Page 10 - Animal Facts

Think eating a whole cow is a lot? Think of how much energy a cow eats—enough to shoot itself into outerspace!


The amount of energy from grass that a cow needs to eat to grow from a calf to a full grown animal is estimated to be 14 million calories! That’s 32 times the total calories we can actually get from eating a whole cow.

With this estimation of the energy a cow eats, you could launch a cow out of a cannon at 14 km/s. When you take into account that Earth’s escape velocity is 11.2 km/s, you could launch the cow into outer space with the energy it consumes during its adolescence.

The cow would likely be shredded to bits by the force, but let’s not start questioning why we are launching a cow in the first place. The article explains all the basis for the estimate, and goes further to explain how cow manure is a viable source of energy, with 4,800 kcal/kg released through combustion, it’s comparable to coal—without all of the pressure, heat and millions of years required!

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Koko, the sign language speaking gorilla, once held a Q&A session over instant messaging!


Koko the Gorilla, who was adopted by the San Diego Zoo, can use over 1000 hand signals and understand over 2000 english words!

In 1998, Koko and Penny, the director of research at the zoo, spoke over AOL instant messenger and by phone to around 20,000 people. Penny would help tranlate what Koko signed and people logged in would ask questions or phone and directly ask Koko the question, and she would respond as best as she could.

The whole chat sequence was typed and people asked about how many friends Koko has (2 dogs, a cat and 2 other gorillas), how Koko refers to herself as "Fine Animal Person Gorilla" and about how she wants to start a family when she can. The purpose of this was to draw attention to the declining population of Gorillas and Primates due to urbanization and deforestation. People seem to love Koko, even though she calls humans "nipples".

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Do You Know Where Beach Sand Comes From? Hint: It's Mostly Fish Poop.


Parrotfish have helped to create the islands and the beaches in the Caribbean. The green humphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) in particular, plays a very important role in the reef biome due to their unique diet.

They have continuously growing teeth that grind up coral and coralline algae. After they have eaten and digested the edible portions, they excrete it as sand. One single parrotfish can excrete up to 200lb of sand and they have helped to create small islands and the beautiful, sandy beaches of the Caribbean.

Their many teeth are tightly packed on the outside surface of their jaw bone, resembling the beak of a parrot. They use their unique beaks to eat algae off of coral and rocks, contributing to a process known as bio-erosion, and this also helps to prevent algae from chocking the coral reefs.

The main predator of parrotfish are the lemon shark and moray eel. Parrotfish have to be on a constant lookout for these creatures while feeding. To protect themselves while sleeping, they extrude mucus from their mouths and cover their bodies with a cocoon of it to hide their scent from predators.

It is important that parrotfish are protected if the Caribbean coral reefs are to be saved from being overgrown by seaweed. Unfortunately, these brightly colored fish can not be kept in marine aquaria because their feeding habit renders them unsuitable for such an environment.

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Some awesome lists!

This species of moth feeds on elephant tears. Some moths even feed on human tears!


Mabra Elephantophila is a species of moth that astonished entomologists when it was discovered. Why? Because this moth feeds on elephant tears!

It is now believed that these moths find elephant tears quite a nutritious meal, because the animal’s tears are not only made up of water and salt, but also contain trace levels of protein. Because it is so tiny, this shy and delicate little moth can drink it's fill from the eye of the elephant without the large animal even noticing.

Some other moths feed on tears as well. They all keep away from the tears of carnivores and prefer the tears of large hoofed animals. Some occasionally even drink the tears of humans. Each species has a unique way of getting to their favourite snack.

Some moths insert their proboscis under the eyelid of a sleeping host and then suck up the liquid. Others use the same tubular feeding structure to irritate the eye into producing tears, after which they can drink it up.

But the most unfortunate moth species, the Poncetia, has such a short proboscis that it has to drink while clinging to the eyeball itself—proving that size does matter. For this little under-endowed creature, timing is of the essence because its life could literally be ended in the blink of an eye.

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Goldfish have a memory span of several months and can even be trained to do tricks!


Have you ever heard it said that goldfish have a memory-span of only three seconds? That could not be further from the truth!

Goldfish have both associative learning abilities and social learning skills. They can distinguish between individual humans and will sometimes hide from strangers.

When they get used to seeing the same human on a daily basis, they stop considering that person as a threat and will even swim towards him/her, or swim to the surface mouthing for food.

Over time, goldfish will associate their owner with food and will start ‘begging’ whenever their owner comes near the tank. After several weeks or months, it will become possible to hand feed your fish without it being startled.

Besides the fact that they have a memory-span of at least three months, they can also distinguish between different shapes and sounds. They can also distinguish between four different colors: Red, green, blue and ultraviolet. Through the use of positive reinforcement, goldfish can be trained to recognize light signals of different colors, and can even be trained to do tricks! Positive reinforcement means that if you give your goldfish a treat after doing a trick, it is more likely that it would want to repeat that behavior.

The duration of the short term memory in humans, thought, is believed to be only a few seconds...

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