Animal lovers rejoice! Today we’re going to be taking a look at 20 of nature’s most interesting animal facts, from the odd names for groups of animals to surprising trivia, like the elephant’s inability to jump!
Keep on reading to expand your knowledge of the animal kingdom, or to test what you already know!
1. Pandas spend more than half of every day eating.
On average, pandas spend between 14-16 hours per day consuming bamboo to meet their caloric needs.
As a result of the limited nutritional value of bamboo, their primary food source, pandas have to eat anywhere between 25-80 lbs of the plant every day.
If there is not enough bamboo for them to eat, pandas have also been seen consuming fruits, plants, and even meat, although, this typically makes up less than 1% of their total diet.
2. A group of 5 or more owls is called a parliament.
While historians are locked in heavy debate as to the specific origins of this term, one of the most popular theories suggests the name is inspired by the Ancient Athenian association between owls and Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
3. Chinchillas can produce up to ten different sounds.
Chinchillas have a wider vocal range than most people are aware of, as they can control the range of their tone and produce up to ten different sounds depending on the context of their situation.
4. Grizzly bears have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom.
Rivaled only by crocodiles, alligators, hippos, sharks, and the polar bear, grizzlies hold the title for one of the animal kingdom’s deadliest bites.
With a bite force measuring in at a whopping 1,160 PSI, grizzly bears can crush a bowling ball with ease!
5. Rats are very ticklish.
One of the most interesting facts about rats is their ability to laugh, which, despite its uniqueness, is unfortunately not enough to keep them from being ranked highly on nearly every “Most Hated Animal” list.
Rats are also very genetically and anatomically similar to humans, which makes them popular test subjects for products preparing to be sold for human consumption.
6. Hedgehogs have approximately 5,000 quills!
You might be surprised to learn that someone took the time to count each spike on a hedgehog, but they did!
Hedgehogs raise their quills as a defense mechanism when they feel they are in danger, which transforms their exterior from cute and cuddly to sharp and dangerous.
Predators are unable to eat the hedgehog without hurting themselves with the thousands of razor-sharp quills, allowing it to stay alive for yet another day.
7. Sea otters hold hands when they go to sleep.
Male otters, worried they’ll lose their female in their sleep, hold their partner’s hand as they drift away from land.
This adorable behavior isn’t just for cuteness’ sake though, as it prevents the otters from drifting away from one another, while also protecting them from predators.
8. We can smell skunks from a mile away, literally.
It may surprise you to learn that humans can detect the scent of a skunk from up to a mile away, with the odor’s intensity correlating to the animal’s proximity.
If you catch a whiff of a skunk as you’re walking to your front door, it is likely far away, however, if the stench is persistent and nearly overwhelming, the animal could be extremely
9. Sea lions can keep a beat!
Ronan, a sea lion being studied at the University of California Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Laboratory, was recorded as the first non-human mammal to demonstrate the ability to move to the rhythm of a song.
Who knew sea lions could groove too?
10. Some animals can walk in as little as half-hour after being born.
While relatively rare in the animal kingdom, certain species, such as giraffes and elephants, can walk as soon as thirty minutes following their birth!
This skill can be tremendously helpful in the event of a predator, as the young animals can quickly flee without needing assistance from their parents.
11. The Galapagos tortoise can live for over a century.
This tortoise species is definitely in it for the long haul, with an average lifespan of over 150 years!
Notice how we said, “average?”
If their common lifespan is a surprise, you’ll be astounded to know that one of the oldest Galapagos tortoises in history lived to be 175 years old!
12. Zebras aren’t technically black and white.
The white fur of a zebra appears as a result of a lack of melanin, rather than as a natural color.
Because these white stripes exist due to a lack of color, and the remaining majority of a zebra’s skin is black, black is considered the standard color of a zebra.
13. Hippos can reach a top speed of up to 19mph.
While you wouldn’t expect them to move swiftly because of their size, hippos are fast, deadly, and unfortunately for many, extremely territorial.
A full-grown hippopotamus can reach top speed in a matter of seconds, which, when combined with its massive size, can make them a particularly dangerous animal.
14. Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world.
These big cats can sprint at speeds reaching up to 70mph, although they cannot sustain this speed for longer than 20-30 seconds.
15. Female lions are the primary hunters for their pride.
Female lions spend as much as 90% of their time hunting, while the males are tasked with defending the pride during the females’ absence.
16. Many land snails can hibernate for three or more years at a time.
Land snails need moisture to live, which means they needed to develop an adaptation to ensure they have a method for survival in environments where that moisture is not readily available.
They developed the ability to hibernate for years if necessary, slowing their metabolic processes and covering themselves in a layer of protective mucus until the environment has ideal conditions once more.
17. Polar bears don’t have white skin!
While they have adapted to have white fur to blend in with Arctic conditions, polar bear skin is black.
Their pigment-free skin is an adaptation to enable polar bears to absorb more UV light for warmth as they dive into arctic waters and endure exceptionally harsh environmental conditions.
18. Octopi have nine brains.
Most octopus species have evolved to have nine brains, one central brain between their eyes and one smaller brain in each limb.
This provides them with the motor control to operate each limb individually but also requires a large amount of energy.
As a result of the high energy requirements of an octopus, they also have three hearts, two of which receive deoxygenated blood from around the body and pump it through the gills, while the third heart increases the pressure of oxygen-rich blood and circulates it throughout the body.
19. Butterflies taste through receptors in their legs.
Since they have no biological use for a tongue like humans, butterflies are equipped with taste receptors on their legs.
According to researchers, these receptors are up to two hundred times more powerful than human taste buds, despite being so much smaller.
20. Elephants are the only animal that cannot jump.
Have you ever wondered why you’ve never seen an elephant jump?
This is because they actually can’t!
Despite being able to run up to 25 mph, their skeletal structure prevents them from jumping, as all of their leg bones are pointed downwards, lacking the “spring” necessary to lift them off the ground.
Did you know any of these interesting facts?
Which one was your favorite?
Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!