The 100 Greatest Animal Facts

Here’s our big list of 100 greatest animal facts. This includes some of the most asked, fun, surprising and crazy animal facts from across the animal kingdom. The loudest, deadliest, fastest, largest and most bizarre, are all here in our big animal fact list.

fun animal facts

1. The loudest animal in the world is a mere 2cm long, prawn. The Pistol Shrimp is capable of snapping it’s claw shut so rapidly, that it creates a bubble which collapses to produce a sonic blast, louder than a Corncode’s sonic boom.

The shock wave can reach 230 decibels, louder than the sound of a gunshot. The imploding bubble for split seconds also generates temperates of 4,400C, nearly as hot as the sun, killing it’s prey. 1

Pistol Shrimp

2. Flamingos are not pink. They are born grey, their diet of brine shrimp and blue green algae contains a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin that makes their feathers pink.

Flamingos in zoos often lost their colouring, until zoo keepers supplemented their diets. 2

3. Otters “hold hands” while sleeping, so they don’t float away from each other.

And it’s super-cute. Look.

4. Hummingbirds are the only known birds that can also fly backwards.

They often do this when retreating away from flowers. 3

5. Dolphins use toxic pufferfish to ‘get high’.

Dolphins deliberately handle pufferfish causing them to release toxins as a defence mechanism. These toxins can be deadly in high doses, but also have a narcotic effect – and are a powerful hallucinogenic, which dolphins appear to enjoy.

A documentary witnessed them passing around pufferfish in a pod, before floating just underneath the water’s surface, apparently ‘mesmerised by their own reflections’ afterwards. 4

6. The Inland Taipan (also known as, the Western Taipan) is the most venomous snake in the world. A single bite contains enough venom to kill at least 100 fully grown men, and can kill within just 30 minutes, if left untreated.

They very rarely ever come in contact with humans, however. Every reliable identification of a snake bite victim from an Inland Taipan have been herpetologists, when handling or studying the snakes. They have all survived, due to successful treatment with antivenom.

7. The worlds deadliest animal isn’t a shark, bear or tiger, but something far smaller – the mosquito. According to the World Health Organization, 725,000 people are killed each year from mosquito-borne diseases, such as Malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever.

They outnumber every other animal in the world, apart from ants and termites. They can also be found in nearly every part of the world, which all add up in the risk they pose to humans.

mosquito facts

8. There are more than 1.4 billion insects for EACH HUMAN on the planet, according to recent estimates.

Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. Their population is estimated as 107–108 billion alone, in comparison to approx. 7 billion humans on the planet. 5

9. The shortest living animal in the world is the Mayfly. It’s entire lifespan is just 24hrs.

The Mayfly reproduces and then dies, during that short 24hr period of life. Some species of Mayfly only live for 8-10 hours.

10. The horned lizard is able to shoot blood from it’s own eyes, up to a distance of 3 feet away. The rather bizarre and disgusting act is a defensive mechanism to confuse predators.

Their blood contains a chemical that is noxious to predators, and this isn’t its only trick – short-horned lizards are also capable of inflating their bodies up to twice their size to scare anything away. 6

11. Roosters prevent themselves from going deaf due to their own loud crowing, by tilting their head backs when they crow, which covers their ear canal completely, serving as a built-in ear-plug.

A study showed that their crowing averages over 100 decibels, which is roughly the same as running a chainsaw. 7

12. Little is known about the elusive Giant squid, however the largest squid ever found measured over 50 feet and weighed nearly a tonne.

To put that in perspective, that’s bigger than a bus. 8

13. The pangolin is able to roll up into an armour-plated ball, so lions can’t eat them.

If only this worked for poachers, who simply pick them up when they roll into a ball.

14. Koalas can sleep for up to 22 hours a day.

They need more sleep than most animals, because their diet of eucalyptus leaves contain toxins, are very low in nutrition, and high in fibrous matter – so they take a large amount of energy to digest!

15. Swifts spend most of their lives flying in the air, and can fly for almost an entire year, without ever landing.

A study showed that over a 10-month period, a swift stopped for just 2 hours. 9

16. Even after having its head cut off, a cockroach can still live for weeks.

Even stranger, a cockroach’s head can actually survive by itself for a few hours, too. 10

17. A group of parrots is known as a pandemonium.

And the collective noun for porcupines, is a prickle.

18. Cows poo up to 15 times a day, which can be as much as 115 pounds of manure per day, or approximately 21 tons per year.

The large quantities are often put to good use, though – manure, to fertilizer, to fuel, or biogas to create electricity and heat for developing parts of the world. 11

19. Panda’s must eat 25 – 90 pounds (12-38 kg) of bamboo every day to meet their energy needs.

This is because bamboo contains very little nutritional value, so they have to eat it in vast quantities to survive. Although the giant panda possess the digestive system of a carnivore, they have evolved to depend almost entirely on bamboo.

20. A Blue Whales tongue can weigh as much as a car, or a small adult elephant.

A Blue Whales tongue can weigh approx. 2.7 tonnes, or 6,000 – 8,000 pounds (2,720 – 3,630 kg).

more blue whale facts

21. The longest living, verified animal is a Madagascar radiated tortoise, which died at an age of 188 years in May 1965.

However, there might be even older. Adwaita, an Aldabra giant tortoise, died at an estimated age of 255 in March 2006 in Alipore Zoo, Kolkata, India. If verified, it will have been the oldest terrestrial animal in the world. 12

22. The fastest land animal on the planet is a cheetah. It can reach speeds of up to 75 mph (120 kph).

While the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, with a diving speed of 242 mph (390 kph). The Black Marlin is the fastest sea animal, and can swim up to 80 mph (130 kph).

23. Baby elephants suck their trunks for comfort.

Just like babies and young children suck their thumbs, awwww.

Baby Elephant Sucking TrunkPhoto courtesy of Darkroomillusions.

24. The Nile crocodiles jaws can apply 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch – the strongest bite of any animal in the world.

A human’s jaw produces 100 pounds of pressure per square inch in comparison. A crocodiles bite is 10 times more powerful than that of a great white shark

25. Axolotl are able to regenerate lost limbs and body organs.

Mexican walking fish can regrow the same limb up to 5 times, and even regenerate parts of its brain.

axolotl mexican walking fish facts

26. The Giant Pacific Octopus has 3 hearts, 9 brains and blue blood.

They are also able to change their colour and texture to camouflage themselves in a blink of an eye.

27. A flea can jump distances 200 times their body length.

They are able to jump 10 inches (25cm) vertically and up to 18 inches (45 cm) horizontally, making them one of the planets best jumpers relative to its size. It’s equal to a human jumping as high as the Empire State Building in New York.

28. The male seahorse goes through pregnancy and gives birth to babies. They are the only animal on earth where the male carries the baby rather than the female.

The male seahorse has a pouch on its stomach in which to carry babies—as many as 2,000 at a time.

29. Pufferfish can contain a tetrodoxin, a toxin that is up to 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide to humans. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

Amazingly despite this, some pufferfish meat is considered a delicacy in Japan. The meat called Fugu, is expensive and only prepared by licenced chefs with over 3 years of rigorous training who remove toxic parts of the meat for diners.

30. The loudest animal relative to size is the Water Boatman, which measures at just 12mm long, but can produce 99 dB of sound by rubbing its genitalia across its abdomen.

This is the equivalent noise level of operating a circular saw, or a drill. 13

31. The howler monkey is the loudest land animal. Its calls can be heard from 3 miles (5 km) away.

At its peak, the howler monkey can produce sounds that reach 140 decibels. That’s as noisy as a jet engine, on take off!

32. There is an average of 50,000 spiders per acre in green areas.

There’s over 45,000 known spider species, with the venom of a few only known to be dangerous to humans.

33. The aptly named colossal squids eyes are as large as a basketball.

This allows them to detect the faint light of a predator from over 400 feet (120 metres). 14

colossal squid

34. White-tailed jackrabbits are the greatest land jumpers, having been recorded leaping an astonishing 21ft (6.4m) vertically.

That’s higher than 3 average sized men all stood on top of each other. This large species of hare can also run up to 35mph (55kph) when escaping predators. 15

35. Grey-headed Albatross can circle the globe in only 46 days.

The incredible round-the-world journey covers 14,000 miles over the 46 day period at a steady 13mph. They perform this feat by making various pit-stops along the way. 16

36. Giraffes are the tallest land animal in the world, reaching heights of 19ft (5.8 m). The ostrich is the world’s tallest bird. It can grow up to 9 feet (2.7m) tall.

Over 2 metres (7ft) of a giraffes total size is its famously long neck, which helps it reach leaves in tall trees.

37. An ostrich legs are so powerful that their kicks can kill a lion.

Or a human! Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw – making them formidable weapons.

38. The dementor wasp paralyses cockroaches with venom to its head, turning them into a zombie-like state. The toxins leave the cockroach unable to control its own movements, which incredibly makes it run into the wasps nest to meet its demise.

The venom is thought to cut brain activity that makes cockroaches sense fear and run away to safety. The dementor wasp will then lay eggs on the cockroach to act as an incubator for its young.

39. More than half of all pigs in the world are kept by farmers in China.

There are over 440 million pigs in China. United States in comparison has a mere 73 million pigs.

40. Polar bears have jet black skin under their white fur coats.

It helps them absorb heat to keep warm, while the white fur helps provides camouflage in the snowy and icy environment they live.

41. Giant anteaters consume up to 35,000 ants and termites in a single day.

They use their long sticky tongues to slurp up hundreds of ants per minute. Interestingly, anteaters purposefully never destroy an ant nest, preferring to leave some ants alive to rebuild, so it can return and feed again in the future.

42. The little known pangolin is the worlds most poached and trafficked animal.

This is due to the high demand of their scales and meat in Asian cultures. 70% of Chinese citizens believe pangolin products have medicinal value, when its been scientifically proven to be false.

43. Great white sharks can detect a drop of blood in 25 gallons (100 litres) of water and can even sense tiny amounts of blood from 3 miles (5 km) away.

They use their acute sense of smell to detect blood using an organ called the ‘olfactory bulb’.

44. The Naked Mole-Rat can live in an almost zero oxygen atmosphere.

Incredibly, in a zero oxygen environment, the Naked Mole-Rat can still survive for up to 20-minutes without suffering any harm at all.

45. The smell of a skunk is powerful enough for a human to smell it up to 3.5 miles (5.6 km) away.

The foul smelling spray from a skunk can also cause skin irritation and even temporary blindness.

46. The most venonmous fish in the world is the 30cm Stonefish.

They have 13 sharp fin spines on their back, each with two venom glands. Their stings are extremely painful, can be lethal to humans, and mostly occur as a result of stepping on the creature.

47. Only 5% of cheetah cubs survive to adulthood.

A study in the 90’s in the Serengeti found that 95% of cheetah cubs died before reaching adulthood. Many deaths were due to Lions, but also other predators and disease.

48. A tigers rear legs are so powerful, that they have been found remaining to stand even after death.

Tigers have been witnessed to have been shot, bled out, and died – and remained standing throughout.

49. A Rhinoceros‘s horns are made of ‘keratin’, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails.

Some species of Rhinos have two horns, while others just have a single horn.

rhino facts

50. The Alpine Swift is able to stay airborne for over 6 months without touching down.

It holds the world record for the longest recorded uninterrupted flight by a bird, at over 200 days in the air as it hunted flying insects on its wintering range in the skies over West Africa. 17

51. The Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) is able to hibernate the longest – up to 11-months of the year when food availability is low.

To be able to pull of this feat, they double or even triple their body weight before hibernation. During hibernation they are able to reduce their metabolic rate and the animal may stop breathing for periods of up to an hour at a time. 18

52. Japanese Macaques play with snowballs for fun.

These snow monkeys have been observed rolling up snowballs, then pushing them down hills just for the heck of it. Others gather lumps of snow in a ball and carry them around, proudly sometimes to the envy of other monkeys who try to steal it.

53. Sperm whales are the world’s largest predator.

They can be up to 18m long and weigh up to 53 tonnes. These giant whales dive down to almost 3000m below the surface where they hunt giant squid. Giant squid can be the same size or bigger than sperm whales and will fight viciously with them. Adult whales can be seen with scars on their heads from the beaks of giant squid. 19

Sperm Whale

54. The largest insect to ever live was a “dragonfly” with a wingspan of over 75cm (2 and a half feet) across.

They are called Meganeuropsis and were around 247 million years ago. They were proficient predators, with large mandibles that they used to capture fish, amphibians and insects. 20

55. Koala’s have fingerprints almost identical to human.

It is so hard to distinguish between the fingerprints of koalas and humans that even under a microscope it is hard to tell. There are even reported cases of a koala’s fingerprints confusing forensics at crime scenes. 21

56. Greenland sharks are the longest living vertebrates on earth, with one individual thought to be over 400 years old

Greenland sharks are giant, reaching up to 5m in length, and live in the cold deep waters of the North Atlantic. They are rarely seen, and little is known about them. 22

Greenland Sharks

57. The blood ‘Dracula ant’ has the fastest recorded animal movement when it snaps its mandible.

This cannibalistic ant can go from zero to 200mph in 0.000015 seconds when it snaps its mandibles, that’s roughly 5,000 times faster than humans blink. 5 This is the fastest recorded movement in the animal kingdom. 23

58. The box jellyfish is considered the most venomous marine species in the world.

These cube shaped jellyfish have long tentacles and can be over 3m in length. Their toxin, delivered via stinging cells in their tentacles, is so potent that many die before they can even reach the shore. 24

59. The Japanese Spider Crab has the longest leg span of any arthropod.

From the tip of one claw to the other can be as long as almost 4m! It has 10 legs stretching out from a central body, giving it its spider like appearance. They live deep in the oceans south of Japan.

60. Some albatrosses are lesbians.

Albatrosses form bonds for life, returning to the same place every year to raise their young. Some of these bonds are between two female albatrosses, with a study finding that in one breeding area 31% of pairs were two females. 25

Albatross

61. Some corvids (crows, rooks, ravens etc,) can understand physics.

Corvids are highly intelligent. They can use tools, solve puzzles, recognise faces, and even understand physics. Tests show that rooks have the same level of understanding of physics as a 6-month-old baby, which is higher than some apes. 26

62. Sheep can recognise faces.

As social animals, sheep are capable of recognising familiar and unfamiliar faces. Studies even suggest that they miss other sheep when they are taken away for a long time afterwards. 27

63. Tardigrades can survive in space and go without eating for more than 10 years.

Tardigrades are microscopic animals with crazy endurance abilities. They can survive in temperatures as high as 149oC or as low as -272oC and pressures 6 times more intense than the bottom of the ocean. They also look like tiny bears! 28

Fact Sources & References

  1. E. Davies (2016), “The Worlds Loudest Animal May Surprise You”, via BBC Earth
  2. J. Findlay (2009), “Why are flamingos pink?”, via Science Focus
  3. N. Sapir, R. Dudley (2012). “Backward flight in hummingbirds employs unique kinematic adjustments and entails low metabolic cost”, via Biologists.org.
  4. R. Nuwer (2013), “Dolphins Seem to Use Toxic Pufferfish to Get High”, via Smithsonian.
  5. S. Worral (2017). “Without bugs, we might all be dead”, via National Geographic.
  6. S. Hewitt (2015). “If it has too, horned lizards will shoot blood from their eyes”, via BBC Earth.
  7. B. Yirka (2015). “Why roosters don’t go deaf from their own loud crowing”, via Phys.org.
  8. M. Walker (2016), “Giant squid can grow to extraordinary lengths”, via BBC Earth 
  9. A. Williams (2016). “These birds can fly almost 10-months without landing”, via National Geographic.
  10. C. Choi (2007). “A nuclear war may not trouble them, but does decapitation?”, via Scientific American.
  11. D. Fischer (1998). “Energy Aspects of Manure Management”, via University of Illinois.
  12. M.Wittlin (2006). “Charles Dawin Contemporary Marches Towards Her Third Century”, via Seed Magazine.
  13. J. Sueur, D. Mackie, J.Windmill (2011). “So Small, So Loud: Extremely High Sound Pressure Level from a Pygmy Aquatic Insect”. PLOS One.
  14. S. Pappas (2012). “Slam Dunk! Why Giant Squid Sport Basketball-Size Eyes”, via Live Science.
  15. E. Davies (2016). “The greatest jumper on Earth is probably not a flea”, via BBC.
  16. J. Croxall et al (2005). “Global Circumnavigations: Tracking Year-Round Ranges of Nonbreeding Albatrosses”, via Science Mag.
  17. F. Liechti et al (2013). “First evidence of a 200-day non-stop flight in a bird”, via Nature.com.
  18. C. Wilcox (2017). “Some Animals Don’t Actually Sleep for the Winter, and Other Surprises About Hibernation”, via National Geographic.
  19. Than K. How Whales Attack Squid: Mystery Deepens. Live Science. Published 2007. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  20. Kukalová-Peck J. Carboniferous protodonatoid dragonfly nymphs and the synapo- morphies of Odonatoptera and Ephemeroptera (Insecta: Palaeoptera) JARMILA KUKALOVÁ-PECK. Palaeodiversity. 2009. Research Gate. Accessed May 10, 2021.
  21. Wolchover N. Koalas Have Human-like Fingerprints | Live Science. Accessed May 11, 2021.
  22. Nielsen J, Hedeholm RB, Heinemeier J, et al. Eye lens radiocarbon reveals centuries of longevity in the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus). Science (80- ). 2016;353(6300):702-704. doi:10.1126/science.aaf1703
  23. Larabee FJ, Smith AA, Suarez A V. Snap-jaw morphology is specialized for high-speed power amplification in the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae. R Soc Open Sci. 2018;5(12). doi:10.1098/rsos.181447
  24. Box Jellyfish | National Geographic. Accessed May 11, 2021.
  25. Young LC, VanderWerf EA. Adaptive value of same-sex pairing in Laysan albatross. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. 2013;281(1775). doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.2473
  26. Bird CD, Emery NJ. Rooks perceive support relations similar to six-month-old babies. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. 2010;277(1678):147-151. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1456
  27. Knolle F, Goncalves RP, Jennifer Morton A. Sheep recognize familiar and unfamiliar human faces from two-dimensional images. R Soc Open Sci. 2017;4(11). doi:10.1098/rsos.171228
  28. Copely J. Indestructible | New Scientist. New Scientist. Published 1999. Accessed May 12, 2021.