There is an incredible amount of information yet to be gathered about our tiny blue dot in our vast universe. There are nooks and crannies right under our noses that have yet to be discovered but there”s also an abundance of facts already out there that most of us haven”t heard before. A lot of this information is also super weird.
Here are 18 of the most amazing animal facts. We should warn you, though…nature can be terrifyingly wonderful (emphasis on the terrifying part).
1. China has salamanders as long as your dad is tall. They also smell like pepper…
Yep, these giant amphibians grow to six feet long and excrete a white substance that smells like pepper. They also have a good amount of extra skin, which allows for more efficient oxygen absorption…because they absorb oxygen through their skin!
2. A man found this strange creature while fishing with his sons…but it”s not uncommon at all.
It”s called a salp, and they can be found in almost any ocean.
However, they”re most abundant around Antarctica. They stay close to the surface, filtering small plankton and bacteria through their bodies as sustenance. They link together in these amazing, corkscrew-shaped colonies. Amazingly, they also help filter carbon dioxide out of the environment, quelling the effects of global warming!
3. Remember that saber-toothed squirrel from Ice Age that paleontologists thought was completely ridiculous and based on nothing?
He apparently actually existed! A fossil discovered in 2011 (that took three years to be carefully separated from the surrounding rock by a certified technician) proves that a squirrel-like, saber-toothed creature did exist in prehistoric times.
4. In 1979, a legend was born.
A bull named Starbuck, weighing 2,580 pounds, was such a handsome, prime specimen of a bull, that his sperm sold for a total of $25 million over the years. Between 1986 and 1995, he took home the title of “Premier Sire” 27 times at five Holstein shows throughout Canada and the U.S. While the legend passed in 1998, he”s sired more that 200,000 daughters and his genes have been cloned more than once.
5. There”s a spider in Madagascar whose web is stronger than any other biological material known to man.
Their webs are ten times more resistant than kevlar. The spiders have also been documented weaving their webs to be as large as two city buses. Darwin”s bark spider will sometimes wrap multiple insects into one cocoon, so as to create a nice big snack. I would not want to get caught in this web. Nope, no way.
6. Oh, you needed more terrifying spider news?
Spiders in Australia eat snakes. Not teeny, little snakes. Snake-sized snakes. Do you realize how big that spider has to be to eat a snake? The worst part is the snake is still alive while the orb spider begins to chow down. The area where the spider”s insides come into contact with the snake”s venom then turns all black and bubbly. You will never in one million years find me in Australia.
7. Wolverine is real, but in a very unexpected way.
This frog, named the horror frog, purposefully breaks its own toe bones and forces the sharpened bones through the flesh when it feels it”s in danger. The frog”s body then heals itself. I don”t know if this is a freak of nature or the epitome of how amazing nature can be…but either way, it”s pretty spooky.
8. Thought a beheading was a death sentence?
Not for Mike the chicken. In 1945, Lloyd Olsen of Colorado was slaughtering some of his chickens for his family and for sale, when he swung the axe at Mike”s neck, he missed most of his brain stem and the vital jugular. After Olsen realized that the chicken wasn”t going to die, he stopped the bleeding and decided to care for him. Nowadays that might seem inhumane, to chop off a chicken”s face and let it live through it, but Olsen took Mike around the country to sideshows and the like, and the rooster lived the rest of his life quite spoiled…aside from the fact that he HAD NO FACE.
9. What”s it like to freeze solid? You die, right? That”s why they call it freezing to death…
Not for the wood frog! This guy”s body can do a bunch of science-y stuff (accumulate urea in their tissues, convert glycogen to glucose in the liver to reduce the amount of ice that forms and reduce the shrinkage of cells) that makes him capable of freezing through the winter months and thawing in the spring as if nothing ever happened.
10. What”s the loudest animal known to man?
This teeny snapping shrimp. They stun their prey by clamping down their claws that shoot jets of water at 62 miles per hour. These jets leave behind low-pressure air bubbles that collapse and produce hot, mini explosions at 200 decibels.
11. Please, for the love of all things cute and adorable, never put a sweater on a Siberian Husky.
These guys are built to withstand Arctic temperatures of -58 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit. Their coat consists of a thick undercoat and a topcoat of longer hairs…so let them play in the snow and show off their industrial-strength natural coats while you sit off to the side all bundled in your pathetic goose down.
12. There”s a sea creature that can figure out which predator to mimic…and does it with creepy accuracy.
Discovered in 1998, the mimic octopus can take the shape of up to 15 different predators as a means of defense. Scientists don”t fully get it yet, but it sure is amazing to watch!
13. You know that scary-yet-adorable critter that you find rummaging through your trash at night?
He”s got the ability to neutralize any kind of poison…even those that he”s never encountered before. Opossums can do this because their bodies produce a protein called lethal toxin-neutralizing factor. So be kind to him when you spot him in your garbage — it”s possible that he”ll do great things for humankind someday!
14. Oysters: do they have genders?
Oysters change their genders a handful of times throughout their lives. Does this have anything to do with their aphrodisiac characteristic? Probably not, but it”s something to consider…
15. Is this a Photoshop joke about what happens if a pig and a sheep had a baby?
Nope, it”s a Hungarian breed of pig called Mangalitsa, and it”s got a thick, hairy coat. They”re the product of cross-breeding Hungarian Bakonyi and Szalontai breeds with Sumadia pigs from Serbia. Put those two together and voila — you”ve got a wooly sheep-like piggy.
16. Galloping crocodiles have lived for 100 million years…and used to hunt dinosaurs!
Fossils of these guys have been found in Morocco and Niger. I think it”s safe to say that we”re all glad they”re no longer still around.
17. Polar bears don”t actually have white fur.
Each hair is hollow, transparent, and contains no pigment. It reflects light and what”s around it, which is usually snow and ice. What”s more, underneath all of that transparent hair is black skin!
18. Sure, a blue whale is giant…
But you wouldn”t think that their tongue can weigh as much as an adult elephant. That”s some serious perspective for you.
(via Unbelievable Facts)
So what did I take away from this? Steer clear of Australia at all costs and never believe my eyes ever again. What do you think?
The animal kingdom is quite incredible — here are some more unbelievable articles about it: