Weird & Wonderful Wildlife Facts
Planet Earth is teeming with wildlife; big cats prowl African savannahs, birdsong symphonies ring out from rainforest canopies, whales breach at the ends of the Earth as Mountain gorillas beat their chests from an East African jungle nest…our animal kingdom will always astonish and amaze.
There are millions of different species of animals in the world; our oceans are home to nearly fifty per cent of all animal life on Earth, while one in ten known species can be found in the Amazon Rainforest.
There is a shared passion for the world’s zoological wonders here at Exodus, so we put our heads together to come up with some weird and wonderful wildlife facts that may give you ‘paws’ for thought…
- Sloths only venture down from the trees about once a week, and usually only to defecate! So strong is their aversion to being on the ground that if one of their young falls, a sloth parent will stay put and let nature run its course.
- Giraffes may have the longest necks on the planet, but they have just seven vertebrae – the same as in a human neck.
- Polar bears do not give off any detectable body heat, so cannot be picked up on infrared cameras.
- The leg bones of bats are so thin that no bat can walk.
- Tigers have striped skin as well as striped fur.
- Sharks have six senses, the same five as humans plus one other - their lateral line and collection of electroreceptors in their noses allows them to detect motion in the form of electrical impulses.
- Closely linked by DNA, gorillas are amongst the closest living relatives of humans. However unlike us, who can be identified by our fingerprints, gorillas each have a unique nose print.
- There are 17 species of penguin found in the world, but only four are resident to mainland Antarctica – the Adelie, Chinstrap, Emperor and the Gentoo. King, Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins are only found on the sub-Antarctic islands.
- Snakes do not have eyelids and therefore never shut their eyes. They have an eyecap known as the brille. These clear scales help to protect their eyes and keep them moist much like an eyelid would.
- An elk’s coat grows from tail to neck, the opposite direction of most fur-covered animals.
- You’d never guess it from looking at them, but the Rock hyrax is closely related to the elephant. These small herbivorous mammals are found in East Africa and weigh just nine pounds.
- Grizzly bears can outrun a racehorse over small distances. They have been known to cover 50 yards in just three seconds.
- The only time a tortoise will utter a sound is during mating.
- Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards. They flap their wings between 60 - 80 times a minute.
- The slowest fish in the sea is the Dwarf seahorse, swimming at just 0.001mph.
- Giraffes have no vocal chords and are completely mute.
- Killer whales are not actually whales at all, they are in fact dolphins.
- Hippos have the biggest mouth of any land animal – opening it more than one metre wide.
- Moose don’t sweat, hence they are often seen standing around in lakes to keep cool.
- Howler monkeys are the loudest land animal and can be heard up to 20 miles away.
- A cheetah’s 100m record is 6.13 seconds - over three seconds faster than Usain Bolt.
- When dolphins sleep, one half of their brain goes dormant while the other stays active to prevent them drowning. They also keep one eye open and one closed when they sleep.
- A rat can survive without water for longer than a camel.
- The Blue whale is the loudest animal on Earth reaching levels of 188 decibels – a volume which could deafen a human.
- For every human on the planet there are more than one million ants.
- Army ants are still used to stich wounds in Central and South America.
So how many did you already know? Why not share your weird and wonderful wildlife facts on our Facebook fan page.