Puzzling Facts About Animals That Will Brighten Your Day

Animals have been on the earth longer than humans, so they are bound to have some unique qualities. At first glance, they may seem like cute and cuddly creatures, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. Many species of animals have impressive abilities such as being super-intelligent, having a great memory, or superb survival skills. Many of their traits are similar to humans, including their complex emotions that allow them to empathize. Here are some uplifting facts about animals that will put a smile on your face.

Baby Elephants Can’t Control Their Trunks

a mother and baby elephant in an enclosure at the zoo
Valery Matytsin/TASS via Getty Images
Valery Matytsin/TASS via Getty Images

Similar to human babies, baby elephants lack fine motor skills that prevent them from fully controlling their trunks. Elephants are known for doing many daily tasks with their trunks such as eating and bathing.

Since the babies have trouble using their trunks it leads to them flopping them all over the place. Their lack of control can cause them to step on their trunk while they are walking or suck on it the same way a baby sucks its thumb.

Rabbits Compete In Track And Field Competitions

a rabbit jumping over an obstacle during a competition
Radek Mica/AFP/Getty Images)
Radek Mica/AFP/Getty Images)

In some places such as Sweden and the Czech Republic, there are annual rabbit show-jumping competitions called Kaninhops. It started in the early 1970s and the rules were modeled after horse jumping competitions.

The sport continued to grow and now there are many rabbit jumping clubs around the world. The Guinness World Record for the highest rabbit jump is 39.2 inches and the longest jump is 9 feet, 9.6 inches. All breeds are encouraged to compete, but the smaller rabbits tend to struggle more than the larger ones.

Cows Have Their Own Best Friends

two cows with orange flower wreaths
Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Everybody needs a friend. A study from Northampton University found that when two cows were paired together they were able to share a social bond. Also, their heart rate tended to be lower than normal and they were more relaxed when they were with each other.

On top of that the when the bonded cows are separated they will get more stressed and worry about their “friend.” The research showed that cows are very social animals and form close bonds within their herds.

Penguins Propose With A Pebble

Gentoo penguin presenting a pebble to its mate
Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images
Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Male Gentoo and Adelie penguins will search an entire beach in order to find the perfect pebble. They will then lay it at the feet of their chosen female mate. This is similar to the practice of someone getting down on one knee and presenting an engagement ring to their partner.

If the female likes the pebble it is then used to help build nests during mating season in preparation for the eggs. If a male penguin can’t find one on his own he may steal one from another penguin and pretend that he found it himself.

Every Dolphin Has A Name

baby and mother dolphin snuggling in the water
Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Dolphins make all sorts of distinct noises such as clicks, whistles, and whines when they’re together. When they talk to each other each dolphin has its own name that can be determined by a certain sound and pitch.

Dolphin research groups across the globe call it ‘vocal copying’ when a dolphin makes a unique whistle that describes its individual identity. Researchers found this by listening to recordings of over 250 wild bottlenose dolphins for a 25-year time span.

Squirrels Help Keep The Tree Population Alive

a squirrel eating on the limb of a tree
Huseyin Demirci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Huseyin Demirci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A wildlife science professor at Purdue University mentioned that squirrels will often bury the food they find underground. A lot of the time squirrels forget where they buried the seeds and acorns. Then, those abandoned seeds and acorns become trees.

This isn’t the case for all squirrels, but it’s most common with gray squirrels. Red squirrels will make their piles on top of the ground, which causes those nuts to dry out and not take root.

Chimps Play With Dolls

people petting a baby chimpanzee wearing baby clothes
Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Young female chimpanzees in Uganda may have something in common with young human children: they like to play with dolls. After observing their mothers caring for them the female baby chimps used objects including sticks to represent dolls that they’d play with and pretend to care for.

Researchers believe that it was the females who preferred to have a “doll” because of their biological makeup and instincts. The behavior was only seen in one specific area called Kanyawara at the Kibale National Park.

Baby Chicks Talk To Each Other Before They Hatch

baby chicks under a heat lamp
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Before baby chickens hatch they can communicate with each other and their mother through different sounds. According to a research team in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, mother birds like to leave messages to their chicks while they’re still in their eggs.

These tend to be about what their life will be like when they arrive, so they know what to do when they hatch. The chicks can find out if their parents will either be more generous or mean, and this tells them how much or little they should beg for food.

Bees Take Naps In Flowers

a bumblebee sitting on a pink and red flower
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

Worker bees are busy almost all the time, so sometimes they need to take a break. After bees drink the nectar from flowers it can cause them to become sleepy. The flower is the perfect size for a bee bed, so they will take naps inside.

A photographer noticed that Diadasia diminuta bees will sleep in orange flowers called Globe Mallows. When bees sleep they will stop moving their antenna and have oftentimes fallen over. Also, they can’t close their eyes because they don’t have eyelids.

A Group Of Pugs Is Called A Grumble

a woman holding two pug puppies
Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bernd Thissen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Pugs are often heard snorting and grunting when going about their day. When trying to sum up pugs into one collective word it was decided that a group of them would be called a grumble.

It may sound funny, but the American Kennel Club even certified it. Throughout history, many famous people have owned pugs, including Queen Victoria, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rob Zombie, and Paris Hilton. The name pug comes from their facial look alike, the marmoset monkey, who were nicknamed pug monkeys.

Goats Have Accents

a baby goat on a grass field
Araya Diaz/Getty Images
Araya Diaz/Getty Images

A study in Britain found that goats can have different accents depending on their surroundings. Once goats move away from their siblings and start to cohabitate with others their accents begin to change. This is also observed with elephants and dolphins.

Experts believe that it’s not just a select group of mammals who can do this, but there are many more species that have this capability. Before it was thought that goats’ voices were a result of their genetics, but it’s actually based more on their social groups.

Fish Can Recognize Their Owner’s Face

a man wearing a clear bowl on his head filled with goldfish
LKristy Sparow/Getty Images
LKristy Sparow/Getty Images

Even though humans and fish recognize faces in different parts of the brain, some types of fish have the ability to recognize familiar faces. A recent study with a small fish species called archerfish found that they could pick out a familiar human face from many other new faces with great accuracy.

The archerfish would show that they knew a particular face by spitting water from their mouths. The only other animals known to have a facial recognition ability are birds and primates.

Polar Bears Make Pillows Out Of Snow Before Going To Sleep

a polar bear sleeping in the snow
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Sleep is essential for polar bears because it helps them conserve energy and it’s one of their favorite things to do. They will usually find a soft, dry spot where they will sleep for about seven to eight hours at a time.

When sleeping in the snow they will dig a shallow pit for their bed and use their paw, a rock, a block of ice, or even snow as a pillow. During severe blizzards, they will put snow on top of their fur as a blanket.

Kangaroos Can’t Hop Without Their Tail

a mother kangaroo with baby in her pouch
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Kangaroos are one of the most versatile animals in the world. They are most commonly found on the Australian outback and are known for their jumping abilities and having a pouch for their baby.

When kangaroos hop they need to use their tail for balance, so if something lifts it off the ground it prevents them from doing anything. The large, stretchy tendons in their legs act as springs, which give them energy and the ability to hop all day long.

Wolves Have Babysitters

A wolf plays with one-month-old puppies in their enclosure
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

When the parent wolves go out to hunt they assign other adult wolves to be babysitters and watch over the cubs. The babysitters will take care of them by giving them food or playing a game.

Pack members will take turns doing this until the wolf pups are about eight-weeks-old. Then, the cubs are taken to an open area where they will stay together to sleep, play, eat, or just hang out. When they are around six-months-old they join the adults to hunt.

Fennec Foxes Have Really Hairy Feet

a baby Fennec fox being held
Junko Kimura/Getty Images
Junko Kimura/Getty Images

The fennec fox is the smallest fox in the world. They are known for their large ears, which usually measure at around six inches. Since they usually live in a dry, desert area they need to have physical features that make it easier for them to adapt.

Fennec foxes have very hairy feet that protect them from extremely hot sand and act like snowshoes. They also use their feet for digging because they live in underground dens.

Mice Sleep In Flower Petals

a field mouse sitting in a yellow tulip
Kelli Russell Agodon/Miles Herber/Twitter
Kelli Russell Agodon/Miles Herber/Twitter

A photographer caught some field mice snuggling up in a real-life flower bed. These tulips may seem fragile, but they are clearly the perfect place for the mice to sleep and hang out.

The reason the mice get inside the flowers is because they love the smell of the pollen and they will climb in to eat the stamens. After they’re done eating they tend to get tired and will just fall right asleep inside.

Pandas Aren’t Endangered Anymore

a giant panda playing at the zoo
Meng Delong/VCG via Getty Images
Meng Delong/VCG via Getty Images

Giant pandas used to be one of the most endangered species that was bordering on extinction, but that isn’t true anymore. They have finally made their way off the endangered species list and their population continues to rise.

The panda population has increased by 16.8% over the last decade with 1,864 pandas recorded. The Chinese government and World Wild Fund for Nature have worked together to locate and record the pandas which are thriving in their natural habitat.

Chinchillas Bathe In Dust

a blonde girl with a chinchilla on her shoulder
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Chinchillas do something that may seem quite unusual for staying clean. They have some of the densest furs, so they must take vigorous dust baths. The dust baths help keep their fur smooth and silky while helping them relaxing and have fun, too.

People who own a chinchilla as a pet can get store-bought dust or powder that’s perfect for absorbing the dirt and oils from their fur. In the wild, they usually use something called volcanic pumice.

Sea Otters Hold Each Other’s Paws When They’re Sleeping

sea otters holding hands in the ocean
Vancouver Aquarium/Twitter
Vancouver Aquarium/Twitter

There may not be anything cuter than seeing two sea otters holding hands. When they are sleeping they will grab each other’s paws so that they don’t float away from each other. This is usually done between a mother and her pup.

If a sea otter doesn’t have a buddy there are other methods to staying afloat. Sea otters will often wrap themselves in the kelp below the sea floor, which allows them to be safely anchored and not go out in the open ocean.