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People Break Out Their Most Obscure Animal Facts

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Everybody loves a good fun fact.

They’re worth their weight in gold when you find yourself at an intimidating team-builder or other ice breaker situation.

On top of that, if you can master the art of injecting them into conversation without sounding like a middle school science teacher, you can rely on them to turn a boring chat around at a party.

And of all the fun facts, the animal ones seem to pique our interest more than most others.

Those creatures all around continue to fascinate us with their mysterious behaviors—often genius—behaviors.

Apparently Redditor KnightsWhoSayKni was fresh out of those facts, so they asked a simple, yet compelling question:

“What’s your #1 obscure animal fact?”

People came locked and loaded with all sorts of weird truths.

One common area of intrigue was, of course, anatomy.

“The American bison is the only animal in which both lungs share a common cavity. In every other animal the lungs are separated. What this meant is that when shot by an arrow, both lungs would collapse and the buffalo would suffocate quickly.”

“(For other animals, being shot in the chest would only collapse one lung, and they would at least have a chance) That’s why such a large animal could be taken down with relatively small weapons.” — angmarsilar

“Sloth hands work opposite to ours. They have to exert energy to open their ‘fist’ and relax to close it. This is how they can hang from trees while they’re sleeping and not fall off.” — liripipe

“Ancient penguins could have been up to 7 feet tall.” — StarsandstampS

“Some squid have toroid shaped (donut) brains, and their esophagus (throat) passing through it. If they eat something too big they can get brain damage.” — horch13

“Bird poop is white because they don’t secrete ammonia in urea like we do when we pee so it comes out in one movement and as nearly pure ammonia. Why that stuff eats your car paint!” — dave-pumpkins

Plenty of people were fascinated by the mental tendencies of certain animals. 

“Fish have been seen using tools – deliberately hitting a clam with a rock to get it to open so they can eat it.”

“Some fish (eels and groupers) form hunting partnerships where they communicate across the species barrier with specific signals to put their individual strengths to work (the eels chase prey out of crevices to where the groupers are waiting in open water).”

“They also get fooled by illusions in the same way we do, meaning that their brains are processing and interpreting their environment in a similar way to us.”

“That’s technically three facts but I like fish.” — BoldlyGone1

“There’s an insect called the scorpiofly that impresses mates by bringing them prey to eat. The bigger the meal, the better.”

“Only, some scorpionflies aren’t that great at catching food. So some of these males will imitate females, and wait for other males to bring them their gifts. Then they take the gift, fly away, and give it to an actual female.” — smiffypiffy

“On ostrich farms, some farmers have a hard time with breeding because the ostrich is more attracted to humans than other ostriches.”

“That’s right, somewhere out there an ostrich wants to fu** you.” — cleancutPunk

“Dogs may make social judgements about people based on how those people treat their owners. A study out of Japan had dog owners asking two people for help opening a container. There were three possible outcomes.”

A person reacting negatively by refusing and turning away, a person remaining neutral and a person helping. The dogs were then offered food from the people the owner had approached for help.”

“Dogs were much much less likely to accept food from the people who had refused to help their owners, and much more likely to accept food from those who had been neutral or who had helped.” — LogicalMess

Then came mention of those out-there behaviors. 

“Snapping/pistol shrimps and their colonies are so loud that they can interfere with sonar used by other animals and submarines.”

They also create tiny but incredibly powerful explosions implosions through the sheer force of their pincers closing ludicrously fast, which is cool.” — SolipsistAngel

“A green sea turtle can swim faster than Usain bolt can sprint. An animal out there with a house for a body can swim at speeds we don’t allow in playground zones 35MPH.” — rkhbusa

“Avocados were evolved to be eaten by the giant ground sloth. Imagine a sloth, but so massive it could only live on the ground. The flesh attracted the sloth and the very large seed was ‘designed’ to travel through their intestinal tract for re-seeding or whatever plants do.”

“Humans killed the sloth but loved the avo. We domesticated the avo to increase the yummy flesh. The pit has gotten smaller but is still very large. Whenever you eat an avo, think of the long extinct giant sloth.” — quokkafarts

“I’ve said this in my own thread but I’ll say it again.”

“Porcupines climb trees and come down backwards and use their tail to feel for the ground. Sometimes their tail will hit a branch and they will think it is the ground and so they will jump off and impale themselves.”

“Over time they evolved to have antibiotics in their quills so when they fall out of trees they don’t die.” — otterdragon

“Squirrels are responsible for thousands of new trees every year. They collect and bury their nuts all over the place so they’ll have food to last thru winter, but they forget about most of them.” — southwycke75344

And a few talked about what was myth and what was real. 

“Scientists thought the platypus was a joke until they send a dead one back to be studied.” — [deleted]

“People thought the okapi was a hoax until it was photographed. In parts of Sumatra it is believed that the orangutan can speak and refuses to do so because they don’t want to work.” — Victoresball

So there you have it.

Plenty of bizarre, fascinating, grotesque tidbits to keep you stocked for any lull in conversation.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.