The world’s biodiversity is so vast that it gives rise to species with characteristics that we even doubt are real. For example, did you know that pigs are smarter than your dog (or even your child)? Also, did you know that snails have teeth? Or even that monkeys really like watching movies? Well, the animal world is very diverse and can really surprise us. Here are some facts about animals that make them very different.
1. Adult moon moths do not eat anything throughout their lives
Moon moths are nocturnal and their life begins as a larva, going through five transitional stages. After about three weeks, metamorphosis is complete and the adult individual can set about its sole mission in life, to reproduce. They have about a week to mate, then die. The strangest thing is that during this entire phase the moth eats absolutely nothing, but it could not. After all, its mouth is only rudimentary—that is, it does not have the normal function of other animals—and it does not even have a digestive system.
2. Pigs can be much smarter than dogs and 3 year olds
Sometimes looked down upon, pigs are exceptional animals and have a higher than normal level of intelligence. For example, just like dogs, pigs can also be loyal and friendly, as well as recognize names and respond to calls. But they go further and were taught by researchers to play video games using a controller and were more adept at the game than monkeys.
But the free time of these animals does not stop there, pigs also like to play football, listen to music and even get a good massage. To make it even better, they also communicate in different ways, even saying they are hungry, and sows often sing to the piglets. So, with all this, some scientists believe that these animals are much smarter than dogs and even 3-year-olds.
3. Monkeys usually like watching movies more than eating snacks
We’re a lot like primates, yet we’re descended from those animals, and a study may have revealed where our passion for cinema comes from. The researchers screened two films about chimpanzees and bonobos in which some actors wore monkey costumes. While watching the shorts, the animals became so engrossed in the screen that they refused all offered distractions, even the most palatable ones.
The next day, the scientists showed the films to the monkeys again and were able to see that the animals were expecting certain scenes. This showed that they could store events in their long-term memory – just like humans do – even though they had only seen the video once the day before. It also helped researchers determine what high-level functions primates can perform.
4. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain
Ostriches are the largest birds in the world, both by weight and size. They are about 2.7 meters tall, have a wingspan of 2 meters and weigh up to 130 kilograms. Yet they also have the largest eyes of any land animal, with an eyeball about 5 cm in diameter, the size of a billiard ball. With this eye, the ostrich can detect movements from very far away, such as a dog moving 3 km away.
However, with this size of eyeballs, there is little room for the brain. This organ in ostriches is smaller than the animal’s eyes, being located in the center between the two. However, with this increased vision and large feet, they can better defend themselves against the various predators they are exposed to, reaching speeds of up to 72 km/h. So they may not be smart, but they know how to spot danger and get out of there as quickly as possible.
5. Roadrunners don’t necessarily drink water to live
Living in one of the hottest and driest places in the world and the driest in North America – the Mojave Desert in California, USA – the traveler has to use a few tricks to avoid dehydration. First, it is less active during the day, so it does not lose fluids and lowers its temperature at night to conserve energy.
Also, they have a gland in front of their eyes that excretes excess salt from the body, which would be more or less like dry urination, so as not to waste water. After all, they get most of the hydration they need from their diet, which consists of insects, small animals, birds and plants. This way, they don’t have to drink a lot of water, and can only stay hydrated with the fluids they absorb from food.
6. Electric eels can control their prey from a distance
Researchers have discovered that electric eels not only shock their prey, but can also control their victims from a distance and even make them reveal their hiding places. Because when it sees a fish, for example, the eel emits an electrical impulse that reaches the other animal’s nervous system, causing it to contract all its body muscles at the same time. Thus, she can immobilize the victim or make them move as she pleases.
But it doesn’t stop there, if there is no food around, but the eel has an intuition that there is some in the area, it emits electrical impulses in different positions to reach potential hidden prey. After receiving the hit, the fish contract their muscles and eventually pop out of their holes, revealing where they are hiding. This greatly facilitates hunting and gives the predator more control.
7. The flower fly tries to disguise itself as a wasp so as not to be confused
The flower fly is also known as the wasp mimic fly, which is now its main safety trick. It has evolved to look like a wasp – a poisonous insect – and thus hints to other animals that it is also dangerous (albeit harmless). In addition, this fly also “goes unnoticed” and avoids being attacked by other wasps that would also be its predators if it did not look like them.
8. Dolania americana may have the shortest life span of any known animal
Insects usually do not have a very long lifespan, which can vary from a year to just a few minutes. Much of this time is spent in the larval stage, with the adult life mainly spent searching for a mate, breeding and laying eggs – as is the case with our well-known moon moth. However, there is an order of insects known as houseflies – a name derived from ephemera, which is characteristically temporary or short-lived – that have some of the shortest lives in the world.
This includes the American dogfish, which spends almost a year in a cocoon in the water, and when it becomes an adult, it only has about five minutes to live, that is, to search for a mate, reproduce and lay eggs back in the water ., before it dies. Thus, experts believe that it is the animal with the lowest life expectancy of all. However, they gain in numbers, as a newly hatched swarm can contain millions of individuals.
9. There is a “rocker” shrimp that makes noise louder than a rock concert
Although measuring just a few centimeters, the Synalpheus pinkfloydi – or Pink Floyd gun shrimp – can make quite a racket. This animal was discovered in 2017 and was named after the rock band Pink Floyd, thanks to its reddish-pink claw and the loud sound it can make.
Upon sensing approaching prey or a predator, the shrimp opens its larger claw, allowing water to enter a small compartment in the fold of the claw. When closed, the pressure pushes the water out at a speed of about 96 km/h. The bubbles that come out at this high acceleration generate a noise that can reach 210 decibels, louder than a rock concert. This power can stun and even kill their prey and enemies, as well as make males more attractive to females.
10. Snails have more teeth than you think
Many people may never think about it, but some do. So, just so you know, snails – and their “cousins” snails – have teeth, and the number can vary between 1,000 and 12,000 of them. However, this tooth is slightly different from our smile, it is located on the animal’s tongue – which is similar to ours – in rows of small teeth. This serrated tongue is called a radula, and the animal uses it to scrape off the soft parts of its food, which can be practically any decaying organic matter.
Knowing these facts, you can even think that these animals are from Mars, right? Do you know other interesting facts about animals? Leave your comment and let’s expand the list!