With an estimated
7.77 million species of animals on the planet, the animal kingdom is an undeniably diverse place. But while the breadth of earthly biodiversity may be well known, the incredible things our animal counterparts can do are often hidden to humans. From furry creatures you never realized kissed to those who enjoy getting tipsy, these amazing animal facts are sure to wow even the biggest animal lovers out there.
Koala fingerprints are so close to humans’ that they could taint crime scenes.
Koalas might not seem to have a lot in common with us, but if you were to take a closer look at their hands, you’d see that they have fingerprints that are just like humans’. In fact, they’re so similar when it comes to the distinctive loops and arches, that in Australia, “police feared that criminal investigations may have been hampered by koala prints,” according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Any koalas who want to commit crimes would be wise to do so wearing gloves.
2 Parrots will selflessly help each other out.
Parrots may be associated with pirates, but it turns out African grey parrots are nothing like the infamously greedy, treasure-seeking criminals. Instead, researchers have discovered that the colorful birds will “voluntarily help each other obtain food rewards” and perform “selfless” acts, according to a 2020 study published in
. Study co-author Current Biology noted, “African grey parrots were intrinsically motivated to help others, even if the other individual was not their friend, so they behaved very ‘prosocially.'” Auguste von Bayern
3. Prairie dogs kiss.
Prairie dogs are quirky creatures for a number of reasons: They’re giant rodents, they dig massive interconnected underground homes, and they kiss. While they’re actually touching their front teeth in order to identify each other when they seem to be sweetly sharing a smooch, the BBC explains that scientists believe prairie dogs “‘kiss and cuddle’ more when they are being watched by zoo visitors,” because they “appeared to enjoy the attention.”
4. Ghost crabs growl using teeth in their stomachs.
Crabs may be able to intimidate other creatures with their claws, but if that’s not enough, ghost crabs will growl at their enemies like a dog. However, unlike our canine friends, crabs make these fearsome noises using teeth located in their stomachs. “There are three main teeth—a medial tooth and two lateral teeth—that are essentially elongated, hard (calcified) structures. They are part of the gastric mill apparatus in the stomach, where they rub against each other to grind up food,” Jennifer Taylor, from the University of California, San Diego, told She and her colleagues were able to nail down the source of the noise after noticing that “the crabs [were] ‘growling’ at” them.5. The mantis shrimp has the world’s fastest punch.
You might think that boxers have the most impressive jabs, hooks, and uppercuts on the planet, but it’s the mantis shrimp that boasts the world’s fastest punch. Traveling at about 50 mph, when a shrimp punches, its little fist of fury (which, of course, isn’t a fist at all) is “accelerating faster than a .22-caliber bullet,” according to . Science shared the tale of one such small smasher, explaining that “in April 1998, an aggressive creature named Tyson smashed through the quarter-inch-thick glass wall of his cell. He was soon subdued by nervous attendants and moved to a more secure facility in Great Yarmouth. Unlike his heavyweight namesake [former professional boxer National Geographic Mike Tyson], Tyson was only four inches long. But scientists have recently found that Tyson, like all his kin, can throw one of the fastest and most powerful punches in nature.”
6. Female lions do 90 percent of the hunting.
While male lions attract their fair share of attention thanks to their impressive manes, it’s the female lions who do the bulk of the work when it comes to feeding their families. “Lionesses, not male lions, do the majority of hunting for their pride,” according to CBS News. “Lionesses hunt around 90 percent of the time, while the males protect their pride.”