Have you ever gone out to a forest or some other area people aren’t typically crowding up and noticed animals doing things that seemed odd? Funny enough, this is not exactly uncommon to see because people cannot be around animals 24/7. It is likely that when we’re away, they will do some things we never assumed they could. Some of the strangest animal habits are only strange to us, but to the animals, they’re relatively normal.
In spite of this, you could easily point to some specific things as incredibly weird even if you’re another animal. In fact, there are some things that animals do that might actually shock you to find out. Don’t believe us? We thought you might need us to discuss some of the strangest animal habits out there. Therefore, we created a list just for you. We’re pretty sure by the end that you’ll need someone to help pull your mouth up off the floor.
The Lioness That Adopted Gazelles As Her Own Young
Lions tend to be incredibly dangerous to pretty much everyone around them. Heck, female lions have to even hide their young when they are small so that the males won’t eat them. Of course, most of the hunting tends to be something the ladies handle while the males pretty much do nothing all day. Hey, they’re just like us! It would shock you to find out, then, that one Lioness decided to not kill baby gazelles that she came across for food.
Named Kamunyak by the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya, the lioness apparently adopted six different Oryx calves between 2002 to 2003. In fact, she even fought off other predators, including other lions, to keep them safe. She even hunted to help feed them! She also suffered through starvation to help keep them alive too. It is widely assumed by Zoologist that the Lioness likely lost her original lion cubs somehow and took to mothering the baby gazelles as a way to cope.
It is likely that you’ve heard stories about humans using horses all over the world as a method of transportation for thousands of years. In fact, some still do and you might know people who own one or more horses yourself. Have you ever wondered why horses were able to handle carrying around man, and pulling wagons for so long? Yet one of the strangest animal habits involves the horse and how it breathes.
When horses run, their breathing and stride are linked in a 1:1 Ratio. Basically, for every single stride they take, they also take in one breath. Their peak airflow generated is pretty high too, roughly 80 liters per second! This is why even a small defect in their airway can cause a major decrease in a horse’s performance. When they carry humans, they cannot move as fast as they can while not mounted. Yet they have evolved to handle some extra weight without having a major drop-off in speed.
We’re not saying Giraffes are a bit too kinky for us, but they might be into some stuff we’re not sure we can follow them in. One of the strangest animal habits known involves the Giraffe and how they mate. Before a male can know a female is ready to mate, he must drink her urine first. This is done to taste if specific hormones are present. If they are, the male knows that the giraffe is ready to mate with.
However, in order to get the urine, the male will quite literally kick/nudge the female to make her take a leak. From there, if she is ready to do so, she will actually walk away for a few days until she’s ready to do this thing. After psyching herself up to make it happen, because her sister is younger and she does NOT want to have to deal with her mating first, she’ll head back to the male. Once she mates, the female will usually carry the calf around for 13 to 15 months until the baby literally falls out.
You might have heard that having Mantis Shrimp as a pet inside a regular office tank can be a bad idea. They are known for their beautiful colors and all. However, they are also known for being able to literally punch through normal glass. This is why people with these shrimp are told they must have bulletproof glass to keep them in tanks. Their punch is so powerful that it can exclusively help them fend off predators or kill prey in the ocean.
This punch has been tested and the results researchers came across were amazing. They found that the Mantis Shrimp hits so powerful and fast that for about a second, the temperature around its claw reaches around the same temperature as the sun. It is possible you thought you misread that, but you didn’t. The shrimp has a literal “Iron Fist” that gives them the power of the sun. In the ocean, it mostly tends to use the punch for breaking through animal shells to feast on.
We’ve likely all heard of some really weird parasites. Yet you might not know of the Leucochloridium Worm, which is simply a parasitic worm that might be an evil mastermind. Basically, they really enjoy infecting birds. Yet birds would never go after the Leucochloridium Worm due to likely knowing it’s a parasite. This is why the worm has to get creative, and how it goes about this is clearly one of the strangest animal habits we know of.
First, it will infect local snails. They’ll literally take over the motor function of the snail they have infected, mostly the eyestalks of the creature. This can mimic a caterpillar, which birds enjoy eating quite often. If the bird takes the bait, a worm will now be able to enter and reproduce inside the bird’s GI tract. It’ll then transmit via the feces and continue this parasitic cycle for as long as it feels. This is the type of drive we need in national leadership, but we’ve already seen too many parasites there.
If you took basic Grade School Science, you know that Dolphins happen to be mammals just like humans. While they are in the water, they have to come up for air off and on. This might make you wonder how they are able to sleep underwater at night if they must breathe at some point. That is where one of the strangest animal habits comes up. We now know how Dolphins sleep and manage to stay alive. They sleep with one eye open and one-half of their brain still awake.
They need to be half-awake mostly to keep an eye on potential predators or obstacles that might fly toward them. Of course, it is also so they will come up for a breath too. Roughly every two hours, one side of their brain will be awake with an eye open while the other side sleeps. They’ll switch back and forth all night, with the pattern usually resulting in each side getting the same level of rest. All told, Dolphins spend about a third of their entire day getting shuteye.
The Incredible Death Rituals Observed By Elephants
Elephants are among the smartest animals we’ve ever known. While we as humans have specific things we do for our loved ones when they pass away, the animals do too. Yet few seem more like us in this department than elephants. That brings us to one of the strangest animal habits that also amazes us. We do not expect non-primate animals to act like us. However, elephants are incredibly emotional creatures a lot like humans. Making their death rituals similar to our own.
When they come across the bones of another elephant, they will stop and become silent. As if they are saying a prayer to the fallen. Sometimes they’ll hold and prod the bones to potentially see if they knew the elephant. They even pay respects by bowing their head to the fallen too. Elephants will even go back to graves to visit their dead brothers and sisters they once knew. If an Elephant from a herd passes away, other Elephants will stand by the body for several hours, refusing to eat or drink.
Zebra Finches Make Larger Eggs When Their Mate Is Ugly
Animals might choose to mate with a member of their species for several reasons. What a specific animal finds attractive will differ from species to species, naturally. Most females do not mate with a male unless they find them reasonably attractive, yet sometimes they will do so if they are desperate to have children. Obviously, we cannot ALL be successful like our sister, MOM! Sure, she has a nice job in the city with Dave and 3 kids while we have neither.
Anyway, some Zebra Finches will sometimes mate with less than desirable males. When other birds mate with males they do not find attractive, females will intentionally make smaller eggs with fewer nutrients. Almost like they are trying to abort the children. Yet one of the strangest animal habits is found in Zebra Finches and how they do the exact opposite of other birds, growing a slightly bigger egg to give extra nutrients in an effort to make sure their children don’t turn out ugly like their father.
If you’ve never seen a Pearlfish in the wild before, we do not advise that you try to hunt them down. If you do manage to find one, you’ll likely come across one of the strangest animal habits you’ve ever seen. It is that they have no respect for the boundaries of a Sea Cucumber at all! For those unaware, Sea Cucumbers breathe through their anus. We’re totally serious. It seems that Pearlfish picked up on this and began using these Cucumbers as shelter.
When they try to take a breath, a Pearlfish can enter via the anus of the Cucumber which they will choose to live inside of for long periods of time. As many as 15 fish will live inside the anus of one Sea Cucumber at a time. Talk about a crappy life for the cucumber, right? If you thought it ended there, you were wrong. Some will also eat the reproductive organs of the Cucumber while there. We cannot blame the Cucumber if it’s ever in a bad mood or gets anal about things. We totally get it now.
We’re not saying that the video game series Hitman missed the perfect opportunity to be more gruesome, but we ARE saying that Assassin Bugs are better killers than Agent 47. The bugs will capture ants by first paralyzing them and eating their insides out. One of the strangest animal habits you’ll see involves how these little guys will pile up those dead ants on their backs. They’ll usually be wrapped up in a sticky ball so that the bug can make sure they stick around.
This was done as an evolutionary response to hide from their top predator, Jumping Spiders, who do not like to go after ants. While they very easily could take out one ant or maybe a few, they know that ants rarely travel in a small group. It is the method of being with a group of friends going down a dark alley at night versus being on your own. Ants also use chemical weapons against Spiders too. Due to this, the Assassin Bug will place ants on their back to make the Spider avoid them.
While we all might like watching Cyclops of the X-Men shooting laser beams out of his eyes at potential enemies, we sadly do not have any animals capable of this. Well, not yet at least. Give it time, science. However, we do have one creature that sprays red stuff at potential predators though. One of the strangest animal habits around involves the Horned Lizard and how it sprays blood out of its own eyes as a method of defending itself.
Sure, having a defensive mechanism like this makes some sense. We can assume most predators would leave you alone after this sort of thing happens. Most of the time, that is exactly what happens as it startles the predator enough for it to flee most of the time. The blood comes from the flooded sinuses of the Horned Lizard. They have even been known to remove foreign particles from their eyes using the eye blood. It operates a lot like how tears work for humans. Except we cannot spray them.
For those unaware, there are some ants technically born blind. Most ants actually navigate using their eyesight, a lot like humans. That said, it can be hard to do this if you’re blind yet some Army Ants are. They will become disoriented a lot easier and even march in circles until they end up dying from exhaustion. Yet in one of the strangest animal habits, while also being one of the coolest, ants have a method for getting around this problem.
To help other ants, the Army Ants will use pheromones that leave behind a trail that Ants can sense. They will then be able to follow behind others. However, they can potentially lose the scent. This can be a major problem because once one ant falls victim to the lost scent, others might fall behind them. Some might still be okay, resulting in just a few stragglers, but a lot of the time, the lost scent causes ants just to follow the one in front. If the Front Ant is off, it results in a big ant spiral known as an Ant Mill. They will march until they drop dead, making this a technical suicide march.
It is pretty obvious that one of the creepiest-looking fish on the planet has to be the Anglerfish. You likely recognize it from the Finding Nemo movie, where Marlin and Dory were hypnotized by the light. While the one in that movie was relatively large, a significant portion of the Anglerfish male species is pretty small. That can then lead to one of the strangest animal habits that will likely make you feel gross just reading about it.
If a male is smaller, he will try to connect with a larger female. The idea is that he will find a suitable female and literally bite into her stomach. He will refuse to let go and the two will essentially latch together. Their bodies and even circulatory systems will fuse to become one. The male has essentially become new gonads for the female. What’s creepier is that it does not end there at times. The female might also add other males. Up to eight Anglerfish can fuse like this to one female!!
Male Bowerbirds Trick Females Into Falling For Them Using Magic
Bowerbirds are pretty interesting creatures. Every bird species has some form of compelling mating habit that they might employ. Both males and females engage in them, but for Bowerbirds, they put in the work! They will construct an entire structure known as a “Bower.” It’ll usually be made of sticks, colorful trinkets they find, and even fruits. The female the male is trying to mate with will sit in the bower and watch his mating display, judging his potential mating prowess.
Yet that is also where one of the strangest animal habits comes into play. The male Bowerbird will try to sort of use magic to help himself. He tries to put an illusion in play to make himself look better. He will use small bits of bones and/or shells at the entrance of the bower. He’ll put the largest ones right in front of the female. This will force the perspective eyesight-wise and make the area look smaller. That will, in turn, make the male look larger. Therefore, also more attractive and mate-worthy.
For those unaware, Flatworms happen to be hermaphroditic. To compare them to humans, they would be known as Intersex these days. This means a person was born with both male and female reproductive organs. Of course, only a small few are born like this among humans but ALL Flatworms are born this way. This means they can mate with literally any Flatworm they’d like to do the nasty with. However, there is one small issue when it comes to mating for children; someone must be the mother.
To decide who the mother will be, Flatworms will “swordfight” by battling with their male organs. They will do this until there is a winner. Of course, the winner is the one that gets to inseminate the other. You do not want to be the loser (and thus, the mother) because it takes a lot more energy to make eggs than sperm anyway. Plus, you have to carry and eventually have the eggs. The Father Flatworm can essentially run along and never be seen again. Just like a deadbeat father, those Flatworms.
So you’re just a nice, happy-go-lucky cockroach just minding your own cockroachy business. Suddenly, a Jewel Wasp is on top of you and committing an assault that would put a human in prison for a decade. Your brain took a sting from this Wasp and you are now pretty much immobile, unable to move very well. This is when the true assault begins. Like some sick serial killer, the Jewel Wasp will drag the roach back to its burrow where it’ll lay one egg inside the roach’s abdomen.
The Wasp will even allow the cockroach to go back to its own home after such a traumatic incident. But this is where one of the strangest animal habits gets worse. The Wasp follows the roach home and blocks up its home once it goes inside. The roach is now trapped, unable to escape. Roughly three days later, the wasp larva will hatch inside the roach and begin to literally eat its way out. Once it does, it’ll get out of the burrow and do Waspy things. We think we should call a therapist now.
It is possible that you’ve been around Pigeons here and there in life. They are all over the place, especially cities for some reason. Have you ever wondered why they seem to walk on the ground a lot rather than fly? How about their seemingly weird inability to move when something is coming at them? In one of the strangest animal habits we’ve ever seen, it seems that Pigeons are apparently the worst procrastinators.
When studied, researchers found that when a Pigeon knew something had to be done such as a task, it would fly away from the situation rather than handle the problem. The issue here is that when they need to do something, the problem only grows into a bigger one. Pigeons cannot seem to handle all of this happening at once. This is why you might see a Pigeon refuse to fly away when a car is coming straight at them. Inside their little bird brain, they are too freaked out to think of the best move.
There is a huge problem that can occur in life. Say you’re some dude who sees a pretty girl you want to talk to. Yet you’re not the only one who might want to talk. If you try to talk to her, another dude might interfere, thus stopping you from having a talk with your future wife. Cuttlefish have a way of avoiding this problem, and it’s one of the strangest animal habits that has ever been observed by science.
When they see a prospective mate, male cuttlefish will morph half their body to look like a female. This allows them to go up to a female cuttlefish with their male side facing them. Meanwhile, other male cuttlefish see the other side and what appears to be two females. This allows the male to court the female without dealing with potential competition from other males. By doing this, the male can ensure he’ll get to mate with the female before other males get the chance.
While some people think birds are dumb, Crows prove this to be completely untrue. In fact, they are some of the smartest animals on the planet. Moreover, they have memories on par with human beings! Researchers found that crows remembered their abductors. We know they did because they dived at them in an attempt to attack. To further test this, researchers had other crows captured by abductors who wore a “threatening mask.”
Over the span of four weeks, researchers would have people feed the crows wearing “caring masks.” The idea was that the crows should feel like the people wearing the caring mask were good while those with threatening masks were bad. As a way to test the theory, the crows were shown the two faces and then given a brain scan. When shown the caring face, Crows acted neutral. Meanwhile, when shown the threatening face, they were distressed. Meaning they remembered both. More than this, they only saw the threatening masks once (the day of their abduction), so they remembered those who wronged them.
You might think you’ve seen some of the strangest animal habits thus far, but one such issue in Asia might shock you. Over in Japan, there are major problems between Native Bees and the infamous Asian Giant Hornet species. Essentially, the Hornets like to get inside Beehives and murder pretty much every bee they come across. If more than one breaks in, they could slaughter about 20 bees per second. Resulting in thousands in a mere few hours.
The only way the Giant Hornets can do this is by first sending a scout out to find a potential Beehive to break into. Yet the Japanese Honeybees are wise to this. They will often capture the Hornet Scout and then cluster around it, vibrating incredibly fast. As you might know because of, well, science, vibrations moving at a high speed can generate heat. In this instance, the bees are generating so much that they literally cook the Giant Hornet to death. Preventing it from going back to his clan.
Sometimes, humans can get such an immense level of emotion that we might pass out. This is often triggered by a potential issue such as low or high blood pressure. Both can result in a person passing out. Humans should not feel weird about this issue, however. Another species happens to be famous for its fainting problems. They are called the Myotonic Goats. While they were not originally from Tennessee, four of these goats were brought there in the 1880s.
The goats apparently “got busy,” and resulted in quite a few being born. They are still relatively endangered, however. They are often referred to as “The Fainting Goats” or the “Tennessee Fainting Goats” due to their issue. When these little guys get startled, their bodies will freeze up for roughly 10 seconds. This results in them falling over, appearing to faint. Described in 1939 as “congenital myotonia,” it would later be found to be a mutation in their genes in 1996.
One of the strangest animal habits known is also one of the most destructive to all bird species. The Cuckoo Bird is known for doing some absolutely horrible things. Females will lay their eggs in other nests that do not belong to them, and will then abandon those eggs entirely. Like leaving a baby at the entrance of a Hospital, Fire Department, or Adoption Center. Most of the time, the baby birds are eventually raised and fed. They might even indirectly kill their “fake” siblings.
Cuckoo Birds are naturally bigger and pretty loud compared to others. This results in the Cuckoos being fed more and they’ll even steal food right from their “mother’s” mouth. Once the bird grows up, they will leave the nest. Females will then go lay another egg in yet another nest that does not belong to them and become a problem for yet another mother. Keep in mind, Cuckoo Birds do not just do this with other Cuckoo nests. Meaning a Robin could just as easily have a potential Cuckoo child to raise. This act from the Cuckoo Bird is known as Brood Parasitism.
Clownfish Transition Sexes, Sometimes Faster Than They’d Like
While human beings can only transition our genders, other animals can transition their sex. This is not common among most animals, but it does happen with all Clownfish. When the Matriarch of the Clownfish clan dies off, a male Clownfish will take its place and become the new female. Usually, this occurs with the largest male in the clan. Potentially, due to the fact that Female Clownfish need to be a bit larger for all the babymaking.
Since Clownfish will have usually just one female around compared to several males, they will live in a Polyamorous society where there will be several Brother-Husbands. The female will only take one mate at a time, so males have to move up in the hierarchy. However, all Clownfish start out as males. Of course, Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. Meaning, they start male but will eventually transition to female in their lives. All of them. Finding Nemo is somehow weirder to watch now.
When we say that there might never be another creature more important to their species than Koko the Gorilla, we truly mean that. She sadly died in 2018, but when she was alive, Koko was able to show a level of intelligence that would impress anyone. We know that Gorillas cannot speak English or any other known human language. However, her instructor and caregiver Francine Patterson realized she could teach Koko sign language to communicate with humans.
While it was a version of Gorilla signing, Koko learned more than 1,000 signs to communicate with. That put her on the same level as a three-year-old human. Koko also was able to understand around 2,000 words of English, in addition to Sign Language. Perhaps, the most amazing thing was her recognition skill. When meeting Robin Williams, Koko remembered him from a movie she watched, identified him on the cover of the tape, and was excited to interact with him personally.
While there are some asexual creatures, mostly in the ocean, most of the time you need a mate to create new life. Yet due to problems with a species, some creatures are unable to mate for one reason or another. This led to some animals developing an evolutionary response. In one of the strangest animal habits in history, a Komodo Dragon surprised her caregivers at the London Chester Zoo when she ended up laying eggs.
This would have made sense if the Dragon had a mate, but she didn’t. In fact, she had not been around a male Komodo Dragon in quite some time. You could see how it would surprise everyone. What ended up happening was a “virgin birth,” where the female dragon laid exact clones of herself. The children are literal clones of their mother, down to their DNA. This last-ditch evolutionary response to pass along genes can also be found in Pythons and Swellsharks. Each time, it’s absolutely incredible.
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