Category Archives: Animals

Whales Don’t Spray Water Out of Their Blowholes Nor are Their Throats and Blowhole Connected

humpback-whale

Myth: Whales spray water out of their blowholes. Contrary to what you may have seen in such movies as Pixar’s otherwise extremely entertaining Finding Nemo, whales don’t  spray water out of their blowholes.  Further, the whale’s trachea doesn’t connect to the esophagus of the whale; so when Dory and Marlin went down the whale’s throat, in real life, they’d have […]

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The Parasitic Sacculina That Bends Its Host to Its Own Will

Sacculina_carcini

Falling into the category of “you can’t make this up,” is the parasitic barnacle Sacculina. Shedding its hard shell and injecting itself into the body of a host crab, Sacculina becomes its puppet master, preventing the crab from molting, growing, regenerating, digesting and reproducing. Instead, the reprogrammed crab directs all of its energy to nourishing the Sacculina and caring for […]

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

Wojtek

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

cockfight

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

fish-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

elphants

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

happy-cat

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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