50 Incredible Animal Facts You'll Want to Share

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Arm yourself with trivia from the animal kingdom.

1. TRAINED PIGEONS CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PAINTINGS OF PABLO PICASSO AND CLAUDE MONET.

2. THE PEACOCK MANTIS SHRIMP CAN THROW A PUNCH AT 50 MPH, ACCELERATING QUICKER THAN A .22-CALIBER BULLET.

3. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT WILD CHIMPS IN GUINEA DRINK FERMENTED PALM SAP, WHICH CONTAINS ABOUT 3 PERCENT ALCOHOL BY VOLUME.

4. THE CHEVROTAIN IS AN ANIMAL THAT LOOKS LIKE A TINY DEER WITH FANGS. 

5. CAPUCHIN MONKEYS PEE ON THEIR HANDS TO WASH THEIR FEET.

6. ONLY THE MALES ARE CALLED PEACOCKS. FEMALES ARE CALLED PEAHENS.

7. DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES FORM A HEART WITH THEIR TAILS WHEN THEY MATE.

8. BABY ELEPHANTS SUCK THEIR TRUNKS FOR COMFORT.

9. TIGERS HAVE STRIPED SKIN AS WELL. EACH PATTERN IS AS UNIQUE AS A FINGERPRINT.

10. THERE WAS ONCE A TYPE OF CROCODILE THAT COULD GALLOP.

11. A GRIZZLY BEAR'S BITE IS STRONG ENOUGH TO CRUSH A BOWLING BALL.

12. SEA OTTERS HOLD HANDS WHILE THEY'RE SLEEPING SO THEY DON'T DRIFT APART.

13. PRAIRIE DOGS SAY HELLO BY KISSING.

14. ANIMAL BEHAVIORISTS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT CATS DON'T MEOW AS A WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. IT'S A METHOD THEY USE FOR GETTING ATTENTION FROM HUMANS.

15. DESPITE THEIR APPEARANCE, ELEPHANT SHREWS ARE MORE CLOSELY RELATED TO ELEPHANTS THAN SHREWS.

16. FLAMINGOS ARE NATURALLY WHITE—THEIR DIET OF BRINE SHRIMP AND ALGAE TURNS THEM PINK.

17. ALBERTA, CANADA IS THE LARGEST RAT-FREE POPULATED AREA IN THE WORLD.

18. RED-EYED TREE FROG EGGS CAN HATCH EARLY IF THEY SENSE DANGER.

19. WHITETAIL DEER CAN SPRINT AT SPEEDS UP TO 30 MILES PER HOUR.

20. BLUE JAYS MIMIC HAWKS' CALLS TO SCARE AWAY OTHER BIRDS.

21. IN THE UK, THE BRITISH MONARCH LEGALLY OWNS ALL UNMARKED MUTE SWANS IN OPEN WATER.

22. ALL CLOWNFISH ARE BORN MALE—SOME TURN FEMALE TO ENABLE MATING.

23. MORAY EELS HAVE A SECOND SET OF JAWS THAT EXTENDS FROM THEIR THROATS.

24. THE AXOLOTL CAN REGENERATE ITS LIMBS.

25. HARTEBEEST EVADE PREDATORS BY RUNNING IN ZIGZAG PATTERNS.

26. ANTEATERS DON’T HAVE TEETH.

27. FRUIT BATS DON'T USE ECHOLOCATION—THEY HAVE EXCELLENT SENSES OF SIGHT AND SMELL.

28. MALE RING-TAILED LEMURS WILL "STINK FIGHT" BY WAFTING SCENT AT EACH OTHER.

29. LYNX HAVE LARGE FEET THAT ENABLE THEM TO RUN ON VERY DEEP SNOW.

30. IN 1924, A LABRADOR RETRIEVER WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE AT EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY FOR KILLING THE GOVERNOR'S CAT.

31. IN AN AQUATIC TRAFFIC JAM, ALLIGATORS WILL GIVE MANATEES THE RIGHT OF WAY.

32. NINE-BANDED ARMADILLOS ALWAYS GIVE BIRTH TO IDENTICAL QUADRUPLETS.

33. CATS CAN'T TASTE SUGAR. THEY DON'T HAVE SWEET TASTE BUDS.

34. DUCKS LIKE TO SURF. THEY HAVE BEEN OBSERVED RIDING TIDES AND SWIMMING BACK TO RIDE THEM AGAIN.

35. THE AFRICAN PENGUIN IS ALSO COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS THE "JACKASS PENGUIN" BECAUSE IT MAKES DONKEY-LIKE BRAYING SOUNDS.

36. BIRDS ARE IMMUNE TO THE HEAT OF CHILI PEPPERS.

37. HONEYBEES CAN GET SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES.

38. A NARWHAL TUSK IS ACTUALLY AN EXAGGERATED FRONT LEFT TOOTH, AND UNLIKE MOST TEETH, IT'S SOFT AND SENSITIVE ON THE OUTSIDE WITH A TOUGH INTERIOR.

39. CARIBBEAN SPERM WHALES HAVE THEIR OWN REGIONAL ACCENT.

40. WOMBAT POOP IS CUBE-SHAPED.

41. A BABY PUFFIN IS CALLED A PUFFLING.

42. BALD EAGLES SOUND SO SILLY THAT HOLLYWOOD DUBS THEIR VOICES.

43. ACCORDING TO TIME, THE ANNUAL NUMBER OF WORLDWIDE SHARK BITES IS 10 TIMES LESS THAN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE BITTEN BY OTHER PEOPLE IN NEW YORK.

44. FEMALE BATS GIVE BIRTH WHILE HANGING UPSIDE DOWN, CATCHING THE BABY IN THEIR WINGS AS IT DROPS.

45. TOUCANS CURL INTO LITTLE BALLS WHEN THEY SLEEP.

46. HORSES ARE DISTANTLY RELATED TO RHINOCEROSES AND TAPIRS.

47. SOME CATS ARE ALLERGIC TO HUMANS.

48. DESPITE THEIR LACK OF VISIBLE EARS, PENGUINS HAVE EXCELLENT HEARING.

49. LIONS INHABITED MANY AREAS OF EUROPE UNTIL THEY WERE HUNTED TO EXTINCTION IN THE REGION AROUND 100 BCE.

50. MALE PLATYPUSES HAVE VENOMOUS SPURS.

The Weird, Disturbing World of Snail Sex

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Romance is rare in the animal kingdom. Instead of wooing their partners before copulating, male ducks force themselves onto females, depositing genetic material with spiky, corkscrew penises. Then, there's tardigrade sex, which is less violent but not exactly heartwarming. Females lay eggs into a husk of dead skin. The male then ejaculates onto the eggs while stroking the female, and the whole process can take up to an hour.

But you can't talk about disturbing mating rituals in nature without mentioning snails. If you're unfamiliar with snail sexuality, you may assume that snail sex falls on the vanilla side: The mollusks, after all, are famous for being slow-moving and they don't even have limbs. But if you have the patience to watch a pair of snails going at it, you'll notice that things get interesting.

The first factor that complicates snail sex is their genitalia. Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning individuals have both a male set and female set of parts, and any two snails can reproduce with each other regardless of sex. But in order for a couple of snails to make little snail babies, one of them needs to take on the role of the female. That's where the love dart comes in.

The love dart, technically called a gypsobelum, isn't exactly the Cupid's arrow the name suggests. It's a nail-clipping-sized spike that snails jab into their partners about 30 minutes before the actual sex act takes place. The sliver is packed with hormones that prepare the receiving snail's body for sperm. Depending on the species, only one snail might release the dart, or they both might in an attempt to avoid becoming the female of the pair. You can watch the action in the video below.

For sex to be successful, both snails must insert their penises into the other's vaginal tracts at the same time. Both snails deposit sperm, and the strength of the love dart ultimately determines whether or not that sperm fertilizes their partner's eggs.

That's assuming the snail survives the little love-stab. In human proportions, the love dart is the equivalent of a 15-inch knife. Fortunately, snails are resilient creatures, and gastropod researcher Joris Koene tells KQED he's only ever seen one snail die from the transfer.

Snails also have a way of making it up to their partners after skewering them with a hormone stick. Their sperm deposit contains a dose of fortifying nutrients, something scientists refer to as a nuptial gift. It may not equal the energy expended during sex, but its enough to give them a small post-coital boost.

14 Adorable, Vintage Photos of Rabbits

Chaloner Woods, Getty Images
Chaloner Woods, Getty Images

In honor of International Rabbit Day (held annually on the fourth Saturday of September), we've pulled photographic proof that the furry little mammals have always been appreciated by children and the adults who use a number of rabbit-related phrases and idioms more often than they probably realize.

1. DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Nursery school children playing with their pet rabbit Bubbles; 1939.
David Parker, Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Nursery school children playing with their pet rabbit Bubbles, 1939.

2. DUST BUNNY

 A woman spinning Angora rabbit wool in her garden, 1930.
Fox Photos, Getty Images

A woman spinning Angora rabbit wool in her garden, 1930.

3. MAD AS A MARCH HARE

A young boy holds a pet rabbit, 1955.
Charles Ley, BIPs/Getty Images

A young boy holds a pet rabbit, 1955.

4. BUY THE RABBIT

A golfer makes a practice drive while his pet rabbit minds the balls; 1938.
Reg Speller, Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A golfer makes a practice drive while his pet rabbit minds the balls, 1938.

5. HONEY BUNNY

School children petting rabbits; 1949.
Chaloner Woods, Getty Images

Schoolchildren petting rabbits, 1949.

6. HAREBRAINED IDEA

A woman took her Himalayan rabbit, Albrecht Durer, on a walk in Hyde Park, 1939.
Fox Photos, Getty Images

A woman took her Himalayan rabbit, Albrecht Durer, on a walk in Hyde Park, 1939.

7. CUDDLE BUNNY

A little girl petting a large rabbit, 1949.
Chaloner Woods, Getty Images

A little girl petting a large rabbit, 1949.

8. LUCKY RABBIT'S FOOT

Schoolgirls care for pet rabbits, 1932.
Fox Photos, Getty Images

Schoolgirls care for pet rabbits, 1932.

9. PULL A RABBIT OUT OF A HAT

A young magician and his rabbit, 1971.
George W. Hales, Fox Photos/Getty Images

A young magician and his rabbit, 1971.

10. SNOW BUNNY

A woman shows off her two pet angora rabbits, circa 1955.
George Pickow, Three Lions/Getty Images

A woman shows off her two pet angora rabbits, circa 1955. Angoras can be sheared to provide enough wool for two sweaters each year.

11. THE EASTER BUNNY

A little girl holds an Easter bunny on a leash, circa 1955.
George Pickow, Three Lions/Getty Images

A little girl holds an Easter bunny on a leash, circa 1955.

12. A RABBIT TRAIL

Three children hold a rabbit, 1935.
H. Allen, Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Three children hold a rabbit, 1935.

13. RABBIT FOOD

A boy feeds his pet rabbit a lettuce leaf, circa 1955.
George Pickow, Three Lions/Getty Images

A boy feeds his pet rabbit a lettuce leaf, circa 1955.

14. RABBITING ON

Actresses Fiona Fullerton and Clare Clifford posting some of the many letters sent to the House of Lords and parliamentary candidates to request support for World Day for Laboratory Animals which was instituted that year, 1979.
Central Press, Getty Images

Actresses Fiona Fullerton and Clare Clifford posting some of the many letters sent to the House of Lords and parliamentary candidates to request support for World Day for Laboratory Animals which was instituted that year, 1979.

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