The animal kingdom and some of its quirks

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • It has been established that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.
  • The dog is placed at the feet of women in monuments to symbolise affection and fidelity, as a lion is placed at the feet of men to signify courage and magnanimity. Many of the Crusaders are represented with their feet on a dog, to show that they followed the standard of the Lord as faithfully as a dog follows the footsteps of his master.
  • 21% of dogs and 7% of cats snore.
  • According to research in both California and England, a dog is more likely to anticipate in advance when its owner will arrive home than a cat.
  • Animals attend church services on St Anthony's Day in Mexico. This popular saint, who is regarded as a healer of people and animals, is asked to protect pets, which are decorated with flowers and ribbons for the occasion. In rural areas, peasants also bring bags of insects and worms to be blessed in church, in hope that this will prevent these creatures from damaging crops.
  • Elephants and camels both have four knees.
  • The honey badger can withstand hundreds of African bee stings that would kill any other animals.
  • About 70% of all living organisms in the world are bacteria.
  • Only female wasps, bees and mosquitoes sting.
  • 90% of bird species are monogamous.
  • Contrary to popular belief, animals are not all colour blind. Many species, such as dogs, horses and sheep, can distinguish some colours, although not as well as humans. Primates, especially chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys, have colour vision equal to that of humans. Another common belief - that the colour red enrages bulls - is also likely wrong. Experiments indicate that it is the swirling movement of the matador's cape, not its colour, that excites them.
  • More than 99.9% of all the animal species that have ever lived on earth were extinct before the coming of man.
  • Of all known forms of animal life ever to inhabit the Earth, only about 10% still exist today.
  • Carnivorous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by a lightning strike.
  • Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebra.
  • An estimated 80% of animals on Earth have six legs, i.e., are insects. The more than 10 quintillion bugs fall into some 800,000 species.
  • Aphids are born pregnant without the benefit of sex. Aphids can give birth 10 days after being born themselves.
  • The highest recorded jump by an insect is 70 cm by the froghopper (Philaneus spumarius). When it jumps, the insect accelerates at 4000 m/s and overcomes a G-force of more than 414 times its own body weight.
  • When reflected from bright lights (head lights) deer's eyes are orange, whereas cats and dogs are green. Rabbits' eyes remain black.
  • Koalas, iguanas, and Komodo dragons all have forked penises.
  • The majority of giraffes and turkeys are bisexual.
  • Wild animals, as a rule, do not get sexually transmitted diseases, although otters can get herpes.
  • Baby animals are weaned when the mother is newly pregnant for another pregnancy. In Western culture today, the most common reason cited for human weaning is in preparation to return to a job outside the home.
  • Woodpecker scalps, porpoise teeth and giraffe tails have all been used as money.
  • An animal epidemic is called an epizotic.
  • In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

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