Last year we cleared up some of the misconceptions about animals but there were still so many doubts, questions and wonders we needed to give it another shot. From lobstersí love lives to the eating habits of bats, cats and rats, prepare to have your mind blown.
1. If you chop earthworms in half, both halves live.
Although it might not look like it, earthworms do have a head and a tail. If you chop it in half, the part with the head and all of its vital organs will survive and most likely regenerate its tail but the original tail, without its organs, dies.
2. Cows lay down if itĎs going to rain.
Who didnít hear this one on a road trip growing up? If a cow is laying down, it means rain is coming. Unfortunately whatever adult fed the kids this piece of information was wrong, though. Dr. Jamison Allen, a livestock researcher that investigated when cows stood or laid down during the day, says that, ďIf an animal is left on its own in a pasture, it will spend a third of its time gathering food, a third of its time eating, and a third of it sleeping. If theyíre lying down, it probably doesnít signal much beyond the fact that itís sleeping time.Ē
3. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
While the old adage may be a good metaphor on how to get people to take your side, itís not real for actually catching flies. As it turns out, flies, specially the ones often found in homes, are very fond of apple cider vinegar and filling some containers with it and a tad of sugar is the best way to trap them.
4. Pigs sweat a lot, hence the expression ďsweating like a pig.Ē
Anyone who follows Esther the Wonder Pig on Instagram knows pigs do love a mud bath and a water bath, and that is because they donít actually sweat. They do have a few sweat glands but that is not how their body cools off. The expression ďsweating like a pigĒ comes from the process of iron smelting. When liquid iron was poured back in the day, the shape resembled a mother pig and her piglets. The process was done at extremely high temperatures and at one point, the air around the mould would turn into steam and the piglets would look like they were sweating.
5. Bats are blind.
Some bats can see three times better than humans.
6. Bats will suck your blood.
Nope, not true either. There are more than 1,300 types of bats and most of them are insect eaters. Vampire bats live in Mexico, Central America and South America and do suck blood but not human blood ó at least not commonly. They feed mostly on cattle and are more like mosquitos than a Dracula-esque threat.
7. Mice like cheese.
Just about every cartoon features a big piece of cheese on a rat trap to grab the critter when it canít resist the treat, but in reality Tom would have had a lot more luck catching Jerry if he had used cereal or fruits. Studies have shown that while mice will eat cheese if hungry enough, thatís not their number one snack choice.
8. Fish have a 10 second memory.
Thereís only one fish with a short term memory and her name is Dory. However, studies show that all other fish can remember things like sounds five months later. They are also self-aware enough to recognize themselves in a mirror, they hunt collaboratively with others in a group, some of them like being petted and even ďaskĒ for it from divers sometimes, and they have feelings and can feel stress.
9. Cats like drinking milk.
When cats are not trying to catch mice with pieces of cheese, theyíre usually drinking milk out of a bowl. What those classic images didnít show was that the feline probably had terrible diarrhea afterwards. While cats will drink milk, their bodies canít properly digest lactose, which means stomach problems will usually follow.
10. A bear will walk away from you if you play dead.
The National Parks Service does not suggest playing dead when seeing a bear. Instead it advises people to carefully and quietly walk away. In the case of a brown or grizzly bear attack, laying on your stomach and playing dead is an option but if the bear turns you over, the best option is to fight back. If attacked by a black bear, the agency stresses to never play dead. Canít identify which type of bear is attacking you? Fight back and run for your life. Playing dead will most likely have you end up dead.
11. One human years equals seven dog years.
In reality the math is a little more complicated. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, for a medium-size dog, the first year equals 15 human years. The second year of a dogís life equals about nine years for a human and after that each human year is equivalent to about five years for a dog.
12. Dogs can only see black and white.
Itís a common misconception that dogs only see black, white and shades of gray. The truth is that they do see colors, just not all the colors. While humans can see all different shades, dogs see mostly yellows, blues and violets. That means greens and reds will appear to them as blues and yellows but itís still more cheerful than black and white.
13. Bulls see red and attack.
The imagery of a matador using a red cloth to lure bulls in for the kill made this myth widespread but itís not the color of the cloth that makes the bull charge for the matador (and on a good day to strike him). Mythbusters did a test with different colored cloths and found the animal doesnít have a preference for (or a grudge against) any color. Itís the movement in the fabric that entices him to attack.
14. Dolphins will protect you from sharks in the ocean.
While a couple of dolphins have played heroes in the past, donít count on all of them to do you a solid if a shark comes around. Dolphins have been known to also flee when approached by sharks. On top of that, even though weíd love to believe dolphins love humans, the truth is that they donít.
15. Lobsters mate for life.
Sorry, Phoebe. Ross and Rachel might have ended up together but not because they were each otherís lobsters. The animals actually have multiple partners along their lives and they donít walk around holding claws. The whole courtship is a lot less romantic than that ó more reminiscent of a one night stand than a storybook romance.