The animal kingdom is roaring with life! With creatures so fascinating, it’s no wonder everyone wants to take a safari tour. The wild is vast and mind-boggling, but how much do we really know about the world of animals? We’ve compiled a list of the most common animal myths that are true and some that are… not so true.
Cats Have 9 Lives
Before we give the facts about our feline friends, let’s first admit that they are seriously acrobatic animals. Despite being told that cats have 9 lives, the fact is that these guys are just like us – they only have 1. But don’t be dismayed, they’re known to have purrrfect landing skills from enormous heights.
Elephants Never Forget
Believe it or not, elephants never forget – or at least they don’t forget faces. Another fun fact that many people don’t know, is that elephants can live up to 70 years! My advice, don’t ever forget to pay an elephant back – they’ll remember you, they live long, and yeah, they’re huge dangerous animals!
Toads Will Give You Warts
No, they actually won’t, but getting a little too touchy with a person who does have warts, will. The exact source of this rumor might be the fact that toads and frogs have skin that looks like warts… maybe. So go ahead, kiss that toad to redeem your prince charming.
Sharks Can Smell A Drop Of Blood Miles Away
Before you lock your jaws in protest, let’s clarify this one. Sharks have an incredible sense of smell and can detect the scent of blood as far away as the length of a football field and a little more, but they can’t smell one single drop of blood for MILES. This is especially true when the ocean’s current is not calm.
Elephants Are Afraid Of Mice
It does seem a little strange that a mouse could scare a mammal as large as an elephant. Well, elephants aren’t afraid of mice, rather they become frightened by sudden movements since their eyesight is rather poor. For all we know Dumbo and Jerry might have been great friends.
Sharks Will Die If They Stop Swimming
Sharks do need to keep swimming in order to stay alive, with the exception of a small few of them that don’t. It is critical for the former to rush water through their gills so that they can breathe. Even under water these sharks take oxygen out of the water which helps them breathe, amazing!
Goldfish Have A 3-Second Memory
7 seconds? 20 seconds? No, these common household pets actually have the ability to remember for as long as 5 months. An Israeli university played the same sound every time they fed the little fishies, and when the goldfish connected the sound with the food, they would surface for their snack every time they heard their food sound. They even trained them to play soccer.
Dogs Are Color-Blind
For all of us doggy-lovers who have many intimate conversations and fashion consultations with our puppies, there’s good news! Our dogs are not color-blind, they’re just spectrum-challenged. What does that mean? It means that they don’t only see black and white, rather they see more colors but just on a limited scale. So feel free to ask your pup for some fashion advice.
Camels Store Water In Their Humps
Their lovely lady lumps are not filled with water, they are filled with food! Hold on, before you get your hopes up with snack-packed camel humps, let’s make that a little clearer. Camels’ humps are filled with stored food that turns into fat. The purpose of this fat is to sustain them through long journeys in the desert.
Bulls Are Enraged By The Color Red
If you’ve ever watched a real matador prancing around a bull in the ring, you would notice that his sheet is not exclusively the color red. Bulls, unlike dogs, are color-blind and they don’t have any resentment to the color red. It is actually the waving of the cloth that really turns them red!
Ostriches Bury Their Heads In The Sand When Afraid
Although ostriches do have a variety of predators in the wild that they need to get away from, burying their heads in the sand is not one of their solutions. The myth that they bury their heads in the sand when scared is probably because they eat from the ground and from a distance it seems that their heads are submerged beneath the earth. When they’re in danger, they usually just run.
My mother sometimes accused me of crying crocodile tears – fake tears to garner pity – and she was usually right. But what she didn’t know, like many others, is that crocodiles do indeed cry. And what’s really strange is that they do so while eating their prey. The reason is not emotional, but rather physiological. While eating large chunks of prey, the food presses against the glands that cause them to tear up. Cute reptilian animals.
Bears Hibernate Throughout The Winter
By definition, animals that hibernate, sleep throughout the entire winter season and lower their bodies’ temperature to the same as their surroundings. Most bears on the other hand don’t do this. They might go out less frequently during the cold season, but don’t dare disturb them during their longer napping sessions.
Bats Are Blind
“Blind as a bat” – we all know the phrase, but what most people don’t know is that bats are not truly blind. Some of them might not have 20/20 vision, but they can see. Due to their nocturnal routines, they need more than simple eyesight to hunt small animals or to find fruit during the night. Echolocation is the method they use to bounce sound off objects to measure distances in the dark.
Bees Die After They Sting You
Even after being stung as an adult, a bee sting hurts like heck! But we were always told that the bee got the worse end of the deal because he died. Well the truth is, that isn’t entirely true. Only a number of honey bees die after they’ve given us a swelling sting, but certainly not all bees die!
Mother Birds Will Neglect Their Chicks If You Touch Them
The myth is that if you touch a baby bird (also known as a chick if you want to be technical), the mother will come back, smell the rancid odor of human hands and take off, forever without her babies. Well it just so happens that this is false. Aside from vultures (which I hope you’re never too close to), birds have a terrible sense of smell, and like most parents, would never abandon their young.
Penguins Will Fall Over If They Look Up
Seems like a funny image to imagine – a penguin looking up to see the snowflakes falling and then, WHOOP! They’re on their backs. This myth started when British pilots flew over islands off the coast of South America and noticed penguins looking up at their aircraft and then “falling over”. What was indeed happening, was the penguins were frightened and abandoned their nests.
Cut An Earthworm In Half And Two Will Grow
My first piece of advice, don’t cut an earthworm in half, that’s just not right. Now, although an earthworm can be cut in half and grow its body back after a period of a few days, the other end, the end end will not miraculously grow into a new worm. Instead it will shrivel up and become one with the earth.
Rabbits Only Eat Carrots
We can all send a big thank you to “Bugs Bunny” for ensuring that we all believe that rabbits only eat carrots. The truth is, that although these cutie do love themselves a whole lot of orange love in the form of carrots, if they only ate these root vegetables, they would die. Instead, try feeding them an array of green, leafy vegetables. It worked for Popeye.
Mice Love Cheese
Here’s the game plan: plant a fat piece of cheese (usually Swiss works best) at the end of a mouse-trap and that squeaking critter won’t be able to resist. Actually, it has been proven that mice are not necessarily fond of cheese above other foods that we eat. They take an interest in French fries, hamburgers, noodles, and even salad! Basically, they like to eat anything… just like me.
Elephants Are Safer In Captivity
Many people believe that elephants being held in captivity are far safer than they are in the wild because of the constant threat of poachers. Well the facts far outweigh the claims. One fact that really stomps out the false fact is that elephants can live up to 70 years while in the wild, whereas in captivity they only live up to about 40 years.
Circuses Help Us Learn About Animals
Now for this myth you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that its logic is warped. For a long time, circuses have used the excuse of education as a reason for taming and training animals. The sad reality is that animals are abused in these arenas and offer close to no education for viewers since on average a person will spend between 8 seconds and 3 minutes at a show.
Chameleons Change Color To Blend In
This is probably the saddest animal myth busted for me. How on Earth could you tell me that chameleons don’t change their color just to camouflage themselves? How?! They actually change colors according to their mood and their temperature. So, for example if a chameleon is feeling cold, he might choose a dark color so that he can absorb more heat from the sun. I wonder what color he would change to if he was feeling blue.
A Blue Whale Can Swallow You
Have you ever been told that your eyes are bigger than your tummy? Well, when it comes to blue whales, their story is a little different. They have eyes that aren’t larger than their tummies, but they have a throat that is narrower than their mouths. Unbelievably these huge sea mammals can’t actually swallow anything larger than a grapefruit. But don’t get the wrong idea, they can eat up to 8,000 pounds of food every day!
Moles Are Blind
Love might be blind, but do you know what isn’t? Moles, moles aren’t. Contrary to popular belief, moles can actually see! Alright, before we get overexcited and start giving them driving permits, let’s just say that their eyesight is poor. So if you ever see a mole with glasses, just remember that he can probably see better than you think.
Animals Hibernate Because They’re Cold
There’s no doubt that the winter season is freezing cold, and there’s also no doubt that I wish I could spend the entire season snuggled up in my bed. But there is doubt regarding the reason animals go into hibernation. They don’t do so because they are cold, rather they hibernate because during the icy season, food is scarce.
Porcupines Shoot Their Quills
Porcupines are beautiful creatures, but they are also dangerous. What they are not however, is quill-shooting marksmen that fire hundreds of quills out at an approaching enemy. This shouldn’t be interpreted in the wrong way – if you see a porcupine, it’s best that you don’t get too close since they raise their quills and if they reach you they easily detach and can pierce your skin.
Polar Bears Cover Their Noses While Hunting
The terrible myth I had believed my whole life came crashing down when I learned that polar bears in fact do NOT cover their noses with their paws to prevent detection while they’re hunting. Whoever managed to concoct such a rumor, was very successful but very wrong too. Animal behaviorists have confirmed that they have never seen such a practice take place.
Cows Can’t Walk Down Stairs
We’re pretty sure that cows were not made to be able to walk up or down stairs, why would they have been? But the long-running myth that a cow can be taken up an endless amount of stairs only to be stuck at the top with no way down, is absolute cow dung. The main difficulty a cow might have, is the steepness of the staircase.
Elephants’ Trunks Are Like Straws
It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Elephants have long, funnel-like trunks that extend down to water where their mouths can’t reach, so they probably suck water through their trunks and that’s how they drink. Simple. Well, no. Their trunks are like our noses, and I doubt any of us would be happy to drink through our noses. Instead, they suck water into their trunks and bring their trunks to their mouths and release the water.
Give A Cub Cow’s Milk
Not just a cub for that matter, but any baby animal should NOT be fed cow’s milk, unless of course you’re nursing a calf. The idea that all milk is good for all baby animals is completely wrong. Your best bet is to take the animal to a vet; they’ll know what’s best.
Feed Ducks Bread
We all deserve credit for this one, since it was our best intentions that brought us to the local pond to feed ducks and geese. Our stale bread would have otherwise been thrown out, and we all know that’s wasting. But this bread is like junk food for these birds, meaning it doesn’t give them any nutritional value and actually harms their bodies. So think of picking up some seeds, or just don’t be intimidated by the duck gangs.
1 Dog Year Is Like 7 Human Years
I’m no mathematician, but from a basic counting background I can tell you that 1 doesn’t equal 7. The argument that a doggie year is the same as 7 human years, is incorrect since not all dogs live the same amount of years on average. Big dogs usually live shorter than small dogs. But even then, having your Jack Russell babysit your child because he’s “14 years older than him” is probably not a good idea.
Owls Are Smart
Even though it looks like their massive eyes are the result of even bigger glasses magnifying their eyes, it must said that owls are no bookworms. They do like to eat worms though. Studies have shown that they are, well, less smart than other birds. Crows on the other hand have been noted as very intelligent birds and are even able to remember our faces. Whatever you do, don’t wrong a crow.
Cats Always Land On Their Feet
“Never say never…” or always. Cats don’t ALWAYS land on their feet, even though they are acrobatic masters. The chances of them falling from a great height, contorting their bodies to be ready in landing position, and landing without harm on their feet, is pretty low. They’re still one of the most incredible animals on our planet.