Animal Facts You Didn’t Know

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

OK, here’s a 50-worder or so. I love it when I remember to watch the Nature programs on PBS  and last night was no exception – up close examples of animals caring for and about each other – wild dogs accepting a “foreigner”, elephants’ collective parenting, penguins’ mating rituals, and even a grief ritual of giraffes.

What have you learned about animals over the years that has surprised you?

59 thoughts on “Animal Facts You Didn’t Know”

  1. So much learned, so many surprises…but I’m saving the stories to post as individual TB stories….one quicky that comes to mind is when Minute Goat’s daughter was pregnant and Minute wasn’t…she had a hysterical pregnancy, including going through “labor” at the same time as her daughter.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Actually she “adopted” her grandkid, helped clean off the placenta, took care of her….I don’t remember if she let it suck…though I do think she did come into milk. For me.


  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Here is a beginning list:

    Deer and mice can swim
    There are pilleated woodpeckers here in the ‘burbs” –had one at our bird feeder
    Northern pike eat the swimming mice mentioned above (I found one while cleaning a fish)
    If you are quiet in a canoe and sit for a time, loons will swim up very close
    If you disturb a beehive, the disturbed bees will swarm and chase you and you have to run very fast to get in the house. If you ate lucky you only get stung 6 times. Don’t ask how I know this

    Liked by 4 people

      1. In just two weeks, I’ll be up close and hopefully not too personal with animals I’ve only seen in a zoo: elephants, lions, tigers, zebra, chimps. that safari costs nearly as much as the airfare, but this is a once in a lifetime experience! In the meanwhile, I’m researching neck pillows, feet hammocks, sleeping pills – even which ones allow alcohol in the mix.


      2. Hopefully not live mice?? I love mice. My daughter had several statin (golden) mice as pets. Problem was that they only had a 2-3 year life span and it broke her heart each time one died.


    1. In a related tale, don’t stick a popsicle stick into the hole in the foundation of your friend’s house where you’ve seen wasps flying in and out. And if you do it anyway, don’t just stand there. Wasps will retaliate.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always read/heard about the intuition of dogs toward people. One notes that with trained for assist dogs in human health positions and in police or combat work.
    I’d never experienced having a dog that was so attuned to me until rescue who in turn has rescued me I many ways, I’m not sure when it began ‘tho early on he would nap at my feet often with his head on my ankle. I’ve had him about three years now. He often senses a bad arthritic day before I do and if I’m just simply having a rough day he is at my side all the time…often in my lap or laying beside me. He is defininate comfort!
    As I stated I adopted him from our local “Friends of Animals”….I rescued him…and he has ‘rescued’ me.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The last time I rewrote my book on wolf restoration, I made what seemed an unlikely prediction. I thought wolves might enter urban areas, mainly suburbs and small towns in rural areas, to prey on abundant deer numbers living there.

    I have been surprised to see this prediction come true but with a different predator. In Oregon we have a growing problem with cougars moving into urban areas. They are attracted by high deer numbers but also by the dogs, cats and goats they can take near human settlements. I have always thought cougars would be too “shy” and afraid of humans to enter towns. I was wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve watched that show twice. I find the topic fascinating, but i have one technical quibble with the show. To my mind, it wandered a bit on the main story line.

        The coy-wolf phenomenon is complex. Most animals live as distinct species. It is an oddity of the canid group of mammals that wolves, dogs and coyotes will breed across species lines. Wolf-dog crosses have long been a problem. Wolf-coyote crosses (coy-wolves) present a different kind of challenge to wildlife managers. I’m not aware of any dog-coyote crosses.

        The coy-wolf documentary combines two dramatic stories. One is the way wolves and coyotes are breeding, creating a new predator with qualities of both of its progenitors. As the show went along it became more about how coyotes are infiltrating our cities (including the Twin Cities).

        What remains to be seen is how often coy-wolves will live and hunt in urban areas. Many urban areas have excessive numbers of deer.

        I’m glad the cat world doesn’t share this tendency to breed across species lines. If feral house cats bred with wild bobcats the result would be a critter I wouldn’t want living near me!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That was an excellent show. For Twin Cites viewers: it is usually repeated on Sunday evening on another TPT channel.
    This show was part I of a series. Part II next Wednesday.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Many years ago, a friend of mine adopted one of my cat’s kittens. My friend also had a female toy poodle. The dog and the cat bonded immediately, and the kitten was never far from the dog. They slept together, and the kitten attempted to suckle the dog, and the dog didn’t object. After a few days, in fact, the dog began lactating. She was spayed, and had never had puppies, but she actually began lactating. I was amazed. I have since hear similar stories with other animals. Nature is truly amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I occasionally mention the first dog I owned, a beagle named Jody. We were told by the person selling the puppies that Jody’s mother had died in childbirth and so the puppies were “raised by a cat.” I don’t know what that means. I know that Jody saw cats as friendly animals and tried to lick them.

      The most dramatic moment in her life was when she saw her first rabbit. Jody and I were doing my early morning paper route. When Jody saw the rabbit she began to wag her and went to the rabbit. I later figured out that Jody had probably mistaken the rabbit for a cat. When the bunny raced away, Jody was confused for a long moment while her personal experience collided with her genetics. Then the genes kicked in. Jody began to bay as she chased the bunny (at 5 AM, with me comically trying to grab her to silence her).

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve always assumed that animals are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for. Having said that, I still get surprised by how they seemlessly blend instinct with their senses (a lot of which we’re still discovering how good they are!).

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Me, too! Maybe in the next life (if there is one)? The last thing I’d want to back as is a man. I’ve actually given some thought to that. Being an animal appeals to me because they don’t ruminate about the past or get anxious about the future. Imagine that?


    1. I’ve actually been surprised at how little self-preservation instincts the rabbits in my neighborhood have. Can’t they smell the dog odor in my yard? Can’t they remember where they got into the yard when they have to get out fast? YA’s dog Guinevere is a remarkably able hunter. Not too many more and we’re going to be into double digits in bunny casualties. If I were a bunny I wouldn’t go near our yard.


        1. By far the most haunting and disturbing sound I’ve ever heard is when a rabbit’s been caught by a predator out here. It sounds just like a baby crying and seems to go on forever.


  8. One of the 15-16 squirrels in our ravine is suddenly missing most of its tail. I assume lost in their endless internecine squabbles.
    In the summer if I put out the ends of my home-made bread, they ignore it. Now they prefer it above corn.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I have an animal surprise story that you folks–especially the men–will hate me for mentioning. This is from today’s Washington Post. A boy in Texas went to use the toilet. When he lifted the lid he found a rattlesnake curled up in the bowl.

    It doesn’t bear thinking about!

    Animal control technicians came out and found 23 more diamond back rattlers on the property.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Camping in the Yellow Stone Park with the kids 30 years ago, one morning, groggy with sleep but with a full bladder, I stumbled into the cement public restroom. Right smack into a moose’s butt. There was also a baby moose. Shocked, of course, I rushed back to our campsite to have everyone come see the moose. It was gone, and they never did believe my story.


  10. I am not an animal person and never had pets as an adult (allergies and other reasons), but I’ve experienced other people’s pets. For some reason, it really surprised me how much pets have distinct personalities and seemingly human characteristics and quirks. It still cracks me up to think of a particularly feisty little dog that would fake an injured leg and limp around to avoid punishment when he misbehaved.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I was surprised when my Samoyed Baron got depressed after my other dog passed away. Baron had been four when I got him and my Irish Setter didn’t really care for him (all my Irish Setters have had a queen of the world attitude) so it never occurred to me that he would miss her – they weren’t great companions to my eyes. When Scarlet died, Baron ate less and moped around, to the point where I took him to the vet. Smart vet said “he’s grieving” and recommended some extra loving and treats.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Frog tongues are 10 times softer than human tongues. The saliva sticks the insect. The frog’s eyeballs are used to push the prey off the sticky tongue. Science Friday.

    Liked by 2 people

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