There are over 8.7 million species of animals in the world and each one has something crazy and interesting that makes it unique to others. So we put together a list of 15 crazy, fun animal facts that you probably didn’t know before!
1. Whales and dolphins can’t breathe underwater
Like us, whales and dolphins are mammals who breathe air into their lungs. They have to come up for air and breathe through their blowholes, which are just large nostrils! The record for the longest time spent by a whale underwater is 137 minutes (over two hours!) by the Curvier beaked whale.
2. Small animals see the world in slow motion
Ever wondered why squirrels and other small rodents move so fast? It’s because they process light at a much faster speed than humans, meaning the world around them moves slow, while they move fast!
3. Narwhales don’t have a horn or tusk
The really long “horn” or “tusk” that narwhals have? It’s actually just a really big tooth! The enlarged tooth can grow up to 10 feet long and narwhals use it as a sensory organ to pick up changes in its environment.
4. Dolphins call each other by name
It’s not just humans who give each other names to make it easier to communicate, dolphins do too! The mammals use unique whistles to identify one another and respond when their name is called.
5. Black panthers aren’t a real species
You heard it right! Black panthers don’t actually exist… it’s just what we call jaguars, leopards, and other wildcats with melanism-a disorder that causes excess pigmentation (basically the opposite of albinism).
6. Octopuses have 3 hearts and 9 brains
Why have one heart and one brain when you have multiple of each? Octopuses have one central heart used to pump the brain throughout the body and two that pump blood to the gills. And in addition to their central brain, octopuses have 8 mini-brains that control each of their arms.
7. Some frogs freeze and unfreeze for months to stay alive
Like many animals, frogs hibernate during the winter. Although unique to other animals, some frog species such as wood frogs freeze themselves (while maintaining vital organ function) for months. The animals then thaw out once it is warm enough and are completely fine.
8. Goats can fall over when scared
Not all goats faint when scared, but one special breed called the myotonic goat is nicknamed the “falling goat” for a reason. When the goats are surprised or scared, their muscles go stiff for a short time and they fall over. It doesn’t hurt and usually the animal stays awake then gets back up once the stiffness goes away!
9. Crows can read traffic lights
Crows who live in urban areas have learned to use humans to their advantage. One way they do this is by using the car traffic lights to crack tough nuts. They do this at traffic light crossings, waiting with human pedestrians for a red light before retrieving their cracked nuts.
10. Pigeons can do math
Many people assume pigeons aren’t very smart, but the birds are actually incredibly intelligent and can ace a basic math test! Scientists put pigeons to the test multiple times, on top of counting, scientists were able to train pigeons to learn abstract rules about numbers.
11. Koalas sleep almost all-day
Koalas sleep between 18-22 hours each day (that’s up to 91% of every day!). Their diet consists of a variety of eucalypt leaves and a few other related tree species which take a lot of energy to digest. For this reason, they sleep to conserve energy so their bodies can digest this food.
12. Rabbits can die of fright
Rabbits are very fragile creatures with delicate bones and bodies. They can die from many things such as fright, shock, loud noises, and can get injured very easily. For this reason, pet rabbits take a lot of care and attention and aren’t recommended for kids.
13. Bats can swim, and have a lot of other skills too
Aside from being the only mammals that can fly and having eyesight just as good, if not better, than humans, bats can also swim! Although it is not part of their regular behaviour, bats are able to swim quite well, often compared to little rowboats.
14. Blind chameleons will still adapt to their environment
Chameleons changing colour actually has nothing to do with sight, which is why blind chameleons will still adapt to their environment. As opposed to changing colour in order to camouflage, chameleons do so for mood expression/thermal regulation, both of which eyesight is not needed for.
15. There’s a species of jellyfish that lives forever
Turritopsis dohrnii, more commonly known as the “immortal jellyfish”, is a species of jellyfish that lives forever. When faced with death, the jellyfish reverts back to its juvenile polyp state (basically-it turns itself back into a baby!) Their tentacles retract, bodies shrink, and they sink to the ocean floor and start the cycle over again. The species can do this as many times as they want!
So, what did you learn today?
I love animals! My personal favourite animal is the snow leopard, a species of felines that have adapted to live in some of the harshest conditions ever throughout 12 countries-including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia. Like many of the animals on this list, the snow leopard is an endangered species with a declining population. See how you can help save the snow leopard and other precious wildlife at WWF｜How to Help .