The size and diversity of the animal kingdom might be incredible, but what these animals tend to do is often even more astonishing. That’s why we had to prepare a list of the most exciting animal facts we know of today.
There’s a lot of fascinating info we have for you, so get ready to have your mind blown.
Top 10 Facts About Animals
- The world’s fastest land animal is the cheetah, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph.
- The animal that kills the most humans every year is the mosquito.
- Common swifts can fly for ten months without landing.
- Bees pollinate more than 30% of the world’s crops.
- The largest spider in the world is the South American Goliath birdeater.
- The sloth spends 98% of its life in the trees.
- Koalas sleep for 18–22 hours a day.
- Roosters could deafen themselves, but they prevent it by tilting their head backward.
- Otters hold hands while sleeping.
- Baby elephants are known to suck their trunks for comfort.
General Animal Facts
Planet Earth is home to around 8.7 million species of animals. There are likely even more than that, but we still had to pick facts on only a handful of them, so here’s a selection of facts on some of the most exciting animals in the world.
1. The world’s fastest land animal is the cheetah, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph.
(African Wildlife Foundation, National Geographic, ThoughtCo)
Many birds and sea creatures are faster, but the cheetah is the undefeated champion of the land.
Though they can reach 75 mph, the maximum recorded speed is 61 mph. And, of course, cheetahs can only achieve this in short bursts of speed, so their average speed is closer to 40 mph.
The current record holder is Sarah, a cheetah that managed to run 100 meters in only 5.95 seconds.
2. The most venomous snake in the world is the Inland Taipan.
(Australian Museum, Australia Zoo)
The snake is also known as the Western Taipan, and a single bite of this animal has enough poison to kill as many as 100 adult men. What’s more, the poison can kill you in only half an hour if you don’t treat the bite.
Thankfully, the Inland Taipan is not the most dangerous snake, as it’s pretty shy and rarely encountered.
3. The animal that kills the most humans every year is the mosquito.
Moving on with the deadly facts about jungle animals, mosquitos are technically the deadliest animals in the world. However, it’s only because they kill the most humans per year. The current estimate states that they kill around a million people every year.
To keep things interesting, the second-most deadliest animal for humans is, well, other humans. People kill around 475,000 people every year. This is only counting recorded homicides, of course. Otherwise, the number would be much higher.
4. Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward.
(CGTN, ScienceNetLinks, Perot Museum)
The hummingbird can move its wings 180 degrees in all directions, allowing it to fly backward, upside down, sideways, change directions mid-flight, and even hover in place.
It’s the only known bird species that can do this.
5. Common swifts can fly for ten months without landing.
They can both eat and sleep while in the air, and what’s more, scientists have so far found three swift species that can fly for incredibly long periods.
And if the sleeping part sounds impossible, they manage to do it after reaching higher altitudes, so they effectively glide and sleep simultaneously.
6. Bees pollinate more than 30% of the world’s crops.
(Friends of the Earth, Global Giving)
Moreover, stats reveal that 71 of the 100 crop species depend on bees to some extent. So, if you’ve ever wondered how animals help humans, you don’t have to look further than bees.
They help pollinate a massive portion of the crops we eat, provide us with countless amounts of honey, and more than 90% of wild plants depend on bees and other pollinators in order to reproduce.
Facts About Animals in the Tropical Rainforest
The world’s rainforests have always been incredibly fascinating, and it’s not only for the flora. The fauna excites people just as much, so let’s take a look at some facts.
7. The largest spider in the world is the South American Goliath birdeater.
You can find this monstrosity in the Amazon rainforests of Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana, southern Venezuela, and northern Brazil.
This member of the Guinness Book of Records is as large as a man’s fist or a young puppy. More precisely, they can have a leg span of 30 centimeters.
With all that in mind, it’s not hard to understand why almost 500 million people are afraid of spiders.
9. The sloth spends 98% of its life in the trees.
(Animal Facts Encyclopedia, Mental Floss)
It might sound impossible, but these animals rarely need to leave the tree. They relieve themselves once a week, and that’s one of the rare instances when they go down to the ground.
It’s also when they are most likely to die. Some estimates state that up to half of all sloth deaths are linked to these dangerous trips to the bathroom.
Facts About Hibernation and Sleep
Both hibernation and sleep can be fascinating in animals. That’s why we’ve prepared a few truly mind-blowing facts about the two.
10. True hibernating animals can drastically reduce their body temperature and heart rate while sleeping.
The true hibernators are animals that can drop their body temperatures to below freezing levels, but they don’t sleep through the entire winter. They still wake up every few weeks to relieve themselves and eat small amounts of food.
Bears, even though associated with hibernation, actually go through a different, although very similar, process called torpor. It’s effectively a state of deep sleep, from which they can awake fairly easily.
11. Koalas sleep for 18–22 hours a day.
It’s primarily because of their limiting diet that consists of only eucalyptus leaves, which are low in nutrition and toxic to boot. This means that their digestive system has to work extra hard to get everything it needs — and they don’t get much energy from such a diet.
12. During hibernation, the heart rate of a chipmunk drops from 350 beats per minute to only four.
(National Geographic, Science World)
Dwarf lemurs are close as well, as their heart rate drops from 300 to less than six per minute. Even their breathing slows down — they can go for as long as 10 minutes without taking a single breath.
Interesting Facts About Animals
You’ve seen a lot of fascinating facts on all sorts of animals, but now it’s time to check some extraordinary facts that are so unique, you’ve probably not heard of them before.
13. Despite what most people think, flamingos are not born pink.
We always think of flamingos as pink-colored birds with long necks and legs. But they are, in fact, not born that way.
The birds are born grey, but they turn pink in time because of the food they eat. The algae, brine shrimp, and larvae that flamingos eat the most are filled with beta carotene, a specific red-orange pigment.
The flamingo’s body breaks down these foods and deposits the pigments in the skin, which causes their feathers and skin to turn pink.
14. Roosters could deafen themselves, but they prevent it by tilting their head backward.
(Poultry World, Alpine Hearing Protection)
Their crowing is so loud that it could, theoretically, make them go deaf. Fortunately, they can cover their ear canals almost completely by tilting their heads backward.
By the way, the crowing can be as loud as 142.3 decibels, which is louder than some rock concerts and even thunder strikes.
15. The only animal on the planet whose males give birth is the seahorse.
What is unique about this tiny sea animal is that the female deposits eggs into the male’s brood pouch, where the male fertilizes them and carries them until giving birth.
One theory for this reversal of gender roles is that it allows the female to develop a new batch of eggs while the male takes care of one.
16. Otters hold hands while sleeping.
(North American Nature)
You might think that some cuddling is involved here, but otters actually hold hands while sleeping so they don’t lose each other in the water during sleep. Another reason is to keep their mate close, as there is tough competition in the otter world.
17. Horned lizards can shoot blood from their eyes.
Horned lizards can do this thanks to sinuses filled with blood in their eye sockets, and they use this as a defense mechanism. They can build pressure in the sinuses until they burst and shoot blood up to 4 feet away.
Surprisingly, they can do so a few times during a short period, if needed.
Moreover, they use the same mechanism to clean their eyes — just without the auto-hemorrhaging.
18. A salamander species, the Mexican axolotl, can regenerate body parts.
Regeneration is an essential ability of all living organisms. However, some can do it more effectively than others.
This aquatic species of salamander can regenerate limbs multiple times, and it can even regenerate internal organs, including the heart and the brain.
19. Baby elephants are known to suck their trunks for comfort.
This is effectively the same thing baby humans do with their thumbs. Both baby elephants and human babies share the same sucking reflex, which also helps them know how to get food when near their mothers.
Moreover, this action helps young elephants learn how to use their trunks — which is not an easy task considering there are 50,000 individual muscles in them.
20. The giant octopus has three hearts and nine brains.
One of the strangest animals on the planet has to be the giant octopus for the sheer number of hearts and brains it has.
It uses those extra hearts to pump blood to all the gills, while the central heart sends oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
As for the brain, it has one in each tentacle, which enables them to act independently of each other and take some load off the central brain.
21. The kick of an ostrich can kill a lion.
Ostriches are the largest birds on the planet, and their kick can kill a lion for the sheer strength in their legs.
More precisely, considering they can weigh up to 350 lbs and kick with a force of about 2,000 psi, it’s safe to say that there aren’t many land animals they couldn’t kill with a kick.
What is the world’s smartest animal?
It’s impossible to determine which animal species is the smartest on the planet, but there are undoubtedly several contenders.
Currently, the most intelligent animals include the rat, octopus, pigeon, squirrel, pig, crow, elephant, orangutan, dolphin, and chimpanzee.
Chimpanzees are often cited as the world’s smartest animals for several reasons. They can learn sign language, recognize themselves in mirrors, use tools, and even combine symbols for objects to express an entire idea.
(How Stuff Works)
Is there an immortal animal?
Believe it or not, the answer is yes. The most famous biologically immortal animal is the jellyfish called Turritopsis dohrnii. They achieve this by reverting to an earlier stage of their life cycle, which they can effectively do forever.
There are some other animals that have achieved immortality in other ways, like hydras who simply do not age. Turtles, as well, are more likely to die from a disease or injury than from old age, as their organs simply don’t show any age-related damage.
(Australian Academy of Science, Reader’s Digest)
What do animals do for fun?
Many species of animals tend to do things that don’t serve a clear purpose in their lives. Because of that, it stands to reason that they do these things for enjoyment.
For instance, dolphins are known to deliberately handle pufferfish in order to get them to release their toxins. The only thing these toxins do to dolphins is cause them to hallucinate or, to put it simply, get them high.
There are many more examples, from cats chasing lasers to crocodiles swimming with their smaller companions on their back.
(ABC News, National Geographic)
Which animal is the laziest?
It’s hard to choose the laziest animal, but there are certainly several contenders.
These include pygmy blue tongue lizards, lemurs, pigs, giant pandas, owl monkeys, hippos, house cats, koalas, and of course, sloths. The main factors considered are the number of hours they spend asleep and the amount of energy they use for fulfilling their needs.
(A-Z Animals, One Kind Planet)
Why should animals be kept in zoos?
Humans have been keeping wild animals in captivity for hundreds if not thousands of years. However, that doesn’t mean it’s morally right to do so, nor is it suitable for animals.
It’s becoming hard to justify keeping animals in captivity, but there are still a few reasons why this is the right choice in specific cases:
- Zoos save endangered species of animals by keeping them protected from predators, poachers, and hostile environments.
- Bringing people and animals together can help educate the public about the importance of animals in our ecosystem.
What animals live in the tundra?
The tundra is a specific biome characterized by the lack of trees, very low temperatures, and very little rain. In short, it is one of the harshest environments in the world.
However, some animals still manage to live in these regions, including species like:
- Arctic hare
- Polar bear
- Arctic fox
- Snowy owl
- Arctic ground squirrel
- Mountain goat
- Musk ox
- Antarctic Penguin
(NHPBS, World Atlas)
The Bottom Line
So there you have them, our picks for the most exciting animal facts the scientific community can give us today.
We hope you had as much fun reading them as we had compiling them!
- A-Z Animals
- ABC News
- African Wildlife Foundation
- Alpine Hearing Protection
- Animal Facts Encyclopedia
- Ask Nature
- Australian Academy of Science
- Australian Museum
- Discover Wildlife
- Friends of the Earth
- Global Giving
- How Stuff Works
- Live Science
- Live Science
- Mental Floss
- National Geographic
- National Geographic
- National Geographic
- National Geographic
- North American Nature
- One Kind Planet
- Perot Museum
- Poultry World
- Reader’s Digest
- Science World
- Scientific American
- World Atlas
- World Atlas