10 More Animal Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

10 More Animal Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Here is Part 1 in case you missed it, but now it’s time to look at some more animal facts.

1. Giraffes can go longer without water than camels.

Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett via Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett via Wiki Commons

We know that camels have the ultimate reputation for being frugal when it comes to water. In fact, male camels will even waste water on purpose as a show of dominance in front of other males. However, the giraffe has the camel beat. It can go for a longer time without a drink because the giraffe’s main diet is acacia leaves and these have a high water content. In the wild, it’s always risky for a giraffe to bend down in order to get a drink because it leaves it vulnerable to attacks. When it does go for a drink (and water is plentiful), a giraffe can guzzle up to 10 gallons of water at a time.

2. Giraffes are also called camelopards.

It’s a pretty archaic definition, but the animal’s binomial name is still Giraffa camelopardalis. Like other scientific names, “camelopardalis” is a Latin word which is derived from an older Greek one. It was described this way because the giraffe has a hump on its back like a camel and a spotted pattern like a leopard.

3. Female ferrets will die if they don’t have sex.

Ferret

This is one I’ve heard a couple of times and just assumed that it was bogus. As it turns out, it’s true. Ferret owners are probably already aware of this but, for everyone else, when she is in heat, the female ferret can develop a serious anemia if it does not mate and it could be life threatening. The solutions here are either to get her some action or to have her spayed.

4. Flamingos eat with their heads upside-down.

This is somewhat true. As you can see in the video, flamingos do tilt their heads at a weird angle when they eat but it’s not completely upside-down. This is so the flamingo can filter out the mud and the water and keep the food.

5. The Great Dane isn’t Danish.

Photo Credit: Art & Sarah via Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Art & Sarah via Wiki Commons

This shouldn’t be that surprising. There are so many other things out there which are named after a place they aren’t actually from. In reality, the Great Dane is German which is why in some parts of the world (Germany included) the breed is called a German Mastiff. The Germans supposedly created the Great Dane by breeding an English Mastiff with an Irish Wolfhound. So why are they called Great Danes? I have no idea and, apparently, neither does the American Kennel Club.

6. Why did the chicken cross the road?

You all probably know the answer to this joke/riddle. At least the original one. There have been countless variations on the original. Even Harvard has its own page dedicated to chicken/physics jokes. But how old is the joke, really? allegedly, a New York magazine called The Knickerbocker published the first version in 1847. The original is pretty similar to the version we still know today: “Why does a chicken cross the street? […] Because it wants to get on the other side!”

7. Octopus arms remain active after being severed.

Octopus_at_Kelly_Tarlton's

Let’s say an octopus gets into a fight and loses one of its tentacles. If the octopus is still alive, then it’s no problem. They just grow a new one. However, the severed tentacle will continue to function normally for up to one hour. It will still grab onto stuff, thinking it is food, and will try to feed it to a mouth that isn’t there anymore.

8. Why don’t tentacles grab onto one another?

Speaking of octopuses, we all know that they have tentacles covered in suction cups that stick to everything. So why don’t they stick to one another? Just image for a minute what it would be like if you had double the arms and double the legs and you couldn’t let any of them touch any other because they’d get stuck together. Well, octopuses don’t have that problem, apparently, and we might know why. One study suggests that the skin of the octopus produces a chemical signal that lets the suction cups know not to latch on. What’s more impressive is that each chemical signal appears to be unique. One octopus won’t grab onto itself, but it will grab onto another octopus (and this actually happens often since many octopus species are cannibalistic).

9. Elephants can’t jump.

Photo Credit: Greg Willis via Wiki Commons

Photo Credit: Greg Willis via Wiki Commons

This one is true, but it comes with a caveat. Sometimes, this fact is presented slightly different: “elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump”. This isn’t as true. While elephants can’t jump, neither can other mammals like hippos and rhinos.

10. Chickens used to be used as oracles.

Nowadays we use all kinds of animals to predict things (typically football results), but this practice isn’t anything new. The ancient Romans used to use chickens as oracles. The methods differed, but typically the chicken was presented with some food. If the chicken ate the food, it was a good omen. If it ignored it, it was bad.