Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Animal facts for your anthro characters!

In this thread, we can drop interesting animal facts useful for the writing of anthropomorphic characters. Got a few? Learn a new one? Drop it here!

[ul][li]Moths have the most powerful sense of smell on earth.[/li]
[li]Sharks can detect blood in the water at a few parts per billion.[/li]
[li]For terrestrial mammals, it is believed that the polar bear has the most sensitive sense of smell, followed then by scenthounds and water buffalo.[/li]
[li]Typically, only insect-hunting bats echolocate with enough precision to find prey. Most bats are visual flyers, with some limited use of low-grade echolocation primarily used to navigate a home cave.[/li]
[li]Electric eels don’t just paralyze prey through their electrical shocks, they actually target the motor neurons, not the muscle tissues themselves. Electric eels use different kinds of electrical output for different purposes; sensing, hunting, stunning, and defending itself.[/li]
[li]Ferrets and some other mustelids can suffer and eventually die from estrogen poisoning if they do not become pregnant once they go into heat. This is an especially pronounced risk with mustelids entering into their first estrus cycle.[/li]
[li]Pit vipers and vampire bats can both sense infra-red light. Pit vipers through the pits in their nose, and vampire bats have retinas that can actually see arteries in their hosts by the infra-red light emitted by the slightly higher temperature of arterial blood.[/li]
[li]Surprisingly few snakes and insects are immune to their own venom.[/li]
[li]Dolphins can easily identify solid and hollow organs in larger targets. They preferentially target the liver when striking at orcas and sharks.[/li]
[li]Terrestrial mammalian predator species are usually colour-blind. Many herbivorous animals, especially grazing animals, are also colour-blind.[/li]
[li]Elephants have tremendously sensitive feet, able to sense infra-sound conducted through the earth (usually by the stomping of other elephants) at a distance of miles. [/li]
[li]Lammergeirs (Red Vultures) derive almost all of their nutrition from bone marrow; they will usually ignore meat entirely, leaving it for scavengers to clean off, before proceeding to devour the bones.[/li]
[li] Humans have an extraordinary capacity to dissipate heat. [/li]
[li] Great apes (including humans) are one of only a few species that does not generate Vitamin C in their livers, and thus require it from outside sources. Almost all other animals generate their own metabolically. Goats are notable for having the capacity to elevate their Vitamin C level in their blood in this fashion many thousands of times higher than baseline when sick. [/li][/ul]

Excellent thread!

Maned wolf urine smells like marijuana.

[ul][li]Some birds are able to sense magnetic north, enabling them to migrate thousands of miles without losing track of which direction they’re traveling.[/li]
[li]Of the five classes of vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish), mammals has the fewest species.[/li]
[li]In Africa, vultures consume more than half of the biomass of animals who die or are killed.[/li]
[li]If passenger pigeons (which were hunted to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries) were still alive today in significant numbers, they would likely be considered a serious pest to producers of certain food crops.[/li][/ul]

Horses and most other ruminants love beer!

Horses and most other ruminants metabolize alcohol tremendously quickly, meaning they are next to impossible to get drunk.

Horses and cows are known to occasionally get ‘brewer’s gut’, wherein grains and other materials begin to ferment inside their guts and constantly produce alcohol.

Many desert and arid environment animals can produce “metabolic water”, wherein water is actually created chemically in their cells via the freeing of hydrogen off of carbohydrates, combined with respiratory oxygen, resulting in H2O. It’s expensive in calories, but often cheaper to metabolically produce water than to seek it in an environment like that.

Fennecs have such developed kidneys that their urine is so concentrated it’s often described as a jelly.

Squirrels will eat baby mice and baby birds, and generally opportunistically consume easy protein when they find it.

Deer will gnaw on carrion to get calcium from bones. (There’s even a carnivorous species of deer!)

Rabbits and most rodents will consume their own babies in times of nutritional crisis.

Most animals that aren’t great apes and certain fruit-dependant species metabolically synthesize Vitamin C in their livers. Goats livers are exceptional at this, able to produce 100,000x their base metabolic level when stressed by disease.

Whales use depth bands where the acoustic properties of the water best match the frequencies of their song, thus allowing whale song to travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers when oceanic conditions are right.

Cats have an equivalent disease to human HIV; it’s called simply FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Also, it’s airborne, and virulent. Cats can get (their version of) AIDS from a sneeze.

I know. I’ve spent an evening in the bar with JM :stuck_out_tongue:

*Badgers cannot get a dislocated jaw.
*White-tailed deer have a better sense of smell than a bloodhound.
*Horses have the largest eyes of any terrestrial mammal.
*Crow language is so sophisticated that they are able to “displace” subjects, that is, discuss things not present and immediate. This was thought at one time to be the purview of humans alone.
*Crows and other birds have been trained to do algebra with abstract symbols.
*Bonobos have sex like…all the time. It’s ridiculous.
*Orca are a type of dolphin, not whales.
*Because of Africa’s unique evolutionary history, an elephant shrew is more closely related to an elephant than it is to a shrew.
*Portia spiders are now known to be so intelligent that it’s thrown off our whole understanding of how intelligence works.
*Something like 90% of all mounting behavior observed in giraffes is between males. A significant portion of the remainder applies to f/f mounting.
*Cats have extremely long short-term memory, many times longer than a human’s.
*A female porcupine cannot be raped.
*Koalas attempt to savage each other’s genitals when fighting. Ouchies.

I’d like to point out that this is a bit of a blanket statement. Also color-blind does not mean all they see if shades of grey. There are a variety of different colorblindness. Dogs for instance are red-green colorblind, just like some humans. If you’re going to use colorblindness, make sure you research how they are colorblind.

Rodents cannot vomit. This is why rat poison is very effective. Once they’ve eaten the poison, they’re unable to purge it from their system.

Incidentally, horses also cannot throw up but that is due to the muscles in their stomachs.

Red Deer shed their horns and regrow them every year. When the new set of antlers is growing, they’re covered in a soft, fur-like fuzz.

Crows are able to recognise people’s faces and remember them years later.

Woodpeckers have no vocal call (generally, consult species), instead they attract mates by their ‘drilling’ sound.

The Eurasian Jay, whilst predominantly covered in a light pink, as well as blue, white and black, is a member of the Corvid family - one of the few of that family that is not totally black.

*How do whales nurse young underwater? Their milk is thick as cottage cheese.
*How do dolphins sleep without sinking? Simple, half of the brain sleeps at a time.
*The Galapagos marine iguana can shoot salt from its nostrils.
*Squirrels have unique names consisting of a sound + tail position.
*The Argentine ant accepts all members of its species. Colonies cooperate with one another.
*There are two species of semi-eusocial spider.
*Queen bulldog ants must forage for their own food. Rough deal.
*Man-o-Wars are not jellyfish. In fact, they aren’t even really an individual type of animal, but rather, living colonies made up of four different cooperative species.
*Box jellyfish aren’t jellyfish, either. They have (lots of) eyes, but it isn’t known how they’re used without brains or a nervous system.
*Contrary to popular belief, sharks CAN get cancer. They’re also delicious.
*Wolverines have been observed playing with females and young in their territories. You oughtn’t try to pet one, though they can be domesticated.

Citation request, please? I’ve done a lot of research on vasomenal organ capabilities in animals. I wouldn’t find it terribly surprising, as I know that water buffalo are on par with most scenthounds, as are cattle and wildebeest in general, but typically cervines are not noted for exceptional vasomenal capabilities in the way a bloodhound is. (For reference, discounting the aquatic animals, moths win the scent-tracking competition hands down. For terrestrial mammals, it’s believed that the best sense of smell is that of the polar bear, and then you get into the ‘scenthound and equivalent’ tier, wherein we find bloodhounds, water buffalo, most cattle, etc. Wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see whitetail deer there. Predators run for their supper, prey run for their lives, after all.)

Yessssssssss. Portia spiders are magnificent thinkers, in that they emulate a much larger brain by allowing neurons to time-share. If you need a big brain to figure out a plan on the spot, immediately, there’s no help for it; you need a big, fast brain. But if that plan doesn’t need to happen for a while? You can afford to emulate a larger brain, time-sharing the neurons until you come up with a sequence of memorized steps and decision trees that allow for the portia spider to formulate and execute tremendously complex (for a spider) hunting strategies.

It was a National Geographic documentary called “The Private Life of Deer.” There is not much research on white-tailed deer, so this is a relatively new finding.

Can confirm. Shark meat, or flake, is pretty common here. Absolutely gorgeous.

*Mice cannot sneeze. They are not generally used to study upper respiratory illnesses for this reason.

Reading this actually made me sneeze x.x

Just read this on the internet and it made me laugh really hard.

Hamsters are able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Best thread ever?

I’ll throw in some bird stuff. My sources are various, I’ll look them up on request. Suffice to say if you look up “cool facts about such-and-such” the pages will pop up :smiley:

While Golden Eagles usually fly at average speeds of 28–32 mph, they can glide quickly at up to 81 mph and can reach 150 mph when diving after prey.

For centuries, this species has been one of the most highly regarded birds used in falconry, with the Eurasian subspecies having been used to hunt and kill unnatural, dangerous prey such as Gray Wolves in some native communities.

Golden Eagles who survive to adulthood may live quite long. In some cases, wild eagles can live for 28 to 32 years and individuals in captivity have survived to an age of 46 years. (My gryfons live 50 to 60 years )

Certain other animals – birds and mammals too small to be of interest to the huge Golden Eagle – often use the nest as shelter. (I read this and picture an annoying room mate :wink: )

Ospreys are found on every continent except Antarctica. They breed on all continents except Antarctica and South America.
Ospreys eat a diet which consists almost exclusively of fish. This earned them the nickname “sea hawk.”
Ospreys hunt fish by hovering over water and then diving feet first to capture prey in their powerful talons.
An Osprey’s outer toe is reversible, which means they can carry prey (slippery fish) with two toes in front and two toes behind.
While flying away with the freshly-caught prey, an Osprey will manipulate the fish so that it is parallel to the bird’s body, and thus aerodynamic.
The oldest known North American Osprey lived to be 25 years old.

OK, I like goats.

That’s adorable ^.^