Questions about animals that you didn’t know you needed to ask...
A few conundrums that David Cattenborough may have pondered, but probably never got round to asking…
1. Do cows have BFFs?
Yes. Cows have best buds and become stressed if they’re separated, according to scientist Krista McLennan, who made the discovery while working on her PhD at Northampton University. She believes her findings could help improve milk yields. Now see some very happy cows!
2. Do rats laugh?
Yes. In the 90s, neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp and his colleagues discovered that rats made ultrasonic sounds while playing, or even thinking about playing with other rats. The chirps seemed to indicate a happy rat. And the critters also made the ‘laughing’ chirps when tickled – in fact, rats laughed the most when being tickled by people than during any other activity!
3. Do giraffes have blue tongues?
Yes. Melanin, which creates dark pigmentation in skin, is responsible for giraffe tongues’ dark colour. Although it’s not known exactly why giraffes have tongues that look blue, purple or sometimes almost black, scientists believe that the animals’ tongues have evolved this way for sun protection.
Take a look…
4. Do monkeys carry bank cards?
No, because they can’t fit wallets into their pockets! But Macaque monkeys in Japan have apparently learned to steal wallets, get coins out and use them to buy snacks and drinks from vending machines.
Watch ’em now…
5. Do crows hold grudges?
Yes – be warned! Crows don’t forget a face and hold grudges, too. Researchers in Seattle found captured crows remembered the face of their abductor. Even if years had passed till they saw the person again, the crows from the experiment would dive bomb their former captor and squawk at them. And now a follow-up study shows that crows’ brains ‘light up’ in a similar way to our human minds, when they see a face they know. Plus, it seems, these birdies also enjoy playing – and playing pranks on each other!
See more at…
6. Do dogs have good vocab?
Yes. You know your poochly pal understands the basics – ‘sit, walk, heel, ball, food…’. But research shows he may actually know more words than you might think. According to Dr Stanley Coren, an expert in canine intelligence and professor of Canine Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the average dog can understand about 165 words, possibly more with training.
This Japanese dog certainly knows his stuff!
7. Do penguins like opera?
NO way! We all know you should never p-p-pick up a penguin. But you shouldn’t sing to them, either – as well-known English tenor Nick Allen found. Though the clip of animal lover Nick went viral, he acted quickly to take it down on the advice of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. IAATO worried that others might try to upload similar videos, which would be disastrous for the birds’ well being. Nick’s advice to anyone lucky enough to meet penguins? Keep noise to a minimum and never disturb them. He’s told IAATO he’ll give any money the clip might make to an Antarctica charity. Respect those penguins! And respect to Nick!
Penguin boycott video here…
8. Do cats snore?
Yes. If you own a cat you’ll know that some cats snore. For many, nothing’s wrong. However, snoring can be a sign of breathing problems, so get your critter checked out by the vet. Snoring occurs when the passages in the upper airways – the nose, back of the mouth or throat – vibrate audibly during breathing. So, just the same as another creature that may share your bed – only your cat probably won’t have drunk five pints of Boddingtons and inhaled a chicken Madras.
9. Do weasels go pop?!
No. Don’t be silly. It’s a just song.