Animals are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live in the busiest of urban centers, you are going to see some sort of animal around—be it a pet or an annoying mosquito that will not leave you alone at night. Seriously, can anyone here fall asleep while one of those things is buzzing near your ear? Shoot, sorry let’s get back to the point. Animals are everywhere, and through time, we learned how to interact with them better and better. While there are people who do not take it very well to coexist with some animals, the majority of folks actually do care about our roommates in this big planet.
The interesting thing we would like to talk about though is how, despite having lived around these animals for so long, we still have many misconceptions about them. Hundreds of years of research and coexistence were not enough to dispel the vast majority of myths surrounding animals that we believe. It turns out that there are a lot of things we take for granted about animals, as in their characteristics, behaviors, and other aspects, which are completely wrong. Thankfully, scientists have taken it upon themselves to educate folks and dispel some of the most common misconceptions we have. Some of these blew our minds, and we decided it would be fun to share them with you. So here are 15 wrong myths about animals you totally believed.
15 Cats And Dogs Are Colorblind
This article is here to tear down any mistaken myths about animals that you might still believe. At the top of our list, we could not find a better myth to talk about than the age-old assumption that all cats and dogs are colorblind. It turns out that the truth is very far from that. Our favorite pets have way better color vision than most of us were led to believe.
The truth is that your dog is not walking around seeing everything in black and white. What happens is that cats and dogs see colors differently than we do. First, they can see better than us when there is little light since they have more light-sensing cells in their eyes than we do. Scientists have also proven that they can see in blue and green.
14 Goldfish Have Bad Memories
If you are a clumsy person who easily forgets things they were supposed to do, like yours truly, there is a good chance that someone has told you at some point that you have the memory of a goldfish. If you fall into that category, you can rest easy because it turns out that the memories of goldfish are not as terrible as we first thought.
We won’t go as far as saying they are bright animals, but they are not as stupid as common sense would lead us to believe.
When it comes to memory, some studies have shown that goldfish can remember things they are taught for at least five months.
That is more time than a lot of us remember things we study for a test. So, next time someone tries to pull this joke on you, say the joke is on them.
13 Any Bat Bite Will Give You Rabies
If you think getting bitten by a bat will give you powers like Batman, you need to check your comic book knowledge. Come on, man, Batman’s superpower is that he is rich. Spider-Man is the one who got bit by an animal and turned into a freak. What you get from a bat bite is usually a disease, most specifically rabies. At least that was the myth people spread about bat bites. While it is quite possible that you could contract rabies if a bat bites you, it is not as likely to happen as society would lead you to believe. Not all bats have rabies, and according to a study by the CDC,
only about six percent of bats they caught tested positive for rabies.
Add that to the fact that bats with the disease are more likely to get caught; you will have to be one unlucky soul to catch rabies from a bat bite. If you do get bit, however, you should go to the doctor immediately, you never know.
12 Bury Your Head In The Sand
Talk about an animal myth that became so deeply ingrained in our culture that telling you that it is not true might blow some minds. We have a hard time believing anyone here has never heard the expression “bury your head in the sand.” That comes from the common belief that one of the defense mechanisms used by an ostrich is to bury its head in the sand. When you think about it again, it does not seem like a very effective way to defend from predators. And that little doubt is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to debunking this myth.
It turns out that ostriches don’t do that at all. They might get down close to the ground to try and camouflage themselves from predators, but they never bury their heads in the sand.
11 The One-Hit Wonder
This is yet another very common myth that everyone believes. It does make some sense that when a bee stings you, they would die. After all, they leave behind their entire lower body stuck to your skin. But this is yet another myth that, when we think about it again, makes no sense at all. Why would an animal have a suicidal defense mechanism? So what, you walk into their territory, and the bees just sting you as a big F-you and goodbye?
The only species of bee that might die after stinging you is the honeybee because they have a barb in their sting and if it gets caught in your skin the bee will rip itself apart trying to get it free. Still, that is just one of the tens of thousands of species of bees out there.
10 We Eat Spiders In Our Sleep
At some point, you probably heard someone saying that we eat a bunch of spiders while we are asleep during any given year. That is one of the most popular animal “fun facts” around the world. The fact that it is so popular is one of the reasons why people should be skeptical of its truth.
First and foremost, there is no scientific research backing up that claim.
If there is and we haven’t found it, please leave a comment with it so we can learn a little more. That being said, the entire idea behind this is almost ludicrous. Put yourself in the spider’s position. You are a tiny arachnid and you come across a giant predator (that’s what we are). Would your first move be to enter that predator’s mouth? Game, set, match. Bring on the next myth.
9 Sharks Can Smell Your Blood From Miles Away
Don’t get us wrong. If you are bleeding in the ocean and there is a shark nearby, there is an excellent chance that it is going to smell that and come check you out. At the same time, the idea that a shark can detect a drop of blood from miles away is nothing less than an absurd exaggeration. According to the American Museum of Natural History, sharks do have an extremely acute sense of smell and they could probably catch the scent of blood from a few football fields away. But even that extraordinary olfactory system cannot detect things from miles away. According to the museum, some sharks can detect blood at one part per 10 billion, which is the equivalent of a drop of blood in an Olympic-sized pool. Impressive, but still not miles.
8 A Hump Of Water
These days, people mostly think of camels to make hump day jokes. But get past the jokes and try to ask any of your colleagues and friends what they know about camels. The gist here would be that people generally know that camels can walk for a long time, they drink a ton of water, and they store that water in those two big humps on their backs.
Well, guess what? Those humps are there for a reason, but that reason is not to store water. Yeah, this is a myth that all of us believed, and while there is scientific evidence of the contrary, we still find it hard to believe that there is no water in those two things. They are huge. Apparently, the humps are used to store fat for the camel to use as energy during long walks.
7 Never Touch A Baby Bird
The mere idea that we would go along with a theory that says a mother bird would abandon its youth for the simple fact that a human had touched it tells us a lot about our species. Do we really think we are so repulsive that an animal would abandon its young just because we touched it? Well, that is a subject for another day, but still food for thought in case you believed this myth about birds. In case you were wondering,
no, a mother bird will not abandon one of its babies just because you touched it.
In fact, specialists say that the best thing you can do to help a baby bird is to find its nest and put it back there as soon as possible. If you do that, the mother bird will most likely treat that baby as if it had never left.
6 Sharks Don’t Get Cancer
Another myth that we managed to debunk, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History, is the idea that sharks do not get cancer. The theory behind this myth actually does make some sense. You probably all remember how scientists have discovered that a shark’s cartilage is rich in a substance that inhibits the growth of cancer. Someone must have connected one dot to the other and claimed that sharks could not get cancer.
Thankfully, some scientists picked up on this growing myth and set out to take it down. The presence of the cancer-inhibiting substance in the cartilage does seem to affect the nature of cancer in sharks and similar creatures, as the incidence of the disease is much lower in these beings. Nevertheless, they can still develop cancerous tumors and can die from them.
5 Snake-Charming Music
Perhaps one of the most exquisite forms of street arts, snake charming can be very entertaining to watch. If you ever come across one of these street performers, you will unavoidably think it would be awesome to learn the songs they play on the flute in order to get the snakes to move around and do whatever they want.
But it turns out that snake charming is kind of a sham.
We say kind of because the snake charmer is indeed making the snake react to something he’s doing, but it is not what you think. The truth is that the snake does not care at all about the song the guy is playing. He could be playing Smoke on the Water on that flute and the snake would still move the same way. It actually reacts to the movements the snake charmer does and not the music.
4 Dolphins Are Good Guys
If you are ever swimming in the ocean and you see a fin pop up on the surface near you, the first thing you do is pray to God that the fin belongs to a dolphin. After all, dolphins are the friendliest creatures in the sea, right? Well, the truth might surprise you.
The closest thing we can compare a dolphin to in human terms would be that friendly neighbor who turns out to be a child molester. No, we are not kidding. The truth is that dolphins are deranged killers that sometimes s*xually assault their victims before murdering them. There are even videos of dolphin’s assaulting porpoises before killing them. This all came to surface after a series of porpoise carcasses washed ashore in San Francisco. After some investigation, the researchers found out that the dolphins were not even murdering for territorial reasons, but naughty ones.
3 Bulls And Red
We probably have to thank cartoons for this common misconception about the majestic animals that are bulls. People might not think about them as often as they should, but you probably do eat part of a bull every now and then. And there is also the possibility that you might be attacked by one depending on where you live. Go to the countryside in most countries and you will probably meet people who have stories about being chased and attacked by bulls. The core misconception here is that most people believe bulls have an especially violent reaction to the color red.
When a bull sees red, it attacks the red, right? After all, that is usually the color of the flags used in bullfights to “ole” the animal. The truth is much simpler than that. There is nothing special about red, bulls will just attack anything regardless of its color.
2 Elephants Have Perfect Recall
This is another common misconception that does seem to make sense. When you look at an animal the size of an elephant, you can easily imagine the size of the massive blob that is its brain.
The truth is that elephants do have a great memory.
For example, it is not weird for a pair of elephants to be apart for decades and still remember each other if they are reunited after more than 20 years. This kind of makes us feel bad. Just picture this: you probably finished high school what, 10, 20 years ago tops? What percentage of your graduating class do you think you would be able to recall if you saw them today?
The bottom line is that while their memory is amazing, it is not perfect, as their memories will also eventually fade away.
1 The Root Of...
HIV is one of the most severe threats to humanity these days. There are treatments, and people can live healthy lives without even being able to tell that they are infected with the virus if they follow the treatment. The problem is that the treatment is not available everywhere, and when HIV is not treated, it becomes AIDS, and then you have a real problem (a.k.a. a global epidemic).
But perhaps the most significant misconception about HIV is how it all started. If you ask it around your neighborhood, maybe eight out of 10 people will immediately say it started because someone had intercourse with a monkey. According to specialists, the first human infection most likely happened because of blood-to-blood contact. So yeah, the monkeys do have some blame for humans having contracted this disease, but the primary infection was not as disturbing as many people think.