Did you know that cows like Simon & Garfunkel and penguins propose to their mates?
Animals never cease to amaze us with their vast emotional and intellectual worlds.
We’re only just starting to understand most animal behavior, but these 30 pieces of animal trivia have been backed up by at least some research (even if it’s inconclusive).
We bet there are at least a handful you didn’t know.
1. Cows have best friends
Considering the way we treat cows, it’s a little disturbing to know that they have a rich emotional life.
But we’re charmed to know that giving a cow a buddy is a sure-fire way to cheer it up!
2. Penguins make a laughing noise when they’re tickled
If you’ve seen a penguin get tickled, it was likely Cookie from the Cincinnati Zoo because she really does have the best laugh.
Now, we don’t recommend trying this at home (because you should never bring home a penguin), but try not to burst out laughing when Cookie gets tickled. We’ve set the video about 1 minute in, but feel free to scroll back as well to hear researchers talk more about her.
3. Many fish can recognize faces
For now, there’s just one study that’s been done on archerfish, but it did indeed find that they could recognize a human face among dozens.
4. When guinea pigs get excited they jump up and down and squeal
Popcorning is when the little creatures suddenly “pop” up in the air and change directions, usually with a little squeak. And plenty of research has been done to make sure it’s not a sign of something less amusing. (Scientists have also come up with a much more serious term for it – “pronking.”)
As far as we can tell, when your guinea pig popcorns/pronks, it means you’ve made its day! Take a look in slow-mo here.
(Oh, and chinchillas do it too!)
5. Bees get sleepy on the job and sometimes doze right off inside flowers
These hard-working pollinators (of which there are more than 20,000 varieties) can sometimes doze off on the job. Honeybees, for example, just fall right over and take a nap. Other bees, like the globe mallow bee, even snuggle up with one another inside of flowers.
Bees don’t have eyelids, so you can’t actually catch them getting shut-eye, per se, but when they stop moving their antennae and are perfectly still, it might just be nap time.
6. Otters choose a favorite rock when they’re young and keep it for life
7. Giant pandas are no longer an endangered species
Breeding programs around the world have worked pretty well. Giant panda populations have increased by 17% over the last 10 years.
They’re still classified as a “vulnerable” species, but no longer endangered.
8. A dangerous minefield in the Falkland Islands has been taken over by penguins who are now safe from humans
But that makes it the perfect spot for Magellanic penguins to thrive since they aren’t heavy enough to set off the mines.
In fact, the beach is in fairly pristine ecological shape as a result.
9. Baby elephants can’t control their trunks, so it flies around everywhere
We have to admit that baby elephants look pretty hilarious as they try to get control over those trunks.
10. Forgetful squirrels are responsible for accidentally planting an untold number of trees each year
So squirrels are responsible for reforesting areas and allowing more trees to absorb CO2. Thanks, little environmentalists!
11. Dogs can tell how long you’ve been gone by how much of your scent remains in the house
Different times of day have different scents and your scent fading away is a good indication that you’ve been gone too long.
12. Dogs and humans genuinely make each other happier and we can measure hormones to prove it
And we keep each other healthy as well!
Aren’t pets the best?
13. Bees make a whooping noise when they bump into each other
That’s right, they basically say “oops” when they accidentally nudge their neighbor.
14. Professional acting dogs get so excited on set that they often have to have CGI tails added to cover all that wagging
But we still want to believe that dogs are so excited that they have to have their tails CGI’d to fake any other emotion.
15. Goats have “accents”
And just like people who live in the same region, eventually, they start to sound alike even if they’re originally from somewhere else.
16. Dophins “sing” to their babies in the womb
We assume they use that whistle to recognize each other later on.
17. Female elephants celebrate the arrival of a newborn in their social circle
It’s like a baby shower without all the horrible games.
18. There’s a good chance your dog dreams about you
So it shouldn’t surprise us that we might make an appearance in the dreams of our dogs once in a while. Hopefully not the ones where the spend the whole time kicking in their sleep!
19. Gorillas hum little food songs while they eat
Well, it turns out that gorillas get so stoked about a good meal that they hum little tunes to themselves while enjoying their food.
As for humans, it’s a lot less cute when you make noises while you eat, unless you’re alone.
20. Male penguins “propose” to females by giving them pebbles
It’s only been observed in two types of penguins, but females accept pebbles like one would a diamond ring.
Luckily, they don’t have to plan weddings.
21. Some spiders have frog friends that they protect from predators
They’re like bodyguards that ward off prey and help find food at the same time.
22. Crows play pranks on one another
But it turns out they intentionally deceive one another for fun.
23. There is a death metal band whose lead singer is a parrot
They released their album The Number of the Beak in 2015 with Reptilian Records, but they never tour so as not to annoy the bird.
24. Sea otters hold hands while they’re sleeping so they don’t drift apart
Sometimes they even wrap sea plants around their hands to make a tether.
25. Military dogs always outrank their handlers
As one military man said on Reddit: “It’s so every indicator that the dog has found something (excessive sniffing, pointing, barking, etc) that they’re trained to detect, is acted upon as if it were a lawful, direct order.”
Others say it’s to keep officers from mishandling dogs, but we’re guessing it’s more out of respect than anything.
26. Sea urchins like to wear hats
But they also use “hats” to keep UV light off of them – so that’s basically a sun hat!
27. Squirrels will adopt abandoned babies
But they tend to only do this for extended family (which they can somehow sense).
28. Alligators give manatees the right of way
Who would have guessed?
29. Ducks like to surf
30. Cows produce more milk while listening to slow jams
Milk production went up by as much as 3 percent when cows listened to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water.”
Meanwhile, they are not fans of The Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
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