You don’t have to be a dog fancier or a cat-lover to find it interesting to learn about our four-legged friends. The animal kingdom is full of secrets that can surprise and astound you. Man’s fascination with the animal kingdom has been the inspiration for legends and literature in almost every culture in the world.
It has inspired books, movies and cash casino games - check out our Fish Catch, Scuba Fishing, Merkat Misfits, Panda's Gold, Tiger Treasures, Lucky Tiger, IC Wins, Spring Wilds, Frog Fortunes, Wild Hog Luau - you get it, the list goes on and on.
Even with all this information, we bet that there are still plenty of facts about the animal kingdom that you don’t know. Some of the most interesting include:
Some Reptiles Survive Hibernation By Breathing From Their Behinds
Most people are aware that many animals and reptiles get through the winter by hibernating but it’s not widely known that some cold-blooded animals, notably turtles, frogs, salamanders and sea snakes, slow down their circulatory and respiratory systems by diffusing oxygen in and carbon dioxide out (breathing) through their tushies.
Oxygen needs are low when their metabolism is slowed due to hibernation. They meet those needs through cutaneous respiration as the water runs over them which gives them enough oxygen to survive until the spring.
Eating Upside Down
A flamingo can’t eat unless its head is upside down. Flamingos use their beaks in an upside-down manner and over the years, their beak has evolved to reflect this. If you look at a flamingo’s beak you’ll see that the top of the beak functions as the bottom beak of most birds' works.
The top jaw moves, something that is unusual in the animal kingdom. By the way, fun fact, baby flamingos are born grey and get their color later in life as they absorb the color from the algae, shrimp and crustaceans that they eat.
Bees Share Secrets
A bee that has found some delicious pollen will bring her hive mates to the tasty morsels by communicating with them through movement and odor. Bees communicate with their colony to locate the most flavorsome food sources with a waggle dance.
The dance sends a message about the direction, distance and quality of the nectar-rich flower patch to which she wants to lure her fellows. When the bee finds a nectar source that is rich and bountiful, she shakes herself to bring more drones to forage.
Butterflies Taste With Their Feet
When butterflies alight on flowers, they aren’t simply admiring the flowers’ beauty or brilliant colors. They are actually tasting the flowers because their taste buds are located on their feet. Butterflies have some taste buds on their antennae and some on their proboscis but most of their tasting is done with their feet.
This, by the way, is true of almost all of the 20,000 butterfly species. The taste buds aren’t meant for the butterfly to eat yummy food but to locate the right plants and the key nutrients that it needs to survive.
Penguin Fathers Step Up
After an Emperor Penguin pair mate, the female lays her egg which she transfers to the top of her mate’s feet. The male incubates the egg, standing still through snowstorms and icy weather while the female heads to the sea to feed.
When the female returns after several weeks, generally right before the egg is ready to hatch, she relieves her mate and he then heads into the ocean to eat. The female feeds the hatchling during its first weeks by regurgitating the food that she ate while she was off feeding. After that, the male and the female switch back and forth, one caring for the baby while the second hunts and then switching off for the 2nd to care for the baby while the first goes hunting.
Penguin pairs often remain monogamous, mating exclusively for life, but not always.
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Sea Otters Hold Hands
Sea otters sleep in groups in the sea but they protect themselves and each other by holding hands while they sleep. This is in addition to their practice of entangling themselves in giant seaweed or forests of kelp which help to anchor them.
Their groups generally consist of two monogamous partners and their kits – their babies. The otter family does everything together, including traveling, hunting and playing. Otters store extra food in a pocket of skin under their armpits.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been entertaining your cat as much as you think that you should. Cats, on average, spend 70% of their lives sleeping. When they do walk up and start moving around, you might be interested to note that they walk like giraffes and camels with both right feet moving before both left feet move. In effect, the cats move by propelling half of their bodies forward at a time, then the other half.
Cats have been domesticated for over 9000 years but the ancient Egyptians went a little further as cat-fanciers – to them cats were gods to be worshipped. If an Egyptian’s cat died, the Egyptian would shave off his eyebrows in mourning.
Did you know that many animal groupings have special names? Some of them include:
- A swarm of bees
- A colony/army of ants
- A sounder of boars
- A troop of baboons
- A caravan of camels
- A clowder of cats (a destruction of cats for wild cats!)
- A murder of crows
- A float of crocodiles
- A cowardice of dogs
- A convocation of eagles
- A brace of ducks
- A business of ferrets
- A skulk of foxes
- A gaggle of geese
- A cloud of grasshoppers
- A band of gorillas
- A cackle of hyenas
- A mob of kangeroos
- A pride of lions
- A labor of moles
- A barrel of monkeys
- A parliament of owls
- A muster of peacocks
- a pandemonium of parrots
- a prickle of porcupines
- a mustering of storks
- a venue of vultures
- a wisdom of wombats
- a zeal of zebras