The animal kingdom is full of fascinating phenomena. From their dietary habits to their unique physical characteristics and behaviors, wild animals are endlessly interesting. Do you want to discover more about the creatures that share our planet? Do you want to learn more about all the ways that these animals are like us – and all the ways in which they are unique? Then our list of seven facts about animals is sure to fascinate you! We hope that it also inspires you to continue learning about the animals that are all around us.
1. Orangutans Can Eat With Their Feet.
Orangutans have four fingers and a thumb, just like humans. They even have fingernails! However, unlike us, they have equally dexterous feet that are designed for gripping and climbing. When orangutans eat or gather food, they often use both their hands and their feet to do so! But their dexterous hands and feet aren't just helpful for eating – they also come in handy when travelling through the trees.
2. Rhinos’ Horns Are Made From the Same Stuff as Our Fingernails.
Rhino horns are made up of keratin, which is the same protein that forms the basis of human hair and fingernails. And like our fingernails and hair, rhinos' horns grow continuously throughout their lifetime. Some rhino species have only one horn, like the Javan, while others have two. The white rhino’s horn can grow by as much as 7 cm a year. The current record for the longest rhino horn is 150 cm long.
3. Dolphins Live in Different Environments and Are Found All Over the World.
There are 36 species of marine dolphins, but they don’t only live in the ocean. Dolphins are represented in nearly all aquatic environments, including oceans, coastal waters, and even in freshwater. The Amazon River is home to four different species of river dolphin – these dolphins are not found anywhere else on Earth! Different dolphins can be found in waters ranging from less than 0°C to more than 30°C. The most northerly pod of bottlenose dolphins lives near Scotland.
4. You Can Tell the Difference Between Jaguars and Leopards by Their Spots.
Jaguars are often mistaken for leopards. Want to know how you can tell the difference? Look at their spots. Technically, these are called rosettes (circular markings). Jaguars have black dots in the middle of their rosettes. Leopards do not. In addition, jaguars have larger, more rounded heads and shorter legs than leopards do, which is another way to tell the two species apart.
5. Black Panthers Don’t Really Exist.
While there are big black cats, black panthers don’t really exist, because they aren’t actually a species. The term panther actually refers to a genus called Panthera, which is based on skull features. It includes four species: jaguars, leopards, lions, and tigers. In some cases, jaguars and leopards can be melanistic – a genetic mutation that causes them to appear black. Both melanistic jaguars and melanistic leopards are often referred to as “black panthers,” but this is actually a misnomer, since black panthers are not, in fact, a species. It’s thought that melanism only occurs about 5% of the time in the species that fall under the Panthera classification, so it’s a rare trait.
6. Pandas Spend Most of Their Day Eating.
Pandas spend 10 to 16 hours per day eating. Their diet consists mainly of bamboo. They need at least 2 different species of bamboo in their dietary range to avoid starvation. While pandas are 99% vegetarian, they are able to digest meat. The remaining 1% of their diet is made up of eggs, small animals, and carrion. In addition to meat and bamboo, pandas also forage in farmland for pumpkins, kidney beans, wheat, and domestic pig food.
7. Lions Hunt Very Strategically.
Lions usually hunt at night because their eyes have adapted to the dark. This gives them a huge advantage over their prey. They also hunt during storms, because the noise and wind make it difficult for their prey to see or hear them. When hunting, lionesses play specific roles – “wing” lionesses will chase the prey towards the “center” lionesses for capture.
Want to learn more fascinating facts about animals? Check out the video below!
Want to learn more science facts about animals? Check out our article all about dogs!