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.*


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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.