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Interesting Facts           

Hey Kids!!!

Here's Some Fun Stuff:

Did you know it takes three clowns to change a light bulb?

Yes it does. One to hold the light bulb, and two to turn the ladder!

Now, did you know different animals of the same kind don't act the same.

Take dogs, for instance. One kind of dog can be a very lovable dog, and always tries to please her person.

On the other hand, another kind of dog can be so full of energy that he can't help making touble for his people.

Actually, there's a good lesson there: when a family gets a dog, they must be sure to get the kind of dog that doesn't act in ways that will get him into trouble. A living thing is not a toy that can be thown away. A family dog becomes a member of the family, and will be there for many years. So, the dog the family chooses has to be one all in the family can love forever.

Getting back to the little joke about the light bulb, can you figure out how many dogs it takes to change a light bulb? Well guess what? That depends on the kind of dog. Because different kinds of dogs have different ways about them, as you already know.

So, here are some things that tell what different kinds of dogs would do, in a funny way, but not really. But, it is like the way those kinds of dogs (and cats) really are. Anyone who knows about kinds of dogs would get a laugh out of this.

Golden Retriever Puppy: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a burned-out bulb?
Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze!
You know I can't reach that high! Now, if you loose something under the bed, I'm your man.
Australian Cattle Dog:
First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...
Jack Russell Terrier:
I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.
Cocker Spaniel:
Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.
German Shepherd:
I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.
Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.
Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb!
Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or "I don't have to change no dirty stinkin' light bulb!"
Make me!
It isn't moving. So who cares? I enjoy chasing things!
[In case you didn't know, Greyhounds are the fastest dog runners.]
Border Collie:
Just one? Well, O.K. then. I'll fix that, and then I'll replace any wiring that is not up to code.
Miniature Poodle:
I'll just give the Border Collie an admiring glance and he'll do it. By the time he finishes all the work, my nails will be dry.

Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So, the real question is: How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a good scratching behind my ears and under my chin?
[This idea that cats are selfish is a funny "steriotype". Cats are really lovable, too. But, they are not usually so obvious about it as a dog may be.]

Interesting Facts About Pets, and Other Animals!!!

Did You Know:

Cat's claws have a mechanism that keeps them usually pulled back (retracted), but can extend them when needed. The sharpness of a claw is renewed when the new covering, that was developing inside the old, is exposed when the old covering is shed. Cats "insinctively" scratch on things, which helps the shedding process, keeping the claws in good shape. This can result in scratched furniture when a cat is kept in the house. To prevent this from happening, the cat should be provided with something it prefers to scratch on, or can be trained to scratch on; such as a "scratching post", a cardboard box, or a pallet made of cardboard strips "sandwiched" together. Some people have a veterinaran amputate (surgically cut-off) the front claws of their cat. This is not an accepted practice in many countries where it is unlawful or looked upon as cruel.

Dog's skin does not have a means of sweating (perspiring). For animals that sweat, people for instance, the evaporation of the sweat causes cooling which allows heat to dissipate from the skin. This doesn't happen with dogs. Dogs, instead, cool themselves by panting: rapid breathing that causes the evaporation of moisture in the mouth. It is bad to let your dog follow you when you are riding your bike on a hot day. They get too over-heated, and they could collapse, or even die.

The "nose" of a dog or a pig is a remarkable thing when it comes to the sense of smell: the olfactory sense. Pigs can find and root-up food that is under the surface of the ground. Bloodhounds can track the trail of a person using its olfactory sense, even after days have passed since the person was there. The sense of smell possessed by dogs is many times (perhaps hundreds of time) that of people. Compared to dogs, people have practically no sense of smell.

Some people say a horse has five hearts. There is only one heart in a horse, unlike an earthworm which has several "heart" pumps that move their blood. But, they say five hearts because there is a pump-like phenomenon (thing that happens) in each hoof of the horse which helps return the blood to the body when the horse compresses the bottom of the hoof as the horse walks or runs.

Long ago, men began to argue about whether all of the hooves of a running horse were off the ground at the same time. Some said yes, but others said no. Finally, after photography was invented, a man named Muybridge took several photographs in a row and settled the argument. Here, below, are some photos of a running horse shown one after the other in quick succession, making a short movie (that keeps repeating). [In case you didn't know, that's how movies work - by taking many photographs one after the other, and showing them one after the other in the same frame.] Can you tell if all four hooves are ever off the ground at the same time?

Eadweard Muybridge photo frames: galloping horse

Also, have you ever seen a film that makes it appear that a flower is opening very fast, or another that makes it appear that something that happens fast looks as though it's happening slowly. Can you think how movies like those are made?

The male Sea Horse, not the female as in other animals, carries the developing young and gives birth to them live from his "pouch". (There would be just a few inches from top to bottom of the Sea Horse in the picture.)

Sea Horse

Some animals, and other living things, make their own light. A big word that means the same thing is "bioluminescence". Have you ever seen a "lightning bug" ("firefly"). That's a kind of beetle that flies around a lot and blinks a natural light emitter at the base of its abdomen. There are kinds of fish that live very, very deep in the oceans that are "studded" with little lights. And, there is algae in the sea that emits light when it is agitated. They blink in the bow-wash of ships, and glow in the wake. It's like sparkling "pixie dust".

Some animals live through cold winters by having their bodies go into a state that is restful and uses less energy. Some squirrels, such as Groundhogs (marmots) go into a state called hibernation where their bodies function at minimum levels of energy usage. The heart beats at a very reduced rate, and the body temperature, which is more or less unchanging in an active mammal, drops. They are just barely alive. Mother bears spend the winter in a similar state while they have their cubs and nurse them until the winter is over and they can look for food outside their den. Reptiles (snakes and turtles) do similarly, but they, unlike groundhogs and bears which are warm-blooded mammals, are cold-blooded animals.

Nutrition means getting from the things you eat the things that keep you healthy. If a ferret doesn't get the chemical taurine, which is in fish and other animals, it will lose its hair. Cats need taurine too. Nutrient chemicals like vitamins are necessary in the food we eat to prevent various kinds of ill health. For instance, without vitamin C our skin and connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons deteriorate.

The Viceroy Butterfly (below right) and the Monarch Butterfly (below left) are different kinds of butterflies. The Viceroy looks very much like the Monarch. This helps the Viceroy from being eaten by birds, because the birds don't like to eat Monarchs. Scientists call this "mimicry".

Some animals are born "knowing" how to do certain things that benefit their survival. It's called "instinct". For instance, Ducklings, goslings, and signets (the babies of ducks, geese, and swans) always follow in a line behind their mother.

Goslings Follow Mother Goose
Goslings Follow "Mother" Lorenz

Professor Konrad Lorenz, a kind of scientist called an "ethologist", let some newborn geese see him instead of their mother just after they hatched from their eggs. You guessed it, they followed him. This was because of their instinct.

"We're right behind you mother dear!"
The Professor and Graylag Geese
Ow!!! (Not really. It's love!)

Humans have instincts too. Can you think of instincts that humans have?

A cat, after doing its "business", will attempt to bury it. Sometimes, a cat will "instinctively" scratch on the wall after doing its "business" in the catbox. It doesn't necessarily know why, it just knows it has to do it. A cat also "instinctively" always washes her face after eating by repeatedly wiping her face with the sides of her paws and then licking them. Notice the cat's tongue. It's good for grooming, too. Cats that are fond of one another like to groom each other by licking the fur on the top of the friend's head.

Cat's Tongue

Penguins do their "flying" underwater when traveling or trying to catch the fish that they eat. While in their breeding grounds in the frozen Antarctic, the Emperor Penguins carry their egg on their feet and cover the egg with their belly feathers to protect it and keep it warm. They also carry the baby penguin around like that when it is small, after the baby hatchs from the egg.

Emperors with Egg
King Penguins "flying" Under the Sea

A source of food for energy and nutrition, and a source of warmth are necessary for baby animals. Food is obvious, but without warmth they would die.

Kangaroo mothers, and mothers of their relatives the oppossums, carry their developing young in a kind of "pocket" called a pouch which is built into their bodies on their bellies. "Possums" can hang from a tree branch by their tails which they wrap around the branch. Baby possums can do the same from the tail of their mother which she can keep arched over her back. Kangaroos can use their tails as a "rocker" (like a rocking chair) so they can raise their hind feet off the ground and use them for "punching" in a fight. The tail is mainly for balance when the kangaroo "runs", where both legs move the same way at the same time. They hop instead of running like a person would. But when they hop, with their tail balancing the weight of the front of their body which leads, they can go very fast.

Cheetah - built for speed. The fastest land animal, birds can attain greater speeds, the Cheetah can attain a speed of approximately 70 miles per hour. That's the speed limit on Interstate highways. But, they can't keep up that speed for very long. They go that fast in "bursts". Cheetahs are in the cat family, but unlike other kinds of cats, they do not have retractable claws. Their paws are more dog-like.

Lions and tigers don't have "cat eyes" with pupils as vertical slits. Their pupils are circular like those of people.

Eagles and similar birds have great acuity of vision. (They can see extremely well.) They can see, as they fly very high in the sky, small rodents in fields on the ground.

The two eyes of a chameleon, a lizard, can point in different directions. They work independently - unlike yours that always point together in one direction at a time.

The kind of eye that mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have (simple eyes) have parts that are like those of a camera: an iris/diaphragm, a lens, and a detecting surface (retina/film or digital detector). Do you know how the compound eyes of insects work?

The lionesses (female lions) are responsible for getting food for their family group ("pride") by doing the routine hunting.

Wolves hunt in organized groups with definite strategies (plans of attack).

Fighting and aggressiveness happen when animals are stressed, or when an animal needs to defend itself. Usually, animals will do everything they can to avoid fighting unless they have to assert themselves over another animal in their family group. The unusual can happen though, especially if the animal is sick or injured. Young animals and animals that are closely bonded to one another like to engage in pretend fighting. An animal that feels "its space" is being unintentionally invaded will usually give a warning of some kind for the invader to withdraw. Actual serious fighting may put an animal's survival at risk. An injury from a fight can make it difficult for the animal to survive.

Just like everyone else, pets like to be loved and appreciated. If you get to know an animal and allow the animal to get to know you (sometimes that is a lengthy process), the animal will bond to you and love you. This is true even when you don't show love in return. But, it's better if you do. Pay attention to your pet. Take good care of the pet's basic needs, pet it, talk lovingly to it, and show it affection. The pet will generally respond in kind.

If you are confronted by an animal that is making a threat display (hissing, growling, showing its teeth, raising the hairs on its shoulders, etc.), you need to take evasive action. Rarely is an animal wanting to attack, it may be just frightened and using threats as a defense. Allow the animal room to get away, but don't give ground so quickly that you invite an attack. A dog, for example, may go after someone who is running away. Act as though you are more powerful than the animal, but don't act as though an attack from you is just about to happen. Sometimes calm words and a non-aggressive posture are best, other times some forcefulness and loudness are best; it depends on the nature of the confrontation. You have to respond appropriately to the cues and signs the animal is showing. If a dog attacks, then it's time to try to keep him from biting you. Don't over-react and do harm to an agressive animal, if it can be avoided. These situations call for good judgment, in spite of fearfulness.

The Labrador Retriever has "webbing" (skin between his toes) which aides him in swimming.

The Chow Chow has a "black" (dark purple) tongue. So, if you see one, don't think he must be really sick.

Chow's "Black" Tongue
Labs Playing "Bring Back the Stick" At the Beach

Elephants and Whales can "talk" to each other over great distances because they emit and receive very deep bass (low frequency, long wavelength) sounds. The sounds can carry for hundreds of miles in the deep ocean where the whales live. Sound under the sea, made intentionally by scientists, and possibly also originating as noise from ships, seems to have interfered with the use of underwater sound by whales, apparently causing them serious problems in their undersea travels to and from breeding and feeding grounds.

Porpoises and other similar sea mammals have a remarkable sound detecting system associated with the bump on the front of their heads. They can detect the sounds of creatures under the sandy sea-floor that they can dig-up and eat.

Honey is made within the bodies of honey bees from nectar, a sugar-bearing liquid, the bees get from flowers. Honey has been used to treat eye infection.

When out seeking pollen, which they use for food, and nectar, honey bees are more attracted to flowers that have a color more toward the blue range of the color spectrum (opposite from the red range). Also, the bees respond to colors of light that are invisible to us: in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum. Some flowers have markings that are only detectable by animals (or instruments) that can detect ultraviolet light.

Bee and wasps sting by thrusting the stinger at the tip of their abdomen into the thing they are stinging. The stinger of honey bees has "barbs" which prevent it from being withdrawn. When the bee escapes after stinging, the stinger is ripped from its body causing a wound and the death of the bee.

Members of a colonies of certain kinds of ants, when traveling, will make bridges by holding on to one another so the rest of the travelers can pass over them. These are "Army Ants".

Deep in the oceans, there are places where sulphur bearing chemicals come out of the Earth in "vents" called fumaroles. Life-forms live there using the sulphur as other more familiar life-forms use oxygen. The world of the fumaroles is as alien to us as life on another planet would be.

There are so many wonderful and fascinating things about nature and animals that a kid can learn about if he or she is open to learning about them and works at acquiring such knowledge. You might try checking the "facts" presented in this "Interesting Facts" section. Sometimes what you read isn't necessarily true. If you find anything wrong, or if you would like to submit other "Interesting Facts", e-mail us at:

Provided Courtesy: The Humane HEART (Health, Education, & Abuse Resolution Taskforce)


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