Nature at Its Weirdest
1. Tigers Behave Very Differently to Lions
We all know that lions have a pretty strict social hierarchy. They live in large groups led by an alpha male who always gets to eat first with everyone else getting whatever is left after he is done. Tigers do exactly the opposite. They are solitary creatures who prefer to live on their own. They only usually get together for mating so, if you see a male tiger together with a female and her cubs, he is most likely the father. Furthermore, the male tiger will do the hunting and then allow the female and cubs to get their fill and he will eat what’s left.
2. Scorpions Glow in Ultraviolet Light
This is true and, in fact, blacklight is often used to track down scorpions. The reason for this is a mixture of compounds found in the exoskeleton of the scorpion that act as a waterproofing wax which also happens to be fluorescent.
3. Ancient Romans Loved Purple Snails
First of all, yes, there are purple snails (multiple species, in fact) and the Romans loved them for a simple reason – Tyrian purple. This was the best color to show off because it signified high status. At one point, it was even only used by royalty. More importantly, though, Tyrian purple was always a very expensive dye because of the process involved in obtaining it. In order to make it, thousands of snails first had to be caught and then boiled for days in order to achieve the highly-coveted dye.
4. There Is an Immortal Jellyfish
Known scientifically as Turritopsis nutricula, this jellyfish became quite a sensation for its remarkable ability to force its cells to undergo transdifferentiation. Basically, what this means is that the cells revert back to their original form and then grow back good as new. It is like being able to regenerate every cell in your body which, technically, makes the jellyfish immortal. It doesn’t really, though. This is an incredible ability that we are studying closely but these jellyfish die all the time. For starters, they are only able to undergo regeneration after they have reached sexual maturity so, until then, they are just as vulnerable as everyone else. Furthermore, they only seem to do it under extreme circumstances such as being injured or starving.
5. The Blobfish Is the Ugliest Animal in the World
The poor blobfish is definitely not a looker. In fact, it has actually been voted the ugliest animal in the world and chosen as the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, an organization that wants to increase awareness for creatures that don’t have the benefit of being cute & cuddly (or, as how they put it, “Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children”). However, to be fair to the blobfish, it doesn’t actually look like that in water. It looks more normal but because of its low-density flesh, its features droop a lot when taken out of water.
6. Giraffes Sleep Less than Any Other Mammal
Giraffes can rest standing up, but they don’t experience full REM sleep in this position. Occasionally, giraffes will sit down and rest their heads on their backside and go into full sleep. However, this doesn’t last long. Giraffes only spend a few minutes like this since it is a very vulnerable position that would place them in danger in the wild. Overall, a giraffe can go with as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day.
7. There’s a Bug with Very Loud Genitalia
More specifically, it is a bug with something that can be described as a “singing penis”. The bug in question is the water boatman, a creature about as big as a grain of rice which is among the loudest animals on the planet. At its peak, the noise created by this tiny critter reaches up to 105 decibels. Fortunately for humans who live near its habitat, the noise is almost entirely lost from water to air. What is truly surprising is the method the water boatman uses in order to generate the thunderous racket – he does it by rubbing his penis against his belly.
8. How Fast Are Cheetahs?
We all know that cheetahs are really, really fast. In fact, a cheetah can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds. To put that in perspective, that’s as fast as a Ferrari 458 or a Porsche 911 GT3. Moreover, one female cheetah called Sarah broke the 100-meter record a couple of years ago with a time of 5.95 seconds. Again, to put that in perspective, that’s almost 4 seconds faster than Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.
9. Polar Bears Have Black Skin
If you would ever find yourself in the unique situation of shaving a polar bear, you will discover that they actually have black skin. Polar bears also have hairs with a hollow core which led to scientists believing that maybe the hairs acted as fiber optic tubes and conducted light to the black skin. This was later proven to be false.
10. Sharks Don’t Have Bones
Sharks belong to an animal class called Chondrichthyes which is composed of vertebrates with cartilage instead of bones. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue which is strong enough to support the body of the fish, but is weaker than bone. We have cartilage in our ears.