Animal myths: How much do you know?
Animal myths: How much do you know?
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What exactly is in a camel's hump? And are bats really blind? It's time to find out and test your animal knowledge!
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Q: What's the basis of the phrase "elephants never forget"?
There's plenty of research to prove that elephants are very intelligent animals. We’re certain they can forget some things, but not in these instances.
- Elephants have been known to hold grudges against members of their group.
- Elephants can recognize each other even after years of being apart.
- Older elephants remember alternate routes to food and water in cases of emergency.
- All of the above.
Q: Can alligators really live in the sewer system?
Another animal myth debunked! The “sewer commissioner” was just trying to stir up some controversy.
- Yes. People flush baby alligators down the toilet all the time, especially in Florida where they are frequently kept as pets.
- Yes. In the 1930s, New York’s sewer commissioner took part in a campaign to clean all gators out of the sewer system.
- No. Even if an alligator made it into a sewer, it would not survive.
Q: Are bats really blind?
Bats use echolocation as their primary means of locating their surroundings, but they do have functioning eyesight.
- No. They have poor eyesight, but they can see.
- Yes. These cave dwellers have evolved echolocation to sense what’s around them.
- No. Like most flying animals, bats have keen eyesight to see their tiny insect prey.
Q: Do mother birds reject their young if they are touched by humans?
Merely touching an egg or baby bird won't make the mommy bird kick the tyke out. Experts advise leaving fledglings alone (they’re just trying to fly!) and only handling babies to return them to the nest.
- Yes. The scent of a human is seen as a threat to all of their young.
- Sort of. While it makes no difference if a human handles a baby bird, an egg is a different story.
- No. It makes no difference.
Q: Where did the phrase "mad as a March hare" come from?
Hares behave erratically during their mating season. Lewis Carroll popularized the phrase, but he wasn’t the first to use it.
- The animals' mating season is in March.
- Pagan calendars marked The Ides of March near the Easter holiday, which eventually adopted the rabbit as a symbol.
- “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” featured a whimsical character named the March Hare.
Q: Do groundhogs really know when the seasons will change?
Hibernating groundhogs must be able to sense when it’s time to wake up for good. Seeing their shadow doesn’t have anything to do with it.
- No. The holiday was invented by the owners of Punxsutawney Phil.
- Yes. They are scared back into hiding when they see their shadows.
- Yes. They wake up to check if it’s spring, and are sensitive to temperature changes.
- No. Their "predictions" are rarely correct.
Q: True or false: Earwigs crawl into human ears.
It’s just an old wives’ tale that an earwig will bore into human ears and lay eggs in the brain. Earwigs don’t hurt humans, and they tend to nest in dark, humid places.
Q: Does one worm turn into two living worms when you cut it in half?
Worms need love too! They’re just like lizards when it comes to regeneration. (You wouldn’t split a lizard right down the middle, would you?)
- Yes. The creepy critters can regenerate all of their organs.
- No. Worms can regenerate parts of their bodies, but they have complex innards.
- Yes, some worms have been known to reproduce by spontaneously splitting themselves in half.
Q: Do most bats really have rabies?
A common misconception! Of all bats that have been captured and tested for rabies, only about 6% of them tested positive. However, nearly all of the human rabies cases in the U.S. come from bat bites.
- Yes, their cramped, enclosed habitats cause the disease to spread rapidly.
- No, bats are actually immune to rabies.
- Yes, all bats are born with a genetic predisposition for the rabies disease.
- No, the overwhelming majority of bats do not have rabies.
Q: Do camels really store water in their humps?
Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr
While water can make its way into the hump of the camel, it’s not usually used to keep the camel going. Camels can survive in the desert because they have more efficient biological mechanisms to deal with heat.
- Yes, but only camels with two humps. One is for food and one is for water.
- No. Humps largely consist of fat, which help them survive for days at a time without food in the desert.
- Yes. The water is contained inside the hump along with fatty reserves for energy.
Q: Do bulls really get aggressive at the color red?
It's the snapping cloth that enrages the bull, not the color. Bulls actually cannot see the color red at all.
- Yes, because red is the only color that bulls can see.
- Yes, but only ones that have been trained.
- No, the color of the cloth is just for show.
Q: Which of these statements about grandaddy longlegs is true?
Luis Fernández García/Wikimedia Commons
Not only is a granddaddy longleg harmless, it’s not a spider at all!
- They are the most venomous spider in the world.
- They have fangs, but they’re too small to bite humans.
- They are one of the few spiders without venom.
- None of the above.
Q: True or false: Lemmings are suicidal.
The popular misconception comes from a staged scene in a nature documentary created by Walt Disney Productions called "White Wilderness."
Q: Are dogs colorblind?
Dogs can only see a range of grays and pale yellows, with the exception of blue, which they can see vividly.
- Yes, they can only see some colors.
- Yes, they can only see black and white.
- No, they see in full color.
Q: Which of these "facts" is actually true?
Ostriches only put their heads into the ground when tending to their nests. Warts only come from human viruses. Goldfish actually have great memories and can be trained. Boo-yah!
- Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared.
- Touching a frog or toad will give you warts.
- Goldfish have a memory of 3 seconds.
- Butterflies taste with their feet.
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