Page 5 - Animal Facts

Studies have now found that there is no such a thing as an 'alpha-wolf.' So what are the rules in a wolf pack?


Research studies have now busted the myth that wolves are dominated by an “Alpha Wolf.” Scientists studied wolves in their natural habitat and found that, contrary to popular thinking, wolf packs are organizedvery much like human families.

There is very little aggression and no fights for dominance among wolves. The entire pack depends on each other to survive in the wild and therefore aggressive behaviors toward each other would inhibit the pack's ability to survive and flourish.

Just like in human families, social hierarchies do exist, but they are not related to aggression like so commonly and incorrectly portrayed in popular culture. Senior Research Scientist and wolf biologist L. David Mech recently wrote, after his many years of study of wolves, we should "once and for all end the outmoded view of the wolf pack as an aggressive assortment of wolves consistently competing with each other to take over the pack."

In 1998 Mech wrote that wolves generally avoid humans because of the fear humans instilled by their cruel behavior toward these animals. Mech also noted that humans' upright posture is unlike wolves' natural prey, and similar to some postures of bears, which wolves usually avoid.

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African elephants can instinctively understand human gestures, even if they have never been trained to do so!


African elephants can understand human hand gestures without being trained to do so. In an experiment scientists used 11 elephants that were trained to understand basic human voice commands, but not gestures.

Two identical buckets were placed in front of each African elephant and a researcher would point to the bucket that contained a treat. The elephants were unable to see the contents of the buckets. The elephant, by means of indicating with its trunk, chose the bucket the researcher indicated and containing the treat 67.5% of the time. Human babies can do so 70% of the time.

This makes elephants the only non-human animals that can understand the meaning of gestures without any training. Elephants also have other human-like abilities like weeping for their dead and recognizing themselves in mirrors.

This research could help us understand why it is possible to train such huge, dangerous and generally unmanageable animals. If it can be proven that elephant trunk movements are also gestures and not just a means of sniffing the breeze, then we could be much closer to understanding how elephants communicate with each other in the wild.

One of the intriguing facts about elephants is that some of their vocalizations are infrasonic, and are therefore inaudible to humans.

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Elephants have been trained to use film equipment!


Of course not all elephants have been trained, but a few of them have. The reason for this is that BBC was looking to film a documentary on tigers, and get a better understanding of how they live and hunt. The only problem was that tigers are very secretive animals that live in such dense jungles that it’s hard for a human film crew to get close. The reason that elephants were chosen to be the new film crew is because tigers were familiar with the elephants being around, thus they were able to get closer to the tigers than humans ever could!

The elephants were trained to use three different types of cameras! The first camera was picked up by an elephant and put its trunk when they were moving around. The second was a camera that was placed in the elephants tusks, and was easier to carry. The third and final cameras disguised as scenery that were put in place by the elephants, and were turned on by motion sensors. The elephants were so good at operating cameras that they were able to gather enough footage that researchers were able to see baby tigers’ progress into adulthood!

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With lobsters being eaten across the world, why are they not endangered? The answer lies in the inefficiency of traps


One could argue that lobsters might have been an endangered species if lobster traps weren't so inefficient. Only 10 percent of lobsters coming across a trap will actually enter and only 6 percent of those do not escape.

Some lobsters that enter traps also fight off other lobsters to keep them from entering the trap. This is because it contains a food source and lobsters don't like sharing.

Lobster traps are cages that are rectangular in shape. They are made of vinyl-coated galvanized steel mesh or wood, with woven mesh entrances. These are then baited and lowered to the sea floor. The traps allow a lobsters entry, but make it difficult for the larger ones to turn around and leave again.

The traps are sometimes referred to as "pots" and have a buoy floating on the surface. Lobstermen check their traps between one and seven days after setting them. Most lobsters can easily escape the trap. By regulation traps must contain an escape hole or "vent", which allows juvenile lobsters and bycatch species to escape.

For the protection of known breeding females, lobsters caught carrying eggs must be notched on the tail flipper second from the right. Those females can not be kept or sold for as long as the mark in the tail is showing – usually about five years.

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The terrifying Komodo dragon was thought to be as fake as a unicorn until 1912


Unicorns, dragons, and centaurs all make up the the long, long list of mythical creatures that have no evidence of existing but are so ingrained in cultures that it's tough to believe they aren't real.

However, curious enough, there are creatures that were thought to be mythological, that actually ended up being real. Take for instance the Komodo dragon.

The Komodo dragon, or Komodo monitor, is one of the largest species of lizard that is found on various Indonesian islands. It grows to a maximum length of 10 feet and can weigh up to 150 pounds. This thing is more terrifying than a UFC fighter. Because of their size, they tend to dominate their ecosystem and are happy to hunt down and ambush their prey which includes birds, mammals, and invertebrates. They have been known to take out humans with ease.

They were first documented by Europeans in 1910, described as a "land crocodile." The rumors reached Dutch colonial administration member Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek who went looking for them in 1912. He collected a skin and photo that was published by the Zoological Museum, and thus the first proof that they existed.

The first two live specimens to arrive in Europe were shown off at the London Zoo when it opened in 1927.

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