11 Surprises of Nature That Will Make Anyone Say “Really?” (Drunk Birds Are Totally Worth Looking At)
You’re sure to have seen animals, birds, and insects out in the wild before but have you ever wondered what their lives are like from their perspective? It can be a bit difficult to imagine, but it’s actually quite fun because they’re living organisms who, like us, have a daily purpose. For example, to fill just one small honey jar, 22,700 bees have to work for their whole lives.
Bright Side gathered some interesting facts about the world around us. They all show how little we know about it and how often nature surprises us.
1. Spiders learned to create marionettes that look just like them to protect themselves from enemies.
Cyclosa spiders are from the family of orb-weaving spiders (Araneidae) and they lead a very interesting life in Peru. Besides the fact that they need to catch the prey, it’s important to stay alive, as well. Spiders got creative and learned to make a “decoy version of themselves” and perfected it so much that scientists have doubts whether it’s still the same spider or a new smarter species.
Spiders use leaves and dried insects to create its own copy and they created an illusion of the web movement as if they’re using a marionette doll. It’s how they distract any hunter while hiding in a safe spot.
2. “Smart” mushroom moves from place to place, makes plans, and follows a diet.
Experiments performed using the Physarum polycephalum mushroom showed that it has a special kind of intelligence, not only can it “think” but it can also “plan.” The mushroom is able to find the shortest ways out of a labyrinth if there’s a goal (food), memorize its movement trajectory, and react to repetitive actions.
The mushroom travels using protoplasm that moves back and forth and such a cycle takes around 2 minutes.
Scientists compare the mushroom’s intelligence to “smart” insects, like ants. The surprising fact is that Physarum polycephalum has neither a brain nor a nervous system.
This mushroom is a great example of willpower since it doesn’t simply eat but it keeps carbs and proteins in balance as it needs them to stay alive and in shape.
3. Birds can get drunk and have drunken sing-alongs.
Researchers from the University of Oregon conducted a study using amadins and found out that alcohol influences their singing abilities: they get unusual tones, break the rhythm, and don’t sing as well as they usually do.
In fact, in their natural habitat, birds are rarely found to be under the influence of alcohol and if they are, then it’s mainly due to fermented berries. The birds can also eat a ripe berry that will then become fermented inside the bird — it just depends on the structure of the digestive system. Drunk birds can lose motor control and even try to steady themselves on the ground. Sounds just like people, doesn’t it?
4. The smallest horse is no bigger than a regular dog.
Einstein, a tiny pony from England, became the smallest horse in the world. It was born in 2010 and as of today, it feels good and healthy at a weight of 17 lb. Scientists couldn’t decide on the winner because there are several tiny horses in the world.
Einstein won not only because he weighs the least but because he’s got all the right proportions and no physical disadvantages. It’s not a dwarf horse — just a very small one.
The previous winner’s weight was 57 lb.
5. Dogs can fall in love.
Scientists proved that your dog loves you with a sincere kind of love. You didn’t have doubts about it, did you? When a dog communicates with people or other dogs, its body produces the hormone oxytocin that evokes the feeling similar to those people feel during kisses and hugs.
Dogs can fall in love with both their owners and other dogs. Just like people, dogs miss the one they love and can feel lonely.
6. Cats perceive people as really big cats.
Do you think of your cat as a part of the family? How does your cat see you? English biologist John Bradshaw has been studying the behavior of cats for many years. He came to the conclusion that our furry pets see their owners as huge non-violent cats.
That’s exactly why they think you would appreciate a mouse that they caught and brought to you as a gift.
7. The annual crab migration on Christmas Island can be seen from space.
A truly unbelievable thing can be seen in Australia on Christmas Island in November or December. Almost 120 million crabs migrate from the tropical forest to the shore of the Indian ocean for breeding. It looks like a huge red carpet. Crabs begin their movement with the first rainfalls that keep them alive along the road and protect them from dehydration. The whole colorful crab crowd arrives in just 18 days.
The Australians try to help as much as they can: they block the highways and build special bridges to make sure the majority of the species get to the water safely. This process fascinates photographers and researchers from all over the world.
8. Cows make friends and choose the best ones too.
Real friendship exists in the animal world too and the friendship between cows is a great example of this. British biologist Krista McLennan came to the conclusion that cows can get attached to other cows from their childhood and they feel stressed out when they are separated.
Scientists say that keeping an eye on cows’ friendships and placing cow-friends together can lead to increased milk production. It can also relieve the animal’s suffering when a cow is placed in a new herd.
9. Some flowers can melt snow by generating heat. They do it to get pollinated by the early spring insects.
“Be the first one!” is a motto that can be used in the green world too. At least, skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), a flower of quite an unusual form, believes in it. This curious flower can change its temperature and keep it at 15°C-35°C. This ability is called thermogenesis.
Cabbage can melt the snow around itself to make sure it’s definitely the first one in the line for early spring pollination. It also uses a peculiar smell to attract more insects.
10. The hognose snake is the best comedy “actress” among snakes.
Heterodon nasicus, or the hognose snake, is a non-poisonous kind of snake that can be found in America. One peculiar feature of these snakes is a funny facial expression that often looks like a smile. Very often, hognose snakes are kept as pets.
In case it feels danger, the snake turns on its back, sticks out its tongue and might even produce an unpleasant smell using special glands so that there’s no doubt that the snake is dead. If you turn its “corpse” back onto its belly, it’ll turn back to show you that it’s definitely dead!
11. Snails lay eggs, but they’re all hermaphrodites.
Most of the snail species are hermaphrodites. However, they have to mate when it’s time to breed. They both get inseminated and they both have the ability to lay eggs. Some snails behave as males during one season and as females during the next one.
Which fact surprised you the most? Have you ever witnessed an unusual natural phenomenon? Share your opinion with us in the comments.