Wild Inaccuracies

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.

Red bullet Penguins fall over onto their backs trying to see airplanes flying overhead.

Red bullet Cats will suck the breath out of babies.

Red bullet Rice thrown at weddings is dangerous to birds.*

Red bullet Woman is impregnated by octopus eggs.*

Red bullet Lemmings periodically commit suicide by marching over cliffs and into the sea.*

Red bullet Domesticated turkeys are so dumb that they will look up at falling rain until they drown.

Multi-colored bullet Female praying mantises always eat the heads of their mates.

Red bullet Killing praying mantises is illegal in the USA.

Red bullet Porcupines can throw their quills from a distance.

Red bullet Opossums hang by their tails in trees.

Red bullet The daddy longlegs spider is the "world's most poisonous animal."

Green bullet Bonobos and dolphins are the only animals other than humans who engage in sex for pleasure.

Yellow bullet Plastic jugs of water left on a lawn will keep dogs from defecating there.

Red bullet Elephants are afraid of mice.

Red bullet A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

Red bullet Human handling of baby birds will cause their mothers to reject them.

Red bullet Multiplying your dog's age by seven will produce its equivalent in human years.

Yellow bullet The red dye used in hummingbird nectar is harmful to the birds.

Red bullet Indonesian villagers captured a 49-foot, 983-pound python.

Red bullet Major cities harbor rodent populations equivalent to one rat per person.

Red bullet Eagles extend their lifespans by removing their beaks, talons, and feathers in order to grow new ones.

Red bullet Chihuahuas cure asthma.

Yellow bullet Hanging plastic bags filled with water will repel flies.

Yellow bullet A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.

Red bullet The striped mittenfish can change its sex by turning its entire body inside out.

Red bullet Lobsters mate for life.