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A – Z Quirky Animal Facts

Fancy a ‘necking’ or is your preference ‘rafting’ with your mates, or are you proud to have a chin? We have compiled the A-Z of quirky animal facts to satisfy your curiosity!

 

A – Z Quirky Animal Facts

 Danae Kopanidis 

A:  This gentle, docile animal can be house trained and lives in a herd, though is also known to spit when sensing danger. Alpacas communicate with each other by humming.

B: Unlike monkeys, a baboon’s tail does not have a grip mechanism, making them a ground dwelling mammal. Female baboons are usually half the size of male baboons and have a gestation period of six months.

C: There are over 800 different breeds of cattle worldwide, with no two cows having the same set of spots. Cows are able to walk up a set of stairs but they can’t walk back down, as their knees can only bend one way.

D: Dolphins don’t have a sense of smell but they do have a sense of taste and can distinguish between sour, sweet and salty. Dolphins use their teeth to grasp, not chew food, as they don’t have jaw muscles for chewing.

E: Elephants protect their skin from sunburn by rolling in any ground cover. These mammals have a gestational period of two years, and are similar to humans in that they have chins!

F: A flamingo’s diet plays a large role in its bright appearance. Flamingos eat foods rich in beta-carotene, which changes the pigments in their feathers to pink and red. Flamingos usually lay only one egg a year and are monogamous birds.

G: Giraffes don’t sweat or pant when they’re hot, allowing adult giraffes to conserve water and requiring consumption of water only once a day. Male giraffes compete with each other by rubbing their necks together to see who is strongest. This is called ‘necking’.

H: The pitch and tone of a hyena’s distinctive laugh indicate its age and social status within its clan. Female hyenas grow pseudo-penis’ as an evolutionary response and defence mechanism against the aggression of male hyenas. Female hyenas are the clan leaders.

I: Iguanas lay their eggs in the sand, bury them and then abandon the eggs. A baby iguana fends for itself from the day it hatches, with many not making it to maturity (three years old). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies iguanas as one of the most endangered species in the world due to loss of habitat and predators.

J: Jellyfish have incredibly thin skin and receive oxygen through diffusion and therefore, are one of the only animals without a respiratory system. Jellyfish can clone themselves and are able to regenerate if they have been cut into pieces, as the pieces will create new organisms.

K: Known for their ability to eat up to one kilogramme of leaves a day, koalas have two thumbs on their front paws to aid them in climbing trees and gripping their food. Baby koalas are known as joeys and will ride in their mother’s pouch for up to six months.

L: Lions sleep up to 20 hours a day, live in a pride and their heels don’t touch the ground as they walk. Female lions hunt while the males protect the pride and will allow the male lions to eat before them. A male lion’s age can be determined by the darkness of its mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.

M: Female meerkats can give birth to up to eight pups at once and seek an underground location for protection from predators. A group of meerkats is known as a ‘gang’ or ‘mob’ and they collectively work together to hunt.

N: Numbats are insectivores and have an exclusive diet of termites; an adult eats up to 20,000 termites each day. Numbats are endangered marsupials that can only be found in southwestern parts of Australia inhabiting eucalyptus forests and grassland.

O: Otters are one of the few animals that use tools to assist in finding food. Otters have been seen to use rocks to break open shells. A group of otters is called a ‘romp’ or a ‘bevy’ and while floating together are called a ‘raft.’

P: Collectively, they are usually described as ‘peacocks’, however, a peacock is the masculine version of this animal. A female is called a peahen, while a baby is called a peachick and collectively, are called peafowls. Peafowls are omnivores and are the national bird of India.

Q: Australia is home to four species of quoll; the spotted tail, the northern, the eastern and the western quoll. They are solitary, partly nocturnal marsupials that den in tree hollows and are very nimble and fast.

R: Rhinoceros use their poo to communicate with other rhinos. Each rhino has a unique smell that allows rhinos to identify each other. The poo also tells other rhinos whether they are male or female, young or old.

S: Seahorses are known to swim in pairs with their tails linked and are monogamous animals. Seahorses engage in long-lasting courtships that involve a pair to change colours and spin together. They swim in an upright position to confuse predators as they mimic underwater plants.

T: Turtles are some of the oldest animals in the world dating back 150 million years. Turtles return to the same place each year to lay their eggs and the egg’s gender is determined by the environmental temperatures they are laid in.

U: The Ulysses butterfly is found on every continent except Antarctica but is found mostly in tropical North Queensland. It is identified by its bright, metallic blue wings. The Ulysses butterfly is one of the biggest butterflies in Australia.

V: Vultures play an important role in the environment; commonly referred to as ‘scavengers’. Due to their strong acidic stomachs, vultures can eat rotten meat and all remains of both human and animal.

W: Wombats are nocturnal animals that venture out to feed on grasses, roots and bark. They have an extremely slow metabolism and it can take up to 14 days to process one meal.

X: Armadillos, sloths and anteaters are a group of mammals known as Xenarthrans are noted for their unique backbone that allows them to dig efficiently.

Y: There are two types of yak; namely the wild and the domestic. The domestic yak is smaller in size and its coat is not as shaggy as the wild yak.

Z: Each zebra has a unique set of stripes that acts like a fingerprint. They are extremely fast and can reach speeds up to 65kmph and can outrun lions. Zebras sleep in herds standing up.

 

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