1. There is a “zombie-ant” fungus that can basically do mind control on an ant.
When an ant in the Brazilian rainforest becomes infected with a fungus called ophiocordyceps unilateralis it becomes a zombie ant and no longer can control its own actions. The parasite makes the insect leave its home and find a suitable area for the fungus to grow, where it then continues to grow and rot inside the ant’s body, sending out a mushroom-type stalk out of the ant’s body and releasing its fungal spores.
2. It’s really hard to differentiate male from female hyenas, since the female have genitalia that looks very similar to a penis.
It’s been so tough to tell male and females apart that apparently, in a Japanese zoo, the zookeepers tried to mate two hyenas that turned out to be male. The reason is that the clitoris of the females is so large that it looks like a penis, and the lips join together to form something similar to a scrotum.
3. The ancient ancestors of whales used to walk on land — and they were about the size of wolves.
Millions of years ago, the land-based ancestors of whales had hooves, webbed hind legs, and were about the size of a wolf or fox, apparently.
4. Elephants can and will exact revenge.
According to many experts, elephants are smart enough and have good enough memories to be able to seek revenge for traumatic events that happened earlier in their lives.
5. All clownfish are born male and have the ability to switch their sex to become the dominant female of the group.
All clownfish are males in their different stages of maturity (a phenomenon known as protandry). If the female of the group dies, the most aggressive and largest male in the group changes its sex to female, and the second largest and most aggressive clownfish becomes the alpha or reproductive male. Once a clownfish changes its sex, though, the change is irreversible.
6. The water bear is the only animal that can survive in space.
These eight-legged micro-animals, also known as tardigrades, can withstand extreme cold temperature, survive more than ten years without water, and survive large amounts of radiation.
7. Some turtles can breathe through their anus.
It’s called cloacal respiration, and only some species of turtles can do it. Basically, during their the hibernation period, these turtles will stay submerged underwater and use their anus to extract oxygen from the water.
8. Bonobos, which are an ape species closely related humans, are nearly all bisexual.
Experts believe also bonobos use sex to resolve conflict, and studies have shown that 7% of bonobo sex is nonreproductive.
9. Snails can sleep for three years.
A normal snail nap lasts a week, but they can sleep for three years, remaining inactive until conditions are moist enough for them to move.
10. The humpback anglerfish reproduces by having the male bite onto larger females to fertilize their eggs.
For a long time, scientists noticed that they were only able to catch female humpback anglerfishes, and that they all had a certain type parasite near their genitals. Turns out, that “parasite” is the male anglerfish! The male fish, which is super small, bites onto the body of the female to absorb nutrients and release sperm.
11. The Argentine lake duck has a penis that’s as long as its body.
12. That tweet you saw about the world’s loneliest whale? It’s sort of real.
The “World’s Loneliest Whale,” or “Whale 52” was first discovered by biologist Bill Watkins, who noticed that the whale’s songs were being sung at 52 hertz — too high for any other whale to hear. No one’s certain if the whale is still alive, but he’s probably a he and a blue whale.
13. The female Komodo dragon can reproduce asexually.
The largest lizard in the world can lay eggs without mating through a process called parthenogenesis, or “virgin conception.”
14. Cats only meow at humans.
Yep. Cats don’t use meows to communicate with each other! They only use that sound to communicate with us and get our attention. In fact, it is believed that they are so smart that they have a different type of meow for each thing they want from us .
15. Koala fingerprints are very similar to human fingerprints!
So do apes and chimps, but it’s especially interesting because A) koala prints look almost identical to ours, and B) their fingerprints evolved independently from primate prints!
16. The most dangerous animal in Africa is the hippopotamus.
You probably thought it would be the crocodile, but actually, the hippopotamus is the one animal that has caused more human deaths in Africa (about five hundred per year).
17. The axolotl is the only animal capable of regenerating amputated limbs, organs and injured tissues.
If an axolotl lose a limb, they are able to regenerate it in just a few weeks , with all the necessary bones, muscles and nerves. If its spinal cord suffers an injury, an axolotl is able to repair it; also, it can heal its wounds without leaving any scars or traces.
18. There is a type of insect that disguises itself with ant corpses to confuse predators.
The Acanthaspis petax assassin bug, which is found in East Africa and Malaysia, carries dead ants around on its body for camouflage.
19. Chickens are related to dinosaurs!
They’ve been called “living descendants of dinosaurs.”
20. And finally, there’s a type of fish parasite that will eat the fish’s tongue, and then takes the tongue’s place!!!
The Cymothoa exigua is a parasite that attaches to the tongue of a fish to eat away at it. Then, with its own body, it acts as a replacement tongue for the fish. Cool