Get ready for your next trivia night with these fun facts about the animal kingdom.
1. Pigeons can be trained to learn artists’ styles.
2. The peacock mantis shrimp can throw a punch at 50 MPH.
A peacock mantis shrimp’s punch accelerates quicker than a .22-caliber bullet.
3. Studies have shown that wild chimps in Guinea drink fermented palm sap.
It contains about 3 percent alcohol by volume.
4. The chevrotain looks like a tiny deer with fangs.
The fantastic beasts are neither deer nor mice.
5. Capuchin monkeys pee on their hands to wash their feet.
Don’t follow their example—here’s a helpful guide on how to wash your hands.
6. Only the males are called peacocks.
Females are peahens.
7. Dragonflies and damselflies form a heart with their tails when they mate.
Here are some other surprising facts about animal sex.
8. Baby elephants suck their trunks for comfort.
Elephants—they're just like baby humans.
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9. Tigers have striped skin.
The patterns of a tiger’s stripes are as unique as a fingerprint.
10. Crocodiles can gallop.
11. A grizzly bear’s bite is strong enough to crush a bowling ball.
Grizzly bears are incredibly powerful animals.
12. Sea otters hold hands while they’re sleeping.
They do this so they don’t drift apart.
13. Prairie dogs say hello by kissing.
Think of it as the rodent version of a handshake.
14. Cats don’t meow to communicate with each other.
Animal behaviorists have concluded that cats meow to get attention from humans.
15. Elephant shrews are more closely related to elephants than shrews.
The adorable rodents live in Africa.
16. Flamingos are naturally white.
Flamingos’ diet of brine shrimp and algae turns them pink.
17. Alberta, Canada, is the largest rat-free populated area in the world.
Alberta is the only province in Canada that doesn’t have rats.
18. Red-eyed tree frog eggs can hatch early if they sense danger.
They can hatch days before their anticipated hatch date.
19. Whitetail deer are fast sprinters.
They can sprint at speeds up to 30 mph.
20. Blue jays mimic hawk calls.
They do this to scare away other backyard birds.
21. In the UK, the British monarch legally owns all unmarked mute swans in open water.
The swans are just one of many surprising things Queen Elizabeth owns.
22. All clownfish are born male.
Some turn female to enable mating
23. Moray eels have a second set of jaws.
Their moray eels' second set of jaws extends from their throats.
24. The Axolotl can regenerate its limbs.
The amphibians can even rebuild their brains.
25. Hartebeest evade predators by running in zigzag patterns.
Contrary to popular advice, people should not do this to escape an alligator.
26. Anteaters don’t have teeth.
Anteaters use their super long tongues to eat bugs, which they crush with their stomach muscles.
27. Fruit bats don’t use echolocation.
Fruit bats have excellent senses of sight and smell.
28. Male ring-tailed lemurs “stink fight.”
They use perfume as a weapon and waft scent at each other.
29. Lynx have very large feet.
A lynx’s large paws enable them to run on very deep snow.
30. In 1924, a Labrador Retriever was sentenced to life without parole at Eastern State Penitentiary.
He was sentenced for killing the governor’s cat, and was just one of several animals involved in crimes.
31. Alligators will give manatees the right of way.
It’s a diplomatic way for them to handle aquatic traffic jams.
32. Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to identical quadruplets.
It’s the only armadillo species found in the U.S.
33. Cats can’t taste sugar.
A study found that the carnivores are “sweet blind.”
34. Ducks like to surf.
Ducks have been observed riding tides, then swimming back to ride them again.
35. The African penguin is also commonly referred to as the “jackass penguin.”
This is because it makes donkey-like braying sounds.
36. Birds are immune to the heat of chili peppers.
This may be because they don’t have many taste buds.
37. Honeybees can get sexually transmitted infections.
Someone should create a buzzing public health STI-awareness campaign to help save the honeybees.
38. A narwhal tusk is actually an exaggerated front left tooth.
Unlike most teeth, a narwhal’s tusk is soft and sensitive on the outside with a tough interior.
39. Caribbean sperm whales have their own regional accent.
Whales in that region use a distinct acoustic pattern.
40. Wombat poop is cube-shaped.
Wombats like to put their unusually shaped poop cubes atop places where they’re easy to see.
41. A baby puffin is called a puffling.
Check out these other lesser-known names for baby animals.
42. Bald eagles sound silly.
Those majestic screeches you see in movies featuring bald eagles? Those are hawk vocals.
43. People bite more people than sharks do.
In 1985, for instance, people reported 1591 human bite attacks, whereas there were only 12 shark-caused injuries that year.
44. Female bats give birth upside-down.
They catch the pup in their wings as it drops.
45. Toucans curl into little balls when they sleep.
They sleep in a tiny ball to protect their bills.
46. Horses are distantly related to rhinoceroses and tapirs.
Their very distant relative came from India.
47. Some cats are allergic to humans.
Just like you may be allergic to cat dandruff, a cat may be allergic to your dandruff.
48. Penguins have excellent hearing.
This is despite their lack of visible ears.
49. Lions once lived in Europe.
Unfortunately, lions were hunted to extinction in Europe around 100 BCE.
50. Male platypuses have venomous spurs.
Platypus aren’t the only venomous mammals.
This article was originally published in 2016; it has been updated for 2022.