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Fast facts on animals

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Animals

Is a world population of 6 billion too many? Compare that with animals. There are more than a million animal species. There are 6,000 species of reptiles, 73,000 kinds of spiders, and 3,000 types of lice. For each person there is about 200 million insects. The 4,600 kinds of mammals represent a mere 0,3% of animals and the 9000 kinds of birds only 0,7%. The most numerous bird specie is the red-billed quelea of southern Africa. There are an estimated 100 trillion of them.

Mammals are the only animals with flaps around the ears.

African elephants only have four teeth to chew their food with.

There are about one billion cattle in the world of which 200 million are in India.

A house fly lives only 14 days.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

The Big Five is a group of animals of Africa: cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino. The term “Big Five” was coined by hunters who referred to the difficulty in hunting these wild animals because of their ferocity when cornered.

The oldest breed of dog is the Saluki.

The bee hummingbird of Cuba is the smallest bird in the world.

An ostrich can run up to 70 km/h (43mph).

An annoyed camel will spit at a person.

The world’s smallest dog is the Chihuahua, which means “tiny dog in the sky.”

Pea crabs (the size of a pea) are the smallest crabs in the world.

75% of wild birds die before they are 6 months old.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal but are mentioned only twice in the Bible

Sheep are mentioned 45 times and goats 88 times in the Bible. Dogs are mentioned 14 times and lions 89 times, but domestic cats are not mentioned.

Pork is the world’s most widely-eaten meat.

In Denmark there are twice as many pigs as people.

Dinosaurs did not eat grass: there weren’t any at that time.

The coyote is a member of the dog family and its scientific name, “canis latrans” means barking dog.

A giraffe can clean its ears with its 50cm (20 in) tongue.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle – a group of geese in the air is a skein.
More animal collective nouns

The South American giant anteater eats more than 30,000 ants a day.

It is impossible to out-swim a shark – sharks reach speeds of 70 km/h (44 mph). Humans can run about 35 km/h (21 mph).

The sailfish is the fastest swimmer, reaching 109 km/h (68 mph).

The slowest fish is the Sea Horse, which moves along at about 0.016 km/h (0.01 mph).

Dolphins can reach 60 km/h (37 mph).

Of the 650 types of leeches, only the Hirudo medicinalis is used for medical treatments.

The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car.

The tongue of a blue whale is as long as an elephant.

The scales of a crocodile are made of ceratin, the same substance that hooves and fingernails are made of.

A crocodile’s tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth and cannot move it.

A snail has two pairs of tentacles on its head. One pair is longer than the other and houses the eyes. The shorter pair is used for smelling and feeling its way around.

The heaviest crustacean ever found was a lobster weighing 19 kg (42 lb), caught in 1934.

The largest jellyfish ever caught measured 2,3 m (7’6″) across the bell with a tentacle of 36 m (120 ft) long.

The largest giant squid ever recorded was captured in the North Atlantic in 1878. It weighed 4 tons. Its tentacles measured 10 m (35 ft) long.

The giant squid has the biggest eyes of any animal: its eyes measure 40 cm (16 in) in diameter.

Domestic cats purr at about 26 cycles per second, the same frequency as an idling diesel engine.

Sharks are immune to all known diseases.

Sharks and rays also share the same kind of skin: instead of scales, they have small tooth-like spikes called denticles. The spikes are so sharp that shark skin has long been used as sandpaper.

Animals also are either right-handed or left-handed. Polar bears are left-handed – and so is Kermit the Frog.

There are 701 types of pure breed dogs.

There are about 54 million dogs in the US, and Paris is said to have more dogs than people.

Some bird species, usually flightless birds, have only a lower eyelid, whereas pigeons use upper and lower lids to blink.

Fish and insects do not have eyelids – their eyes are protected by a hardened lens.

Flatfish (halibut, flounder, turbot, and sole) hatch like any other “normal” fish. As they grow, they turn sideways and one eye moves around so they have two eyes on the side that faces up.

Measured in straight flight, the spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird. It flies 170 km/h (106 mph). Second fastest is the Frigate, which reaches 150 km/h (94 mph).

Millions of trees are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and then forget where they hid them.

There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia, a nation of 17 million people.

New Zealand is home to 4 million people and 70 million sheep.