Everyone Knows These 11 Crazy Animal Facts. Too Bad They're All Lies.
Did you know that bats really aren't blind? Or that cats don't always land on their feet? Here are some other popular animal myths that aren't quite true.
1. One human year equals seven dog years.
This myth ignores the fact that different dog breeds live for different lengths of time. For instance, a 1-year-old dachshund is actually on par with a human at 10, while a larger dog like an English mastiff might be closer to a human at 30. Scientists still aren't entirely sure why, but bigger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller ones.
2. Cats always land on their feet.
Felines have something known as the righting reflex that allows them to alter their body's position mid-air for a purrfect landing. This doesn't always work, though. It's best when the cat has enough time on the way down, so he's more likely to land gracefully from higher heights.
3. Lemmings are suicidal.
There's no existential crisis going on here, just a rumor started when a group of filmmakers shooting the 1958 documentary "White Wilderness" forced a herd of lemmings off a cliff for dramatic effect. It was needlessly vicious and led to a myth about lemmings being mindless followers.
4. Bats are blind.
There isn't a single bat species that can't see. It's true that bats rely on echoes to give them an idea of their surroundings, but they combine this with visual cues to determine where they need to go. They do tend to get confused in caves, though, so maybe Batman should've picked a better place for his hideout.
5. Goldfish (or any fish) can't remember much.
Goldfish and their other underwater friends aren't going to be remembering the complete works of Shakespeare anytime soon, but they aren't all as daffy as Dory from "Finding Nemo." Studies have shown that fish are capable of remembering complex routes, pushing levers for food and even remembering sounds.
6. Female mantises eat their sex partners.
Female praying mantises aren't as kinky as we once thought. In fact, such a thing has never been seen in the wild, except in one species.
7. Ostriches bury their head in the sand.
Ostriches, if hiding from a predator, will stay low to the ground with their head and neck flat against the earth. But even then, no one's sticking his head in the sand. Plus, these birds are so fast -they reach speeds of up to 40 mph - that usually they'll just run away instead of hiding.
8. Birds abandon their babies after a human touch.
This myth is for the birds. It holds that birds will leave their young behind if they can smell a human on them, but birds can't smell much at all thanks to tiny olfactory nerves.
9. Opossums hang by their tails.
Cartoons have propagated the myth that opossums love to hang from their tails and even sleep that way. But a opossum's tail isn't even strong enough to hold it up for more than a minute. Also, opossums don't so much "play dead" when scared as they do fall into an involuntary comatose state. It might be the strangest self-defense mechanism we've ever seen.
10. Daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spiders.
It turns out that many daddy longlegs aren't even spiders. Opilionid daddy longlegs are actually arachnids, so they don't produce venom at all.
Pholcids daddy longlegs are definitely spiders and do produce venom, but only enough to cause a slight burning sensation or rash.
11. Dog's mouths are cleaner than our own.
You probably like to tell yourself this while your pup is showering you with kisses, but we've got some bad news: It's not true. A dog's mouth contains just as much bacteria as a human mouth. Really, what did you expect from a creature who eats his own poop?