running.  Females have evolved with nipples on their shoulders to facilitate a rapid escape.
  104. Crab-eating macaques have been observed flossing with human hair!  This particular group lives in temple ruins.  They collect hair fallen from tourists and weave it into a thread.  The adults then teach their young the trick.
  105. Japanese macaques wash potatoes before eating them.
  106. Bullet ants are wingless wasps.  Their sting has been described as feeling like a gunshot wound.
  107. Slow motion cameras have captured cats utilising fluid dynamics to drink.  Unlike dogs, who create a scoop with their tongues, cats make their tongue into a 'J' shape which touches the surface of the liquid every 3.5 times/second.  The substance adheres to the tongue and is pulled upwards and into the mouth.  The cat will then close its jaws over the water column before gravity pulls it back down.  The larger the cat (tongue) the slower the drinking.
  108. Penguins have an organ located above their eyes capable of converting saltwater to freshwater.
  109. Giant anteaters have the lowest body temperature of any other mammal, 32 C (humans are 37).  This conserves energy (ants aren't very nutritious).  This lack of energy means their brains don't work very quickly and they sleep 15 hours per day.
  110. A fossilised snake found in a Colombian mine would have weighed 2500 lbs, 43 ft in length and 75 cm in diameter.  It could have consumed crocodiles whole.  Currently, the largest snake by length is the python at 33 ft; by mass, it's the anaconda.
  111. Coryanthes (Bucket Orchids) have co-evolved with orchid bees.  Male bees land on the lip of the plant and fall into the bucket because it's slippery.  Small knobs inside the flour facilitate the bee climbing out toward a spout.  As the bee crawls through the flower constricts attaching two small packets containing pollen to the bee.  The 'glue' on the packets doesn't set immediately so the flower holds the bee for upwards of 45 minutes before setting it free!
  112. Lava lizards in the Galapagos will 'claim' dead animals and protect it from predators.  This allows them to feed off of the resulting flies.
  113. When marking its territory, male pandas will do a handstand to ensure their urine ends up highest on the tree (similar to how a dog will raise its leg).
  114. A woodpecker can peck 20 times per second.
  115. The giant Asian hornet is endemic to Japan.  They have a 3-inch wingspan with a stinger that's 0.5 an inch in length!
  116. A study by the University of Arizona found that there are 25,127 bacteria per square inch on pay phones vs. 49 per square inch on a public toilet seat.

  117. When dogs roll over, it's usually believed it's an act of submission.  However, recent research suggests that it's a strategic manoeuvre. By rolling on their backs, it hides the back of their neck and allows for a better position to launch an upward bite at the neck of their playmate.
  118. The naked mole rat lives in eastern Africa underground in large colonies.  It has special adaptations including lips that close behind its teeth so it doesn't swallow dirt and no nerves in its skin.  Recently it's been found the animal is acid insensitive.  Living in large social groups carbon dioxide levels can be 8-10% (normal air is 0.035%).  Normally breathing this would be painful however it's been found the animal's pain receptors don't respond to this stimuli.  It's hoped further research could provide alternative pain treatments for humans.  Their close cousins, the blind mole rat, have been found to have unique cancer-fighting mechanisms.  Both species have a unique way of fighting cancer.  Instead of apoptosis, whereby the cell kills itself, they have an immune system adapted to directly targeting cancer cells.  Their genome has been sequenced for potential cancer-fighting drugs.
  119. Badgers and coyotes have a symbiotic relationship whereby one flushes out pray while the other catches it.
  120. Komodo dragons can reproduce asexually, one of the largest species capable of doing this.  They also have a red saliva and a venom that works as an anticoagulant.
  121. E. coli can reproduce so quickly that, if left to grow with ideal conditions, in 24 hours a single bacterium could produce a mat 1 m thick covering the entire world!
  122. The lyrebird is one of two ground-dwelling Australian birds capable of mimicking both natural and artificial songs.  They try to make the most complex song possible to attract mates.  A group of lyrebirds is called a musket!
  123. The Walnut-Sphinx caterpillar, a North American caterpillar, is the only known species to making a whistling sound!   By pulling back the anterior part of their body, the animal draws air through a pair of sphericals on its body.  This has shown to be a very effective means of frightening predators.
  124. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
  125. The global termite population outweighs the human population 10:1.
  126. It's believed 100 species are lost daily due to rainforest depletion.
  127. Zebras are white with black stripes (if shaved they would look like white horses).
  128. A bat's sonar is so effective that they can differentiate between single hairs on one's head.  A bat's eyesight is just as effective as humans'.
  129. Dog's have been 'man's best friend' for over 12,000 years.
  130. 50 million bacteria can be contained in a single drop of liquid.
  131. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
  132. Hippopotamuses sweat contains a pigment that is red and brown as the pigment polymerises (source)!  This functions as a natural sunscreen!  The sweat is also quite acidic which means it is also an effective antibiotic.
  133. In South East Asia, locals have reported that rhinoceroses, when they spot a fire, will stamp it out; this has never been officially observed.
  134. Polar bears are left-handed.  Their livers are so rich in vitamin A that their consumption by humans can be harmful.  DNA evidence suggests they originated from Irish brown bears.
  135. The strongest known material (strength to weight ratio) is spider's silk.
  136. The amur leopard is the rarest cat in the world with only 19-26 individuals left in the wild.  Their demise has been linked to poaching, loss of habitat and changes in weather.
  137. The number 1 killer of beavers is falling trees.  Beavers are superseded only by humans when it comes to altering their environment.  Their teeth contain iron for added strength which is why they appear yellow.

  138. In one year a horse will eat 7 times its body weight.
  139. Harvestman (daddy long-legs) are opiliones (unlike spiders which are araneae).  Spiders only have two body sections while harvestman has an abdomen with 10 sections and a cephalothorax which are closely joined so that they appear as one oval structure.  They have a single pair of eyes, no silk glands or and no venom glands.
  140. The Brontosaurus was an accident when archaeologists placed the head of a Camarasaurus on the body of an apatosaurus.
  141. Turtles can breathe through their anus.
  142. Some species of bug can SCUBA dive!  Using waxy covered legs, they collect tiny air bubbles around them and create a bubble around their head which they can use to breathe.  Some have gone further using these bubbles as external lungs.  It pulls oxygen out of the water and forces carbon dioxide into it.
  143. The King Cobra's venom is so potent that it can kill 13 adult humans or a full grown elephant.
  144. Cats can see 6 times more effectively than humans.
  145. A chimpanzee can recognise itself in the mirror, but monkeys cannot.
  146. Bats are the only mammals capable of flying.  'Flying' squirrels glide.  The furthest recorded glide 100 meters.
  147. A cockroach can live 9 days without its head (its brains are located in its knees), submerged in water for 24 hours and can survive 800x more radiation than humans.
  148. In 7 years, a female cat can have approximately 420,000 descendants.  Out of every 10 kittens, only 2 will have a permanent home.
  149. Elephantare the only four-legged animal to have all four knees bending forward which inhibits their ability to jump.  Their trunks have 50,000 muscles and no bones.
  150. The two-toed sloth has the most ribs of any animal (6 more than an elephant, 10 more than a horse, and 22 more than a human).  Sloths spend almost their entire life upside down including eating, sleeping and mating.  They sleep 15 hours a day and take 1 month to digest a meal.  Their fur is designed to attract algae growth and works as camouflage.
  151. Donkeys kill more people per year than plane crashes.
  152. Cat's whiskers are used for measurement.  If they touch something on both sides then the space the cat is trying to squeeze through is too small.
  153. Male Malaysian fruit bats can produce milk for their young.
  154. Butterflies taste with their feet.
  155. Cows have 4 stomachs.
  156. A penny would cover 3 hummingbird eggs.  18 hummingbirds weigh 1 ounce.
  157. Cheetahs can often run upwards of 100 km/h.
  158. The poison arrow frog is so venomous that only 1/100,000 of an ounce of its venom can kill a human.
  159. Snakes can bite after they are dead due to nervous reflexes.
  160. The now extinct Irish Elk had the largest antlers of all animals.  They were 3.6 m (12 ft) across and weighed 88 lbs (40 kg).
  161. A hummingbird flaps its wings about 80x/second and its heart beats 1260x/minute.  They burn so much energy they must eat every 10 minutes.
  162. The arctic tern has the longest migration of any bird travelling from Arctic breeding grounds to Antarctica.  The longest flight was over 22,000 km!
  163. Snails are able to sleep for up to 3 years!
  164. The black widow spider has venom that is 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake's.  It is named the black 'widow' because it eats its husband after mating.
  165. If humans were as strong as ants we would be able to lift 3 compact cars over our heads!
  166. Red ants recruit 'slaves' to build their homes and find food.  They do this by stealing the larva of other ants.  Red ants are unable to do anything except fight.
  167. If you look into a gecko's ear you can see through to the other side.
  168. Bees communicate with dance.  They walk in a pattern which is copied by others and initiates an action.
  169. Giraffes only sleep 20 minutes per day (usually in 5-minute intervals) and they do this standing up!  They have the same number of bones in their neck compared to us.  Their tails can reach up to 8 ft in length.
  170. Mosquitoes cause more human deaths than any war or natural disaster combined.  They have an infrared vision that allows them to see at night and identify individual blood vessels.
  171. The largest beaver dam was discovered in northern Alberta using Google Earth.  It's 850 m in length.  It's more than 1000 ft longer than the Hoover Dam.  It took the beavers over 20 years to complete.
  172. The Amphicoelias fragillimus is a 'long neck' discovered in the late 1800s.  Only drawings of the bones remain.  Calculations reveal a towering animal capable of reaching 122 tonnes (25 elephants).  There is still little evidence of their existence and some experts still, agree that the Argentinosaurus (in blue) is the largest at 100 tonnes.
  173. Cows have been found to have an innate ability to detect the north and south magnetic poles.  A student examining Google Earth found pictures of cows grazing, sleeping and standing facing magnetic north.  This quality is shared by birds, turtles and salmon.
  174. Red squirrels have been found to adopt orphan pups.  By calling to one another, mothers know whether family members live in their neighbourhood.  If the communication stops they'll investigate and, if necessary, adopt one pup.  This boosts the likelihood of her genes getting into the next generation.
  175. Matriarch elephants are the herd's memory bank and determining friends from foes.  It is this importance in old age that potentially explains why elephants are one of the only animals (aside from humans) who undergo menopause.
  176. The kiwi is a bird that lives in holes underground in New Zealand.  While it has weakened eyesight and sense of touch, it has a heightened sense of smell (rare in birds) and the only bird with nostrils in their beak.  They also have, proportionally, the largest egg and only lay one egg per year.
  177. You are more likely to die from an attacking cow than an attacking shark.
  178. After bananas, a gorilla's favourite food is celery.
  179. The bush cricket has the largest testes relative to its body size.  They account for 14% of the insect's body weight.  If applied to a man, each testicle would weigh 6 bags of sugar each!
  180. A study looking at temperature loss in Emperor penguins in Antarctica found that penguins' surface temperature is lower than the ambient Antarctic air temperature.  This colder-than-cold appears to be caused by radiative cooling.  Similar to how ice builds up on windows or grass on a cold, clear night, the penguins were losing heat into the sky as there was little in the atmosphere to provide any added protection.


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