Animals are amazing. But the more we learn about their unique behaviours the more incredible they become. Have a read of these ten animal facts and we promise you’ll be smiling in no time
1. Sea otters hold hands when they sleep to keep from drifting apart
Often a mother and pup will hold on to each other while sleeping to keep from drifting apart. Otters keep warm thanks to one of the heaviest coats in the animal kingdom. They have almost one million hairs per square inch! Human demand for that fur, saw the cute watery weasels hunted to near extinction in the 1900’s but thanks to concerted efforts, there are now over 100,000 worldwide.
2. Elephants purr like cats as a means of communication.
One of many animal facts not many of us know. Elephants rumble to communicate, sending vibrations overground that other elephants pick up through their feet. The pitch is too low for us to hear but if you’re stood close enough you can feel the vibration in your chest!
3. Newborn giant pandas weighs as little as a cup of tea.
Baby giant pandas come into the world tiny, blind, and pink. The average weight is 100g (the weight of a bar of soap), only 1/900 of their mother’s weight. They don’t stay small though, as the name suggests giant pandas can grow to weigh up to 100kg.
4. Kangaroos can pause pregnancy if the chance of their young surviving is diminised.
Kangaroos are able to delay development of the embryo, increasing the overall gestation time so that young joeys are born in favourable environmental conditions. Pausing pregnancy can ensure her offspring are born in spring for example and not forced to endure harsh winter conditions.
5. A cat – Stubbs – was once honorary Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska
Stubbs served Talkeetna for 20 years. His office, at Nagley’s Store, was a popular attraction with locals and tourists seeking his cuddly council. The cat was elected in 1997 due to a lack of viable human candidates. He passed away after ten years in office last year.
6. Camels have three eyelids and two rows of eyelashes to prevent sand entering their eyes.
Two camel eyelids have lashes to protect this desert dwelling animal’s eyes from sand. The third is a very thin lid which opens from side to side rather than up and down allowing camels to see through it. So, in a sandstorm they can close that lid to protect their eyes, but still see where they are going.
7. Grey squirrels plant thousands of oak trees accidentally every year because they forget where they put their acorns.
Squirrels spend most of their life foraging for food to make sure they have enough to eat during winter. However they don’t have a memory map to help them remember where they stored that food, instead relying on a strong sense of smell that doesn’t always lead them back. The seeds and nuts they collect and leave behind often germinate and sprout into trees.
8. Cows have best friends – research suggests they get stressed when separated
Research carried out by Krista McLennan of Northampton University indicates that cows have ‘best friends.’ In a study that saw them penned for thirty minutes with a cow they were attached to and one they had not met before, data revealed their heart rate was significantly lower and they experienced less stress when with their known companions.
9. Male Gentoo penguins search an entire beach for the perfect pebble with which to propose to their loved one
The most romantic of animal facts. Male gentoo penguins search through heaps of pebbles to find the prettiest ones. Once selected the male presents it to his intended and if she accepts, places the pebble in her nest to indicate they can become life mates. Pebbles are so important to this species, the males have been known to fight over the best ones!
10. Dolphins have whistles for each other that act as names
Studies have shown that dolphins are responsive to the whistles of dolphins they know and that they will respond when they hear their own signature sound, whistling back in a form of conversation. A study carried out by researchers at the University of California, San Diego in Scotland showed that dolphin ‘Joey’ would respond to his signature whistle almost as if saying to his pals ‘yup, I’m here’.