9 Animal Facts That Will Leave You in Awe of Mother Nature
Don't mess with a gemsbok.
With more than a million species on this incredible planet of ours, there are plenty of creatures in the animal kingdom to learn about, from rare zebra donkeys to bizarre anteater-like pangolins. But even the most ordinary, run-of-the-mill creatures have fascinating backstories that will leave you in total awe of Mother Nature's power. From gentoo penguins to Galapagos sea lions, here's a taste of the wild, wild world out there.
Bengal Tigers (India)
Bengal tigers are mostly found in India, but some smaller populations live in Bangladash and China. Once upon a time, hundreds of thousands of tigers roamed the earth—but over the past century, three entire subspecies have gone extinct, leaving just five remaining. Bengal tigers are currently the most common tiger subspecies in the world with around 2,000 left in the wild. They make up more than half of all wild tigers alive today.
Indian Rhinoceros (India)
Primarily found in northern India and Nepal, Indian rhinoceros have an average life span of 40 years. They may be big and bulky—an Indian rhino can weigh as much as an SUV—but don't underestimate their ability to sprint. Their charges have been clocked at speeds of 30 miles per hour, and they have the ability to jump or change direction as quickly as an Olympic athlete.
Gentoo Penguins (Antarctica)
With their striking red-orange beaks, gentoo penguins typically make their homes within the rock-ridden grounds of Antartica. They're the third-largest penguin species, but they take the gold when it comes to swim speeds among penguins. Able to reach speeds of 22 miles per hour, gentoo penguins are said to take up to as many as 450 ocean dives in one day—and that's just for food. Sounds like they should've called that classic board game Hungry Hungry Penguins!
Gemsbok, sometimes referred to as oryx, are antelopes found primarily in the Nambian desert. While these animals are certainly picturesque with their strong stature, they're not to be messed with. Their horns are essentially spears that can reach up to 30 inches long. Male gemsbok have been known to kill lions by impaling them, thus begging the question: If gemsbok lived in the jungle, who would really be the king?
Galapagos Sea Lions (Ecuador)
Galapagos sea lions are one of two types of seals found around the Galapagos Islands (the other being fur seals). These sea lions are known for having a huge degree of sexual dimorphism compared to other animals. Males can weigh more than four times the weight of their female partners and even have a prominent bump on their forehead that females lack, making it far easier to distinguish their gender compared to most wild animals.
Vicunas (The Andes, South America)
The vicuna is a member of the camel family typically found in the Andes of South America. Along with the closely related alpacas and llamas, vicunas are renowned for their soft and luxurious coat. Vicuna wool is among the most expensive fabrics in the world—and one of the rarest, too, since the vicuna can only be shorn every three years.
Andean Flamingos (The Andes, South America)
Andean flamingos are one of three flamingo species native to the Andes; they're distinguished by their unique, natural yellow legs and three-toed feet. However, as with most flamingos, their pink coloring isn't that way from day one. Flamingos are born entirely white, but turn various shades of pink as they mature due to the high beta carotene levels in their diet.
Kudus (South Africa)
Like their antelope relative, the gembok, South African kudus are known for their massive horns. However, these horns come with unique twists—that only get more twisty with age! They grow as the kudus mature, typically getting the first twist around the age of two. A fully mature kudu, however, typically has two-and-a-half twists in each horn. Kudus have been hunted for centuries because of their unique appendages. Back in the 1800s, kudu horns were typically used for music.
Arabian Camels (Jordan)
Camels are one of the oldest domesticated animals in Jordan, and have been used as transportation in the desert for thousands of years. Unlike Asian camels, Arabian camels only have one hump. But that's all the animal needs. In that singular hump, Arabian camels can store up to 80 pounds of fat—which can be broken down into water and energy when needed. Because of this insane storage capacity, camels can travel up to 100 miles in the desert with water. And for more awesome trivia about the world, don't miss the 30 Craziest Facts About Planet Earth You Never Knew.
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