Fascinating Animal Facts

Polar Bears
Polar bears look white, but they actually have black skin. Scott Schliebe / USFWS

Our world is full of animals that are wondrous and amazing! These fascinating creatures have certain adaptations that may seem strange to us, but are necessary for the animal to survive. These adaptations may be defense mechanisms that help the animal to avoid predators or they may aid the animal in obtaining food for themselves. Below are ten fascinating facts about animals that I think may surprise you.

Fascinating Animal Facts

10. Frogs have ear drums on the outside of their heads. While frogs don't have an external ear as do humans, they have an inner ear, middle ear, and an outer ear drum or tympanum.

9. Sea otters always float on their backs when they eat. These marine mammals dine on animals including muscles, sea urchins, clams, and snails all while floating on their backs. Their extremely dense fur protects them from the cold waters as they eat.

8. Polar bears look white, but they actually have black skin. Unlike other bears, their fur is transparent and reflects visible light. This allows polar bears, which live in the arctic tundra, to blend in with their snow covered environment.

7. Snakes always keep their eyes open, even when they are asleep. Snakes can't close their eyes because they do not have eyelids. They do have eye scales which cover their eyes and shed when the snake sheds its skin.

6. Crickets have ears on their front legs. Located just below the knees, their ears are among the smallest in the animal kingdom. In addition to crickets, grasshoppers and locusts also have ears on their legs.

5. Aardvarks can hear and smell termites and ants. An aardvark uses its long tongue to reach deep into termite and ant mounds.

These animals can eat tens of thousands of insects in a single night.

4. Cobras are able to kill with a bite as soon as they are born. Baby cobra venom is just as potent as an adult cobra's venom. Their bite is dangerous because cobras can inject large amounts of venom in a single bite. Cobra venom contains a neurotoxin that affects the central nervous system and can lead to paralysis, respiratory system failure, and death.

3. Flamingos have knees that can bend backward. Well actually, what looks like its knees are actually its ankles and heels. A flamingo's knees are located closer to its body and hidden under its feathers.

2. The pistol shrimp catches its prey by surprising it with a loud banging noise made with its claws. The sound is so loud that it stuns or even kills their prey. The sound made by pistol shrimp claws can be as loud as 210 decibels, which is louder than a gunshot.

1. Some species of Australian Flower Spiders eat their mother when food becomes limited. The mother spider sacrifices herself by encouraging her young babies to attack her, dissolve her insides, and feed on her body. Cannibalism is also seen in other spider species and most often observed in relation to sexual encounters.

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