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Incredible animal facts you probably didn’t know before (part 2)

Incredible animal facts you probably didn’t know before (part 2)
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Some animals have surprisingly human-like behaviours. While others have extraordinary features. See how well you know your animals facts in part 2 of our special feature.

Dolphins

Dolphins
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Incredible as this animal fact may seem, dolphins call each other by ‘name’. Research at the University of St Andrews found that dolphins can call out to other dolphins by mimicking the distinct whistle of the dolphin they want.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees
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Not convinced that men and chimps are closely related? In 2015, the Royal Science Open Society reported that scientists in Guinea had discovered that the animals they were studying frequently drank fermented palm sap – an alcoholic, naturally-occurring sort of wine that human locals are also partial to. The cool clincher: the chimps also used utensils to gather and drink this liquor, namely, crushed leaves they used as ‘sponges’ to sop it up and move it to their mouths – often in copious enough quantities that some of them actually got drunk.

Bats

Bats
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Certain species of bats, including Australia’s microbats, eat up to 1200 mosquitoes and other small insects such as lawn grub moths, weevils, beetles, midges and flying termites every hour. That’s one bat per 1200 insects! If you want to enjoy chemical-free mosquito and pest control in your garden, simply encourage microbats into your backyard with artificial roost boxes. But perhaps our favourite bat fact of all is: they give birth upside down and catch their newborns in their wings.

Cats

Cats
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You may have named your beloved puss after your favourite sweet treat. Ironically, though, sweet is one taste that domestic and some wild cats cannot detect. That’s because they’re lacking sweet sensors on their tongues and elsewhere in their mouths, according to scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. In fact, this seems to be an ability that strictly carnivorous cats lost over time; cats that are omnivores still appear to be able to distinguish a sugary flavour.

You’ve probably noticed that some cats love to smooch while others need their space. Discover which cat breeds have the friendliest personalities.

Wombats

Wombats
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Here’s a factoid that’s gotten a lot of attention lately – wombats poop square poo. The reasons for this truly weird phenomenon were a mystery for years, but recently a couple of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Australia’s University of Adelaide decided to do a more rigorous analysis. Turns out, wombat poop is extremely dry, since wombats, which live in arid climates, extract all moisture from their food. National Geographic reports that their intestines are also irregularly-shaped and stretchy, helping to sculpt dry scat into its unique cube-like shape.

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Ducks

Ducks
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California is a hotspot for surfing, for both humans and ducks! Back in 2010, according to a story reported by The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, people started reporting that they’d spotted mallard ducks everywhere from Santa Barbara to San Diego catching some waves, allowing their feathery bodies to be carried to shore. The reason: food, namely, sand crabs. It’s a behaviour scientists think they learnt from watching native shorebirds such as sand scoters and black brants.

Manatees

Manatees
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Also known as sea cows, these plump, distant elephant relatives can weigh as much as 450kg. They’re also vegetarian, which means that in order to have enough energy to swim around ocean shallows, they have to eat 10 per cent of their body weight every single day. That’s a whole lotta sea salad!

Manatees (part 2)

Manatees (part 2)
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These gentle creatures share water space with some of the fiercest predators out there – namely, alligators. You’d think that would be bad news for manatees. But scientists report this cool animal fact: the two species coexist quite nicely. Alligators have been caught catching rides on manatees’ backs – although there’s speculation that it was the manatee benefitting from a back scratch. And manatees aren’t shy about bumping alligators to get them to move out of their way, says PBS.

Grizzly bears

Grizzly bears
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You’re not seeing things: These powerful (and unfortunately endangered) bears do indeed have humpbacks. The hump is actually a strong muscle, says BearSmart.com, developed to help grizzlies with digging “ripping through the earth and tearing apart rotted logs in search of roots, plant bulbs, insects, rodents and other grubs…[as well as]…diggin out winter dens.”

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