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14+ Animal Facts Too Pure For This World

When the world seems like a bleak and hopeless place, there are still plenty of reasons not to give up.

Reason one: animal facts. Humans are volatile, ever-changing, and unpredictable. But animals? They just keep on keepin' on, staying consistent and staying awesome.

Plus, as it turns out, they have some pretty incredible tricks up their animal sleeves.

1. Humans aren't the only apes who have jobs.

Wikipedia | Public Domain

Back before things weren't more automated, railways needed signalmen. One such signalman in South Africa lost his legs and bought a baboon named Jack as a helper. Jack learned the job, and went on to work for nine years without messing up once.

2. Speaking of animals with jobs... about an animal who's an elected official? A Great Pyrenees dog named Duke was elected mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, with twelve votes cast in 2014.

He served for four years, but sadly passed away in 2019.

We're not even close to done...

A cat named Stubbs was elected mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska back in 1997, at the tender age of three months. Mayor Stubbs served for almost twenty years until his death in 2017.

Okay, last one, I swear.

This is Tama, a calico cat who attracted fame as "Super Stationmaster Tama" at a railway station in Kinokawa, Japan. At one time, she was (somewhat depressingly) the only female in a managerial position with the rail company.

Alright, time for animals who aren't elected officials...

3. Mini pigs are real.

There's a belief out there that mini pigs are just piglets, but they're actually a distinct breed. They didn't used to be, but thanks to selective breeding programs, they're now acknowledged to be their own breed.

However, they don't stay that mini — they grow to be between 50 to 150 pounds.

4. When it comes to sloths, there's a lot going on under the hood.

Reddit | brindlelindy

Sloths are known for moving slowly. It turns out they move so slowly, in fact, that its fur hosts a whole ecosystem. "Sloth moths" live in their fur, feeding off of algae that the sloths produce.

You can't make this stuff up...

5. San Francisco has a wild parrot colony.

Telegraph Hill in San Francisco has, for more than twenty years, hosted a flock of more than two hundred feral parrots. They're believed to have descended from escaped pets, and they've become a local attraction.

They've created their share of controversy.

A lot of people see a parrot and want to give Polly a cracker. But a ban enacted more than a decade ago prohibits the feeding of these feral birds, which is controversial to this day.

6. Trash pandas were made for the big city.

With their little hands and bandit masks, raccoons are a mischievous bunch. They thrive in modern cities, so much so that psychologists believe urban raccoons to be smarter and more capable than their rural counterparts.

They're smart... Scary smart.

In tests, city raccoons seemed to have a better concept of when to steal food and when to wait. They've also been observed learning to open doors to find food.

7. Crows know, and fear, death.

Crows are smart birds. They're known to mourn their dead, and also tend to avoid areas or people that they know from past experience could be deadly. Not a bad defense mechanism!

8. Horses can't hurl.

From human babies to unruly cats, the ability to vomit is a common trait. Unfortunately, horses just don't have the ability to upchuck. Fortunately, they have company, as mice are also unable to do the deed.

9. Not everything extinct is gone forever.

With the vast number of species — past and present — found in the world, science is bound to miss one from time to time. The coelacanth, a type of big fish, was thought to have been extinct since the time of the dinosaurs.

Spoiler alert: it wasn't extinct.

It isn't quite the same as finding out that the stegosaurus still lives, but it wasn't that far off, either. In 1938, a live specimen was found off South Africa. They're rare today, but very much alive.

10. Reindeer have a totally unique characteristic.

Wikimedia Commons | Alexandre Buisse

They're the only mammal (out of 5,416 recorded species!) that can see ultraviolet light. This allows them to differentiate between predators and the surrounding landscape, even when those predators are well camouflaged.

Maybe that's why Santa's such a fan.

Because when you're careening all over the world in a flying sleigh, it must be helpful to be guided by creatures that can tell the difference between open airspace and the side of a house.

11. Elephants are the Michael Phelps of the animal kingdom.

An Asian elephant was found swimming more than ten miles offshore by the Sri Lankan navy. It didn't want to be that far out and was probably swept away by the current. Fortunately, a rescue operation helped it get back to dry land.

12. Ants are self-aware.

Unsplash | Mikhail Vasilyev

In studies, ants have shown that they recognize their own bodies — when a dot is painted on them, they try to scratch it off. If they're self-aware, does this mean they have existential crises?

13. The scariest of all bears.

When you're talking about bears you wouldn't want to encounter, polar bears and grizzly bears are probably the first two on the list. Well, as it turns out, they've collaborated and created a hybrid known as the grolar bear.

Sounds scarier than 'pizzly bear'.

Sadly, this hybrid only exists out of necessity, as polar bears have been forced to migrate far from their typical territory, which has brought them into contact with grizzly bears.

15. Spiders can get pretty old.

Spiders, even the bigger species, seem pretty small and prone to wear and tear. But the longest spider lifespan ever recorded was 43 years. A trapdoor spider in Australia lived well into its fourth decade before tragically being stung by a wasp.

That spider was old enough to be a middle-aged human.

A respectable lifespan for a spider, sure. But what I'm mostly worried about is spider-human hybrids. I want Peter Parker to make it past his 43rd birthday. The city needs him!

16. Cats are employable.

...haven't we been over this already? This one's actually pretty neat: animal rescue groups have found a way to get more cats adopted. They give them away as pest control specialists, and find a new chance as mouse killers.

17. Dogs are more tuned in than you might think.

If you've ever thought your dog understands you, that's because it probably does. They've evolved to recognize some fairly subtle human communications. For instance, they understand that you're happy when you're laughing, and they know when you're sad as well.

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