As we grow older, continuing to expand our minds with new information is an important way to stay mentally sharp.
The good news is that thanks to the internet, information and facts are just a mouse click away. If you love learning new things about animals, especially ones you may never have heard of before, the subreddit r/Awwducational is a great place to start!
1. Also known as the sparrow hawk, the American kestrel is the most common and smallest falcon in North America. Oh, and they’re 100 percent adorable.
2. The Japanese dwarf flying squirrel eats leaves, bark, fruit, and seeds in its native home of Japan. Also, squeeee!
3. Baby elephants rely on their moms until they’re 3 years old. They’re among the most intelligent animals, can solve problems, and are social and empathetic.
4. Sand cats are perfectly designed to survive in the desert. They sleep in shallow burrows during the hot part of the day and hunt at night when it’s cooler.
5. “Secretary birds are famous for their snake-stomping legs; a single kick delivered some 195 Newtons of force. They are also famous for their long eyelashes.”
6. The gorgeous North American wood duck uses its unique sharp claws to perch in trees.
7. “Red pandas can stand on their hind legs to make themselves appear larger. They also have ‘false thumbs,’ which is an extension of the wrist bone, to aid them in grasping their food.”
8. “Orphaned baby bats, which are rescued, are wrapped snugly in blankets to mimic the warm embrace of their mother’s wings.”
9. Yawning really is contagious! It’s a form of social bonding in many species. Watch this baby caracal mimic his mother’s yawn.
10. There are fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos in the wild. In 2020, the San Diego Zoo welcomed a baby named Akobi, the first of his kind born in captivity in over 30 years.
11. Capybaras get along with just about everyone, including chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, llamas, rabbits, and turtles.
12. “Dogs sneeze while playing to let other dogs know they are playing and aren’t trying to be aggressive.”
13. The black-footed cat may be Africa’s smallest cat at just 5 pounds, but they can take down prey twice their size.
14. Axolotls are sometimes called “water monsters.” In their native Mexico, they’re called “Mexican walking fish.”
15. “Manatees have no significant natural predators and can be found coexisting peacefully with gators.”
16. Pigs are smart and social animals. Vietnamese potbellied pigs can even be house-trained to live indoors like a dog.
17. “Hippos can’t really swim. Their big bones are too dense and heavy, so they just push off the ground, walking or bouncing off the bottom.”
18. Seals only perform “the banana pose” when they feel happy and safe.
19. This funny-faced creature is the Australian echidna, AKA the spiny anteater. They’re one of only two mammals in the world that lay eggs. (In case you’re wondering, the other is the duck-billed platypus.)
20. This furry beast is a mangalica, the only pig in the world that has a sheep-like wooly coat.
21. Goldcrests are the smallest birds in Europe. “They weigh 1/100th of a pound and their eggs are the size of peas. They also looks really grumpy all the time.”
22. Speaking of fur…. “The manul (or Pallas’ cat) of Central Asia has the longest and densest fur of all the cat species.”
23. When penguin chicks get too hot, they flop into the “sploot” position and stretch their legs out to cool off.
24. “Ravens are capable of high-quality imitation of human speech.”
25. They may look like rodents, but elephant shrews are genetically more like elephants than shrews. Look at his little trunk!
26. “Decorator crabs pick up plants and animals in their environment and stick them onto their body to camouflage themselves and look fabulous.”
27. In spite of being largely solitary, orangutans love their mamas. Adult females have even been documented going home to visit their moms.
28. The high iron content in a beaver’s front teeth makes them strong enough to chew through wood. The iron also makes their chompers pumpkin-orange!
29. The mountain viscacha is sometimes called the “sensei rabbit,” which is just about the perfect nickname for this sage-looking fellow. They’re not even rabbits; they’re actually related to chinchillas.
30. Gibbons are monogamous and raise their offspring together as a team.
Say it with us: “Aww!” These facts not only make us feel smarter, but they also give us a serious case of the warm fuzzies.
If you feel the same way, share this story to pass the joy along.
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