Category Archives: Animals

The Bear Who was Officially a Member of the Polish Army During WWII


After being invaded by Germany in the west and later by Soviet Russia in the east, the Polish government fled Warsaw but continued to fight from abroad. After Germany attacked Russia, the Russians decided to release their Polish prisoners of war, who then began re-forming into an army. In April 1942, several of these Polish units landed in Persia and […]

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Chickens Were Initially Domesticated for Cockfighting, Not Food


Anyone who’s been chased around the yard by a pissed off chicken knows these birds are neither purposeless nor fearful. Descended from some of the fiercest creatures ever to roam the planet, the blood of today’s Gallus domesticus carries all of the pride, courage, fury and viciousness of its ancestors. Harnessing these qualities by the simple expedient of sticking two […]

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The Parasite that Becomes a Tongue


In warm Pacific waters from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Guayaquil thrives a parasite that has a very twisted relationship with its host. The Tongue-Eating Louse A member of the family Cymothoidae, the tiny Cymothoa exigua, or tongue eating louse, enters its victim through the gills. Once inside, the female latches onto the base of the fish’s […]

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Elephants Really Do Have Exceptionally Good Memories


Hannah asks: Do elephants really “never forget”? It is obviously impossible to say that elephants never forget anything- and it seems likely they do forget things- but studies have shown that elephants do have exceptionally long memories for certain types of things. For instance, in 1999, an elephant named Jenny was living at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. When […]

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Why and How a Cat Purrs


Rachel asks: Why and how do cats purr? As any cat owner—or even someone who’s seen a cat—knows, cats often purr when they’re being petted or getting their chin scratched. They also purr when they want food and when they’re eating. Sometimes, they’ll purr as they drift off into sleep. Purring is most known to be a sign that cats […]

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The “Australian” Shepherd Breed was Developed in America


Today I found out the Australian Shepherd breed of dog was developed in the United States, not Australia. The Australian Shepherd is a popular breed throughout the United States, prized for its intelligence and good temperament. However, in spite of its name, the Australian Shepherd does not originate from Australia, but was developed on American soil. The breed was developed […]

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The Amazing Tardigrade- The Toughest Known Creature on Earth and Beyond


It is surely the stuff of science fiction: An extraordinary being arrives on Earth that can withstand a tortuous array of conditions: boiling, freezing, tremendous atmospheric pressure, near total dehydration, and exposure to massive amounts of ionizing radiation. While many joke that “cockroaches would be the only thing to survive an extreme global nuclear war”, in fact, cockroaches would not.  […]

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The Bizarre World of Animal Reproduction


As weird and whacky as some human mating practices can sometimes be, other animals’ reproductive habits can be even stranger at times.  While one species gives birth through a penis, another’s testicles’ explode after sex. Further, post-coital cannibalism and V-shaped penises are not all that uncommon. We’ll start with the hyena.  Depending on if you notice her udders, the female […]

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