Animals are weird. They’re adorable, funny, entertaining, giving, and intriguing, but they’re also weird. I’ve always been intrigued by what animals do when they’re eating, sleeping, mating, or hunting. In their natural habitats, most animals are ten times more interesting than every reality show on TV combined. So, let’s take a look at some really interesting and strange animal habits – and why they do what they do.
1. Dolphins with Insomnia
I’m a huge fan of dolphins; I’ve always loved them. It turns out I may have been bonding with them on a really deep level, because we have something in common. No, no blowholes – we’re all insomniacs! I consider this a strange animal habit just because it honestly never occurred to me. I know many animals don’t sleep a lot, but in addition to keeping one eye open and half their brains wide awake, mother dolphins, along with their newborn calves, don’t sleep at all for several months after the baby’s born.
2. Bees and Their Balls
Many strange animal habits occur when they’re mating. These habits are instinctual – but that doesn’t mean they don’t get pretty odd. After reading this, you might rethink that whole “birds and bees” analogy when it comes to explaining sex. Why? Because bees lose their testicles when they mate, that’s why. When a drone mates with the queen, their penises snap off inside of her, thereby acting as a plug to keep the sperm inside – but that’s not the worst. During copulation, their balls also explode. And boom goes the dynamite!
3. Frozen in Time
Many animals go into hibernation cycles during the colder months. That’s not odd at all. However, I didn’t realize that frogs hibernate as well – and that’s not the weird part. When animals hibernate, their heart rate slows down exponentially, and their body temperatures drop as well. Frogs do it one better. They can actually be completely frozen, their hearts can stop, and their breathing can cease – and they still survive!
4. The Hubris of Bats
Bats get a bad reputation, especially for sleeping upside down. They’re always accused of hubris, but their sleeping positions are actually very practical choices. You see, if they had to launch themselves in the air because something was attacking them, their wings simply wouldn’t be strong enough to handle it. However, by hanging upside down, they just drop and gravity takes care of the acceleration they need to fly. Plus, they don’t waste any energy when they hang upside down – their talons do all the work.
5. Making Love and War
Sea creatures have a lot of strange habits, especially animals like flatworms. Guess what they’re most known for? Penis fencing. I’m totally serious – that’s the actual term. You see, they use their genitalia as weapons as well – all of them, because flatworms are hermaphroditic. They actually have two penises, which are a lot like daggers. They use them for hunting and mating both. When they mate, they try to stab each other and to avoid being stabbed themselves.
6. Cupid in Nature
You know about Cupid’s magic arrows, right? Well, as it turns out, he might have gotten the idea from a couple of snails. They actually shoot each other with “love darts.” These darts are comprised of calcium, and serve to act as a kind of aphrodisiac that makes each partner excited. That’s helpful, since snails are hermaphroditic as well. Also, their genitalia is located in their necks.
7. Yawns Should Be Contagious
If you have a dog, cat, rabbit, or just about any other pet, you probably see them yawn. They yawn a lot. All animals do. Why does this natural function count as a strange animal habit? Because it doesn’t mean what you think it means at all. Some animals yawn to show off their teeth, thus threatening any enemies. Others yawn because they’re happy – like penguins, sort off. Penguins yawn while they are mating. It attracts the babes.
8. Ahem, Coprophagy
So, a lot of animals eat poo. If you’re like me, you’ve wondered about the whys of this strange habit – and probably worried about it, too. As it turns out, it’s fine. Animals have coprophagy for a variety of reasons, but it doesn’t point to anything bad, like eating grass or dirt. Rabbits have to do it, so they can get cecotropes. Some mothers in nature eat the packets their babies deposit so that predators won’t know they’ve been there. Dogs do it because they’re bored, or because it’s fun. Well…
I hope you enjoyed reading about these strange animal habits. I’m pretty positive there are tons more, though. What weird things have you seen animals do?
Top Photo Credit: Ammar Alothman