Do You Know These Random Animal Facts?

Zoe Samuel

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Everyone loves animals (well, everyone you'd want to spend the holidays with does, anyway!). Even so, other than a professional veterinarian, you don't have to know too much about them to get by - but if you're curious enough about our furry and feathered friends, you must have picked up a variety of useful nuggets about their habits and traits.

There's a lot of disinformation about animals and in today's urban and suburban environments, we can feel very cut off. That's why it's important to remember that the animal kingdom is full of diverse creatures, some living wildly different lives than us, and others acting startlingly similar to their human cousins. Either way, if we study them, we might learn from them - or simply enjoy getting to know our roommates on planet Earth.

What happened to the peppered moth in Victorian England? How do vultures warm their feet? What's special about the family and romantic lives of penguins, seahorses, or prairie voles? What do you think would happen if you were to tickle a turtle or pose a challenging puzzle to a Caledonian crow? Are any animals ever democratic in their behavior?  If you think you know the answer to these, then this is the quiz for you!

How do vultures keep their feet cool?

Yes, it's true. Vultures keep their feet cool by pooping on them. This is not surprising, given that they also eat old dead things. Way to keep it classy, vultures.

What is special about barn owls' ears?

Barn owls' ears move in different directions to help them identify where sounds are coming from.

What helps Newfoundlands swim?

Newfoundlands were bred to help fishermen in the cold waters of their native country. They have webbed feet to help them swim with nets and boats.

How hot can a tardigrade handle?

A tardigrade is a tiny creature that can withstand the vacuum of space, as well as extremes of heat and cold. They were discovered in 1773 - and they'll probably outlast us all.

Why is colic so dangerous for horses?

Horses get colic when gas is stuck inside their intestine. Since they cannot pass gas or throw up, they are unable to dislodge it, and it sometimes requires major abdominal surgery to solve the issue.

What does the Adelie penguin gift its intended beloved?

The penguins value pebbles since they use them to build their nest, so a male will bring pebbles to his intended. The penguins take turns in raising the chick.

What is in the walls of the bone-house wasp's nest?

The bone-house wasp stuffs the walls of its nest with the bodies of ants! Since ants have only exoskeletons and not bones, technically "bone-house" is something of a misnomer.

What's special about seahorse families?

The male seahorses take the seahorse babies into their bellies after they are fertilized, and then give birth to them. They also do most of the childcare.

What color are flamingos?

Flamingos get their famous pink color from eating shrimp, but if they don't, they stay their natural white.

In England, who owns all the swans on open water?

The Queen technically owns all mute swans on open water. If a swan is otherwise unaccounted for, it's hers.

What color are giraffes' tongues?

Like Newfoundland dogs in question #3, giraffes have a black tongue!

How do tigers take the meat off their prey's bones?

Tigers have tongues that are like a rasp - they can pull the meat right off a bone with it!

How many lenses do the eyes of a butterfly have?

Butterflies have 6,000 lenses in their eyes - but the highest number of eyes belongs to the giant clam

What percentage of baby clownfish are born male?

All baby clownfish are male, but some turn female when it's time to breed.

How many jaws do moray eels have?

Moray eels have jaws inside their jaws, which come out as needed. Picture the creature from Alien to get the idea.

What is special about elephant warning calls?

Elephants have specific warnings for different situations, such as bees and humans.

How much stronger than a human's sense of smell is a dog's?

No wonder dogs love food so much - they have an amazing sense of smell! However, they have a weaker sense of taste than humans, which might explain why so few of the snacks we give them ever actually touch the sides going down.

How do otters make sure they stay together while sleeping?

Otters hold hands so they can stay together while sleeping in the water. They also use sea kelp as an anchor.

What is the technical name of the "butcher bird"?

A shrike feeds on small animals like mice and insects. They live primarily in Eurasia and Africa.

What dangerous mistake do baby sloths often make?

Baby sloths do indeed not know a branch from a limb, and sometimes grab onto themselves in order to stay in a tree - meaning they fall out!

What is the only mammal that can fly?

Bats are indeed the only mammal that can fly. All other flying creatures belong to other classes, such as insects or birds.

What is notable about Caledonian crows?

Crows are very smart, and Caledonian crows have been seen creating their own tools, such as making a hook with a piece of wire or using pebbles to displace water and raise its level so they can get at a grub. They've also been seen dropping nuts on intersections, waiting for cars to drive over and crack them, then going down during the red lights to collect the cracked nuts.

Are turtles ticklish?

Turtles can certainly enjoy a lovely tickle or scratch through their shell. Gently rubbing a turtle with an old toothbrush may result in a happy wriggling reaction!

How many partners do prairie voles have?

Prairie voles are notably monogamous. They have been essential to studies in the roles of the "cuddle hormone," oxytocin, and also vasopressin, which appears to be higher in monogamous voles (and possibly monogamous human men too!).

What is kaninhoppning?

Rabbit show jumping is popular in Sweden. The rabbits are led around a little course, and jump several times their own height.

What do macaques do with snow?

Macaque monkeys do indeed have friendly snowball fights when the opportunity arises.

What is special about the turritopsis nutricula species?

This is the Latin name for a type of jellyfish that appears to be immortal. While most of them do eventually die from outside factors, like being eaten, they don't actually seem to age. They grow up, breed, then become asexual and just float around, potentially for all eternity.

How do fruit bats see in the dark?

Fruit bats actually have really good night vision, and unlike other bats, do not use echolocation.

What's special about a litter of nine-banded armadillo babies?

Yep, all the members of nine-banded armadillo litters are indeed identical! Typical litters include quadruplets.

What color skin do polar bears have?

Polar bears may look white, but this is mostly a matter of their pale fur and light reflecting in the strands from their white snowy surroundings. But they have black skin underneath.

What do you call a baby puffin?

It's an unbearably cute name for an unbearably cute baby. The largest puffin colony ever seen was made up of 4 million individuals - and since puffins are monogamous and mate for life, that's a pretty sizable set of nuclear families!

What sound do frogs make?

Frogs actually do not say "ribbit" - or at least, most don't. They make all sorts of different sounds, including chirps, croaks, and all kinds of little burping noises. There is one breed that does say "ribbit" and it lives in the Hollywood Hills. That means it was the background noise to all the early movies with sound which filmed in that area - and thus the legend was born that this is the sound all frogs make. It's a striking example of the power of the ​media to tell us how things are, even if they aren't really!

What happened to the peppered moth in Victorian England?

Peppered moths are naturally mostly pale, but would occasionally show up dark. However, in pre-industrial times, this was a bad move as it meant being more visible to predators. During the sooty years of the Industrial Revolution, dark peppered moths had an advantage, and the pale ones all but died out. Once coal gave way to cleaner oil, and later natural gas, however, the population switched back. While full speciation did not take place as there was not enough time. It is a good example of how the process of natural selection causes creatures to eventually change.

How long can a snail hide in its shell without coming out?

It's true! Snails can stay in their shells for three years. Other animals that can go a long time without sustenance include bedbugs (sorry), at one year, and crocodiles, who match snails at three years.

How do African buffalo decide which way the herd will go?

The adult female buffaloes vote on which way the herd will go by facing that way - and off they go. It's one of many examples of animal democracy, with baboons and chimps operating similar systems where the females make most of the decisions.

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