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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.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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