Funny Facts and Fun Trivia about Animals
The cat lover is an ailurophile, while a cat hater is an ailurophobe. The cat was domesticated over 4,000 years ago. Today's house cats are descended from wildcats in Africa and Europe. The catgut formerly used as strings in tennis rackets and musical instruments does not come from cats. Catgut actually comes from sheep, hogs, and horses. The cheetah is the only cat in the world that can't retract its claws. The Chinese, during the reign of Kublai Khan, used lions on hunting expeditions. They trained the big cats to pursue and drag down massive animals - from wild bulls to bears - and to stay with the kill until the hunter arrived. The color of the points in Siamese cats is heat related. Cool areas are darker. In fact, Siamese kittens are born white because of the heat inside the mother's uterus before birth. This heat keeps the kittens hair from darkening on the points. The dachshund is one of the oldest dog breeds in history (dating back to ancient Egypt.) The name comes from one of its earliest uses - hunting badgers. In German, Dachs means "badger, "Hund is "hound." The declawing of a pet cat involves surgery called an Onychectomy, in which the entire claw and end bone of each toe of the animal are amputated. The domestic cat is the only species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. Wild cats hold their tail horizontally, or tucked between their legs while walking. The elephant, as a symbol of the US Republican Party, was originated by cartoonist Thomas Nast and first presented in 1874. The English Romantic poet Lord Byron was so devastated upon the death of his beloved Newfoundland, whose name was Boatswain, that he had inscribed upon the dog's gravestone the following:"Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices." The fastest bird is the Spine-tailed swift, clocked at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour. The expression "three dog night" originated with the Eskimos and means a very cold night - so cold that you have to bed down with three dogs to keep warm. The fastest -moving land snail, the common garden snail, has a speed of 0.0313 mph. The first house rats recorded in America appeared in Boston in 1775. The first seeing-eye dog was presented to a blind person on April 25, 1938. The giant squid is the largest creature without a backbone. It weighs up to 2.5 tons and grows up to 55 feet long. Each eye is a foot or more in diameter. The honeybee kills more people world-wide than all the poisonous snakes combined. The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards. The hummingbird, the loon, the swift, the kingfisher, and the grebe are all birds that cannot walk. The Kiwi, national bird of New Zealand, can't fly. It lives in a hole in the ground, is almost blind, and lays only one egg each year. Despite this, it has survived for more than 70 million years. The largest animal ever seen alive was a 113.5 foot, 170-ton female blue whale. The largest cockroach on record is one measured at 3.81 inches in length. The last member of the famous Bonaparte family, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, died in 1945, of injuries sustained from tripping over his dog's leash. The male penguin incubates the single egg laid by his mate. During the two month period he does not eat, and will lose up to 40% of his body weight.