30 Wild Facts About Wildlife
Did you know that a blue whale's heart can weigh more than your car? Or that horned lizards can squirt blood from their eyes? (Ew!) How about that bats give birth upside down?
Around the world, animals fascinate with their extraordinary features and behaviors. Here, to show how truly wild wildlife can be, we've rounded up some of the most shocking, incredible, just-plain awesome wildlife facts you could imagine.
Snails Can Sleep for 3 Years
Don't give up on that snail playing dead; he could just be asleep! Researchers found that snails typically sleep for seven hours and then are awake for 30 hours before their next sleep.
But they're capable of hibernating by sealing up in their shell for up to three full years.
Rhino Horns Are Made of Hair
While not exactly hair, rhinoceros horns are made up of the protein keratin, the main component of human fingernails and hair.
Sloths Digest Food VERY Slowly
Sloths are notoriously slow, and that goes for their digestive tracks as well.
It can take sloths an entire month to digest their food!
The Smallest Crabs Are the Size of a Pea
At 0.13- to 0.46-inches wide, adorable pea crabs are the size of peas. (Hence their name.)
They live inside oysters and mussels, stealing their host's food. Sneaky crabs!
A Shrimp's Heart Is Located in Its Head
All of the most important internal organs of a shrimp are located in its head, which is covered by its exoskeleton.
This includes its heart, brain, stomach and reproductive organs.
Koala Fingerprints Match Human Prints
Even crime-scene investigators cannot distinguish the difference between koala and human prints because they're so uncannily matched.
Why is this the case? Scientists believe it may have something to do with our shared way of grasping. Like humans, koalas must be good at grasping in order to eat, and to do so, it helps to have prints. This explains the other animals that have human-like prints: gorillas and chimps.
You Can Hypnotize a Frog
If you put a frog on its back and stroke its stomach, you can put it into a trance.
We're not sure why you'd want to do this, and you probably shouldn't try. Some frogs end up dying after going under.
Frogs Can Also Freeze Without Dying
When winter comes, some North American frog species don't hibernate like bears. Instead, they actually freeze, then thaw out when temperatures warm up.
The amphibians are cold-blooded, which helps them keep their body temperature in check as the climate changes around them.
Antarctic Glaciers Consist of Urine
In total, nearly 3 percent of the ice in Antarctic glaciers is made up of penguin urine.
This is gross but also makes a lot of sense. Think about it: All of those penguins have to go somewhere.
Guinea Chimps Like to Drink
In Guinea, wild chimps have been found to drink a fermented palm sap that's 3 percent alcohol. Scientists discovered that some of the sap-drinking monkeys "displayed behavioral signs of inebriation, including falling asleep shortly after drinking."
Monkeys — they really are just like us!
Zombie Mice Live in the Sub-Antartic
Giant albatross birds are being eaten alive — by mice!
Mice once co-existed peacefully with albatross on Marion Island, but with climate change limiting their food options, they've taken to eating the living birds "zombie-style."
Capuchin Monkeys Clean With Urine
It seems counterproductive, but capuchin monkeys urinate on their hands so they can use the moisture to wash their feet. Gross!
Peacocks Are Not All Peacocks
Dazzlingly colored peacocks are male. The drabber-looking females are called peahens.
In this photo, a peacock (right) uses his showstopping feathers to woo an unimpressed peahen (left).
Dragonflies Play Dead
Forget the excuse of having a headache!
When female dragonflies want to avoid love from a male, they just play dead.
Shrimp Are the Reason Flamingos Are Pink
Flamingos are actually white, but the algae and brine shrimp they eat turns them pink.
The darker the pink, the more well-fed they are.
Wombats Pass Square-Shaped Poop
Just like sloths, Australian wombats have a slow digestive process, and it causes them to, umm, get a bit backed up. The result is poop in the shape of cubes.
(We apologize for the image that just came to mind.)
Bats Give Birth Upside Down
Bats don't only hang upside down when at rest — they also do so when giving birth.
When a baby bat is born, their mother catches them in her wings.
There Is Only One Kind of Poisonous Monkey
The only venomous primate is a slow loris.
This deceptively adorable, deadly creature may have developed the bite during evolution by mimicking a cobra snake.
Horned Lizards Squirt Blood From Their Eyes
Horned lizards use the blood that collects in their sinuses as a scare tactic to get rid of predators.
Considering how creepy it sounds to see an animal shoot blood from its eyes, we can see why this works.
Manatees Have the Right of Way
Alligators don't need to make way for any animal, except a manatee.
In the water, researchers have observed that the alligator will move aside for a manatee, who will bump the gator with its nose (like honking a horn) if he doesn't move.
Catfish Have the Most Tastebuds
These bottom-feeders have more than 100,000 taste buds — that's 10 times more than humans!
Dolphins Have Names
Everyone knows dolphins are smart, but did you know they were this smart?
Scientists discovered dolphins use distinct whistles to call other dolphins, which reply in turn. They are basically calling each other by name!
Whales Create Their Own Music
More underwater research led to the discovery that humpback whales create melodies with whistles, moans and groans.
What's even cooler: These tunes become popular, and other whales start "singing" them, too. Essentially, a whale song can become as catchy as our own pop songs.
Adelie penguins use small pebbles and rocks to build their nests. But these items also serve another purpose. During the courtship process, the male penguin will present the female with a pebble. If she accepts the offering, they mate for life.
(Humans, this does not mean you should try to propose to your loved one with an actual rock you found on the ground outside.)
Octopuses Have 3 Hearts
One heart works the organs while the other two move the blood.
You know how octopuses strangely often crawl along the seafloor? That's because their organ heart stops beating when they swim, making the activity arduous for them.
An Earth Micro-Animal Can Live in Space
Known as tardigrades, these micro-animals can go 10 years without water, live through radiation and withstand extreme cold — perfect for surviving space.
Bonobos Are Bisexual
African bonobo apes, very closely related to humans, have used sex for conflict resolution rather than reproduction.
Studies have found bonobos are nearly all bisexual, and 75 percent of sex is nonreproductive.
A Parasite Acts as a Fish Tongue
In the category of majorly disturbing, there is a parasite that slowly eats the tongue of a fish, then poses as the fish's tongue.
Read that again. Shudder.
Beaver Teeth Never Stop Growing
The reason beavers like to eat wood isn't because they love the taste.
It's because their teeth never stop growing, and they use the wood to grind them down.
A Blue Whale's Heart Can Weigh More Than Your Car
Not only is the heart of a blue whale so large it weighs as much as a car, but its tongue can also weigh as much as an elephant!
A full-sized blue whale can reach 105 feet in length and weigh up to 200 tons.