5 Interesting Facts about Animals Which You Didn’t Know
Catfish prefer pigeons for breakfast
Catfish that live in the Tarn River in southern France are addicted to such a strange delicacy for fish. To catch a pigeon, catfish quietly swim up to it, if necessary – slowly chase their prey, and then grab an unsuspecting bird and mercilessly devour it. Interestingly, as it turned out during the study, catfish probably do not see the pigeons themselves, but they feel their movement along the ripples in the water. Fair to note, though, that catfish is also known for hunting ducks, geese, especially their nestlings, in the same way as pigeons.
Spiders “hire” predators as bodyguards
The predators themselves, of course, are unaware of this. Many members of the spider family are poisonous, but few have a sufficiently powerful bite, so they need to use cheating. For example, the small jumping spiders Phintella piatensis, which live in Southeast Asia, are a very popular snack for many predators, such as tailor ants or spitting spiders. The latter even arrange “dwellings” above the houses of the jumping spiders to be closer to their dinner. However, the jumping spiders are not so simple. In the course of evolution, they have learned to use their enemies as bodyguards. To do this, jumping spiders arrange dwellings above the nests of tailor ants, which, in turn, love to feast on spitting spiders – enemies, apparently, more terrible for jumping spiders than ants. Despite this terrible neighborhood, some of the jumping spiders manage to survive, so the tradition of settling next to predators is passed on from “fathers” to “sons”. Imagine that people trying to survive, for example, bears, would settle nearby with lions.
Bees boil hornets alive
The giant Asian hornet is a very dangerous insect. This is understandable – its size reaches the thumb of a person, and in just a minute he can kill forty honey bees. But Japanese bees have learned to defend themselves against the formidable predator. Their secret is simple: “one for all and all for one.” When a giant hornet attacks, a swarm of bees does not try to escape scattered in different directions, but on the contrary, they surround it as close as possible, forming a hot bee-ball. The temperature inside such a ball reaches 47 degrees Celsius! And the hornet is literally being cooked alive in it. Several bees, of course, die heroically, but most of the insects remain in full health. Amazing what nature can do to allow some species to survive!
Vampire bats can run on the ground
Despite the fact that vampire mice are great at flying and locating their prey using sophisticated echolocators in the ears, they turn out to be also quite good stealth runners. After landing on the ground, the animals fall on four legs and start to jump, reaching a speed of 7 km/h. Of course, they only do the sprint runs during night hours of the day, as these animals are nocturnal predators and cannot see during daylight.
Starlings can master human language grammar
Starlings can not only sing beautiful songs but also have the ability to imitate complex sounds. A group of British ornithologists decided to find out whether starlings could master complex grammatical structures only found in the human language. To train starlings this skill, scientists had to be very patient and to have a lot of time to spare. However, the outcome was well worth the effort! It took the group of ornithologists five months to teach the birds to first recognize, and then grasp a grammatical structure in the middle of an English language sentence. Fair to mention though, that starlings cannot use memorized grammatical rules to answer a human, but according to scientists, it is only a matter of time and practice. A very long time perhaps!