Page 5 - Animal Facts

Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other's company

Guinea pigs are very social animals. Switzerland has recognized this and taken steps to make sure that all guinea pigs have a chance to be happy.

They did this by passing a law that makes it illegal to have only one guinea pig.

This presents a problem, though. It’s pretty unlikely that two guinea pigs die at the same time, so once the first passes, the owner would be forced to buy another one or to break the law.

If they buy a new one, it would usually be younger and thus an endless cycle of guinea pigs would start. Some of these people only wanted one in the first place!

Some people see problems and other see opportunities. Priska Küng has about 80 guinea pigs which she rents out to hold owners over. She does it more as a hobby than a business, however, as she loses money on it. She is a teacher by trade.

Küng is president of IG Meerschweinchen, the umbrella organization of Switzerland's three guinea pig breeding associations. She’s had guinea pigs all her life and knows all about them and how to treat and take care of them.

"It's important that none of the rental guinea pigs just keep getting passed on," says Küng. "If an animal has been hired out once, it either stays with me for the rest of its life or it moves somewhere else for good."


When you pet a cat and it lifts its behind, it is inviting you to sniff its anal glands!

Cats have over 30 different sounds to relay their feelings. Cats are sociable and mix with other cats constantly. They don’t live in packs like dogs do. They use very subtle and complex body language and speak with each other. 

There are at least 25 different visual signals used in 16 different combinations used by cats to intercommunicate. The main goal when they use body language is to avoid or end physical confrontation. The body language is broken down into parts- the head, the body, and the tail. 

They must be seen as a whole, though, to understand what the cat is trying to communicate. The eyes, mouth, and ears must also be paid close attention to. Most cat owners adapt and learn some of what their cat is trying to communicate through body language. 

No one understands it all, though. Interestingly, when a cat lifts its behind after you pet it, it is inviting you to sniff its anal glands. It is a way of being friendly and inviting you to be close with them and get to know them. 


Magpies hold funerals for their dead.

Dr. Bekoff, a professor at the University of Colorado, studied magpies and managed to elaborate on one very strange phenomenon.

Bekoff said the funeral-like rituals the magpies hold prove that the birds normally seen as aggressive have a compassionate side!

Magpies aren't unique in this behavior in the animal kingdom. Gorillas, elephants, and dolphins have all been noted to mourn the dead.
What magpies typically do when they discover a corpse is first peck at it to make sure it is dead. Then they fly off to find grass and lay it by the corpse.
After that, the magpies will stand by the dead one for a few moments before flying off. It's pretty bizarre, but it shows that, at the very least, magpies do react to the deaths of others.
Some awesome lists!

The Venus flytrap is only found natively within a 60 mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Venus flytraps are the man-eating plants we all know and love from horror movies and perhaps nightmares.

They don’t actually eat humans, though. They feed on beetles, spiders and other crawling arthropods. Perhaps more interesting than their diet, however, is their habitat.

The Venus flytrap doesn’t grow many places naturally. In fact, it’s found natively only in North and South Carolina in the United States, specifically within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina!

They have been found naturally in northern Florida as well.

This doesn’t mean those are the only places the plant will grow. It’s hard to grow a Venus flytrap, but not that hard. It has been successfully transplanted and grown in many locales around the world. There is now an introduced population in western Washington State.

Venus flytraps are a very popular as cultivated plants, but have a reputation for being difficult to grow. It’s not surprising that people want a plant that actually eats insects! This is such a fascination that many growers remove the plants flowering stem early, as flowering consumes some of the plant's energy, and reduces the rate of trap production.


Elephants can distinguish different human languages and know which ones belong to people with a history of confrontation with elephants

Elephants are known as one of the more intelligent animals out there. The phrase “memory like an elephant” didn’t start from nowhere, after all.

We already knew that they could distinguish between different groups of people by their clothes and smells, but a recent study has shown that they can actually do this with sound too.

The researchers took recordings of two tribes in Africa; one who hunted elephants and one who didn’t. When they played these recordings to 47 elephant families, the results suggested that the elephants reacted more defensively to the hostile tribe.

Not only that, but the elephants knew that men were more dangerous than women. The voices of woman and young boys from the peaceful tribe made the elephants react even less than the man from that tribe.

Most intriguingly, the researchers noted that elephant families led by matriarchs more than 42 years old never retreated when they heard the voices of boys, but those led by younger matriarchs retreated roughly 40% of the time. This means that it’s likely that elephants learn to better distinguish threats as they age.



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