If human have myths, legends and tales to live on, the animal kingdom can boast of some fascinating if not strange misconceptions. From flying fish, dancing snakes to an immortal jellyfish, the animal kingdom is not spared with misconceptions. Read on to learn which is true and which is not.
Fish can fly
We all know that fish spent its entire life swimming below the surface of water and need to stay underwater for its survival. But did you know that there are some species who have also learned, practiced and mastered the art of flying. Those flying fish belong to the fish family Exocoetidae, consisting of 64 species grouped in seven to nine genera.
To get away from its predator, flying fish using its large pectoral fins take short glided flights to propel themselves out of the water. By swishing its tail to about 50-70 times per second, flying fish are able to muster up enough momentum to burst through the surface. In so doing, it could rise into the air up to 11 meters and glide up to 50 meters.
Fish can walk
Believe or not, fish can walk! Yes, underwater and on land, these exceptional creatures are capable of walking. On land, some species like the Climbing Perch or the famous Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus) can do the trick. Storing and using oxygen to survive, they can leave their natural habitat and walk on land to get to another stretch of water.
If you're not impressed by the capability of the fish species mentioned above, then take a look at the batfish! Though a poor swimmer, batfish have adapted well to its environment and mastered the art of walking underwater. Yes, literally walking using its limb-like pectoral fins! What a spectacular act for a small, slimmed-bodied fish that grows to about 36 cm.
Turtles can’t crawl out of their shells
By watching cartoons and animated films, we can be misled into believing that turtles can crawl out of its shell. That’s a lot of non-sense! The true fact is–a turtle’s shell is basically an integral part of its skeleton consisting of hard bony plates that are merged to its spine and ribs. If you want to see a brutal way to kill a turtle, then try separating the turtle’s body from its shell. I bet you’ll not do it.
Males can get pregnant
For humans, giving birth is definitely a woman’s responsibility. But definitely, this ‘childbirth thing’ does not hold true apply to all creatures. In the animal kingdom, the male seahorse is literally the one who gets pregnant. The male seahorse is equipped with a pouch on his front side. During mating season, the female seahorse deposit’s the eggs in the male’s abdominal pouch, where they are fertilized. The male seahorse holds the eggs until they are hatched, expelling them out in the water. On average, these baby seahorse numbers between 100 to 200.
Electric eels aren’t eels
The electric eel gets its name by its capability to stun prey and deter predators using massive amount of electrical charge its body generates. These notorious creatures live in the muddy ponds and streams of the Amazon basins in South America. Their bodies contain electric organs which when threatened or attacking prey, is capable of generating electric shocks. Electric shocks can cause respiratory or heart failure and in some rare cases led to death. But did you know that electric eels are not true eels but rather a knife fish (Gymnotiformes), more closely related to carp and catfishes.
Bats aren’t blind
Contrary to common belief, bats are not blind! Most species depend heavily on their remarkable sense of hearing to sense their preys. This process, called “echolocation” aid bats to navigate even through darkness. However, there is a species of bat known as Fruit bat or flying fox that uses its eyes to determine its locations. Flying fox locates and catches its prey such as small insect in midair using smell and acute vision. Rather than, relying on its ears, it instead uses excellent eyesight to track down its prey. Flying fox feeding ranges extend up to 40 miles.
Flamingoes aren’t born pink
Genetics and not food is the major factor determining color of animals. However, there is an exception to this view. In general, flamingoes are born with white plumage, but why then they undergo color transformation as they grow older. The culprit– the food they eat. Flamingoes’ diet includes insect larvae and saltwater shrimps which both contain pigments called “carotenoids” in turn responsible for the change in feather color (from white to pink).
Penguins have long legs
Another animal misconception is about “Do penguins have short legs”. Definitely, this isn’t true, people arrived at this notion since penguins waddle and their fur conceal their true body shapes. In reality, penguins have surprisingly long legs. We are misled to believe that these flightless birds own short legs because penguin stand in a crouching position. But why take this posture–simply to retain as much heat as possible.
Snakes are deaf
Here’s another misconception that arises when we see snake charmers do their trick. It is believed that snakes are charmed or hypnotized as they hear music from a snake charmer’s flute. Believe it not, in reality, snakes are deaf! The snake charmer body movement plus the vibrations picked up from the ground are the reasons why charmed snakes respond to the music.
Not all animals have to die
Even before the time of Cleopatra, men have been in continuous search for the “fountain of youth”, but sad to say that a species of immortal jellyfish has beaten us to the draw. Turritopsis nutricula, a tiny species of jellyfish has found the secret of immortality. It is capable of reverting completely to a polyp stage after having reached sexual maturity. To be biologically immortal, this metazoan undergoes a process called “transdifferentiation” whereby the cycle can repeat indefinitely. Only when the nerve center is separated from the body that this process comes to a halt.