April 14, 2021

40 Lesser-Known Facts About Animals That Are Quite Awe-Inspiring

With an estimated 7.77 million species of animals on the planet, the animal kingdom is an undeniably diverse place. But while the breadth of earthly biodiversity may be well known, the incredible things our animal counterparts can do are often hidden to humans.

This Reddit community titled “Awwducational” created in November 2012, it has become home to some of the most amusing educational facts you’d love to share on your next trivia round with friends. The best part: they all have to do with the most wholesome furry creatures out there, from cute possums and giggling rats to playful cows and the slow-mo sloths.

Scroll down if you’re ready to learn some interesting animal facts that will surely feed your curious minds and warm up your hearts. Spread the good vibes and share this fascinating post to your friends to lighten up their spirits as well. It’s time to reveal the animal kingdom’s most intriguing secrets through these interesting animal facts.

#1 Trained African Giant Pouched Rats Have Found Thousands Of Unexploded Landmines And Bombs. Researchers Have Also Trained These Rats To Detect Tuberculosis. And Most Recently They Are Training Them To Sniff Out Poached Wildlife Trophies Being Exported Out Of African Ports

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#2 In Most Western Cultures, Black Cats Are Considered A Bad Omen. But In Scottish Lore, The Arrival Of A Strange Black Cat Signifies Prosperity

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#3 Cheetahs Are So Shy That Zoos Give Them Their Own Emotional “Support Dogs”

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Reddit user u/IchTanze, who has been moderating r/awwducational for 5 years now, said that the cool title of the subreddit refers to the “aww” reaction to insects, flowers, baby animals, or a critically endangered species. “‘Aww is in the eye of the beholder’ as we say,” he said.

Meanwhile, “The educational component is what gets added in the comment section, where the user must provide a source for their fact in the title that is either peer-reviewed, from a highly reputable source, or has citations from one of the above to back it up.” Most importantly, the community wants their users to learn something.

#4 Capybaras Are Social Animals, Who Get Along With A Large Variety Of Other Animals, Including Chickens, Ducks, Dogs, Cats, Llamas, Rabbits And Turtles

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#5 Opposums Get A Lot Of Hate, But They Clear Many Unwanted Bugs And Parasites From The Ecosystem And Are Generally Helpful Friends. Please Appreciate Them, Especially This Good Boy

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#6 Alex, The African Grey Parrot, Is The Only Animal To Ever Ask An Existential Question. He Asked “What Color” He Was

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Another senior user u/AGreatWind commented that they allow content about natural history as well as “animals and plants of all kinds, even if their cuteness may be… subjective.” The moderator said that users provide a source for their fact, which must link to peer-reviewed research or an article that links to peer-reviewed research, which is then verified by a member of the mod team.

“Our mod team is a diverse group of animal lovers, enthusiasts, and scientists from a range of backgrounds spanning ecology, biophysics, and infectious disease.”

u/AGreatWind also said that it’s a lot of work as each post needs to be attended to, but the community enjoys it since they “get to learn new things every day.”

#7 A Sloth’s Claws Work The Opposite Way That Human Hand Does. The Default Position Is A Tight Strong Grip, And Sloths Must Exert Effort To Open Them Up. This Is Why Sloths Don’t Fall Out Of Trees When They’re Asleep

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#8 Cows Have “Eureka” Moments, And Take Pleasure In Their Own Learning Achievements

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#9 Scientists Know That Rats Like To Have Their Bellies Tickled, So They Used That As Basis For Testing Happiness In Rats. They Found Out That The Ears Of Rats Undergoing Tickling Became Droopier And Pinker – Subtle Signs Of Being Relaxed And Happy

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Redditor u/AGreatWind said that in his time as a moderator here, “we went from 50,000 subscribers to over 2 million. In that time, we have maintained a consistent approach to verification and civility.” Thus, u/AGreatWind likes to think of /r/Awwducational as “a big little sub.”

“We are rather large by subscriber count, but the community still feels small because of the interaction and cooperation we have with them. We try to engage with and listen to our subscribers rather than try to herd them, much as we did when there were only a few thousand.”

In the r/awwducational community, the users make it as much as the mod team. “So often someone in the comments has a remarkable insight about a post’s subject animal, be it cooperation amongst lab rats, newly discovered birds of paradise, or the hyoid mechanics of a snow leopard’s voice box. It’s fantastic!”

#10 Seagulls Stomping On Grass Is Called, The Rain Dance. This Mimics Rain By Vibration, And Brings Earthworms And Other Bugs To Surface

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#11 The Opossum Is North America’s Only Marsupial, They Can Eat 5000 Ticks A Year And Are Almost Immune To Rabies! Their Body Temperature Is Too Low For The Virus To Survive!

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#12 Lynx Have Evolved Enormous Paws To Distribute Weight Better In Snow, Acting Like Natural Snowshoes

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#13 The Aardvark, Alphabetically The First Animal, Plays An Important Role In Preventing Wildlife Deaths From Fire. They Dig Large Underground Burrows That Wildlife Can Hide In During Fires

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#14 Blue Penguins Are The Smallest Type Of Penguin. Adults Reach Only 12-13in Tall. Owing To Their Small Size And Bright Color They Are Often Called Fairy Penguins

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#15 The Burmese Star Tortoise Is One Of The Few Animals That Have Comeback From Being Called Functionally Extinct

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#16 A University Of Chicago Study Found That Rats Are Just As Capable Of Empathy As Humans

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#17 When In Danger, The Malabar Giant Squirrel Often Freezes Or Flattens Itself Against The Tree Trunk, Instead Of Fleeing

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#18 The Northern Cardinal Is Probably The Most ‘Romantic’ Bird Species: They Mate For Life, Travel Together, Sing Before Nesting, And During Courtship, Feed Seed Beak-To-Beak

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#19 150 Kākāriki Karaka Chicks Have Hatched This Season, Potentially Doubling This Rare Birds Population

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#20 The Mangalica Is The Only Pig Species Covered In A Long Wool Coat, Similar To A Sheep’s

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#21 The Pudú Deer Is The Smallest Species Of Deer Standing At 15 Inches Tall On Average

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#22 The Milk Of Pinnipeds Consist Of Up To 60% Fat, Allowing The Young To Grow Fairly Quickly. Pups Can Gain Over 2.2 Kg (4.9 Lb) Per Day While Nursing

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#23 A Newborn Chinese Water Deer Is So Small It Can Almost Be Held In The Palm Of The Hand. When It Matures, Instead Of Growing Antlers, They Grow Long Upper Canine Teeth Gaining Them The Name “Vampire Deer”

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#24 Aardwolves Are Shy And Nocturnal, Sleeping In Underground Burrows By Day. They Have Often Been Mistaken For Solitary Animals. In Fact, They Live As Monogamous Pairs With Their Young

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#25 Cows Have Similar Emotional Range As Dogs. They Display Boldness, Shyness, Fearfulness And Even Playfulness

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#26 Gibbons Are One Of The Only Non-Human Primates Which Practice Monogamy. Both Parents Play A Vital Role In Raising Of Their Young

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#27 Sand Cats Specialize In Surviving In The Desert. They Are Not Good Climbers Or Jumpers, But They Are Excellent Diggers. They Use Their Digging Ability To Dig Shallow Burrows To Escape The Heat Of The Desert During The Day

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#28 Secretary Birds Are Famous For Its Snake-Stomping Legs; A Single Kick Delivered Some 195 Newtons Of Force. They Are Also Famous For Their Long Eyelashes

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#29 Pigs Have Episodic Memory. It Is Likely That They Can Replay And Feel Past Experiences In Their Heads

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#30 Flamingo’s Pink Coloring Comes From The Shrimp They Eat, And In 1992 In The Miami Zoo They Had To Stick The Flamingos In The Bathroom To Ride Out Hurricane Andrew

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#31Van Kittens Are Initially Born With Pale Blue Eyes, Which Change To A Deeper Blue Or Amber As They Grow Older. Occasionally, You’ll Also See A Van With One Amber Eye And One Blue Eye, Or Two Blue Eyes Of Different Hues

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#32 Despite Their Appearance, Elephant Shrews Are In Fact More Closely Related To Elephants Than Shrews

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#33 This Is The Raccoon Dog, The Only Extant Species In The Genus Nyctereutes. It’s A Close Relative Of True Foxes And The Only Canid Known To Hibernate During The Winter

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#34 The Okapi’s Closest Realative Is The Giraffe. Okapis Were Descovered In 1901. Unfortunately, They Are Now Endangered

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#35 Tigers Are Carnivores, But Will Eat Fruit In Order To Ease Digestion

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#36 The Asiatic Black Bear Has The Largest Ears Of Any Bear Species

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#37 Rats Giggle When You Tickle Them. Their Voices Are So High-Pitched You Need Special Equipment To Hear Them, But When You Do, Their Laughs Are Immediately Evident

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#38Adult Giraffes Only Sleep For A Couple Of Minutes At A Time. Baby Giraffes Will Sleep For Much Longer Periods Of Time With Their Head Resting On Their Rump

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#39 The Eyes Of The Blunthead Tree Snake Make Up Approximately 26% Of Its Head

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#40 Done Brushing Your Dog? Birds Love Using The Hair To Build Nests. Set Aside One Birdfeeder To Fill With Hair

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