Page 4 - Animal Facts

Bummer and Lazarus were two stray dogs that had celebrity status in San Francisco in the 1860's and were immune to the city's laws on strays

In the 1860’s there was an overflow of dogs in San Francisco, and the only way a stray could survive was to prove his worth. Preferably by being a master rat catcher.

If he was good at that, he had a fighting chance.

Bummer was such a dog, and he was allowed to settle in behind the saloon of Frederick Martin. He still had to make his own way and begged for scraps where he could find any.

In 1861 he saved another dog from a fight. The dog was badly hurt, but Bummer encouraged him to eat, brought him some scraps and huddled next to him at night to keep him warm.

He recovered, and the city folk named him Lazarus. Bummer and Lazarus became inseparable.

Luckily Lazarus was also an exceptional rat killer and together they once killed 85 rats in 20 minutes!

They became a favorite of newspaper reporters and celebrities on the San Francisco streets. So much so that, when Lazarus was taken to a pound by a dog catcher, an angry mob of citizens demanded his immediate release!

The city supervisors declared the pair immune to the city’s laws on strays.

Unfortunately Lazarus was poisoned in 1863 and Bummer died of old age in November 1865.


After Balto's death in 1933 his remains were mounted by a taxidermist and he can be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

In 1925 the residents of Nome, Alaska, were being threatened by an outbreak of diphtheria—a highly contagious disease that could be potentially deadly.

The children were especially at risk, but the closest antitoxin was nearly a thousand miles away in Anchorage.

The severe weather conditions grounded the only available plane and the only way to get the serum to Nome was by way of sled dog teams. More than 20 mushers and 150 dogs participated in that race against time!

The conditions were hazardous and the temperatures plummeted to below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Musher Gunner Kaasen and dog team led by Balto did their run almost entirely in the dark, and Balto managed to stay the course during a complete white-out.

The final team and its sledder was asleep at the final stop where Kaasen was supposed to hand over the serum, so he made the decision to continue with Balto in the lead. When Kaasen arrived in Nome with the serum, he gave all the praise to his dog, Balto.

After Balto died 1933 his remains were mounted by a taxidermist and donated to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. There is also a statue of the canine hero in Central Park.


Some police stations in China use geese instead of guard dogs to keep watch at night. Geese are very territorial and have better vision than humans.

Which guard dog provides the best protection? Maybe a Rottweiler, or perhaps a Doberman. Bullmastiffs are another one that would come to mind.

But if you asked police in rural parts of China's Xinjiang Province, they would tell you that the best guard dog isn’t a dog at all!

The police in these areas are using geese instead.

Yep, geese.

Geese are known for being very territorial and some defend their territory pretty aggressively. They also have very sensitive hearing and much better eyesight than humans. On top of all of that, they are loud when someone invades their territory.

So have these guard “dogs” been tested? Yes! Recently a man tried to break into a police station that used geese to recover his confiscated motorbike. The geese went crazy and woke up the sleeping officers.

Whether they would be good at defending by themselves doesn’t seem to be known yet, though.


Some awesome lists!

Dolphins have the next best memory to humans! These guys remember their pals from 20 years ago!

There's a saying that goes “an elephant never forgets,” however we've been wrong all this time.

Turns out the bottlenose dolphin has an incredibly impressive memory. In fact, they have the longest memory of any non-human animal out there.

This cognitive ability and sophistication puts them in line with that of humans, chimpanzees and the aforementioned elephants.

They are said to be able to remember the whistle of a companion even after 20 years of being separated. I can barely remember what I had for lunch!

Tests were done using 53 different bottlenose dolphins, each with records about who they lived with at the science facility. They found that each dolphin develops a sort of whistle or call that is unique and belongs solely to them, almost like a name.

When recordings were played of their old room mate (tank mate?), the dolphins showed sign of recognition as opposed to recordings of stranger dolphin calls, even though they had been separated for more than 20 years.


There is a specific species of fish that can actually climb waterfalls with their mouths.

The Nopili Rock-climbing Goby is only an inch long, but often naturally completes a feat equal to a human running a marathon. That would be crawling up a 100-foot waterfall.

How they did this was unknown for a long time, but now we know they use their mouths!

Not only does it climb with the same thing it eats algae with, but it does it in the same way!

The sucking motion it uses to eat the algae is the same suction that it uses to get up those steep rock walls, according to Richard Blob, an evolutionary biologists at Clemson University.

This is an example of a known evolutionary phenomenon known as exaptation, in which a species will "take a structure or behavior and co-opt to do something totally different."

The classic example of this is bird feathers, says Blob. Feathers “may have evolved as an insulation structure before they were co-opted, or exapted, with some evolutionary changes for use in flight."

What the original use for the sucking of the Nopili Rock-climbing Goby is still unknown. Whether it was for the algae or for rock-climbing, the fish has found the perfect use of its own skills.



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