Every animal is unique, and that’s never clearer than when you look at what sets them apart. The way they live is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
The world is full of animals. Big, small, carnivorous, herbivorous, aquatic, land-dwelling… if you can imagine it, there’s a good chance it exists.
Earth is predicted to be home to as many as 8.7 million species, with a quarter of these believed to be animals. That’s a mind-blowing number, and it’s likely we haven’t even found all of them yet. After all, there are parts of the world that are too dangerous to explore, such as the deepest depths of the ocean. Who knows what might be living down there.
With so many animals inhabiting the planet, it’s no surprise that they all have unique differences that set them apart. From where things are located on their body to how they behave in the wild, each species has something that makes them stand out from the crowd. Some of them might seem bizarre or difficult to live with, but to these animals, they’re perfectly normal. They don’t know any life other than this one, so they’ve no reason to suspect that their differences are out of the ordinary.
Koalas have human-like fingerprints
If you’ve ever looked at koalas and considered them to be innocent creatures, you might want to think again. While these animals may look cute and cuddly, they’re actually just trying to lure you into a false sense of security.
Once they’ve got you exactly where they want you, that’s when they strike. You see, koalas have very similar fingerprints to humans. The differences are so minor that they’ve actually confused cops at a crime scene before. Of course, that’s how these animals get away with their evil plans. After all, who would expect an innocent koala of being guilty?
Squirrels will look after babies that aren't their own
It’s heartbreaking hearing about how some animals treat their children. As humans, we’re used to the concept of parents doing everything they can to care for their kids. However, there are species out there which will abandon their young at the first sign of trouble, and they won’t have any regrets about it.
Thankfully, squirrels don’t seem to be like that. In fact, the animals are apparently so motherly that they’ll even adopt any babies that have been abandoned. Animals lose their lives all the time in the wild, so it’s nice to know that squirrels have each other’s backs.
Snails can sleep up to three years!
Some people say that sleep is for the weak. However, we’d disagree. We’re never grumpier than when our alarm goes off in the morning and brings another good dream to an abrupt end. That’s why we’re of envious of snails.
Not only do these animals get to avoid rude wake-up calls like this, but they also get to sleep for a lot longer too. Apparently, these creatures can stay snoozing for three years. That’s a ridiculous amount of time for any animal, especially one which is often at risk from predators. Still, we wouldn’t mind getting to hibernate for that long.
Rhinos' horns are made from the same material as hair
The horn of a rhinoceros is something that is highly valued around the world. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for the animals who consequently get hunted for the precious material. The fact that these creatures are moving towards extinction is devastating, especially because there’s no undoing their loss once they’re gone.
What is it about these horns that make it worth going to such extreme lengths? One thing you might not know about them is that they’re actually made out of keratin, which is what your hair and nails are made from. You’d probably expect a horn to be formed of something sturdier, but that’s not the case for the rhinoceros.
Kangaroos can’t fart
Living in America, you don’t typically come into contact with kangaroos. Unless you’ve gone on a vacation Down Under, you may never have seen one of these animals up close before. While that means you’ve never been at risk from getting kicked by the creature, it also means you haven’t been able to see how adorable they can be.
Kangaroos mostly live in harmony with humans, and they even share some similarities with us. However, one thing we don’t have in common with them is the ability to pass wind. Apparently, these animals are completely incapable of passing gas like the rest of us.
Bats like to turn left
Unless you’ve spent a lot of time in caves or exploring the woods at night, you may not have seen many bats before. These creatures are mostly nocturnal, so you only tend to see them when you’re somewhere dark.
It’s for that reason that you might not be too familiar with them, and why a unique trait of theirs may have escaped your attention. It seems that a lot of the time, these creatures will favor turning left whenever they leave a cave. Although this doesn’t happen all the time, the animals appear to have developed this strange preference over time.
Ostriches' brains are smaller than their eyes
No-one here is accusing ostriches of being dumb. After all, we wouldn’t want to face the wrath of those birds when they can run at speeds of 45 miles per hour. However, there’s no denying that these animals have small brains.
They’re so minuscule that an ostrich’s eye is actually bigger by comparison, although that might be the cause of their smaller size. Given that the bird’s eyes are the size of billiard balls, there’s very little space in their skull for their brain to go. A sacrifice had to be made somewhere, and obviously, their brains drew the short straw.
Shrimps' hearts are in their heads
Have you ever looked at shrimps and considered them to be curious animals? With their typically translucent shells and abundance of legs, they certainly don’t blend in easily. However, that’s not what’s most intriguing about these water-dwellers.
No, it’s the fact that the heart of this animal can be found in its head. We’re so used to that organ being located in the chest that we can’t imagine it being anywhere else. Imagine if you had your heart and brain both vying for space up there. Your skull wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure, so it’d be headaches all around.
Elephants can’t jump
An elephant never forgets. That’s how the old saying goes, and it’s not entirely wrong. These animals rely on their herd to keep them safe, so it’s essential for them to remember who they consider their family.
However, forgetting things isn’t the only thing that elephants can’t do. It seems that these mammals are also incapable of jumping. That might not come as a huge shock, given that they weigh so much. What is surprising, though, is that they’re the only animals in the world who can’t jump. While others are light on their feet, elephants always stay firmly on the ground.
You can easily hypnotize a frog
If you have a pond in your backyard, you may be accustomed to seeing frogs from time to time. These animals favor the water because they provide somewhere for the amphibians to lay their eggs and kick off a new lifecycle.
What you may not know about these creatures, however, is that they’re easy to hypnotize. All you need is to get a frog on its back and gently stroke its stomach. This is the kind of thing that needs to be seen to be believed, although getting the animal to flip over in the first place may prove a challenge.
3% of the ice in the Antarctic is penguin urine
Not many people in the world will ever get to see the Antarctic, especially in its current condition. The climate is far too cold for people to take up residence there, which is why animals like the penguin thrive here.
The birds are largely undisturbed down in the Antarctic because they’ve evolved to deal with the harsh weather. However, it seems they’ve gotten a little too comfortable in their chilly home. That’s why around 3% of the ice in the region is made up of their urine. The penguins just go where they please, and it doesn’t take long to freeze over.
Giraffes don't have vocal cords
Do you know what kind of sound a giraffe makes? As children, we’re taught what noises various animals make, from sheep and cows to tigers and lions. However, the giraffe is one mammal that we never really talk about when it comes to sounds.
Well, that’s probably because they don’t have any vocal cords. How can a giraffe be known for sounding a certain way if it has no way to produce noise? The lack of vocal cords may seem surprising but think about the last time you heard anything come out of a giraffe’s mouth. Are you drawing a blank?
Cows can produce 200,000 glasses of milk in their lifetime
When people think about cows, milk is probably one of the first things that come to mind. The animals are responsible for producing the majority of the milk that’s consumed around the world. While it’s possible to get the drink from other mammals and even plants, cows still have the biggest responsibility when it comes to this white gold.
Perhaps that’s why the animals are able to produce a whopping 200,000 glasses of the stuff throughout their lifetime. That’s a lot of milk coming out of one creature, and there are approximately 1.5 billion of them around the world.
Around half of all orangutans have fractured bones
From what we’ve seen of monkeys, these animals are experts at navigating forests. They can fling themselves from one branch to the next with great ease, making them a force to be reckoned with when they’re in the treetops.
However, despite this reputation, it seems that not all monkeys share the same skill set. While most of them may be able to handle themselves in the trees, orangutans apparently find it a struggle. That’s why around half of them have fractured bones. It appears that they fall from the treetops so frequently that they’re constantly injuring themselves. That must be painful!
Turtles breathe through their backsides
Have you ever stopped and considered how a turtle breathes? You’d probably just assume that they do it through their mouths like most animals. After all, that’s what they’re there for, right? Well, that and eating.
However, when it comes to some species of turtle, it’s not the front end that’s responsible for the breathing. No, this essential process is done through their back end. That’s not where we’d personally choose to breathe through, but every animal is different. In the case of these species, their backsides are there to serve a variety of purposes, from urinating and laying eggs to breathing too.
Squirrels plants thousands of new trees every year
Typically, forgetting things isn’t something to be proud of. However, in the case of squirrels, it’s actually hugely beneficial to the environment. That’s because these animals have a habit of planting trees by misplacing acorns.
They put these nuts in the ground intending to retrieve them later, but end up forgetting where they left them. As a result, an oak tree begins to form and flourish, all because of a silly mistake. This happens so frequently that squirrels are apparently responsible for planting thousands of new trees every year. Well, no-one can accuse these creatures of not giving back to nature.
Otters hold hands so they don't drift away from each other
If there’s one thing that we love about animals, it’s when they’re ridiculously cute. There are so many adorable creatures out there who know how to hit us right in the feels, although none manage it quite as effectively as sea otters.
These marine mammals hold hands with each other in their sleep to stop themselves drifting away from their loved ones. That’s sweet on so many levels, and it just assures us that these animals understand relationship goals better than anyone else. No matter what we do, our love lives will never compare to that of a sea otter’s!
Male puppies let the females win
The adorability scale just keeps rising, and this time its puppies we have to thank for that. As if these little dogs weren’t already extremely cute, their behavior when they're young have us falling in love with them all over again.
Apparently, when male and female puppies play together, the former tend to let the latter win. It doesn’t matter if the males are strong and capable of succeeding; they still allow their female companions to claim the victory. Who knew that dogs were so chivalrous? It’s heartwarming to see this kind of generous behavior in other parts of the animal kingdom.
Penguins propose with pebbles
We’re very familiar with the idea of proposing, but it’s not something that we expect other animals to do. After all, it’s very much a social construct that we’ve designed ourselves to express how we feel about someone.
However, it seems that other animals do indeed have forms of proposing, particularly Gentoo penguins. When these animals want to show their devotion to their partner, they offer them a pebble. If that’s not one of the most wholesome things you’ve ever heard, we don’t know what is. It’s also a lot cheaper than spending a chunk of your salary on an engagement ring.
Butterflies eat through their feet
Anyone who’s ever spent a lot of time around flowers will probably have seen their fair share of butterflies. These insects are usually a delight to see, mainly because their wings are decorated with such pretty patterns.
However, have you ever thought about what a butterfly’s doing when it lands on a flower? It might appear just to be sitting there minding its own business, but it’s most likely eating. How does it do that? Surprisingly, these animals take in food through their feet, of which they have six. With so many feet, they must fill themselves up pretty quickly.
Turritopsis Nutricula Jellyfish are immortal
Many people consider jellyfish as animals to be feared. They might look pretty in the water, but some of them are definitely not there to be your friend. Their stings can be fatal, making their presence in the ocean a considerable concern.
Thankfully, most jellyfish won’t bring your life to an untimely end, although their stings can still be painful. With that in mind, it’s probably not a great thing that there’s a species of jellyfish which is considered to be immortal. The Turritopsis Nutricula is believed to live forever, and it's the only known species that is capable of this.
Chicks talk before they hatch
Could you imagine being able to communicate with other people before you’ve even been born? It’s a strange concept, but it’s something that certain species are actually capable of doing. Chickens are one such animal, with the babies able to interact with both their mother and siblings before they’ve hatched.
They do this through a series of noises which apparently make sense to their families. We’re not sure what these chicks say to each other, but the fact they can communicate like this is still intriguing. Wouldn’t it be wild if humans suddenly started to follow suit and did this too?
Goats have accents
As people, there’s so much that sets us apart. From basic things like gender and hair color to your many different hobbies and interests, we’re all different. The place you grow up can contribute to this, affecting things like what foods you enjoy and the traditions you choose to follow.
One of the biggest ways it impacts you is how you talk. Most regions around the world have an accent which distinguishes where a person is from. As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones who have this. Apparently, scientific studies have found that goats also communicate through accents.
Dolphins name each other
The idea of another animal having an accent seems bizarre, mainly because it’s such a human concept. However, that’s not the only strange thing we appear to share with other residents of the animal kingdom.
Apparently, dolphins call each other names just like we do. Sure, those names might be a series of clicks and whistles, but that doesn’t change that they have ways of identifying one another. It makes you wonder what else these aquatic mammals say to each other without us knowing. Perhaps they like to gossip and talk about sports just like many humans out there do.
Seahorses mate for life
When it comes to love, animals differ in their preferences. Some species choose to be monogamous and spend their lives with one partner. Others go around mating with whoever they can to help keep the bloodline going. Obviously, humans are very complex creatures and vary in their preferences, depending on who they are.
It’s the complete opposite of species like seahorses which are very certain about their love lives. These animals mate for life, and they refuse to give up their relationship for anyone. They’re so devoted to their other half that they connect their tails whenever they go somewhere.
Crows love pranks
Crows are often viewed as a species to be wary of, mainly because of their portrayal in fiction. Writers and filmmakers typically use them as a way to establish an unsettling atmosphere in their work, and put people on edge.
However, while their black feathers and imposing size may make them look menacing, they’re much more harmless than they seem. In fact, crows are actually quite playful birds. That’s according to Candace Savage, who noticed that these animals regularly play pranks on each other. Evidently, they still have a sense of humor, even if people believe them to be terrifying creatures.
Oysters can change gender
Most people’s experiences with oysters are limited to what they see when they eat them. These mollusks are considered a delicacy in places, and so they’re consumed by the bucketload. Other people try to search for them underwater in the hope of extracting the pearls that some of them carry.
However, that’s not what’s really intriguing about these animals. No, it’s the way they reproduce that has us lost for words. Apparently, oysters can easily change their gender, allowing them to adapt to whatever is most needed at that moment in time. Surrounded by boys? No worries, just become a girl!
Humans love to laugh. It’s natural to want to be happy, and chuckling at something helps make that happen. However, while we might be big fans of comedy, we’re not the only species that’s capable of laughing.
Rats are also able to do this, although it takes more than a good comedy routine to get these creatures going. No, if you want to hear their laughter, you have to tickle them in the right spot. You might not love the idea of getting up close and personal with these creatures, but it’s worth it just to hear them giggling away.
Monkeys like to make snowballs
They say that humans evolved from monkeys, and when we look at some of their behaviors, that makes a lot of sense. For instance, in Japan, the macaque species have been known to use vending machines like a normal person.
They use coins and everything, just so they can get themselves a snack. That sounds like the kind of civilized behavior we’d expect from a person, so could these monkeys be slowly evolving into us? That’s not all this species does either. Apparently, they also make snowballs for fun, because why not? Maybe we should call them over for a snowball fight sometime.
Sloths eat really, really slowly
Sloths have a reputation for being slow. If you’ve ever watched one try to climb a tree, you’ll realize that being hasty is something they simply don’t understand. Even things like eating takes them a long time, with sloths renowned for chewing incredibly slowly.
With that in mind, it makes sense that the animals also spend quite a while trying to digest their food too. It takes as much as two weeks to travel through their bodies, a remarkably long time given what we’re accustomed to. We’d hate to eat something dodgy and have to live with it for a fortnight.
Frogs don’t vomit
Who knew there were so many interesting facts about frogs? As well as apparently being susceptible to hypnotism, the creatures are also unable to vomit. Try as they might, these animals just can’t throw up like humans can.
What makes it worse is that if they do manage to do it, they end up vomiting more than they intended. It seems that it’s all or nothing for frogs because they consequently lose their stomachs in the process of throwing up. That’s why they only ever do it in dire situations because the repercussions aren’t something they want to deal with.
Dogs' noses are like fingerprints
Fingerprints are an excellent way for people to be identified if other means prove to be unsuccessful. That’s because every human has their own unique fingerprint which cannot be easily replicated.
Funnily enough, we’re not the only species with this form of identification, although other animals do things a little differently. Take dogs, for instance. While they might not have fingers, they do have noses, and the etchings on these are just as unique. All dogs can potentially be identified this way, although you might need to be an expert to work out who is who on a nose alone.
Puffins build homes in pairs
Much like seahorses, puffins are another animal that mates for life. Once they’ve found the bird they want to be with, nothing can sway them from their true love. It’s very adorable and explains why you often see the animals in pairs rather than by themselves.
When a puffin finds their other half, they make an effort to start building a new life together. This includes setting up a home which they typically do on the sides of cliffs. A lot of effort goes into making these creations, with the puffins even establishing a separate space to act as their restroom.
Slugs have four noses
If you’ve ever looked at a snail and slug, you’ve probably noticed that the two share a lot of similarities. The only real difference between the two gastropods is that one has a shell on its back, providing a home of sorts to the animal.
Without that extra form of protection, though, a snail is basically just another slug. That means it’s highly likely that both gastropods can sleep for years at a time, and also that they have four noses. Yes, slugs have multiple noses on their body, meaning their sense of smell must be some next level stuff.
Cows make more milk when listening to the right music
We already know that cows are capable of producing an immense amount of milk during their lifetimes. However, did you know that it’s actually possible to increase this number through the right music?
It might seem strange to put some tunes on for the cows, but if you play the right songs, it can actually relax the animals and help them produce more milk. Apparently, they enjoy anything that’s considered soothing because it puts them in the right state of mind. However, if you want to guarantee an increase in milk production, then R.E.M’s Everybody Hurts is essential.