Because animals are so different from us, we tend to believe wild tales and bits of spurious knowledge that depend for their plausibility upon some misunderstanding of what a particular animal will or will not do. Critters are mysteries to us, and the lore we exchange about them reflects our senses of wonder and puzzlement.
Penguins fall over onto their backs trying to see airplanes flying overhead.
Cats will suck the breath out of babies.
Rice thrown at weddings is dangerous to birds.*
Woman is impregnated by octopus eggs.*
Lemmings periodically commit suicide by marching over cliffs and into the sea.*
Domesticated turkeys are so dumb that they will look up at falling rain until they drown.
Female praying mantises always eat the heads of their mates.
Killing praying mantises is illegal in the USA.
Porcupines can throw their quills from a distance.
Opossums hang by their tails in trees.
The daddy longlegs spider is the "world's most poisonous animal."
Bonobos and dolphins are the only animals other than humans who engage in sex for pleasure.
Plastic jugs of water left on a lawn will keep dogs from defecating there.
Elephants are afraid of mice.
A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.
Human handling of baby birds will cause their mothers to reject them.
Multiplying your dog's age by seven will produce its equivalent in human years.
The red dye used in hummingbird nectar is harmful to the birds.
Indonesian villagers captured a 49-foot, 983-pound python.
Major cities harbor rodent populations equivalent to one rat per person.
Eagles extend their lifespans by removing their beaks, talons, and feathers in order to grow new ones.
Chihuahuas cure asthma.
Hanging plastic bags filled with water will repel flies.
A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.
The striped mittenfish can change its sex by turning its entire body inside out.
Lobsters mate for life.