102 Animal Facts That Might Change The Way You See Animals

·17 min read

1.The average length of a giraffe's tongue is 20 inches. And they can grab things with it.

a giraffe sticking out it's tongue
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2.Sea lion pups and their mom communicate through special vocalizations so they can identify one another.

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3."Puppy-dog eyes" are a result of dogs co-evolving with humans.

Domesticated dogs have developed two muscles that exaggerate the size of their eyes, making them appear larger and more expressive — aka

Domesticated dogs have developed two muscles that exaggerate the size of their eyes, making them appear larger and more expressive — aka "cuter."

Demuredragonfly / Getty Images

4.Giraffes' tongues are black in color to prevent them from getting sunburnt. They actually stick their tongues out that much.

a giraffe black tongue
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5.Baby elephants can't see very well when they're first born so they identify their mom through "touch, scent and sound."

Portrait of a mother elephant nursing her young calf in soft sunlit grass while cattle egret looks on at Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
Vicki Jauron, Babylon And Beyond / Getty Images

6.Male giraffes will use their extremely long tongues to taste the pee of female giraffes to determine if they're ovulating.

a giraffe sticking out it's tongue
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7.The Dumbo octopus's fins look like ears, giving it its Disney-inspired name.

reddit.com

Its also been called the cutest octopus in the world!!!!!!!!!

8.It's extremely common for male giraffes to have sex with each other. Like, extremely common. As in 50% of all male giraffes have no problem sexing up other male giraffes.

Two giraffes walking onto a safari trail
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9.Hippopotamuses have pink sweat, a thick red-ish substance they produce that acts as sunscreen.

hippo in a tank of water
Tatisol / Getty Images

10.Wolves get scared of strangers and hide.

two wolves

Because of this, they make bad guard dogs. Same, honestly.

John Morrison / Getty Images

11.Ostriches swallow pebbles to be able to grind their food.

an ostrich
Sasapanchenko / Getty Images

12.Giraffes can sprint up to 35 miles per hour, which is pretty fast for an animal that is practically wearing stilts.

a giraffe running

Just imagine one of these things loping toward you at a terrifying speed.

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13.And because their legs are so long, giraffes walk at 10 miles per hour without even trying.

giraffes walking

Their leisurely stroll is your life-threatening marathon pace.

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14.Goats and cows have accents.

Cows tend to moo differently depending on the region they live in. It's similar for goats, but goats will also adopt a new

Cows tend to moo differently depending on the region they live in. It's similar for goats, but goats will also adopt a new "accent" if they hang out with new goats for a while.

Maximili / Getty Images

15.There's an abandoned minefield that has accidentally created a penguin sanctuary. The mines keep poachers out, but the penguins are too small to set them off.

The mines were set on the Falkland Islands when Argentinian commandos occupied the territory in a 1982 conflict with British forces. Since then, Magellanic penguins have thrived in the area. And because the areas are well-marked and fenced off, no civilian has been injured by the mines, either.

The mines were set on the Falkland Islands when Argentinian commandos occupied the territory in a 1982 conflict with British forces. Since then, Magellanic penguins have thrived in the area. And because the areas are well-marked and fenced off, no civilian has been injured by the mines, either.

Birdimages / Getty Images

16.Cats can nurse hedgehogs.

imgur.com / Via CAT-GIFs.com

In 2017, Sadgorod Zoo in Russia had a cat who had recently given birth nurse eight orphaned hedgehogs — and it was successful!!!

17.Giraffes can live without water longer than a camel can. At this point, it's OK to suspect that they're indestructible.

Giraffes (Camelopardalis) and Burchell's zebra (Equus quagga burchellii) drinking from the Boteti River.
Beata Whitehead / Getty Images

18.They're probably a little tense: Their blood pressure is twice that of humans.

The pressure is necessary to keep blood flowing all the way up to their heads.
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19.In fact, their system for regulating blood pressure has been replicated by aeronautical engineers for use in spacesuits.

A lone astronaut standing facing away from the camera dressed in full space suit with backpack, stands still looking towards a distant planet Earth. The sun illuminates a side of Earth and hundreds of stars are visible in deep space.
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20.No two giraffes have the same pattern of spots, but giraffes that live in the same area tend to have similar coats.

A giraffe puts his neck around another as they interact with each other at Amboseli National Park, Kenya in June.
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21.Seagulls often stomp on the ground — often referred to as their "rain dance" — to attract earthworms and other food.

Weezer / Via giphy.com

Their stomping mimics the vibrations of real rain, which lures the insects to the surface.

22.Giraffe herds have almost no defined social structure or hierarchy.

Masai Giraffe herd at wild with Plains Zebra Herd.
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23.Cats are responsible for the global extinction of 33 species.

Just so we're clear, these are feral cats and not your pets but still… Outdoor kitties murder billions of creatures every year, and, in 33 known cases, have wiped them off the planet forever.But before we blame the cats, let's remember that it's our fault there are so many feral cats. It's always our fault :(

Just so we're clear, these are feral cats and not your pets but still…

Outdoor kitties murder billions of creatures every year, and, in 33 known cases, have wiped them off the planet forever.

But before we blame the cats, let's remember that it's our fault there are so many feral cats.

It's always our fault :(

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

24.Dogs prefer to poop facing the North Pole.

Some folks need a magazine. Some need to align their axis with global magnetic polarity. Who are we to judge anyone's particular poop ritual?

Some folks need a magazine. Some need to align their axis with global magnetic polarity.

Who are we to judge anyone's particular poop ritual?

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

25.Your dog probably dreams about you.

According to Deirdre Barrett, a clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard, there's reason to believe that animals dream similarly to how humans do, thanks to communication with signing gorillas (Koko and Michael, specifically). It's likely that dogs dream as well, about the usual

According to Deirdre Barrett, a clinical and evolutionary psychologist at Harvard, there's reason to believe that animals dream similarly to how humans do, thanks to communication with signing gorillas (Koko and Michael, specifically). It's likely that dogs dream as well, about the usual "dog stuff," like going on walks or making their owner happy.

Anton_herrington / Getty Images

26.Umm Nyolokh is a substance made from the liver and bone marrow of a giraffe. If ingested, it allegedly produces giraffe-themed hallucinations.

A late evening storm brings a dark sky enhancing the illumination of a giraffe grazing in the foreground at Maasai Mara, Kenya in July 2021.
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27.Zebra moms keep their babies in the center of the herd to keep them safe from predators.

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Getty Images

28.There are deer in Eastern Europe that still won't cross where the Iron Curtain was.

graphic of deer stopping in front of a rabbit

A quarter century after the fall of the Soviet Empire, there are some animals that still respect its borders. Researchers have noticed that red deer in the Czech Republic won't cross where electric fences once marked the border into West Germany.

This is most likely due to genetically-inherited memory, and not their political or economic beliefs.

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

29.The oldest living creature was a clam that lived 507 years.

graphic of a clam

And her name was Ming. Some researchers found her off the coast of Iceland and determined from the rings in her shell that she lived for over five centuries.

So I guess sitting in one place for an extended amount of time isn't bad for your health?

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

30.Millions of years ago, there were 6'8" penguins that weighed 250 pounds.

graphic of a large penguin standing tall over a human

Basically, the size of your average college football player.

Scientists: please clone some soon.

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

31.Ants can survive a fall from any height. Even from an airplane.

graphic of an ant reading while falling from the sky

They weigh almost nothing, so they fall really slowly. Also, they have an exoskeleton.

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

32.Some fish can recognize their owner's face.

fish

Obviously, it depends on the type of fish, but some fish can learn to recognize familiar faces despite not having the same region of the brain that humans use for facial recognition. The study that discovered this fact only used archerfish, but other small fish might be capable of this as well!

Jessersim / Getty Images

33.Giant pandas are no longer an endangered species, and tiger populations are on the rise.

panda eating

Giant panda populations increased by 17% over a decade, downgrading their status from "endangered" to "vulnerable." Meanwhile, India — which is home to 60% of the global wild tiger population — has seen a 33% increase in the number of tigers in the wild.

Nuno Tendais / Getty Images

34.When a baby elephant is born, other mothers in the social group will trumpet to celebrate or announce the baby's arrival.

Elephants tend to stay in close

Elephants tend to stay in close "family" groups for their whole lives, which are generally made up of female elephants (the males often leave the group to go mate, but sometimes group up with other solitary males). So other female elephants are often present for new births.

Sdbower / Getty Images

35.Dolphin mothers sing to their babies while they're in the womb.

According to a study at the University of Southern Mississippi, dolphin mothers will make a

According to a study at the University of Southern Mississippi, dolphin mothers will make a "signature whistle" for the benefit of their calf while it's in the womb. This whistle is thought to act as a sort of "name" for the mother, allowing the calf and mother to locate each other easily once it's born. After the calf is born, other nearby adult dolphins will whistle less, likely to help the calf learn and use the right whistle.

Bcwh / Getty Images

36.The first animal to orbit the moon was a tortoise.

We always hear about how the Russians launched a dog into orbit, but why has history forgotten that they first sent a tortoise to the moon? Unlike the dog, it came back.

We always hear about how the Russians launched a dog into orbit, but why has history forgotten that they first sent a tortoise to the moon?

Unlike the dog, it came back.

Dan Meth / Via BuzzFeed

37.Cows have "best friends" and are happier when they're with them.

A study from Northampton University found that when cows were paired with another cow that shared a social bond with them, their heart rate was lower and they were more relaxed while they were penned.

A study from Northampton University found that when cows were paired with another cow that shared a social bond with them, their heart rate was lower and they were more relaxed while they were penned.

By-studio / Getty Images

38.The Latin word for giraffe is "camelopardalis," which is a throwback to the Roman idea that they look like a hybrid between camels and leopards.

a giraffe
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39.The only thing keeping the nine different species of giraffe from regularly interbreeding is rain. It disrupts their migration patterns.

rain
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40.Your dog ~actually~ loves you, not just because you give them food and walks.

Studies that measured oxytocin levels, heart rates, and other biometrics showed that levels of bonding hormones rose and heart rates fell in both humans and their dogs after interacting with each other. In other words, when you pet your dog, both of you produce more of the same hormone in your brain that makes you fall in love with people, and both of you relax more.

Studies that measured oxytocin levels, heart rates, and other biometrics showed that levels of bonding hormones rose and heart rates fell in both humans and their dogs after interacting with each other. In other words, when you pet your dog, both of you produce more of the same hormone in your brain that makes you fall in love with people, and both of you relax more.

Photography By Adri / Getty Images

41.When dogs appear in movies and TV, sometimes they have to have CGI tails because they wag too much during the scene.

This happened during the filming of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when some husky dog actors didn't look

This happened during the filming of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when some husky dog actors didn't look "menacing" because of their happily wagging tails. It's possible that they were wagging because they knew they were doing a good job at their acting tasks.

HBO

42.Dogs can tell when you're due to come home by how much of your scent is remaining in the house.

Ever wondered how your dog seems to be able to tell time accurately? If you or someone you live with has a daily routine, your dog might go linger by the door or start looking out the window right before their human is due home because they can smell how much your scent has deteriorated in your absence.

Ever wondered how your dog seems to be able to tell time accurately? If you or someone you live with has a daily routine, your dog might go linger by the door or start looking out the window right before their human is due home because they can smell how much your scent has deteriorated in your absence.

Jiggo_thekop / Getty Images

43.Chinchilla fur is so dense that it's very bad for them to get wet. So instead of bathing in water, they bathe in dust like this:

ChinTubeHD / Via youtube.com

44.Giraffes give birth standing up, which means the first thing a baby giraffe experiences is a six-foot-drop onto the cold, hard ground.

a giraffe giving birth
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45.Hundreds of trees — if not more — become seedlings every year because of squirrels who forgot where they buried their food.

According to Rob Swihart, a professor of wildlife science at Purdue University, gray squirrels bury their food (nuts, acorns, etc.) all over the place but often forget to dig them back up. Those buried seeds have a good chance of becoming full-grown trees.

According to Rob Swihart, a professor of wildlife science at Purdue University, gray squirrels bury their food (nuts, acorns, etc.) all over the place but often forget to dig them back up. Those buried seeds have a good chance of becoming full-grown trees.

Cheekylorns / Getty Images

46.There is a hotel in Kenya that doubles as a giraffe sanctuary, where you can hang out with giraffes all day.

Family of four Giraffes feeding in the middle of a forest
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47.Vampire bats love to share.

vampire bats

They spend 6% of their waking hours grooming each other just to be nice. They also share their food, albeit in a really gross way.

Lajos Endredi / 500px / Via Getty Images

48.Scorpions glow under ultraviolet lights

Scorpions glow under ultraviolet lights

Scientists don't know why, but they have lots of theories.

Douglas Sacha / Via Getty Images

49.Wasps taught us how to make paper!

A paper wasp builds a honeycomb shaped paper nest, made from wood fibers gathered and chewed by the insect into a paste-like pulp which it uses with it's saliva to build up the cells into a structure that can have as many as 200 cells

They chew up wood to make their nests. A French scientist named René Réaumur observed this and the idea became revolutionary.

GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP via Getty Images

50.Some sharks are loners.

a shark

Sharks have individual personalities and some would rather hang out by themselves than in a group.

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51.Sharks "taste test" everything.

shark

Like your 3 year-old nephew, sharks put things in their mouths when they get curious about them. Most shark attacks are really just sharks going, "Hey what's up?" and then swimming away.

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52.Lions love to cuddle.

lions cuddling

It's how they build and maintain friendships.

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53.Eels travel for months just to mate.

Disney via Giphy

Eels migrate from fresh water to salt water to mate and the journey can take forever.

54.Male coyotes dote on female coyotes as they dote on their babies.

a young coyote

Female coyotes will stay underground with their newborns for 11–12 days until they open their eyes. Male coyotes will bring food to the female and their pups during this time.

Debbie Steinhausser / Shutterstock / Debbie Steinhausser

55.Female giraffes are pregnant for 15 months.

a pregnant giraffe

How about a round of applause for lady giraffes?

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56.Wolves mourn when one of their own dies.

Fox via Giphy

Wolf packs are really families and when a member dies, they've been known to sing mournful songs.

57.Baby giraffes sleep with their heads on their butts.

a giraffe laying in a field asleep

I guess they just like to, OKAY?!?!?!

Kruger Park Sightings/ YouTube / Via youtube.com

58.Black widow spiders flick silk at attackers.

a black widow spider

Even though the black widow's bite is infamous, that's rarely its first defense. Females are usually the ones pulling this stunt and I love them all for it.

Ed Reschke / Getty Images

59.Alligators pretend their heads are trees to attract birds.

an alligator

They balance sticks on their heads to pose as resting places for our finely feathered friends, which I think is hilarious. RIP to tired birds everywhere, though.

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60.Giraffes sleep a maximum of two hours a day, and usually for under 10 minutes at a time.

a sleeping giraffe

Constant vigilance!

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61.Alligators blow bubbles to mate.

The Streamy Awards via Giphy

This is only one of many tactics a male alligator can use to attract a lady. Others include infrasonic bellowing and head slapping. Some female gators are so into this, that they end up mating with the same dude for life.

62.Giraffes fight by whipping their heads at each other.

giraffes fighting

Presumably because head-butting would just be too civil.

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63."Giraffe" is pronounced similarly in almost every language except for Cherokee, which calls them "digalisdugisgi."

Beautiful giraffe at Kruger National Park, South Africa
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64.Atlantic puffins mate for life, and share parental responsibilities equally.

ALSO, they perform a mating ceremony where they rub their beaks together.

ALSO, they perform a mating ceremony where they rub their beaks together.

Vichai Phububphapan / Getty Images

65.Wombats poop cubes.

While some think this is so their feces don't roll away when they claim their territory, others argue that it's related to the dry climates they live in.

While some think this is so their feces don't roll away when they claim their territory, others argue that it's related to the dry climates they live in.

Keiichihiki / Getty Images

66.Sheep are actually born with long tails.

Farmers often dock them to avoid blowfly infestations.

Farmers often dock them to avoid blowfly infestations.

Patrikstedrak / Getty Images

67.Alex the parrot is the only animal to ever ask an existential question.

parrot

When placed in front of a mirror, Alex asked, "What color am I?"

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68.Egyptian fruit bats exchange food for sex.

bat

Basically, the female fruit bats see who they can collect the most food from, and that determines who they procreate with.

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69.Cows are either natural optimists or pessimists — just like humans!!!

The Dodo

During this study, they also found that pessimism and fearfulness were closely related, and overall, that pessimism was an unwavering trait in certain individuals — not just the result of the calves' temporary moods.

70.Ginger cats are predominantly male, while calicos are predominantly female.

It all has to do with their chromosomes, which you can read more about here.

It all has to do with their chromosomes, which you can read more about here.

Dnsphotography / Getty Images

71.Stoats — weasel-like mammals — are thought to have had their name derive from the Dutch word for "naughty."

<div><p>"Naughty" in Dutch is "stout."</p></div><span> Silfox / Getty Images</span>

"Naughty" in Dutch is "stout."

Silfox / Getty Images

72.While most owls are nocturnal, snowy owls are actually diurnal.

a white owl in snow

This means they hunt both during the day AND at night.

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73.Even though they have suuuuper long necks, giraffes only have seven vertebrae — the same number as in a human neck!

National Geographic WILD

However, in giraffes, each vertebrae is approximately 10 inches long.

74.Golden moles have eyeballs, but they're covered by skin — so essentially, they're useless.

mole

However, golden moles can see light, which allows them to know what time of day it is.

Tramper2 / Getty Images

75.The Turritopsis Dohrnii jellyfish can revert back to a younger version of itself, it's basically immortal.

a turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish
Roy-ensink / Getty Images

76.A horned lizard can shoot blood from its eyes.

a horned lizard
Shoemcfly / Getty Images

77.Alligators have permanently erect penises that are hidden inside their body.

an alligator
No_limit_pictures / Getty Images

78.Rabbits practice cecotropy, which means they eat their own poop.

a rabbit in grass
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79.Snakes have two penises hidden in the base of their tails.

a snake hissing
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80.The Binturong, also known as the Asian Bearcat, smells like buttered popcorn.

a binturong
Lingbeek / Getty Images

81.All male felines have a barbed penis with more than 100 hooks made of kerotin that help induce ovulation.

a lion and lioness
Blair Costelloe / Getty Images

82.There are about 370 species of lungless amphibians that depend on cutaneous respiration (the exchange of gas through moistened skin) to breathe.

small snake in woods
K8thegr833 / Getty Images

83.Giraffes are the only animals born with their horns, which are actually called ossicones.

Rothschild's giraffe
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84.Tigers have stripes underneath their fur on their skin.

tiger
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85.Killer whales can go through menopause.

a killer whale
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86.Gorillas can catch human illnesses.

baby gorilla
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87.Crocodiles can't move their tongues because they have a membrane that holds it in place.

crocodiles
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88.Lions are capable of mating over 100 times a day.

lion cubs
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89.Snails can regenerate their eyes completely approximately 25 days after amputation.

snail
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90.Once a baby joey becomes too big for her pouch, a koala bear mom will carry him on her back.

Mother and baby koalas in Australia
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91.Polar bears cubs stay with their mom for at least two years, learning the ropes about hunting and diving.

Polar she-bear with cubs. A Polar she-bear with two small bear cubs on the snow
Uso / Getty Images/iStockphoto

92.Emperor penguin moms and dads alternate roles while raising a chick, one will hunt for food while the other stays at the breeding site to keep the baby warm and safe.

Emperor Penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri, brooding chick on feet
David Tipling/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

93.A Harp seal mom can identify her baby from "hundreds of others based on smell alone."

seal and baby seals
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94.For the first two years of their life, young orangutans are dependent on their mom for food and transportation.

  Bernd Wüstneck/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bernd Wüstneck/picture alliance via Getty Images

95.Each night before going to sleep, gorillas make a cozy bed out of leaves. Gorilla moms share these nests with their nursing babies.

A female adult mountain gorilla sits between plants with her baby in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Simon Maina / AFP via Getty Images

96.Giraffe mothers "often return to where they were born to have their own babies."

  Laura Hedien / Getty Images
Laura Hedien / Getty Images

97.Baby rhinoceroses are born with no horn so they depend entirely on their mother for protection.

male infant rhinoceros
Jean-christophe Verhaegen / AFP via Getty Images

98.If joeys are frightened, they'll jump headfirst into their mother's pouch!

Western Grey Kangaroo youngster comfortable in its mother's pouch.
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99.Wolf pups are born blind and deaf, so they need constant attention from their mom!

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Getty Images

100.A moose calf can stay with it's mom for up to a year before it's time for mom to have another baby.

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Getty Images

101.A mother hippopotamus gives birth to her baby underwater, then helps him to the surface, so he's able to breathe.

A baby Pygmy Hippo calf makes its first appearance with its mother at Taronga Zoo
James D. Morgan / Getty Images

102.And finally, a lioness will hide her cubs in a dense bush until they're old enough to join the pride.

a lioness carrying her cub
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Do you know any super random but super cool animal facts that weren't included in this list? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

This article contains content from Syd Robinson, Andy Golder, Pedro Fequiere, Alana Mohamed, Dan Meth, Kaelin Tully, and Alexis Nedd. It was compiled by Salimah McCullough.