1. A chicken with red ear lobes produces brown eggs, and a chicken with white ear lobes produces white eggs.
2. Even though a polar bear’s average body temperature is 37°C, they don’t give off any detectable heat and don’t show up in infrared photographs. They also have black skin. This is a protective adaptation to the climate. Black absorbs heat and keeps the polar bear from freezing. Most people also think the polar bear’s fur is white. It’s not. It’s clear to allow the sunlight and heat through to the black skin underneath. It appears white due to a process known as luminescence. This happens when the sun’s rays bounce off the transparent fur, and some of the light energy travels into the hair, getting trapped. The energy bounces around inside the hollow part of the hair causing luminescence which involves the emission of light.
3. Male giraffes engage in same-sex sexual activity. Many young male giraffes have been observed courting other males, going through a series of attraction rituals including caresses and the touching of noses. In fact, scientists estimate that 94 percent of all giraffe sex happens between two males leaving the other six per cent of sex for procreation of the species. This responsibility falls to older, dominant males who mate with female giraffes during their breeding cycles.
4. The Platypus, that unique Australian mammal that looks like a cross between a duck and beaver, swims with its eyes closed.
5. Baby humans suck on their thumbs for comfort. Baby elephants do the same thing but with their trunks.
6. Young goats are influenced by their peers. In fact, they pick up each other’s accents. If a group of young goats spends enough time together, they all sound the same. Just like teenagers.
7. Tardigrades are extremely durable microscopic animals that exist all over Earth. They are segmented and have eight legs. They can survive in any of the following environments: 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 Celsius), -458 degrees F (-272 C), the vacuum of space, pressure six times stronger than the ocean floor and more than a decade without food. They exist on top of the Himalayas and on the bottom of the deepest oceans. They are most common in moist environments and are commonly known as water bears or moss piglets.
8. The now extinct colossus penguin stood an incredible six foot 8 inches tall. That’s as tall as champion basketballer LeBron James. The colossus penguin could hold its breath for 40 minutes at a time, making it an uber fish hunter. By comparison, most whales and dolphins only hold their breath underwater for 20 minutes.
9. A Wombat is another unique Australian marsupial that lives in a burrow, is about a metre in length and weighs as much as 35 kilograms (77lbs). It also poops in cubes.
10. The growth of a moose’s antlers is dependent on two things – the amount of testosterone that a particular male has and the length of the day. Moose shed their antlers (also known as paddles) every year and grow back new ones. The antlers are covered in velvet. This velvet is vascularised, permitting blood flow during the growing season. Then, during the mating season, they rub away the velvet to expose shiny new antlers to impress all the females. Made from bone, a moose’s antlers weight about 40 pounds or about 18 kilograms. After a bull moose reaches his prime, the size of the antlers retracts each year until he dies.
11. Flamingos are not pink. They are born grey; their diet of brine shrimp and blue green algae contains a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin that makes their feathers pink.
12. The bat is the only mammal that can fly. The leg bones of a bat are so thin that out of the 1,200 species of bats, only two can walk on ground. These are the Vampire bat and the Burrowing bat.
13. Elephants have a specific alarm call that means “Watch out, humans about.” Earlier this year, a group of scientists from Oxford University and Disney’s Animal Kingdom combined to investigate elephant communication. They played a recording of the human voices to a group of elephants, and they reacted with a clear and distinctive trumpeting call at the same time becoming more vigilant and alert. Having recorded this distinctive call, the team then played it back to another group of elephants. They also reacted to human voices, erupting with vigilance as they ran and trumpeted in the same way.
14. Previous Oxford University research shows that African elephants also have a distinct warning call for bees, which prompts fellow elephants to flee while shaking their heads, an apparent attempt to prevent bee stings.
15. Cows can sleep standing up, but they can only dream lying down.
16. Hippos can run faster than human beings! Even though they weigh as much 4000 kilograms, hippos are one of the fastest creatures on earth reaching and incredible 30 kilometres an hour. They can hit top speed in a matter of just four seconds. This one of the reasons they are considered even more dangerous than lions.
17. A reindeer’s eyes turn blue in winter to allow them to see in lower light
18. The most poisonous fish in the world is the stone fish. The stonefish, which reaches an average length of 30 to 40 centimetres and weighs up to up to 2 kg / 5 lbs, is the most venomous fish in the world, having venomous sacs on each one of its 13 spines. They are found throughout shallow coastal waters of the northern half of Australia. Their venom is so toxic that it will stop a human heart.
19. African buffalo herds exhibit voting behaviour, in which individuals convey the direction in which they want to travel by standing up, looking in one direction and then lying back down. Only adult females vote in this process.
20. Snakes always keep their eyes open, even when they are asleep. Snakes can’t close their eyes because they do not have eyelids. They do have eye scales that cover their eyes and which they shed when it sheds their skin.
21. A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly acute. If you stood in a stadium crowded with 40,000 other people, your dog could find you by smell alone.
22. At birth, a panda is smaller than a mouse and weighs about 110 grams (four ounces). Giant pandas are about 150cm long from nose to rump, with a 10-15cm tail. A large adult panda can weigh about 100-150kg (250-300 lbs), with males 10 per cent larger and 20 per cent heavier than females. An adult panda can spend up to 12 hours a day eating, and to meet their dietary needs, they need to eat at least 14 kilograms (28 pounds) of bamboo.
23. Male mice are romantic little devils. They serenade their mate with a special mouse song to both entertain them and hold their attention.
24. Female mice can reproduce at just two months old. A pair of mice can produce 500 offspring more each season, according to the CSIRO, with females birthing a new litter every three weeks. Australia is currently experiencing a mouse plague and while mice numbers of 800 to 1000 mice per hectare is usually considered a plague, an official recently said that trying to count the number of mice right now would be “like trying to count the stars”.
25. Male dogs will raise their legs while urinating to aim higher on a tree or lamppost because they want to leave a message that they are tall and intimidating. Some wild dogs in Africa try to run up tree trunks while they are urinating to appear to be exceptionally large.
26. There is a shark called ‘goblin shark.’ It was discovered in 1897 and is known as a living fossil as it is believed to be little changed in the past 125 million years
27. Australian Koalas get their name from an Aboriginal/Indigenous Australian term that means ‘no drink.’ It’s believed this is because koalas get almost all their moisture from the leaves they eat, and rarely drink water. However, eucalyptus leaves are incredibly tough, difficult to digest and poisonous. But koalas have a long digestive organ called a cecum which allows them to break down the leaves and absorb their nutrients unharmed.
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