17 Ridiculous, Widespread Animal Myths You Need To Stop Believing Right Now

17 Ridiculous, Widespread Animal Myths You Need To Stop Believing Right Now

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There are all kinds of myths out in the wild that are accepted as true without a second thought. However, you need to stop doing that and treat them as only myths. Below are 17 of the most prevalent untruths involving animals, along with the real facts about how they really act. So the next time you pass a lounging cow, you don”t have to grab an umbrella. Trust us and be smart about it.

1. Cats always land on their feet.

Cats always land on their feet.

Nope. Cats do have the ability to readjust their body”s position in free-fall, which makes it seem like they can nail landings all the time. However, this reflex requires some time, so the shorter the fall, the less likely the cat will stick the landing.

2. A human year equals seven dog years.

A human year equals seven dog years.

Different breeds of dogs each come with different life spans, so there”s no definite conversion. Larger breeds tend to have shorter life spans than smaller ones, though we”re still not exactly sure why. Since genetic diversity is a good thing, mixed breeds will also tend to live longer and with less health problems than purebreds.

3. Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when afraid.

Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when afraid.

If hiding, these big, rather ungainly birds will crouch down and stretch their long necks along the ground to keep a low profile. They”re not sticking their heads underground. It”s also unusual for ostriches to hide; typically, they”ll just run away.

4. Red pandas are related to giant pandas

Red pandas are related to giant pandas

Because of their matching names and eye-mask patterns, it”s easy to assume the two kinds of pandas are related, but they aren”t. Giant pandas are bears, and red pandas are more closely related to raccoons.

5. Koalas are bears.

Koalas are bears.

There seems to be some confusion in the bear family. Koalas are sometimes referred to as “koala bears,” but they”re actually marsupials, and not related to bears at all.

6. Touching a toad will give you warts.

Touching a toad will give you warts.

Warts on humans are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), not by toads. Toads are naturally bumpy creatures, and that”s part of their charm–and their camouflage. It should also be noted that amphibians have delicate skin, and handling them can cause them more upset than you.

7. Porcupines shoot their quills.

Porcupines shoot their quills.

Porcupines are covered in quills, but they can”t propel them from their bodies. The quills can come loose and remain in the unfortunate party on the receiving end, though, but that”s because they get pulled out of the porcupine, not shot out.

8. Cows lie down if it”s going to rain.

Cows lie down if it

Just like any other animal, cows lie down because they feel like it, not because of impending weather conditions. Usually, cows will lie down just to relax and chew their cud.

9. Camels store water in their humps.

Camels store water in their humps.

Camels” humps are fat deposits that allow the camels to survive in inhospitable climates without food. Another fun fact: a bactrian camel has two humps, and a dromedary has one hump. You can remember this by remembering that a B has two humps and a D has one. This is a dromedary wearing a saddle (so it looks…humpier).

10. Dogs” mouths are cleaner than humans.

Dogs

Are you kidding? You know exactly where dogs” mouths have been. On average, a dog”s mouth contains just as much bacteria as a human”s, panting or no panting. Plus, dogs eat poop. Come on.

11. Daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders.

Daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders.

First of all, not all arachnids are spiders, and non-spider arachnids, like many daddy longleg species, don”t produce venom at all. The types that do produce venom can cause a mild rash, but it”s nowhere near lethal.

12. Opossums hang by their tails.

Opossums hang by their tails.

We”re not sure how or why the tail-hanging myth started. Although the opossum”s tail is prehensile, it”s nowhere near strong enough to hold up the opossum”s body. Also, they don”t exactly “play” dead, either. They actually fall into an involuntary comatose state.

13. Birds will abandon their young if the babies are touched by a human.

Birds will abandon their young if the babies are touched by a human.

This myth holds that if a parent bird smells a human scent on its young, it will throw its young out of the nest. This is not true. Birds have small olfactory nerves, so they can”t really smell much of anything.

14. Female praying mantises decapitate their male sex partners.

Female praying mantises decapitate their male sex partners.

This behavior is touted as commonplace among all species of mantis, but it”s only ever been observed in the wild in one species.

15. Goldfish have 1-second memories.

Goldfish have 1-second memories.

Goldfish actually can remember, although their memory is typically jogged by acquiring food. Goldfish have been shown to remember complex routes and even to push levers to receive treats.

16. Bats are blind.

Bats are blind.

No species of bat is blind. Bats use echolocation to navigate their surroundings and hunt for food, but they also rely on their vision.

17. Lemmings commit mass suicide.

Lemmings commit mass suicide.

This myth has a definite beginning in the 1958 “documentary” White Wilderness, where, for reasons beyond understanding, a film crew actually herded a group of frightened lemmings off a cliff to show that they were mindless followers. The unfair characteristic stuck, but it appears as though humans are more likely to be blindly led than lemmings.

There are plenty more myths about animals (and just about anything else), so it”s always a good idea to do your fact-checking before you take something as…well…fact. These do, however, make one wonder if animals secretly have their own stupid human myths. I wonder what that goldfish is thinking…

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