7 Fascinating Animal Facts We Learned Today

1. Tarantulas are show dogs, too. Well, show tarantulas, anyway.

The Britain Tarantula Society Annual Exhibition features eight-legged friends that are judged on appearance, demeanor and stance. This year, in May, over 30,000 tarantulas and keepers attended the 29th event!

2. Cats make snake-like faces for a reason

You know the one we’re talking about? Where the cat’s mouth hangs open with tension as he stares intently and curls his lips? This expression is actually a response to an odor sensed through the Jacobsen organ (also called the vomeronasal organ), which is located on the roof of the mouth.

cat fehlman

Guess who else has this organ? Snakes! As the organ fills with the odor, it sends signals to the brain to elicit this response, known as the Flehmen response. Horses, goats and other felines also exhibit the curled-lip snake look.

3. A group of adult rabbits is called a fluffle. That’s right. A fluffle. 

Hmmm. Wonder why.

fluffle of rabbits

4. The Egyptian Mau has a special talent

Egyptians Maus, one of the few breeds of spotted domestic cats, have special adaptations, like longer hind legs and an interesting skin flap connecting to the knee, that allow them to run faster than any other domestic feline breed. They’ve been clocked at 30mph!

5. Some lizards do push-ups to show off their strength and impress the ladies.

Seriously. And that’s not all – it’s all about the timing of the display.  Kangaroos also use their big arm muscles to attract females. Maybe the two should hit the gym together!

lizards6. Duck-billed platypuses have venomous spurs.

They can be used against small animals and rival platypuses, as well as humans – and they cause serious pain, though it has been proven that the venom is deadly to our species. Whoa!

7. Hippos have built-in sunscreen and antiseptic lotion. 

The red, oily substance that hippos secrete isn’t actually blood sweat, as the myth goes. It’s a moisturizer, sun protectant, and potential barrier against germs.

hippo What’s the coolest animal fact you’ve run across recently? Share your favorite in the comments!