Posted on Leave a comment

Octopus vs Underwater Maze

This is a remarkably endearing and educational video. Mark Rober taught us many interesting facts about octopi. The plural can also also be octopuses. He did point out that their blue blood is copper-based, and that they have three hearts. What he didn’t mention is that all three hearts beat with independent rhythms. Among their many defenses, such as camouflage and squirting water out of their jet to swim away very quickly, is the ability to squirt a cloud of ink, thereby obscuring their view from enemies. The largest octopi, living off the coast of Washington State on the west coast of the United States, have been known to grow to beyond 30 feet across (9.1 meters) and weigh as much as 600 pounds (272 kg) Their eyes can be as big as 15 inches (38cm) in diameter.

Posted on Leave a comment

Cats and Cucumbers

Why are cats so afraid of cucumbers? The common theory is that cucumbers look like snakes, and cats have evolved a natural fear of snakes. Cats see only in black and white with red, so the green color of a cucumber does nothing to de-worry the cats.

Another factor worth considering is that the cucumbers are often placed while the cats are obliviously eating or sleeping. When the cat suddenly sees the cucumber, all they know in that instant is that something possibly ominous has appeared that they were not expecting.

Posted on Leave a comment

Dedicated Owl

There are 200 species of owls. Most are smaller than this one. They have well-developed night vision, necessary for catching small rodents which they swallow whole. They cannot see clearly up close. To make up for that, they have sensitive hairs on their talons (feet) with which they can feel what they are holding.

Owls can rotate their heads more than 180 degrees, which makes up for the fact that they cannot rotate their eyes within their sockets.

When they have digested their meals, their stomach acid cannot melt hair and bones. After digesting, they regurgitate owl pellets. These are clumps containing the undigestable parts of their meals. Like cats, they love pouncing on small moving objects.

Posted on Leave a comment

Gentle Whale Approaches Unsuspecting Paddle Boarder

There are about 13,600 of these Southern Right Whales left in the world. These whales can be up to 56 feet (17 meters) long. The longest city buses are about 40 feet (12 meters) long. They can weigh up to 51,000 pounds (23,000 kilos) or 25 tons, more than ten average cars.

Southern Rights are not as big as Blue Whales who hove hearts as big as Toyotas.

So, why didn’t this whale eat the paddle boarder? The whale was not interested. These whales only want to eat tiny shrimp and plankton, which they filter out of the water with baleens, hundreds of filtering structures that hang down from their upper jaws.

Posted on Leave a comment

Indoor Playground for Cats

Every time your heart beats, your cat’s heart beats twice. Their normal heart rate is 110 to 140 beats per minute.

The average life of an indoor cat is 17 years. The average life of a cat that lives outdoors is 2 years.

When a cat turns around and around before laying down, this is an instinct left over from the days when they slept in tall grass. The turning action pushed the grass down into a nest.
The cat’s brain has a region for emotion that’s almost identical to the human emotion area. The average cat costs its owner $7,000 over its lifetime.

You would think that animals have no sense of disgust if you watch a cat who will sniff practically anything. But they can be disgusted. To prove it, peel an orange a few feet away from your kitty-cat and you’ll see what I mean. The cat will wrinkle its nose and leave the area, possibly displaying even more obvious signs of disgust in the process.

Can you read cats’ tails? When their tail is straight up, it often indicates anticipation. Straight back and stiff can indicate danger. Arched and puffed up means great danger. Their tails will quiver when they are happy to be near you. But if you annoy them, their tails will twitch. Wagging can mean indecision. When a cat is facing a decision, like when you have opened the door for a kitty on a cold evening and the cat just stands in the doorway trying to decide whether to have an adventure or stay in the warm house, you’ll see wagging.

There is one cat for approximately every four people in America.

Whereas a human has around 9,000 taste buds, a cat has 473 taste buds. Almost all calico cats are female. Do you know what a polydactyl cat is? Read on, you’ll find out in a minute.

Do cats pretend they are people? Consider Anya. She is a half-Siamese cat who is full-grown, and just less than a year old. When her owner steps out of the shower and turns off the water, she steps into the wet bathtub, shakes her feet a little bit, and then just sits there facing the shower-head for about five minutes. What is she thinking? When Anya’s owners ask her to “do a somersault,” she usually complies. She will tip her head down to the rug, and then roll over. She seems to like to please her owner. One day her owner was fooling around with 360 degree pirouettes, like dancers do. Anya saw that, and then turned around exactly 360 degrees two separate times within a few minutes.

Whereas a human has 206 bones, a cat has more than 230 – 290 bones (depending on who you ask). This may help explain why they are so slinky and flexible.

A dog can make approximately ten different sounds. A cat has a vocabulary of over 100 sounds.

Keep lillies, jade plant, philodendron, elephant ear, asparagus fern and cyclamen away from your kitty. These common houseplants are poisonous to cats.

Americans spend almost three billion dollars a year on food for their kittycats, yet, for comparison, America spends only 700 million dollars on drug prevention and treatment programs.

And speaking of cat food, a mouse can have eight babies. Assuming four of them are female, and knowing that a mouse can give birth 60 days after being born itself, after 18 months, a pair of mice can become 4.5 million.

Cats can breed quickly too. In ideal circumstances a pair of cats can result in 420,000 new cats in seven years. When you learn the surprising truth about commercial cat food, you’ll probably want to change your cat’s diet immediately.

Let’s start with some simple observations. When cats eat grass, what happens? Right, they regurgitate it.

The grass they eat doesn’t get digested. In fact they can’t digest grass. They aren’t designed appropriately. The intestine of animals who do eat grass is quite long. The intestine of a cat is very short. The cat is specially made to eat meat.

If you fed nothing but grass to your cat, and if the cat could actually keep it in, the cat wouldn’t be able to get enough nutrition.

That’s why they eat small animals. That’s what they are designed to eat. That’s where they get their nutrition. An outdoor cat eats mice, gofers, and the occasional bird, and they do just fine. They have done fine for thousands of years.

So it would be silly to feed them anything like grass, wouldn’t it?

Yet, most commercial dry cat food is composed mostly of grains like grass. Oh, it doesn’t look like grass, because the grains are ground up, and colored to look like meat. Then an artificial odor is added so the grain-based food smells attractive to cats.

Many older housecats suffer from arthritis, and urinary tract problems. Many cats of all ages suffer from intestinal problems, generally diarrhea. In time, many, maybe even most, die from these diseases. Guess what? These are the cats that eat dry commercial cat food.

If you simply switch to real meat, simulating a cat’s actual diet, these diseases are exceptionally rare.

Unfortunately, many commercial canned cat foods do not contain as much meat as you might like. And dog foods are often even worse, because dogs can get away with less protein than cats need. For best results, read the labels and try to find the most real cat food you can. If you have the time, the best bet is to make your own cat food from whole chickens and other small creatures.

But what about the cat’s teeth? Have you been led to believe that they need the dry food to keep their teeth clean? Have you ever wondered how a single bite or two on each morsel of dry food can actually clean a cat’s teeth? As you know, the cat doesn’t really chew the food up. The dry food doesn’t really do much for the cat’s teeth at all. Nature takes care of that. The cat’s teeth are designed to eat the way they do. The cat’s saliva has anti-bacterial qualities. The teeth don’t need any special attention beyond what nature already provides.

A polydactyl cat has six or seven toes on each front foot, instead of the usual five.

Cat’s spend two-thirds of their lives sleeping. Then, a third of their waking hours are spent grooming.

Cat litter did not exist until 1947.

Cats are never mentioned in the Bible.

The oldest cat on record lived just short of 36 years.

Just over one out of every five homes in the United States, at 21 percent, has a cat.

The modern cat has been existence for about 12 million years.

Approximately one in five cats is lacking the gene that causes them to react to catnip.

Radiator anti-freeze, which can leak from cars is attractive to cats (and dogs), but it is highly toxic.

Contrary to popular belief, a female cat does not need to have at least one litter of kittens to maintain health. Furthermore, she will not miss having had kittens.

A mouser in Scotland killed 28,899 mice in her career.

A cat’s top speed which can be maintained for only a few seconds is 31 miles per hour (50 kph). They can maintain this speed for only a short time because they have very inadequate cooling systems. We can sweat, but all they can do is pant, or rest.

Cats have at least 60 million olfactory cells to detect odors. Humans have no more than 20 million olfactory cells.

A cat has an additional sensor in the roof of its mouth called the Jacobson’s organ that assists in detecting smells.

As you know geese gather in flocks, and lions in prides. What’s the technical name for a group of cats? A clowder. A group of kittens is a kindle.

Slow-motion video has proven that a cat will curl its tongue backward when drinking, forming a scoop on the underside of the tongue.

Not all cats are the same when it comes to human allergies, such as what former US President Bill Clinton suffered from. A human who is allergic to one cat, may be perfectly fine with another. Female cats tend to activate allergies less than male cats. A litter can easily have up to eight kittens. The record is 14 brothers and sisters in one litter.

A cat in Texas had 420 kittens.

If you have to introduce a second cat into your house, your first kitty cat may have trouble getting used to the new intruder. If you put a little perfume or essential oil on both cats, so that they will smell the same as each other, they tend to trust each other more.

The technical name for love of cats is ailurophilia. The fear of cats is ailurophobia.

If cats were criminals, you could identify them by their noseprints, which are as unique as human fingerprints.

A man named Sir Henry Wyatt was sentenced to the Tower of London, at a time when prisoners generally starved to death. Sir Henry’s kitty-cat seemed to understand the situation because she snuck into the Tower, bringing him a freshly-killed pigeon, every day. When the king heard of this, he must have felt sad for the kitty, because he immediately set Sir Henry free.

Cats will not walk on aluminum foil. This is good to know when you are trying to protect something that your cat would tend to walk on, such as a part-done jigsaw puzzle.

Cats’ whiskers have a function similar to curb feelers which were common on cars in the 1950’s. These were springy rods that stuck out a short distance from the lower parts of the cars, and would make a rubbing noise when they touched a curb. When a cat pokes its head into a small tunnel or opening in the bushes, the whiskers are used to gauge the dimensions. If the opening doesn’t rub the whiskers, the cat’s body will fit through.

Why are cats so meticulous about keeping clean? They lick off all blood and odor-causing matter to prevent attracting flies and large predators that would be interested in the odor of blood.

You’ve probably heard of cats that use the toilet just like their people do. How is this accomplished?

Step 1: Move the litter pan into the bathroom.

Step 2: Move the litter pan closer and closer to the toilet, until it is right next to it.

Step 3: Raise the litter pan higher and higher on books or bricks until it is level with the toilet seat.

Step 4: Move the litter pan on top of the toilet seat.

Step 5: Replace the litter pan with a sheet of plastic taped to the toilet seat. Cover the middle of the plastic with kitty litter.

Step 6: Retape plastic onto the seat such that it sags lower and lower into the bowl.

Step 7: Remove the plastic. Of course, all these steps should be done gradually, getting the kitty cat completely comfortable with each new situation before going to the next. It helps if you have two or more bathrooms in your house!

There were no Siamese cats in the United States until 1878.

One of the world’s fattest cats was “Tiger” a part-Persian who weighed over 42 pounds (19 kg), as much as a small child.

If your kitty-cat scratches up valuable furniture, tape balloons to it. The cat will never scratch there again.

It is often reported that cats cannot taste sweet flavors. Actually, they can sense sweetness, but do not have much interest in sugary things. What is particularly interesting about their sense of taste, is that they have a special taste for the flavor of water, which we humans cannot taste.

;qooooooo.,,,xkiiiiiii: This is what happens when a kitty cat walks across the computer keyboard while you are trying to write about cats.

If you need to give liquid medicine to a cat, don’t try to feed it to the cat. This would only result in a battle. Instead, spill the medicine on the kitty’s fur. The cat will lick it off in the process of cleaning.

Kittens are born with their eyes closed. Only after they have lived several days, do their eyes open for the first time. Scientists discovered that if they put blindfolds on the kittens for the first three days their eyes are open, they will be blind for life.

Evidently this time is important in the training of their brains’ sight interpretation capability. The blindfolded kittens’ eyes work fine, but their brains don’t know what to do with the pictures!

Newborn kittens who lived in white boxes painted with horizontal black stripes could never learn to see vertical things during their entire lives. And those raised among vertical stripes could not see horizontal things. Cats’ eyes are specially developed to see horizontal things much better. In ordinary lighting their irises open as vertical slits. Because the slits are narrow, focus on the horizontal plane is easy to maintain, but their ability to focus on objects vertically is reduced due to the relatively large opening vertically.

Their retinas, like human retinas, analyze the picture before it is sent to the brain. The brain doesn’t just get a dot by dot representation, but rather an interpreted story from the retina. One fact relating to this interpretation is that a cat will see movement much more clearly than the detail of a still scene. For instance, if your cat is not paying attention to you, wave your hand a little bit, and the cat will instantly look your way. All this makes sense for a cat’s survival. Their food moves in the grass and they have to see it right away. But the motionless grass and the rocks are of no significance. Most of a cat’s food moves across the ground – horizontally. This is why a cat can easily chase a ball that rolls on a table, but looses it when the ball falls to the floor. Watch a cat stalk a bird. They get closer, and closer, then suddenly the bird flies up into the air. Often the cat doesn’t even look up. To the cat, the bird simply vanished.

Cats have been rated as the most intelligent animals under primates. Cats’ brains weigh about one percent of their total body weight. Human brains weight two percent of our total weight.
Scientists have determined that cats’ brains are closer to human brains than dog brains. But we already knew that.

A reader, Darryl, has sent the following information:

There is a very well documented case of a kitten that climbed the Matterhorn. A climber (it may have been Sir Edward Whymper) came across this apparently stray kitten when he started his climb and it followed him all the way to the summit.

You mentioned spraying perfume on cats to get them used to each other, and that reminds me of something people used to do here in England (including my mother). If people with a cat moved to another house, the first thing they’d do at their new home was to put butter on the cat’s front paws. This was supposed to prevent the cat from trying to return to its previous home, something that results in a lot of cats getting lost. I think the idea behind the practice was that as the cat licked the butter off, it would decide that a taste like this was worth staying around for.

Perhaps you could also mention the function of the reflecting layer that makes cats’ eyes glow at night. This layer – called the tapetum – is made of guanine crystals and it captures the light that’s already gone through the cat’s receptor cells and sends them back, giving the cells a ‘double dose’ of the light, which is why cats see so well in dim light.

April sent this idea along:

We have two cats in our house, and recently one of the cats has been urinating in the corner of a particular bedroom (even though we have two cat litter boxes in the house). We have found that putting a bowl of food in the corner eliminates the cat’s bad habit, since most animals won’t urinate near the same place they eat from.

“In order to keep a true perspective on one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.” – Dereke Bruce

Posted on Leave a comment

Horse Facts

Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal. Their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads, giving them nearly 360-degree vision.

Horses cannot focus their eyes in the way humans do. They have to change the angle of their heads if they want to see close objects well. That’s why they bob their heads up and down as you come near. They want to see you clearly.

In research where horses were taught to work light switches, they consistently proved that they preferred light by turning the lights on at night.

Horses have a unique digestive system known as hindgut fermentation, which allows them to digest fibrous plant material.

A horse’s teeth continue to grow throughout its life. They can erupt up to 2-3 millimeters per year.

Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up. They have a unique mechanism called the “stay apparatus” that allows them to lock their knees and remain upright.

A horse’s heart is massive, weighing around 9 to 10 pounds (4 to 4.5 kilograms) on average.

Horses communicate through a combination of vocalizations, body language, and facial expressions. They can make a variety of sounds, including neighs, snorts, and whinnies

The average lifespan of a horse is around 25 to 30 years, although some horses have been known to live into their 40s.

Horses are highly social animals and form strong bonds with other horses. They also have a hierarchical social structure within a herd.

Horses have an exceptional memory and can remember people, places, and experiences for many years.

The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was over 55 miles per hour (88.5 kilometers per hour).

Horses have a unique system of blood vessels in their legs that helps circulate blood efficiently, even when standing for long periods.

The first domestication of horses occurred around 4,000 BCE, or 2,200 years ago, and they have been essential to human civilization ever since.

Horses can see in color, but they have dichromatic vision, which means they see fewer colors than humans.

Horses have a strong sense of hearing and can rotate their ears 180 degrees to listen in different directions.

The record for the tallest horse ever recorded is held by a Belgian Draft horse named Big Jake, who stood at 20.2 hands (6 feet 10 inches or 208 cm) tall.

Horses have a natural “fight or flight” response to danger due to their evolutionary history as prey animals.

Horses have a unique respiratory system that allows them to breathe solely through their nostrils. They are obligate nasal breathers, meaning they cannot breathe through their mouths.

The average horse’s hoof grows at a rate of about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch (0.6 to 1 centimeter) per month.

Horses have a highly developed sense of touch, particularly in their lips and muzzle, which they use to explore their environment and communicate with other horses.

Horses have a specialized structure called the “withers” located at the base of their neck, which helps support the weight of a rider or a pack.

The smallest recognized horse breed is the Falabella, which typically stands around 7 to 8 hands (28 to 32 inches or 71 to 81 cm) tall.

Horses have a remarkable ability to adapt to different climates and can be found in a wide range of habitats worldwide.

The process of a horse giving birth is known as foaling, and the offspring is called a foal. Foals can stand and walk shortly after birth.

Horses have a strong sense of smell and can detect scents and pheromones in the air. They can probably sense and to a degree understand their riders’ emotions.