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Friday, September 13, 2013

Four Animal Myths We All Believe

History isn't the only subject we routinely get wrong. When we're not outright making up lies about who did what to whom, we're completely misunderstanding our aquatic, furry, and crap-dropping animal breathern. Just like in these cases:


The Myth: If you see a baby bird on the ground, do not, under any circumstance, pick it up and place it back in the nest or the mother will detect your scent and disown that bird faster than George Zimmerman's parents.

The Truth: While anyone who has seen Juraissac Park knows, it's never advisable to pick up a baby animal of any species, picking up birds for fear of dropping your musk all over the infant should not be one of your concerns. This may come as a complete surprise, but most birds have a very limited sense of smell.

Think about it. Have you ever seen a bird blow its nose?

Most birds, in fact, rely on keen eyesight. Which is why the only concern you should have if you try to play St. Frances of Assissi with a feathered rat with wings is not whether the mother will smell you, but if she sees you.

Birds don't like that.


The Myth: Everybody knows three things about ducks: 1) They look adorable in shirts, but terrible in pants, 2) They can't walk backwards, and 3) Their quack does not produce an echo.

The Truth:
Well, I'm afraid only one of these true. And it looks like this:
Freaking adorable.

Walking backwards is not a terribly vital skill for a duck to have what with spending a good portion of their time swimming or flying, but if you were to say corner a duck in a narrow hallway with a low ceiling, you'd see that delicious fowl back-pedaling more than Marc Weiner. And you'd also have too much time on your hands.

As far as the other myth, a duck's quack does produce an echo, though it's difficult for the human ear to pick up-- similar to the way we can't detect high-pitched frequencies (e.g., a dog whistle or a woman complaining). 


The Myth- Lacking sight, or possessing the myopic equivalent of Mr. Magoo, bats rely on sonar (echolocation) to guide them.

The Truth: Those eye holes aren't just for decoration. And while many bats use echolocation as their primary sense for sight, all bats have sight.
Except this Bat.

On top of that, while all bats can see, not all bats have that built-in GPS we just naturally assume is a given. These bats actualy have better night vision than Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. So while the phrase 'blind as a bat' has actually no basis in fact, bats are indeed clinically insane, so you can still get your fill with 'batshit crazy'.


The Myth: Goldfish are the best secret-keepers in the animal kingdom, mostly because they only have a five second memory.

The Truth: While fish are as stupid as they are delicious, the myth about their notoriously geriatric memory is absolutely false--the result, most likely, of a couple of ichthyologists playing a drunken game of 'Your momma'.  

Goldfish actually can retain information for several months which, coincidentally, is about the average lifespan in my daughter's tank. So think twice before you go tapping on the bowl or throwing cheetos into the water. Fish remember that shit. And they carry a grudge too.

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