Have I ever told you about your father?
As if the angler fish wasn’t strange enough, in order to reproduce the male attaches itself parasitically to the female by biting into her skin. The male then slowly dissolves losing its mouth, organs and brain until there is nothing left but its gonads!
Grandmother, what big eyes you have!
Tarsiers, like this Philippine tarsier, have such huge eyes that they cannot move them in their eye sockets. Luckily, they can turn their head a whole 360° in order to watch for their insect prey. Try looking around without moving your eyes in their sockets. If anything, it will amuse the person sat next to you!
Scorpions such as this emperor scorpion glow when exposed to UV light. Whilst glowing under UV lights might work well in a night club, scientists are unsure as to the reason why scorpions do it. One current theory is that it helps them to judge how dark the night sky is and therefore how safe they will be from predators.
Heat wave? Congratulations, it’s a boy!
The sex of some reptiles is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. In the American alligator, eggs incubated below 30°C will be female whilst eggs incubated above 34°C will be male. Often, there will be a range of temperatures across the nest meaning a mixed sex ratio is produced.
Four times the fun
The nine-banded armadillo is unusual in that it always gives birth to identical quadruplets. Producing multiple identical young is an unusual trait in mammals and only occurs in armadillos of the genus Dasypus. Another unusual feature of the nine-banded armadillo is that it is one of the few non-human animals that can contract the disease leprosy.
Look in to my eyes…..
Sharks such as the lemon shark can be ‘hypnotised’ by holding it upside down. The shark enters a state known as tonic immobility where it remains paralysed for up to 15 minutes before it recovers. Definitely worth remembering if you’re ever stranded in shark infested waters!
A bat that thinks it’s a mouse
The lesser short-tailed bat is the most terrestrial bat in the world. Despite being able to fly, it spends a lot of its time scampering around on the forest floor in search of prey. Having evolved in the absence of ground predators in its native New Zealand, the lesser short-tailed bat fills the niche usually occupied by rodents or shrews in other parts of the world.
A butterfly disguised as an ant
The large blue butterfly has a special disguise up its sleeve. As a vulnerable and plump caterpillar, it drops to the ground from its food plant and secretes a sweet fluid which attracts a particular species of red ant. It is then carried back to the ant’s nest where it eats the ants grubs before pupating and being escorted out of the nest as a butterfly the following year. Talk about hospitality!
Here comes the aeroplane!
We’ve all played this game with small children in order to get more food into their mouths than ends up on the floor. The gouldian finch takes this game a step further with the chicks having unusual light reflecting mouth markings. These are thought to guide the parent in the darkened nest, you certainly wouldn’t miss this mouth!
The ‘Did you know….?’ Champion!
As the largest animal to have ever lived, the blue whale unsurprisingly has a whole plethora of astounding facts! Weighing up to an estimated 180 tonnes, they have an aorta of around 23cm in diameter, a heart the size of a small car and a tongue that can weigh the same as a small elephant! And all this from feeding on tiny crustaceans known as krill!
Do you know any strange animals facts? Tell us about them!
Becky Moran, Arkive Media Researcher