50 Awesome Animal Facts You Didn’t Know – Part 3

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1Beavers & Dams

Beavers build their dams as an instinct to stop the sounds of water leaks. If a speaker is playing just the sound of running water, a beaver will build a dam over it. This happens even if it’s over concrete with no visible water, or if an actual nearby leaky water source is quieter than the speaker.


2. Giant Pandas have extremely tiny babies, only 1/900th the size of an adult Panda. In the wild, if the mother has twins, she will usually abandon the weaker baby because she can only raise one at a time. In captivity, staff will rotate the babies between the mother and incubator every few hours.


3. In 1845, Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar ordered 50,000 of her subjects to go on a buffalo hunt. The hunt required building roads across jungles, which lasted for 4 months. Around 10,000 people died from exhaustion, starvation, and malarial disease, but not a single buffalo was killed.


4. Sloths spend 90% of their time motionless, and sloth fur is a “small ecosystem of its own” that supports symbiotic algae, moths, and various insects. Evidence suggests that sloths eat these algae and this kind of algae-farming is thought to be aided by moths that live in the fur, and whose growth the sloth actively promotes.


5. World's most expensive cheese was created as a result of an effort to conserve Serbian donkeys, whose population had dwindled to under 1000 in the 1990s. The pule cheese is made using milk from 250 donkeys in the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve and it sells for over $1700 a kilogram due to its rarity.


6Alpaca Facts

There are actually no wild alpacas. Instead, the alpacas are the domesticated version of the vicuña, which are also related to llamas. Also, some free-range turkey farms use alpacas to guard their flocks against foxes, since alpacas are extremely territorial and will accept the turkeys as part of their herd, defending them by chasing off predators.


7. Berserk llama syndrome or berserk male syndrome is a psychological condition suffered by human-raised llamas and alpacas that can cause them to exhibit dangerously aggressive behavior toward humans.


8. After sex, female armadillos can delay the implantation of the fertilized egg, choosing at will when to actually become pregnant.


9. A squirrel monkey named Miss Baker was one of the first animals launched into space by the USA to return safely. After her space flight, Miss Baker set a record for longest-lived squirrel monkey before dying at the age of 27. Her grave can often be found adorned with one or more bananas.


10. The gopher tortoise is a species of turtle native to the southeastern United States. The gopher tortoise is seen as a keystone species because it digs deep burrows that provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species, often preserving their lives during conflagrations (forest fires).


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11Rat in Water

Rats left unaided in water will drown in a few minutes because they feel hopeless, but if they know there is hope of being rescued they will survive for days.


12. The sperm of a mouse is twice as large as an elephant’s sperm while fruitflies have the largest sperm in the animal kingdom with their sperm measuring a whopping 6 cm (23 times larger than their body).


13. Paul-Félix Armand-Delille was a French bacteriologist who tried to use a virus to kill rabbits on his property. He ended up accidentally wiping out over 90% of the rabbits in Western Europe by the 1950s. He was prosecuted and fined, but the French government later gave him a medal depicting a dead rabbit.


14. Tree shrews in Borneo use pitcher plants as their toilet. The tree shrews feed on the nectar on the leaves and deposit their feces into the pitcher plants, which the pitcher plants then use as a source of nitrogen; an element they wouldn't acquire easily without the shrews.


15. Naked Mole Rats effectively “turn into plants” in low oxygen situations by switching their metabolism from glucose to fructose, which was thought to be only used by plants. Also, naked mole-rat queens can sexually repress males she doesn't want to mate with and can also keep the rest of the colony from undergoing puberty, too.


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16Otter Hair

Otters have the densest fur of any known mammal, with a density of up to 1 million hairs per square inch with a large male sometimes having as many hairs as 800 million on its entire body.


17. Wolverines are real animals and they are weasels, not canines. They are the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae. The Marvel character Logan Howlett was given this name because of his “short stature, keen animal senses, and ferocity.”


18. In 2016, New Zealand announced its plan to eliminate rats, possums, and stoats in the whole country by 2050 to protect the country’s endangered flightless birds including kakapos.


19. Martens cause an estimated $65 million in damage to cars in Germany each year by chewing on rubber and plastic components.


20. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois used to clean its particle accelerators with a ferret named Felicia, who would run through the tubes with cleaning supplies attached to her and was rewarded with hamburger meat.


21Skunk Odor Removal

Baking soda and dish soap (hydrogen peroxide) can be used to remove the smell of skunk spray. The oxygen molecules from the hydrogen peroxide bond with the thiols compound present in the skunk spray, completely neutralizing the odor.


22. There is an introduced bison population on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake that is different enough genetically from most farmed bison that it is used as one of the main genetic sources for reestablishing bison populations in the wild in North America.


23. Deers in India (who are red-green colorblind) take advantage of the better-sighted langur monkeys by staying near them and learning the monkeys’ alarm signals for when they spot predators which are dangerous to the deer.


24. Other animals quickly eat shed deer/elk antlers because they are high in calcium, phosphorus, and protein. This is why they are hard to find even in places with abundant deer.


25. Monkeys in Japan learned to wash sweet potatoes in freshwater to clean them. They later switched to washing sweet potatoes in saltwater. It is theorized that this is because they like the salty taste more than plain potatoes.

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