With an estimated 8.7 million animal species living on our planet, there are many animal facts to share - but some are just a bit more memorable than others.
Forget about the facts in the Guinness Book of Records; these animal facts are a little more unconventional.
From laughing rats to the unusual pooping habits of the wombat, you will not forget these five animal facts any time soon!
Prairie Dogs Love to Kiss
If you are lucky enough to catch two prairie dogs standing mouth to mouth, you could mistakenly think that they are kissing. These family-oriented critters are actually touching their front teeth together as a greeting and a means of identification.
Prairie dogs build their dens in close proximity to family. Often these neighboring family homes are connected, creating wards. These wards connect with others, creating a prairie dog town!
A prairie dog town can cover thousands of acres and house between fifteen and twenty-five individual family groups. Only dogs within the same family group perform the smooch-like greeting, though.
Kangaroos Cannot Hop Without Their Tails
The kangaroo is a hopping machine. Capable of leaping up to ten feet vertically and as far as forty feet horizontally. This agile marsupial can even hop at speeds of up to 30mph. But did you know that without the help of one special modification, the kangaroo could not jump at all?
The world’s largest marsupial, the kangaroo, would be unable to jump without the use of its enormous tail! The thick tail measures over 3 feet long and is pure muscle, and the kangaroo uses it for just about everything, including self-propulsion, balance, and support.
If you were to lift the kangaroo’s tail off the ground, it would be unable to walk or jump. That is not all, though - without the help of its tail, it would be extremely tired! Such a huge, muscular tail helps this energetic marsupial conserve energy while hopping around.
Rats Giggle When They Are Tickled
Rats make fantastic pets; they are clean, playful, and intelligent, and they openly display emotion. This sociability led to the discovery that rats giggle when tickled!
A group of neuroscientists were researching how to interact with rats without causing fear. By watching them play and listening to their vocalizations, the researchers discovered that young rats vocalize when they play. Scientists also noted that this play was similar to tickling. Researchers then tickled the rats only to find they made the same joyful noise – or giggling.
By mimicking the play styles that rats exhibit when they are young, researchers have created a much less stressful environment for the rats in their lab. Tickling the rats has not only had a positive effect on their well-being, but it also seems to have improved the mood of the lab workers too!
One Cow Releases Over 105 Gallons of Methane A Day
In the span of twenty-four hours, a single cow can produce over one hundred gallons of methane. This incredible gas production results from the cow’s digestive system that breaks down food through fermentation. As the food ferments, it produces methane, causing the cow to burp.
The production of all this methane gas is why cows take a lot of the heat for global warming. As methane gas gets released into the environment, it gathers in the atmosphere, where it traps heat. Over the years, industrial production and increased population have increased methane production, causing the temperature to creep up.
Of course, cows are not actually to blame for global warming - it is human activity related to agriculture and livestock that is the cause. Researchers estimate that 37% of the methane in the atmosphere is the product of human/livestock interaction.
Wombats Have Square-Shaped Poop
No facts list would be complete without at least one mention of poop – enter the wombat. The wombat is a slightly chunky marsupial native to Australia, and while it is known for being the world’s largest tunneling mammal, it is also known for its square poop.
The bare-nosed wombat is the only animal in the world that poops in squares - something baffling to scientists. But in early 2021, researchers looked closely at the wombat intestinal structure. By replicating the wombat intestines with a model, the researchers created their own square poop.
But why do wombats poop in cubes? Researchers speculate that the square poop is because these rotund marsupials climb up on rock piles to mark their territory. Square poop ensures that these territorial packages don’t roll off!