Some Odd Facts from the Animal World

Body-builders like to show off their muscles but as far as the number of muscles to show, they are no match to the humble caterpillar which has about 4 times the number of muscles possessed by humans.

It is difficult to believe that the neck of a giraffe and the neck of a man has the same number of bones – seven in total.

When we think of large animals that have appeared on earth, the dinosaurs come to our mind. The heaviest dinosaur was Brachiosaurus at 80 tons and the longest was Seismosaurus, related to Diplodocus, which could be 130 ft. long from tip of nose to tip of tail. But the largest animal that ever lived is in our present day world. The Blue Whale can reach a length of about 110 ft. and weigh as much as 180 tons which equals the weight of about 30 African elephants! A Blue Whale at birth weighs about 3 tons, as much as an adult hippo!

There are plenty of records of human beings who have lived more than 100 years. At this level, they can claim to be the longest living mammals! Compare this with the life span of 90 years for Blue Whale, 70 years for Indian elephants, 50 years for their African cousins, with other mammals all of whom live for lesser periods.

Which mammals lay eggs? Everyone knows about Platypus but there is another – it is Echidna or Spiny Anteater.

Talking of Platypus, do you know that when its description reached from Australia to Europe, many scientists there believed it to be a hoax! Could a mammal have a beak and webbed feet like a duck, a body with fur and tail like a paddle, laid eggs but suckled the baby when it emerged from the egg? But another less known fact about them is that the Platypus may be the only venomous mammal! We are not talking of mammals transmitting fatal diseases like rabis or plague, but about having a venomous sting! On the back legs of mature male platypus, there are a pair of short spurs connected to a venom gland producing viciously painful toxin. People who have experienced the sting (often fishermen trying to free the creature from their nets) claim that the excruciating pain can induce vomiting persisting for weeks and cannot be relieved by morphine or other pain-killing drugs. Fortunately, Platypus uses this possibly as a defence mechanism only.

Which animal grows the maximum from birth to adulthood? Though a male kangaroo can be about 7 ft. tall and weigh 90 kg, at birth they are about 2 cm tall and weigh a few grams only! After birth, the baby has to climb about 6 inches along the furs of its mother’s abdomen to reach the edge of the pouch and enter into it. It is equivalent to a human baby climbing about 10 ft.! The infant kangaroo is suckled inside its mother’s pouch, where it completes its development to emerge when it weighs more than a kg.

Who is the high jump champion of the animal world? Men’s high jump record holder Javier Sotomayor standing 6′-5″ tall cleared a height of a little above 8′. If he had the jumping prowess of the humble flea, he would be able to jump from the ground to the top of the GE Building in New York (approx. 840 ft. tall)!

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