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Debunking Top Animal Myths People Actually Believe
Wet nose dog sleeping. Photo Credit: Yulia YasPe/Shutterstock

3. Wet Noses Do Not Indicate a Healthy Dog

There are several animal myths surrounding man’s best friend. Popular wisdom suggests that a dog with a wet nose is healthy, and a dog with a dry nose is sick. However, this is simply not true. The wetness on a dog’s nose is very similar to the sweat on a human’s skin and indicates the level of activity, not overall health (via VCA). Dogs actually have mucous glands on their nose that help them smell better, and when they lick their noses, they are sampling whatever it is that they have just smelled. If you are concerned that your dog may not feel well, do not touch its nose to determine for yourself. A wet and cold nose has nothing to do with dog sickness.

If you are concerned about determining whether or not your dog is sick, look for significant changes in your dog’s behavior (via Ranker). If Fido is not eating as much as usual or acting lethargic instead of his energetic self, there is probably a problem. Generally, you should call your vet if you have a concern. If the vet does not say to bring the dog in right away, monitor its condition for 24 hours to see if things worsen. If they do, bring the dog in right away. A dog who is listless, wheezing, or has a runny nose should be taken to the vet immediately because its condition is likely life-threatening.

Debunking Top Animal Myths People Actually Believe
A Grizzly Bear in Alaska taking a rest on a fallen tree. Photo Credit: Adam Van Spronsen/Shutterstock

2. Bears Do Not Actually Hibernate for the Winter

Bears and hibernation go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whenever children learn about bears in school, one of the first things that they are taught is that bears sleep through the winter during a period called hibernation. Nevertheless, in reality, what bears do is not true hibernation, meaning they do not go entirely dormant for the entire season. They go into more of a state of suspended animation that includes a very deep and long sleep that resembles hibernation. However, these bears will undoubtedly wake up if necessary. So, if you ever encounter a sleeping bear during the winter, do not try to poke at it! It very well could wake up and give you a very, very bad time.

Let’s put some true behind these myths. Rodents are the champions of hibernation, particularly Arctic squirrels (via BBC). These guys usually have a body temperature of about 99 degrees Fahrenheit. However, during the winter months, they can drop their body temperatures to below freezing. Then, bears go into a period of complete dormancy for several weeks. They then wake up to warm their body temperatures up, then go back to sleep for the remainder of the winter. Unlike squirrels, bears do not cool their body temperatures in the winter, and this drop is a core component of true hibernation. They take a long nap that helps them survive food scarcity (via Ranker).

Debunking Top Animal Myths People Actually Believe
A huge brown bull is standing in a field. Photo Credit: Dragonna/Shutterstock

1. Bulls Do Not Hate the Color Red

Here is the final one of the wildest animal myths that most people still believe. This myth may be one of the last to die in the world of animal mythology (via Ranker). Matadors, or Spanish bullfighters, began using red capes in the 1700s as part of their technique of getting the bull to charge and exciting the crowd. However, the trigger that gets bulls to charge is the cape itself, not the color. They will charge at capes that are purple, blue, yellow, green, or any other color. Nevertheless, red seems to be a fan favorite and a tradition in this Spanish pastime. The tradition is so deep that matadors generally wear costumes that match the red cape and never fathom any other color.

There are many other myths about animals. One is that the wolfpack leader is alpha when in reality, wolfpacks function much more like human families and have a complex social structure (via Mental Floss). Another is that lice prefer long and oily hair. Nevertheless, lice are equal opportunity invaders. Moreover, that hump on a camel’s back does not store water. A camel can go for up to a week without water, but not because it is sucking up fluids from underneath its ubiquitous hump. The hump is actually full of fatty tissue to help the animal survive long stretches without food. In reality, they are so effective at extracting water from their food and storing it in their kidneys that they can go without fluids for several days.