Fascinating Animal Facts
Whether you are a dog or cat lover or even a secret admirer of sharks, most people have a limited knowledge when it comes to animal facts. With so many different species covering the globe, there is a good chance most animals are completely unheard of, never mind well known.
So whether it is to brush up on a pop quiz, or to simply satisfy a burning curiosity, there are plenty of animal facts to keep you busy.
The albatross in mid-flight is quite the spectacular sight, with an estimated wingspan of around 11-feet; the albatross can spend hours in the air without flapping their wings. Rarely seen on land, the albatross is said to live as long as 50-years. Albatrosses usually eat fish and squid; although they have been known to follow fishing boats in the hope the fisherman will give them a free meal.
The ostrich is the largest bird in the world and while they may have lost their ability to fly through evolution, they are well known for being speedy, strong runners. As well as being the biggest bird in the world, the ostrich has bigger eyes than other animals, measuring 5 inches across. Ostriches are known for being aggressive when startled and they rarely travel alone, preferring instead to travel as part of a group known as a herd. Ostriches are extremely strong and have been known to kill humans and even lions when feeling threatened.
The vulture is one of the world’s biggest scavengers; feeding on the corpses of any dead animals they come across the vulture actually fills an important ecological role. By eating the unappetizing rotting flesh, the vulture prevents the spreading of certain diseases that could potentially wipe out other animal species. Not the most attractive of birds, the vulture has an almost completely bald head. Scientists believe this is to prevent bacteria spores from rotten corpses landing on the animal and spreading disease.
While the raven may seem unremarkable, this is actually completely opposite. Not only are these birds up there with the eagle when it comes to acrobatic flight skills. Ravens are also scavengers, although they have a novel way of hunting their prey. Cleverly figuring out they can catch bigger prey in numbers, ravens hunt in packs and regularly kill prey that would be far too large for a single bird. Ravens are also known for being particularly vocal, usually making a croaking sound to communicate with each other.
Tiger salamanders are most commonly brown, with bright yellow blotches or stripes on their skin. However, it is possible to find Tiger salamanders who have no markings at all; these do tend to be rarer though. Tiger salamanders have short legs, snouts and long tails. While certain salamanders have been known to reach around 14-inches in size, their average size is seven to eight inches.
Tiger salamanders have a long life expectancy compared to other amphibians, living to approximately 16-years of age. However, many salamanders lose their lives before reaching adulthood, as a result of being hit by cars and other vehicles.
Mudpuppies, commonly known as water dogs, are a breed of salamander and they get their name from the sounds they make – which sounds like a dog barking. Bigger than most breeds of salamander, they can grow up to an impressive 17-inches. Mudpuppies are most often found living at the bottom of ponds, streams and rivers. They never leave the water, although it isn’t unusual for Mudpuppies to get caught up in the nets of fisherman. Many die as a result, usually because fisherman won’t touch them as they mistakenly think they are poisonous.
The warty newt only lives in and around Europe and are officially the largest newt in the world. This funny looking animal has a body covered in tiny bumps which secrete an acrid-smelling white substance designed to put off predators. The newts are known for their voracious appetites and generally feed on any small animal they find in the water, including snails, insects, tadpoles and slugs. Unbelievably, the warty newt is a well-favoured pet in several parts of Europe, although individuals must obtain a special license before keeping one.
People will most probably associate the Clownfish with Disney’s popular movie “Finding Nemo”. However, these good looking fish are bright orange in color with three distinctive white stripes, are also the most common of all the reef-dwellers.
Clownfish are also known for living in anemone, which are ordinarily lethal, however, the clownfish has a fine layer of mucus on its skin that makes it immune to the anemone’s sting. The clownfish and the anemone have an agreement, the anemone offers the clownfish cover from predators and the clownfish preens the anemone in return. Around about the size of an average household teacup, the clownfish also has the ability to change its own sex.
Most commonly found in the temperate coastal shallow waters, the Stingray spends a large amount of time buried in the sand not moving. Because color of the stingray’s skin is similar to that of the ocean floor, the fish is well camouflaged and therefore well protected from predators. Related to the shark, the stingray has electrical sensors located around his mouth that picks up the natural electrical charges of any potential prey.
A lesser known fact about the stingray has teeth, which it regularly uses to crunch up tasty snacks such as molluscs. In Ancient Greece, the venom from a stingray’s barbed sting was regularly used by dentists as an anesthetic.
Tiger sharks get their name because of the dark vertical stripes on their skin, although these stripes only appear on young Tiger sharks. A well documented scavenger, the Tiger shark, along with the Great White, is a man eater. However, unlike the Great White a Tiger shark will never swim away after attacking a human.
Tiger sharks are certainly not fussy when it comes to what they eat for dinner, with the stomach contents of a Tiger shark containing shellfish, turtles, license plates and even tires in the past.
Consisting of five different species, baboons are among the largest monkeys in the world. Although they lost their gripping tails to evolution, baboons are champion tree climbers and spend more time in trees, eating or sleeping, than they do on the ground.
Scientists continue to be fascinated by baboons, who travel in herds which can consist of hundreds of monkeys and is subject to a complex and completely confusing hierarchy.
Known for their spine-freezing howl, the wolf is the largest member in the dog family. Wolves howl at other members in their pack as a form of communication. Despite the fact they very rarely attack humans, they have a long history of being feared by man. Unfortunately, wolves do attack domestic animals, which mean they are often poisoned or shot by humans. Grey wolves are by far the most common type of wolf and are found all over the world. However, the red wolf is much rarer and currently sits on the endangered list and facing extinction.
Read a lot more about animals here.