Page 4 - Animal Facts

Manatees have fingernails! Here are 5 more amazing facts about the manatee

Yes, that's right. Manatees, also known as sea cows, really do have fingernails.

They are large aquatic mammals, and therefore have the same internal bone structure as other mammals, very similar to that of humans.

The eyes of manatees don't blink up-and-down like ours, though. They actually open and close in a radial motion, similar to that of a camera shutter!

A manatee tail is called a paddle, unlike the split fluke of a dolphin or whale. However, they use them to move in the same way, moving them up and down to locomote.

Manatees can also hear just like us. Although they don't have external ears like many other mammals, as aquatic animals, they don't need them. Instead, they have small pinholes on the side of their head that let in vibrations in the water that they then translate into sound.


Bald Eagle talons are huge! But the best thing might be that they're no longer an endangered species

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but for a long time we were in serious danger of wiping them out completely. As of 2007, they are now in the category "of least concern", but you won't believe just how close we came to never seeing another one.

In 1963, there were a low of only 413 breeding pairs of bald eagles—and even then, there was no guarantee that those breeding pairs would successfully have offspring. The problem lied in the pesticide DDT.

DDT was used in an incredibly widespread way following WWII. However, an unexpected side effect of the use of DDT was that it thinned the shells of birds of all kinds, eagles especially. So, when nesting mothers would sit on the their eggs, they would crush them—completely decimating the population.

Thankfully, the government banned the use of DDT in 1972, and by 2007, the population of eagles grew to almost 50,000 birds!


No one in Australia has died from a Spider bite since 1981!

Australia is very famous because of it's dangerous animals that can be found throughout the country.

They do have a lot of dangerous and poisonous animals; however most of them are easily avoided with a little common sense. Most do not live in cities, and types of animals vary depending on which part of Australia you go to.

Remember that Australia is a huge country; they have variations in climate and habitat. They also do get snow in many places each winter. Anyway, most of Australians manage to live there relatively incident-free.

For instance, no one has died from a Spider bite ever since 1981! Ever since anti-venoms were introduced, the fatality rate has diminished to practically zero.


Some awesome lists!

Romans thought Giraffes were hybrids between camels and leopards. This one ate everything he could reach!

Back in the days before widespread communication through the internet or even the printing press, people's understanding of animals that were not native to their area was spotty at best. The friendly giraffe was perhaps one of the most misunderstood animals of those times.

Ancient Greeks and Romans thought that the giraffe was the result of an "unnatural" paring between a camel and a leopard, going so far as to call it a "camelopardalis". That didn't stop them from collecting them during their forays into northern Africa.

In their native Africa, the giraffe was the subject of many folk tales and legends about how it got so tall. One tells the story of a giraffe with a regular sized neck eating too many magic herbs and growing to a dramatic height.

Later on in history, captive giraffes made quite a stir at many of the world's royal courts. The powerful Medicis in Florence once received one as a gift. Unfortunately, that giraffe died quickly in captivity when it caught it's neck in the beams of the horse stables it was kept in. By 1414, a giraffe had made it's way all the way to China, where it was revered as a form of Qilin, a Chinese good omen often referred to as "The Unicorn of China".


Yawning is contagious among humans, dogs and primates, but not tortoises. What makes tortoises different?

Yawning is very contagious in the human species. Some people will yawn just because they are reading about yawning! Every time you yawn and is observed by another person while you are doing it, 40-60% of the time that person will yawn too.

This is not only a human behavior. Dogs can ‘share’ yawns with each other and with humans, and so can primates. Yawning is a fixed action pattern, which means that it can not be stopped once it has started happening.

To discover whether yawning is an empathetic behavior, scientists had to test the theory using animals that live together socially, but don’t really have ‘feelings’ for other animals of their species. For this experiment, red-footed tortoises were ideal.

They trained one to yawn when it saw a red dot. This took six months to accomplish! They had other tortoises observe the trained tortoise to see if they respond to a yawn by also yawning. It did not matter how they approached the experiment, they got negative results. Tortoises really don’t care at all whether a fellow of their species yawns or not!

The results could mean that contagious social yawning requires a social sense or sense of empathy resulting from complex social interactions.



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