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We tend to use the word “animal” to shape gross or unreasonable behavior, but the ten facts below will change your mind about choosing that term in the future.
After all, animals can be much more adorable than humans. For example:
10. Vampire Bats Love to Hug Each Other
You probably don't know much about vampire bats, but you shouldn't think anything good about them either. You're wrong.
These little darlings are the most likely chiropractors to stroke their mates. Vampire bats like to cuddle, cuddling, to strengthen and maintain the necessary social bonds. They even spend a lot of time each day caring for each other: 3.7% of their waking time is spent nesting with friends and family.
If we were as attentive as vampire bats, we would spend about 36 minutes petting our friends' hair daily.
This number does not include the many hours bats tend to spend taking care of themselves. Vampire bats spend more hours cleaning than any other bat, suggesting that their hygiene habits are due to social dynamics, not because they are true germophobes.
9. California rat and its extreme monogamy
Disney-speaking animals show great fidelity to their spouses, but the real animal kingdom is quite different. There, monogamy is less common. Well, that doesn't count the California rat (Peromyscus californicus), an example of traditional family values.
The researchers performed a genetic analysis of 98 puppies from 27 families. As they had suspected for many decades, the study confirmed that each offspring were the result of their monogamous parents.
In a decidedly more comical experiment, scientists placed a pigment on females that would pass to any male suitor during sex, revealing if any males jumped over the fence. The research concluded that the mice were faithful, however.
But they are not exactly an inspiration for true love: monogamy is the result of mind control rather than eternal romance. Females secrete a chemical through their urine that forces male parents of their children to stay close and help care for babies.
8. Vegetarian / Fruit Piranhas
While most people think all piranhas would love to devour an entire cow, there is a newfound herbivorous variant, the Camunani Tometes, which subsists only from aquatic herbs.
First identified in 2013, this piranha lives in Amazonian rapids and is unfortunately being evicted from its habitat by many dam construction projects to exploit the Amazon's hydroelectric potential.
There are also piranhas who love fruits and eat everything that falls from the trees in the river. These fish are a boon to the Amazon because they carry the seeds several miles away before excreting them back into the flora. They make dispersal better than almost any other animal, including apes and birds, as only one fish can disperse 700,000 individual seeds from over 20 different plants at one time.
7. Blue-footed Booby and its Tango
The blue-footed booby is generally a clumsy animal without many qualities - other than its bizarre dance moves.
To court mates, males first present them with a lovingly selected stick or stone. Upon acceptance of this modest dowry, they begin to flaunt their wonderfully colored feet.
Females prefer mates with bluer feet, so to show off, these critters have long perfected an arsenal of dance moves that humans didn't discover until the disco era. The most comical of these is called "pointing to the sky," and involves stretching your head to the sky and extending your arms away from your body while jumping from foot to foot and whistling like a maniac. Unmissable.
6. Monkeys floss
Monkeys are much more dedicated to dental hygiene than most humans, because on many occasions they have been caught teaching each other how to floss.
More recently, a female from a group of baboons at Paignton Zoo, a zoo in the UK, has learned to pull broom bristles to clean her teeth. There is hope that others will learn from her too, as they often watch her closely. Researchers are unsure whether baboons' primary motivation is hygiene, however.
Monkeys in Lopburi, Thailand, have also been registered doing something similar. The 50-animal group attends a local Buddhist temple and pulls visitors' hair for flossing. The most adorable part is that when scientists decided to use cameras to spy on monkeys' oral hygiene routines, they found that mothers spent twice as much time threading and were much more likely to repeat the action if a baby were present.
5. Orangutans mimic humans
Orangutans are good imitators. For example, Suriya, a male who lives in South Carolina, is taking care of four tiger cubs. That's because he observed humans doing the same thing earlier this year, when he started imitating them and feeding their babies with bottles.
Another case of imitation is from Bonnie, a 30-year-old orangutan from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in the United States, who took the habit of whistling from a caretaker.
There's even an orangutan trying to talk. Tilda from the Cologne Zoo learned to say "blah". It's not random, because Tilda only does it in the presence of her caregivers. She also knows how to clap and make click sounds. This is a revolutionary discovery because researchers did not believe that orangutans had enough oral dexterity to make these noises.
4. Rats sing
The art of music is not limited to humans and birds. Male rats also hum to try to conquer females. They have a varied musical arsenal, including "call songs" that are employed when they smell female urine. When the female appears, they change the ballad.
Females are known to return the favor if they are in the mood. Unfortunately, these rodent duets propagate at ultrasound intervals below the human hearing threshold.
Another discovery by scientists is that mice that sing together eventually cooperate to stay in the same pitch, producing a lovely unison. Animals also feature exceptional musical plasticity and can learn new songs to complement the classics.
Previously, researchers believed that each mouse had its own song and always repeated it, but the evidence shows an unexpected level of creativity among rodents.Continues after advertising
3. African cichlids incubate their babies in the mouth
African cichlids are not particularly passionate fish. Females dump their eggs in any corner, males come by to fertilize them, and that's it. Then the females collect the eggs back.
The future mother is exceptionally attentive during the several weeks of incubation, even refraining from eating - because opening her mouth can bring her puppies down.
Cichlid daddies are not the best. On the contrary, they will eat their offspring if given the chance. Even if they survive aquatic infanticide, baby cichlids are basically incompetent and would have no way of defending themselves from cruel sea life.
This is why mothers have created this way of protecting their offspring: mouth incubation, so that their baby fish are in the relative safety of their mouth. Disgusting? Much. But effective and a great example of maternal dedication.
2. Giraffes whisper to each other at night
Giraffes are among the most glum creatures in the world. Almost all animals have at least some easily associated sounds or vocalizations, but what do you do when you need to mimic a giraffe?
Researchers at the University of Vienna wanted to find out. So they compiled 947 hours of recordings at three European zoos to find out what sounds giraffes made - they had to say something, didn't they? Even at infrasonic intervals, like elephants, which are outside the scope of human hearing.
Scientists were excited when they noticed that giraffes do produce a wide variety of noises all night long. For example, they whisper to each other. The sound is low frequency (92 Hz), but still audible to human ears if you listen carefully.
1. Mantis shrimps are kinder to each other
With the ability to throw their appendages at absurd speeds, mantis prawns have the worst punch of the animal kingdom. Like most other organisms, they often fight for territory against members of their own species.
If they used full force in these confrontations, extinction would be a sure destination. So these animals learned to go lighter with each other. Amid territorial disputes, they offer their protected rear as a punching bag. Both fighters focus on these areas and avoid weaker locations.
They also avoid conflict by intimidating each other into a "color display" (peacock style), but this rarely works - out of the 34 disputes observed by the researchers, only one did not end in a fight.