Animal Facts

The Honey Guide bird in Africa has a special call just for speaking with humans!

The Maasai people of Africa whistle and communicate with the Honey Guide bird. The bird has a special call that it only uses when communicating with humans. They help the Maasai find honeycomb. The bird’s call changes as the Maasai get closer and closer to the honeycomb.

So, why does the Honey Guide help the Maasai? The Maasai return the favor and give the bird some of the honeycomb. If they didn’t give back, the bird could lead them into harm’s way the next time.

Sloths love trees so much, they will often keep hanging from them long after they die!

It best describes your lazy friend, a sin from the bible, and the animal that makes Kristin Bell burst out in joyous tears: it's the sloth.

These little guys are cute, especially when they decide that hanging out—literally—is the best comfort in the world. Of course, they keep the chill lifestyle alive, even when they are dead.

When Sloths actually decide to move, it's got to be for a really good reason.

They have a quarter as much muscle tissue as other animals in the similar weight range which means their slow and lazy looking movements aren't because they want to stop and smell the roses—they merely can't move any faster.

A three-toed sloth can usually top out to about 13 feet per minute if it's in immediate danger, and that's considered booking it.

They do everything from the safe branches of trees, hanging from them easily with their curved claws. They eat, sleep and give birth, and will unfortunately even die in the trees, remaining there long after expiration.

I suppose that is exactly where they would want to be anyway, since it's the closest thing to a home they have.


German civil law allows breaking and entering when you're in pursuit of a bee swarm

There are laws for pretty much everything that you would ever need a law for. That holds true when it comes to bee keepers and their swarms.

Germany, at least, has some very specific laws on what to do with a swarm that flees its keep.

If a swarm flies away and they go to someone else's property, who now owns the bees? That depends on a few things.

Bees aren't considered completely domesticated, so, like most captures wild animals, if they get away they are once again considered wild and without ownership.

With bees, though, there is a bit of an exception. If you immediately, and without undue delay, pursue your swarm, you can still claim ownership of them. If they end up on someone else's property, you have the right to go onto the property and take your bees back.

There's yet another exception to this, though. If the bees decide to make a home out of an already inhabited hive on that land, then the owner of the property takes ownership of the migrant bees. This makes sense, as it would be nearly impossible to separate the two swarms after they have merged.

If two or more swarms fly away and merge, then the two owners split ownership of the new, combined swarm.

These are pretty specific laws that are probably not used very often, if ever, but it's good to be prepared, right?


Some awesome lists!

This real-life sea serpent is almost 60 feet long and weighs 600 pounds. What is it exactly?

This is the oarfish, the most likely source of sea serpent myths. Oarfish can grow up to 56 feet long and weigh 600 pounds. They live in all temperate to tropical oceans but are rarely seen, as they normally stay very deep in the water. They are thought to frequent depths of over 3,000 feet.

Even if you happen to come across one of these behemoths, you won't be in any real danger. On top of spending most of their lives in the ocean depths, they don't have any visible teeth. They eat mostly zooplankton and occasionally other small ocean creatures such as shrimp.

Encounters with oarfish are pretty rare. The first ever confirmed sighting at depth was in 2008. Most oarfish are seen dying near the surface or washed up on shore. The deepest sightings (between 450 and 500 feet below sea level) were part of a scientific project.


Hermit crabs form gangs to steal other hermit crabs' shells

There are 1100 species of hermit crab, most of which have an asymmetrical abdomen. They aren't born with the shells that protect their abdomen, though, hence the "hermit" in their names. Those are actually empty gastropod shells that they find.

From time to time, a hermit crab has to replace its shell with a larger one to fit its growing body. When a hermit crab is without a shell, it's pretty vulnerable, so they try to find a replacement as soon as possible. This isn't always easy, though.

Gastropod shells are a limited resource and hermit crabs often fight over them, sometimes leading to the death of a competitor. This only happens when the crabs are of similar size, of course.

Hermit crabs often "gang up" on a hermit crab with what they perceive to be a better shell, where they will actually pry its home (shell) away from it and then compete for it, and one will ultimately take it over.

Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, use vacancy chains to find new shells; when a new, bigger shell becomes available, hermit crabs gather around it and form a kind of queue from largest to smallest. When the largest crab moves into the new shell, the second-biggest crab moves into the newly vacated shell, thereby making its previous shell available to the third crab, and so on.



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