Humans can learn a lot about animals just by owning pets. We can watch their behaviors to learn if they are feeling well or not, as well as laugh at their crazy antics and unique personalities. But as much as we learn from our pets, there are plenty of things that we don’t know and wouldn’t know just by looking at them.
Whether you own a pet dog, cat, hamster, bird, or other animal, or you’re just trying to decide what type of pet to get, we can bet that this list contains some interesting facts you never knew about the animals we keep in our homes. Hopefully, these facts will teach you something new about your pet to help you care for them better, or at the very least, help you find fun facts that you can share with others to convince them why your pet is the best.
10 Fascinating and Fun Dog Facts
- Just like with snowflakes and human fingerprints, each dog has his or her own specific nose print.
- Speaking of dog noses, did you know that they’re wet to help them retain scent chemicals? This is part of the reason why dogs are such good sniffers. Wet noses also help dogs to regulate their body temperatures.
- Bloodhounds have one of the strongest senses of smell of all dog breeds. A Bloodhound’s tracking results can be used as acceptable evidence in court.
- In addition to having a strong sense of smell, dogs can also hear things humans can’t. In fact, the track ‘A Day in the Life’ on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album has a frequency that only dogs can hear.
- Up to about one-third of Dalmatians are deaf in at least one ear, and up to 5% can be deaf in both ears due to the gene responsible for their spotted coat. This puts Dalmatians at greater risk for injury.
- Despite the popular belief that dogs are colorblind and can only see different shades of gray, they can also see blue and yellow. So, they aren’t actually colorblind, but rather ‘spectrum-challenged.’
- Even if a dog is deaf or blind, they can still hunt. This is because their noses can sense heat and thermal radiation from other animals.
- Just like yawning is contagious between humans, it is also contagious between humans and their dogs. You may notice your dog yawn after seeing or hearing you yawn as an empathetic reaction.
- Dogs can dream just like humans do, but small breeds, puppies, and seniors are more likely to have more dreams than adult and middle-aged dogs.
- Although cheetahs are the fastest mammal, Greyhounds can actually beat them in a long-distance race. Cheetahs can only maintain their top speed for a few seconds before slowing down, but Greyhounds can run at speeds of 35 mph for up to 7 miles.
10 Fascinating and Fun Cat Facts
- Cats can be left-handed or right-handed, or rather left-pawed and right-pawed, just like humans can. One study showed that more male cats are left-handed while more female cats are right-handed.
- Cats meow as a way to communicate with people, not other cats. Only kittens use meowing as a way to communicate with their mothers. Adult cats don’t meow at each other.
- Domestic cats share 95.6% of their DNA with tigers. Domestic cats and tigers were thought to have diverged about 10.8 million years ago.
- Your cat can recognize your voice when you call him, but he likely won’t come to you. A study showed that cats can recognize their owner’s voice and distinguish it from other human’s voices.
- ‘Making biscuits’ or kneading paws is a sign of contentment and happiness in cats. Kittens do this to their mothers in order to stimulate milk production. Younger cats may even suckle blankets and other surfaces that resemble fur.
- Cats spend over two-thirds of their lives sleeping. This equates to about 13-16 hours per day.
- Cats are crepuscular which means that they are most active at dawn and dusk. That’s why your cat often wakes you up before sunrise.
- The Alaskan town of Talkeetna had an orange tabby cat named Stubbs as their mayor for 20 years.
- Cats were so revered in ancient Egypt that people would shave off their eyebrows in mourning when a cat died.
- Cats walk by first moving both right feet then both left feet. Camels and giraffes are the only other animals to walk this way.
10 Fascinating and Fun Hamster Facts
- The name ‘hamster’ comes from the German word ‘hamstern’ which means ‘hoard.’ The name is appropriate considering how hamsters hoard food in their cheeks.
- A hamster’s cheek pouches are called diplostomes.
- There are 24 species of hamsters, but only five of them are commonly kept as pets: the Syrian hamster, Chinese hamster, Campbell’s dwarf hamster, Russian dwarf hamster, and Roborovski hamster.
- Hamsters can have different moods and emotional responses toward their environments according to a study. Hamsters with more toys and enrichment activities are more optimistic and have better judgment.
- Many hamsters, especially Syrian hamsters, do not like company and will fight to the death if they have to live with other hamsters.
- Hamsters hibernate in the wild, but your pet hamster may hibernate too if his cage is kept near a drafty window or in a colder part of the house. In fact, some people even mistake their hibernating hamster for being dead.
- Hamsters can carry salmonella, so it’s important to wash your hands after handling one.
- Hamsters are rodents and rodents do not have canine teeth. Their incisor teeth never stop growing nor do they have roots. This is why your hamster always gnaws on things. It’s a way to grind down his teeth as well as keep them sharp.
- Hamsters and other rodents’ incisor teeth contain active stem cells, according to a study. This has the potential for tooth regeneration in humans.
- Hawaii has banned both the importation and possession of hamsters as pets.
10 Fascinating and Fun Reptile Facts
- There are over 10,000 reptile species and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Reptiles include lizards, snakes, turtles, alligators, and crocodiles, but only some species of lizards, snakes, and turtles are kept as pets.
- Only about 2% of Americans own a reptile as a pet. Some of the most common reptiles to be kept as pets are leopard geckos and chameleons, red-eared sliders and eastern box turtles, and ball pythons and corn snakes.
- A turtle’s shell is actually a series of broadened and flattened ribs that have fused with the backbone.
- Turtles have both an upper and lower shell. The upper shell is called the carapace while the lower shell is called the plastron.
- Despite long being thought of as silent creatures, turtles do actually make noise, including sounds such as chirps and clicks. These sounds mostly take place underwater and with other turtles.
- In some species of turtle, the temperature determines whether an egg is male or female. Eggs incubated at lower temperatures are most often male while higher temperatures are most often female.
- Most snakes can slither surprisingly fast. Sidewinder snakes are the fastest at 18 mph, followed by black mambas at 12 mph and southern black racers at 10 mph. On the other hand, ball pythons can only move at speeds of about 1 mph.
- Snakes don’t have lips, but they drink water by either creating a suction with their mouths or using the skin folds of their lower jaw to absorb water like a sponge.
- A chameleon’s mood can affect his color. Changes in temperature and the environment can also cause color changes in chameleons. Special cells called iridophores are what cause the color change.
- Geckos and other lizards often eat their shed skin. They do this to get the nutrients from the skin as well as to protect themselves from predators by leaving no trace of their whereabouts.
10 Fascinating and Fun Bird Facts
- The closest living relative to a T-rex is a chicken.
- Chickens have great memories and can do basic arithmetic and even geometry. They can also vocalize with over 30 calls, have a long-term memory of past events, and can anticipate future events.
- Many areas have regulations as to how many chickens you can keep, and some even ban roosters due to them being too noisy and because they help to create more chickens.
- Birds have their own routines that they stick to, and any changes to those routines can cause them stress
- Unless you live on a farm, a goose isn’t the most common type of bird to have. But did you know that geese were the first type of bird to be domesticated by humans? Humans also tried to domesticate the cassowary (dubbed the world’s deadliest bird) at one point.
- People all over the world have doves as pets. Ring-necked doves and diamond doves are two of the most common. Although they prefer to have a partner, doves can also be kept alone.
- Many bird owners play music for their birds, but some birds prefer certain types of music over others. Parrots are the most choosy, but even two parrots in the same house may prefer different types of music.
- Speaking of music, a study has shown that cockatoos love to dance and can even choreograph their own dance moves.
- Large parrot species such as macaws and cockatoos can live up to 50 years and may even outlive their owners.
- If a parakeet regurgitates on you, it’s a sign of love and affection. Think of it as them giving you a gift.
Animals of different species and classifications are unique in their own way. We hope that by reading these facts, you learned something new about your furry, feathery, or even scaly friend. Maybe you learned that your cat has more in common with a tiger than you originally thought, or that your parrot prefers rock music over country music. Or maybe you learned that your pet turtle may not be as quiet as you think he is. As a pet owner, you’re already biased as to why your pet is cooler than others, but now at least you’ll have plenty more evidence you can use to justify your opinion.
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Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock