Animals are amazingly interesting. The number of adaptations nature has come up with to try out in the animal kingdom is kind of bonkers.
Every time Mother Nature tries a new animal, she comes up with a whole bunch of new features! We're not saying they're all winners ... some are downright creepy (looking at you, woodpecker tongues) but the fact remains the list of animal traits, adaptations and "quirks" is nearly endless.
One reddit user asked:
And yeah, it pretty much turned into a weird animal trivia shootout ... and we're totally here for it.
The Owl Challenge
Owls bob their heads up and down to help improve their depth of perception.
You can try it out yourself. Focus on an object and bob your head. It doesn't work for us, but you do look like an idiot.
He Does Impressions!
The mimic octopus is an octopus species that can change its body structure to imitate other creatures like flounders and sea snakes.
So, So Old
The Greenland shark reaches sexual maturity at 150 years old and lives 300-500 years. Always fascinates me that there is something that can live that long.
Ravens can mimic sounds and speech like parrots can.
They've found that ravens can actually learn words and form coherent statements. They can usually learn about 200 words, the same as a toddler.
A Caribbean Accent
Sperm whales in the Caribbean have an accent.
Yup. Sperm whales in the Caribbean and Pacific ocean speak different dialects. The babies start out babbling, then pick up the family language from those around them.
It's one of the arguments for whales having "culture".
One Solid Mass
Turtles aren't in their shell, they are their shell. The shell itself is a combination of their spine and rib cage that has become one solid mass.
A lot of people think possums are pests and dangerous but they don't really carry diseases like rabies and if you have them, they keep tick populations pretty low so they are useful. Also they don't choose to play dead, their Adrenaline levels get so high they pass out!
'Finding Nemo' Just Got Weird
In clownfish, each 'school' ( tribe whatever) has one female, and a head male. All the other fish in the group are male. If the female dies, the head male turns into a female.
The next in line to the "throne" (?) would become the new male leader and bang the former male leader/ew female leader.
Yeah clownfish are Wacky.
Time To Pounce
Foxes use the earth's magnetic fields.
"Like a guided missile", the fox harnesses the earth's magnetic field to hunt. Other animals, like birds, sharks, and turtles, have this "magnetic sense," but the fox is the first one we've discovered that uses it to catch prey.
According to New Scientist, the fox can see the earth's magnetic field as a "ring of shadow" on its eyes that darkens as it heads towards magnetic north. When the shadow and the sound the prey is making line up, it's time to pounce.
Unlike humans, dolphins must actively decide when to breathe. Captive dolphins have been known to hold their breath until they die of suffocation, which some have suggested amounts to dolphin suicide.
Go F YourselfGiphy
When a male octopus is ready to mate it rips off its ding dong and throws it at the female so she can do whatever she wants with it. The reason they do this is because they're a lot smaller than the female, so she'll eat the male if he gets too close. On the plus side, the male octopus will grow his ding dong back eventually.
"Here, go f*** yourself." - male octopus.
Wombat moms have their pouches "backwards" so when they dig, dirt doesn't get into the pouch. Also, they have very hard and sturdy butts to use as shields if any predator tries to get them.
And they said twerking has no practical use.
Magic Crocodile Blood
Crocodiles have a ton of special adaptions to allow them to stay underwater for prolonged periods of time. They can control where oxygenated blood goes via the foramen of panizza (directing oxygenated blood to the brain and essential organs and preventing it from returning to the lungs) and even control how much blood goes to their extremities.
That's pretty neat and it makes sense for an ambush predator that lies in wait for long periods of time in water--- but even more amazing is how Crocodilians deal with the PROBLEMS caused by the blood flow regulation/lack of oxygen. One of the less commonly known side-effects of this system is that blood pH levels begin to drop (becoming acidic as Carbon Dioxide builds up- a condition called "acedemia").
As a general rule of thumb Amniotes (Reptiles and Mammals) require a blood pH close to seven and-a-half. Even small drops in blood pH are enough to seriously interfere with normal biological function. Crocodiles, however, can function with blood pH drops down towards 6--- that's a blood pH that would kill any one of us currently posting about crazy animal facts!
Bald eagles don't sound like they do on TV. They dub over bald eagles with the call of a redtail hawk. Actual bald eagle calls sound more like a seagull.
Similarly, lion roars on tv are usually dubbed over with tiger roars. Evidently this is because an actual lion roar is usually too deep to record well, so it sounds weak. But apparently is terrifying IRL.
A Real Hero
The Hero Shrew (aka the Armored Shrew) has an incredibly bizarre, chain-mail like spine that allows it to withstand vertical pressure up to 160 pounds or so, the equivalent of a human supporting 10 elephants on their back. It's believed they use this ability to wedge up logs to eat the bugs underneath and to allow them to bend almost completely in half, allowing for fast turns in their tunnels.
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