1. Giraffe Is Kosher
Jews everywhere rejoice – you can eat giraffe. Well, not really since giraffe is an endangered species but, would that not have been the case, you would be allowed to eat giraffe meat and drink giraffe milk and still keep kosher.
According to Jewish law, kosher animals are grazers with cloven hooves who chew the cud. The giraffe looked like a good candidate, but it wasn’t confirmed until a few years ago when Israeli vets treated a female giraffe and submitted her milk samples for kosher certification.
2. Okapi Can Communicate through Infrasound
Most people know the okapi as the strange zebra/giraffe combo found throughout Central Africa. This bizarre-looking mammal, indeed a relative of the giraffe, can communicate using infrasound. These infrasonic calls, reaching as low as 14Hz, are well below the range of human hearing and are thought to be used to maintain contact between mother and infant.
3. Cat Videos Are Good for Your Health
Millions of people will now have a valid reason for spending hours on the internet looking at cute cat videos – it’s good for them. At least, that’s what one study from Indiana University concluded earlier this year. Almost 7,000 people took part in the research and their moods were monitored before and after watching cat videos. The beloved internet pastime provided people with energy boosts and reduced negative emotions like sadness and anxiety.
On the other hand, the test subjects also reported that the joy they got from watching the videos outweighed their guilt from procrastinating. While this is good for their morale, it’s not ideal for people trying to get stuff done. It’s not good for employers, either, as many subjects admitted to watching cat videos at work.
4. Penguins Can’t Taste Fish
A new study suggests that penguins are physically incapable of tasting fish and have been that way for millions of years. We’re familiar with the five basic flavors available to most vertebrates – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. Most birds don’t have the sweet sense and penguins appear to only be able to taste sour and salty. The lack of umami is a particular problem for them since it means they can’t enjoy the savory taste of all that fish they love to eat.
5. Black Lemurs Get High on Millipede Poison
Most animals know to avoid millipedes as they usually possess very potent poisons. The black lemurs of Madagascar, however, can’t get enough of them. And the weird part is that the lemurs don’t even eat them. They bite the millipedes gently in order to make them spray a toxic substance that contains, among other things, cyanide. The poison acts as a narcotic and induces the lemurs into a euphoric state. There’s also a practical side to the behavior – lemurs rub the poison on their fur to repel insects.
6. Sea Otters Have the Densest Fur of Any Animal
The southern sea otter, in particular, has roughly one million hairs per square inch. A full grown adult male can be covered in over 800 million hairs. The dense fur acts as great insulation and allows the otter to thrive in cold waters.
7. Dragonflies Are Nature’s Best Hunters
We’re going strictly by success rate here. Nature documentaries might portray lions as efficient and calculated predators that work well as a team but, truth is that, 3 out of 4 times, those lions go back empty-handed (or pawed). In fact, most mammal predators have a hunting success rate that rarely crosses over 50%. By comparison, dragonflies capture their targets a whopping 95% of the time which makes them the most successful hunters that nature has to offer.
8. Hinnies Are Offspring of Horses and Donkeys
Most of us have heard of mules – they are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse bred only in captivity. People find them useful because they are tougher and longer-lived than horses but more athletic and less stubborn than donkeys. However, there is another type of offspring called a hinny and, despite what some believe, it’s not the female mule. Quite the opposite – it’s the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey.
9. Arctic Tern Makes the Longest Migration in the World
Every year, this little bird travels between Greenland and Antarctica. The arctic tern also takes a zig-zag route which means that it can cover around 44,000 miles in a single trip. One individual bird that was wearing a tracker logged in a 56,000-mile flight. Considering that the arctic tern lives for 30 years on average, that means that one bird can travel roughly 1.5 million miles during its lifetime.
10. Rusty-Spotted Cat Is the Smallest Wild Cat Species in the World
Typically, the rusty-spotted cat reaches between 13 and 19 inches in length and weighs up to 3.5 lbs. It is usually regarded as the smallest wild cat species in the world, although it’s in close competition with the black-footed cat. The black-footed cat is shorter, on average, but a full grown adult male can weigh over 5 lbs.