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12 Lesser-known Animal Facts that Will Surely Surprise You

7. Chipmunks and other small rodents have fast reaction times because they process light faster. Basically, they see the world in slow motion.

Chipmunks
Chipmunks

You may wonder how your pet hamster or other small animals experience time. Well, in short, it entirely depends on their ability to process sensory information. The fast processing of sensory information is great, but it also requires a high metabolism rate. After all, you’ve got to feed your brain for all those extra work. A group of researchers in the UK tested this on mammals, reptiles, rodents, and amphibians.

The results were published in the journal called Animal Behavior. They stated that the body size and metabolism rate of an animal could predict how quickly time passes. To justify their hypothesis, they measured the critical fusion vision frequency of each animal.

This test determines an animal’s response to change in their perceptions through a flashing light. They found that small animals with high metabolism rates could adapt to flickering much faster than big animals. (source)

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8. In a fight between a lion and a tiger, the tiger has the upper edge because a tiger is bigger and its bite force is also deadlier than a lion.

Fight between a lion and a tiger
Fight between a lion and a tiger

Before blowing the whistle, let’s do a comparison between these two animals. When it comes to size, Siberian tigers are the largest feline predators in the world. The average males reach up to 2.3 meters in body length plus 1 meter for their tail. Their shoulder height average is 1.2 meters. A Siberian tiger’s average weight is around 250 kg.

The African lion with a body length of 2 meters and a weight of around 200 kg is a bit lighter and shorter when compared. But they stand a bit higher with a shoulder height of 1.3 meters. The bite force of a tiger measures up to 70 kilograms per square meter.

A lion’s bite force is somewhat lower at about 50 kilograms per square meter. An average speed of a tiger is around 65 km/h which is less when compared to a lion’s 80km/h. In ancient Rome, a fight between a tiger and a lion wasn’t an uncommon practice. (source)

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9. A rhino’s horn is not made of bones but hair. The horn is mainly made up of keratin. It also has calcium and melanin which makes the horn stronger.

Rhino’s horn
Rhino’s horn

A rhino horn has been in the center of diverse mythological beliefs for a very long time. Many ancient cultures thought that a rhino horn has medicinal and magical properties. And to this day, some cultures still use them as daggers, handles, or showpieces.

Many hunters also hang them on their walls as a prize. Disturbing enough, right? But what are these horns made of? Horns of most animals have a boney core covered with a thin sheet of keratin.

These are the same substance present in the fingernail or hair of a human body. But the rhino’s horn is not a bone at all, it is made of keratin, but it’s not just clumps of hair.

Scans have also shown dense deposits of calcium and melanin. The calcium makes the horn stronger and melanin protects it from UV rays. Another interesting fact is that a horn of a black rhino can reach up to 50 inches long. (source)

10. Komodo dragons have “chain mail” armored skin. This skin protects them from fellow Komodo dragons, and it doesn’t appear until a Komodo dragon reaches adulthood.

Komodo dragon
Komodo dragon

Komodo dragons are the most badass, fiercest, and biggest lizards in the world. Well, guess what? They just got more impressive. Discovery shows that an adult Komodo dragon is completely covered with tiny bones from its nose to tail.

You may wonder why Komodo Dragons need such armor. They are already fast, strong, venomous, and take down prey much larger than themselves. Well, the new research states that they need protection from themselves only, i.e. other Komodo dragons. A group of researchers at Texas University and Austin and Forth zoo performed a CT scan on two specimens.

One was a newly deceased adult Komodo dragon, and the other was a juvenile. They found the adult covered with armor, but the baby had none. This suggests that the tiny bones, “osteoderms,” don’t develop until adulthood. This also suggests that a Komodo dragon’s natural environment only gets threatened after the dragon reaches adulthood. (source)

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11. Birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs. The theropods mutated to adapt to the environment and climate change.

Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx

Over 150 million years ago, birds were giant dinosaurs roaming around freely across the planet. About 65 million years ago, a giant asteroid hit the planet causing a mass extinction in its entirety. Our mammalian ancestors did survive, like many other animals.

According to research published in the journal Science, small dinosaurs did survive. The scientist found theropods, a carnivorous dinosaur family which included T-rex, got smaller and smaller over time.

They got smaller in 12 separate mutations, going from 168kg on average to 0.8kg and emerging as Archaeopteryx, the first bird. The meat-eaters survived this extinction because they didn’t require as large of bodies as plant-eaters.

Some researchers also suggest all dinosaurs had feathers. They found this evidence when they found a new dinosaur called Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, which had feathers but couldn’t fly. So, with all this research, we can say that birds are modern-day dinosaurs. (source)

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12. Wild dolphins communicate with each other using names as whistling signals just like we humans. They also create new signals to identify new objects.

Wild dolphins
Wild dolphins

Researchers had been studying and exploring dolphin’s intelligence for some years now, but recently they discovered something that only we humans and dolphins do. Dolphins name themselves just like we humans do.

Each dolphin has a signature whistle that carries its name along with other essential information. Research students at St. Andrew’s University developed a way to track down the whistles of wild dolphins, and they found something astonishing. Not only does each dolphin has its signature whistle, but they copy whistles of other dolphins.

This means they remember the names of other dolphins just like humans do. They save each other’s names with the purpose of helping locate or meet the other dolphin. Dolphin whistles can be detected up to 12.4 miles away.

They even create whistles to identify other objects or other individuals like us humans, but the scientists are still not convinced that these animals are speaking in a different language because the dolphins never use these signals in a fight. Instead, they only use them to express love or find someone. (source)

Also read: 11 Important Facts About Animals That We Must Know

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