20 Of The Weirdest Animal Facts


Over the history of life on Earth, millions of species of animals have successfully survived, while millions of others have become extinct. The animal kingdom is filled with a variety of fascinating species. Some animals have unusual disorders, while others have incredible capabilities and body structures. What we are about to share with you may surprise you.

In 2010, researchers had discovered evidence for perhaps the oldest animal in the fossil record. Interestingly, the significant find was actually an accident. The researchers had other intentions before they stumbled upon their amazing findings. After digging in Australia for clues regarding the climate of the past, researchers had found the fossil remains of sponge-like animals that had once lived around 650 million years ago.

The research suggested that the evolution of multicellular life began around 70 million years earlier than once thought. Another surprise with this discovery is that they lived before the ice age. It was once thought that no animals would of survived the severe ice age freeze.

Sponges are one of the simplest life forms of multicellular animals. Here we will discuss 20 amazing and weird animal facts of many species from around the world.

1. The Scientific Name For The Western Lowland Gorillas Is “Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla”

Let’s start off with a weird fact about the gorilla scientific name. The scientific name for the Western lowland gorilla is “Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla”. These are the common gorillas you probably have seen in virtually every zoo you visited.

This gorilla is the smallest subspecies of gorilla. They have no tails, but do have powerful strength and an average weight (males)of 300-600 pounds. The Guinness Book of World Records claims the average male weighs 370 pounds. Females are quite a bit smaller than males. The average weight for females is 158 pounds.  One adult gorilla is said to have the strength of at least 4-8 full-grown men.

The Western lowland gorillas were given their weird name in 1847 by an American Protestant clergyman named Thomas S. Savage. Savage coined the name after finding skulls and bones of apes that were unknown.

2. Rattlesnakes Have Mating Sessions That Can Last Over 22 Hours

Crotalus Scutulatus

Crotalus Scutulatus

Rattlesnakes have been known to have matting sessions that last over 22 hours long. Talk about stamina! The average size for rattlesnakes are about 2-3 feet long. Some of the largest rattlesnakes can reach 8 feet long. If kept in captivity, their average life span is 20-30 years.

3. Walruses Have The Longest Penis Bone Of Any Mammal

Walrus Baculum, approximately 22 inches long

Walrus Baculum, approximately 22 inches long

Walruses have penis bones called a baculum. The males are equipped with penis bones that can reach all the way to 30 inches long. However, in 2007, a 4.5 foot fossilized penis bone oosiks from an extinct species of walrus (perhaps the largest in existence) was sold for $8,000 dollars.

Oosiks are polished and frequently carved baculum that are often sold as souvenirs to tourists by Alaska Natives. The seller believes the 4.5 foot fossilized penis is definitely the largest on record. Walruses currently hold the record for the longest penis of any living animal.

4. The Gestation Period Of Elephants Is The Longest Of Any Land Animal

 Male Asian Elephant

Male Asian Elephant

The elephant has a gestational period that is longer than any land animal. The average gestational period for an elephant is 22 months long.

In 2011, a mother gave birth to a baby elephant at the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo making a new amazing record with a 700-day pregnancy.  Ironically, the baby is known to be the smallest baby ever recorded at the zoo.  A long pregnancy makes perfect sense because not only do elephants need more time to develop their large bodies, but also their massive sized brains. At an average weight of 10.5 pounds, adult elephants have the largest brains by mass of all mammals.

5. Chimpanzees Eat Dirt

Chimpanzee Head Sketch

Chimpanzee Head Sketch

Geophagy is the process of humans and animals that deliberately eat soil. Although there is no confirmed reason why chimps eat dirt, scientists believe it is because when consumed with certain plants, the dirt will help prevent malaria. Believe it or not, eating soil does have health benefits. Soil contains iron and can help counter diarrhea, absorb toxins and facilitate digestion.

Although the consumption of dirt with chimps is common, humans that consume dirt on a daily basis are often viewed as people showing obvious signs of a metabolic disorder or mental illness.

6. Bats Are The Only Mammals Capable Of Flying

Hibernating Virginia Big Eared Bats In A Cave

Virginia Big Eared Bats In A Cave

Although there are various mammals that are capable of gliding, bats are the only mammals that can actually fly. There are more than 1,000 bat species on the planet.

Another Weird Bat Fact: The bone wings in a bat are quite different from a bird and similar to a human hand. Similar to a human hand, they can open, close and even twist their wings.

Interestingly, they also have long elongated finger bones that are connected by a two-layered membrane of thin skin to form the wing. Their thumbs act as claws to assist in climbing.

7. Crocodiles Cry When They Eat

"KachikallyCrocFish" by Niels Elgaard Larsenis is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0

KachikallyCrocFish” by Niels Elgaard Larsenis is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0

Crocodiles shed tears when they are eating. However, the reason isn’t similar to humans in regards to emotions. Although their reason for producing tears is similar to humans for lubrication, the other cause is also entirely biological.

They are said to produce tears frequently because they have a third eyelid. The glands that keep their eyes moist are located by their throats, making them shed tears as they swallow. So they tears are purely biological without emotion.

It is still somewhat of a mystery to the exact reason for the tears. Another source suggests it is due to their hissing and huffing when they are eating. The air that is forced through the sinus may mix with the tears in their tear glands emptying into their eye.

8. Jellyfish Do Not Have Brains, Bones Or Hearts

Mediterranean Jellyfish In Mar Menor, Cartagena (Spain)

Mediterranean Jellyfish In Mar Menor, Cartagena Spain

Jellyfish are known as one of the most elusive creatures on the planet.  This animal has been roaming the Earth for over 650 million years.  They do not have any bones, a brain or heart.

To be able to see and smell, they rely on rudimentary sensory nerves that are located at the base of their tentacles. Their bodies consist of an epidermis, gastrodermis, mesoglea, gastrovascular cavity, tentacles and an orifice that functions as an anus and mouth.

Jellyfish For A Delicacy:  Jellyfish are considered a delicacy in several Asian countries. They can be served either raw or cooked.

9. Flamingos Can Only Eat With Their Heads Upside Down

Their erectile tissue helps them swallow. Researchers conclude that due to the tissues filling up with blood, the floor of the mouth is strengthened and supported. Therefore, the mouth and tongue is stabilized, allowing them to eat upside down.

10. Male Lions Can Be A Cub’s Worst Nightmare

Lion - Louisville Zoo

Lion – Louisville Zoo

When a more fit and younger lion kills the elder leader of the pride, he will often choose to kill off all of the cubs that are not his own. They often do this to ensure their future offspring will their genes only. This will allow the female to eventually mate with them producing an offspring of their own. Sounds like a selfish act, but of course, they are just being wild animals.

Warning: Below is a video of a lion killing cubs. The footage may be disturbing for some viewers.

11. Goldfish Can Lose Their Color If Kept In Dim Light

Common Goldfish

Common Goldfish

Keep a goldfish in a dark room and you will notice them get paler. Due to their chromatohore cells producing less pigment in the dark, their colors will naturally fade.

The opposite effect can happen when the goldfish are kept in direct sunlight. The sun can help them get brighter colors of yellow, red and pale orange. This helps explain why goldfish in ponds are have much brighter colors than when they are being kept in a tank with dimmed light.

12. City Birds Have Larger Brains Than Country Birds

Common Ravens on the grounds of the Tower of London.

Common Ravens on the grounds of the Tower of London.

City birds have significantly larger brains (in relation to body size) than birds in rural areas. This weird fact actually makes sense because city birds need larger brains to successfully survive. Brain size has been linked to an animals ability to develop new behaviors and adapt to changing environments.

Study Revealed That Birds With Larger Brains Are More Likely To Succeed In Cities

Swedish researchers studied 82 species of passerine birds. The study revealed that birds species such as finches and crows are more likely to succeed in cities because of their large brains.

13. Dogs Are The Only Species (Other Than Humans) That Have Prostates

Black Dog

Black Dog

Other than humans, dogs are the only other species that have prostates. Since this is the case, dog owners should be aware that like humans, dogs are also capable of getting prostate cancer.

14. Cats Have Nose Prints That Are Unique

Close-up of a 4-month old F1 Savannah cat.

Close-up of a 4-month old F1 Savannah cat.

Humans are said to have about 5 million scent receptors while cats are said to have 200 million. Every cat has their own unique nose print.  Just like two humans cannot have the same fingerprint, the same goes for cats. This raises the question of why not just use a cat’s nose as a form of identification?  This would replace the chips we currently use today.

15. Adult Rats Can Squeeze Into Your House Through A Quarter-Sized Hole

Rattus norvegicus, the Brown Rat.

Rattus norvegicus, the Brown Rat.

If you think you are totally safe from rats in your home, you are highly mistaken. Although rats have extremely strong teeth for chewing through aluminum, glass and wire, they can also squeeze through the smallest holes. In fact, adult rats are capable of squeezing through a hole the size of a quarter.

So it can squeeze its skull through a hole, but what about their body?  They are not the small size of a cockroach. Adults length can range from 9-11 inches long. They are able to get their bodies through because their body is capable of being elongated.  Good thing there are steps you can take to help prevent rats from invading your home inside and out.

16. Rats Are Very Intelligent Animals

So you think rats are just stupid and ugly rodents creating a nuisance wherever they may be?  Despite their small size and funny looks, rats are very intelligent animals. In fact, some are considered more intelligent than dogs. Like dogs and cats, rats are also very social animals.

Teach a rat their name, say it, and they will come to you when you call them. Rats also love company with their own species and even their pet owners. They are capable of learning and have amazing memories. So yes, rats are one of the most intelligent animals in the world.

17. Laboratory Mice Display Human-Like Facial Expressions

A laboratory mouse in which a gene affecting hair growth has been knocked out (left), is shown next to a normal lab mouse.

To the left is a laboratory mouse in which a gene affecting hair growth has been knocked out. It is shown next to a normal lab mouse.

According to research studies, scientists have learned that mice display human-like facial expressions if they are experiencing pain. When mice were injected with pain-inducing substances and chemicals, they displayed human-like expressions such as eye squeezing (orbital tightening), nose bulge and cheek bulge. Scientists have hope that this discovery will lead to the ability of accurately and reliably detecting pain as well as other veterinary benefits.

18. Despite Its Size, Bears Can Run Up To 40 Miles Per Hour

Brown Grizzly Bear

Brown Grizzly Bear

Despite the massive average size of an adult male 600-1,700 pounds, a bears top speed (running on all fours) can go all the way to 40 mph, making it impossible for a human to outrun it. In short distances, bears can even be fast enough to catch a running horse.

Bears are also very strong animals capable of destroying bigger animals. Even though a bison and moose may outweigh a grizzly bear, the bear can take them out.

19. Aye-Aye Are Considered The Most Unusual Primates On Earth

Aye-Aye are known for being one of the most unusual primates alive. They are also one of the strangest looking animals. Aye-Aye are located only on the island of Madagascar.

Weird Facts About Aye-Aye:

1. They have an average length of 14-17 inches with a tail of up to 24 inches long. Much longer than their entire body.

2. Many people that live in Madagascar see them as an omen of ill luck. Because of this belief, many have been killed and are now an endangered species. Humans have been their biggest threat. Fortunately, they are now protected by the law.

3. Despite their enormous differences in features, these rare animals are related to chimps, apes and humans. Much of their features look like they belong on other animals. They have a face that is similar to a weasel, a body like a smaller monkey, claws like a sloth, big eyes like a slender loris, big ears like a rabbit and incisors like a rodent.

4. Their very long middle finger has been known to move back and forth at speeds of 3.3 strokes per second. Their middle finger is up to three times longer than its other fingers.

20. Gerenuk Have Small Heads With Long And Skinny Necks That Elongate

Just look at the long-necked species Gerenuk (or Waller’s gazelle). They are a very odd-looking species of antelope. Because of their long necks, they are often called the giraffe-necked antelope. A weird fact about the Gerenuk is that if they need to reach higher branches to feed, they just stand erect on their rear legs and elongate their necks.

"Antilope girafe debout" by BombX is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0

Antilope girafe debout” by BombX is licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0

So after reading all 20 Of The Weirdest Animal Facts, do you have more you want to share? With all the many different species roaming our planet, you are bound to have plenty more.