The animal kingdom is truly magnificent. A trip to the zoo will educate and illuminate, allowing visitors to see live animals up close, and giving a brief glimpse of the research on our animal cousins. How educational is a zoo trip, really?
Some animals held in captivity are only legally allowed to be kept because of injuries, or infertility. Some animals we all think are endangered have since come back from the brink, unbeknownst to most people. It isn't always clear what an animal's natural climate is from its paddock, or how dangerous they are from seeing them in a little glass enclosure. A plaque may give you a few facts about an animal's digestive system, but how much do you really know about the inner working of a frog's guts?
Did you sleep through high school biology, or were you paying close attention? Do you know your even-toed ungulates from your run of the mill quadrupeds? Do you know animal behavior? Have you any knowledge of animal husbandry? Do you know what animals can actually change their gender in order to reproduce with the available partners? How well do you know the animal world? To know is hard, but to find out is easy. Just take this quiz.
Standing up to 11.8 inches tall, whale shark eggs are the biggest eggs. However, there is a twist. Whale sharks do not lay their eggs. Instead, whale sharks hold the eggs inside until they hatch.
Yes, it swims, but it's still a mammal. That means it has live young and warm blood, and it breathes air (as opposed to using gills).
It was made famous in "Jaws" and has a massive bite. That said, it probably doesn't want to bite you, because it doesn't go near the shore very often.
Insects are a member of the athropod phylum, which also includes myriapods and crustaceans.
Arachnids are, like insects, a part of the athropod phylum, and join it in rounding out the phylum along with myriapods and crustaceans.
Spiders have amazing abilities, including making silk fibers so strong they can stop a bullet. They're actually being used in military experiments as an alternative to Kevlar.
Dogs and humans have been cooperating for many thousands of years, and it has certainly been very good for both species!
Bonobos are not only the most genetically similar, they also have a lot in common with us socially (or at least, with some of us), being fairly egalitarian and open-minded.
A cheetah has been clocked at up to 75mph for short bursts, making it the fastest cat and also fastest land animal.
While some species could, in theory, just keep on growing forever, like jellyfish, and their age is hard to discern, the naked mole rat is the only one that shows no sign of its age.
The name came about because giraffes have camel-like stature and leopard-like coloring. Their current -- much better -- name is Spanish and Portuguese in origin.
While webs are mainly about catching prey, they're also for hiding yourself - if you are the wily trap door spider!
A snake doesn't want to get in your boot, but a scorpion may like the look of it and be just as dangerous. So always shake your boot before you put it on.
This famously deadly jellyfish is actually two individual polyps that are technically separate creatures, but work together inside one jelly shell!
Bats actually don't all use echolocation, as they have very good eyesight - but those who do use it, do so masterfully.
A good run for one of these beautiful creatures is 150 years, but Jonathan of St. Helena in the Atlantic is 183 and going strong!
Due to a giraffe's unique shape, its massive heart is absolutely necessary for pumping blood all the way up its neck. Even when prone, a giraffe's resting blood pressure is 280/180 mmHg,.
The only mammals that stop breeding long before death are humans, killer whales, or pilot whales. While many other mammals experience menopause, none of them live very long after their reproductive years are behind them, meaning, for them at least, menopause is death.
This is the most venomous spider, but fortunately you won't encounter it unless you are in Brazil or parts of Central America.
As tadpoles, frogs breathe through gills, but as adults they breathe through their nostrils!
Elephant ears are full of blood vessels and serve to cool the body of the elephant by cooling its blood supply.
Gorillas, those intelligent, burly cousins of ours, have pretty good lifespans for creatures that lack the benefits of medicine. It could be their 100 percent vegetarian diet, or it could be that they live very stress-free lives. It's probably just built into their genes.
When they dive to kill their prey by striking with their skulls, peregrine falcons can reach 200 mph. This means that when stalking other birds, these predators can shatter other birds' spines with a single blow. Ouch.
Male mosquitoes do not bite, leaving the blood-sucking reputation of their species to female mosquitoes. Recent studies have shown that, because mosquitoes are averse to strong vibrations, one way to ward them off is to wave at them, even if you don't hit them. Really? Did they need a study to figure out that strategy?
Rhinoceros horns are composed of keratin, the same substance that your hair and fingernails are made of. Rhino horns form from hair that grows and tightly compacts, bonding to itself, over a rhino's lifetime. Inside this ball of keratin sit mineral deposits of calcium and melanin, which keep the horn hard and pointy, while protecting it from deterioration from sunlight. In many nature preserves, rhinos are relieved of their horns by conservationists in order to discourage poachers from killing these great beasts for the bit of hair on the ends of their noses. Crazy, right?
Horses and cows both sleep standing up. Both of these animals are prey species, and have evolved so they can awaken and run to safety should a predator turn up. As a result, visiting a farm at night would mean seeing lots of large animals that seem awake, but aren't.
The myotonic goats faint and fall over when they are surprised. It's hilarious but also rather sad as naturally it makes them quite vulnerable to predators.
The smartest collie ever, Chaser of South Carolina, knew more than 1,000 words. This is double the number known by Kanzi the amazing ape, who knew about 450 words. Alex the parrot was also an impressive wordsmith, but Chaser had them all beat.
In times of stress, a female rabbit's body will re-absorb fetuses to avoid giving birth to babies with no hope of surviving.
Cows have four stomachs because they are a "ruminant," which means they digest grass in a very long process involving some regurgitating, chewing, and burping a whole lot.
Russian scientist Dmitri K. Belyaev tried this out and found that if you only breed the 20 percent of the most docile foxes, in only seven generations, you get a dog-like fox that plays with you and wags its tail
It's true! Sperm whales have accents and regional dialects. Different pods sound a little different, and if they enter a new pod, they will pick up that pod's "idiom" and way of "speaking."
Barnacles may not look very sexy, but they have genitalia that is up to 50 (yes, fifty) times their body length. No wonder there are so many of them.
Snails can sometimes don't really have a gender, or be either gender, or switch genders, so technically, they are not homosexual. However, ducks, penguins, and cows have all been seen to enjoy homosexual behavior, which puts them on a very long list of species where this has been documented - including lions, macaques, grey whales, buffalos, zebras, tamarins, and of course humans... among many more!
An octopus is not a vertebrate so it cannot be a mammal. It also lays eggs and is not warm-blooded, which further excludes it.