- Pigeons are very intelligent and one of the few to have passed the ‘mirror test’ of self-recognition.
- There is one quadrillion (one million billion) ants on Earth! That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000! To put it into even more perspective, that’s over 1,000,000 ants for every human.
- The blue whale is an enormous creature that ever lived on Earth and can reach over 100 feet. The longest blue whale recorded is a female, measured at 110 feet 17 inches in 1909. The heaviest blue whale was another female hunted in 1947. At 189,999.865 kg (190 tons), the creature weighed the equivalent of around 2,500 people!
- Pigeons are very intelligent and one of the few to have passed the ‘mirror test’ of self-recognition.
Doris the Loris
Doris, the loris, has a story for everyone, from adventure to silly stories. But will she be able to come up with a way for her animal friends to enjoy her stories wherever they are? Set in the Sumatran rainforest, this story is full of exciting wildlife, and the plot and themes of the tale make it great for reluctant readers.
- The giant Pacific octopus has three hearts, nine brains, and blue blood. 2 hearts pump blood to the gills, while a big heart circulates blood to the rest of the body; a central brain controls the nervous system, while there’s a tiny brain in each of the creature’s eight arms. Blue blood is rich in protein that improves the animal’s ability to transport oxygen in cold environments.
- Animals with smaller bodies and faster metabolism, such as flies, chipmunks, and squirrels, see in slow motion. It allows them to see more information in one second than a larger animal like an elephant.
- At birth, a panda is smaller than a mouse and weighs about four ounces.
- The bears are brilliant. They have better navigation skills than humans, their memories are excellent, they have a sizeable brain-to-body ratio, and they even use tools for play and hunting. However, when separated from their mothers, cubs can cry for weeks, and grieving is typical among the animals.
The Bear Who Came to Babysit
Arno and Bibi are in for a surprise when their babysitter turns out to be a bear! The story follows their daily routine as ordinary events are infused with chaos and humor. Hilariously throughout, the story features stunning illustrations that will make children laugh out loud.
- Animals have complex dreams and can retain and recall sequences of events while they’re asleep. Research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that firing patterns of a collection of individual cells in a rat showed that it was dreaming and that its dreams were connected to actual experiences.
- Houseflies hum in the key of F major! They flap their wings around 190 times per second, which the human ear interprets as a pitch along the F major scale.
- Sea otters hold hands while sleeping, so they don’t drift apart. When a baby is too small to hold hands, it rests on the mother, and when the mother has to go hunting, she wraps her pups in seaweed to stop them from floating away.
- African grey parrots voluntarily help each other to obtain food and perform selfless acts, even to individuals they’re not ‘friendly’ with.
- Even if a pig could fly, other pigs would not be able to witness it, as they’re incapable of looking up! The anatomy of their neck muscles and spine limits the movement of their head, so they can’t look upwards.
Wake-Up Time on Bumble Farm
When the rooster fails to wake up Farmer Faye, chaos unfolds on Bumble Farm! The story features a range of farm animals and their animal sounds and is an excellent way for children to practice reading out loud. With repeated refrains, a fun narrative, and humorous illustrations, the story is perfect for inspiring learning on farm animals.
- Prairie dogs touch their front teeth to identify one another, giving the appearance of kissing. Some scientists even believe that the creatures do this
- Mantis shrimps can punch at 50 miles per hour, an acceleration that’s faster than a .22-caliber bullet!
- Female lions do 90 percent of the hunting, while males protect their pride.
- Wild barn owls eat around four small mammals every night – that’s 1,460 yearly! They usually swallow their food whole before regurgitating bits of fur and bone as an owl pellet.
A Tale of Two Feathers
When two birds find mystery feathers, they realize that some animals come out at night while others are more active during the day. Perfect for teaching about nocturnal and diurnal animals, the story features repeated refrains and alliteration, making it fun to read aloud.
- A narwhal’s tusk is a tooth built inside out. This tooth is almost like a piece of skin with sensory nerve endings.
- The oldest known domesticated dog dates back to 329 BC! Ancient Egyptians revered Saluki dogs and were even mummified after they died. Plus, there are carvings in present-day Iraq resembling a Saluki, which date back to 7000 BC.
- A study by Florida’s Dolphin Communication Project that observed bottlenose dolphins’ feeding habits showed that they turned to their left side 99.44% of the time. As this places the dolphins’ right side and right eye close to the ocean floor as they hunt, it suggests that the creatures have an even higher right-side bias than humans (between 70 and 95% of humans are right-handed).
- Farmers can protect cows from being bitten by flies by painting them with zebra-like stripes. The stripes cause a kind of motion camouflage that’s akin to an optical illusion for flies.
- While it’s wildly believed that magpies have a compulsive urge to steal shiny things, they may be nervous about such objects. In one study by Exeter University, magpies picked up a shiny object twice out of 64 tests!
The Messy Magpie
Morris the Magpie thinks he’s lucky when humans drop shiny gifts in the forest. However, they may not be the gifts that he first thought of! Exploring themes like teamwork, recycling, and the impact of litter on wildlife, the story is a fun resource to inspire learning on looking after the environment.
- Sperm whales communicate through clicks called codas. One study of sperm whales in the Caribbean identified codas unique to their regional groups, suggesting that they may identify individuals and family or social groups.
- A grizzly bear’s bite is so strong that it can crush a bowling ball; the creatures have a bite force of over 8,000,000 pascals!
A grizzly bear
- Reindeer’s eyes change color with the Arctic seasons. In the summer, the tapetum lucidum (TL) in a reindeer’s eye is gold to reflect most light directly through the retina. However, by the time winter has come around, the TL has changed to a deep blue, which reflects less light out of the eye.
- A sea lion was the first non-human mammal to demonstrate that it can move to the rhythms of a song. In 2013, Ronan the sea lion moved to Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘Boogie Wonderland’ at the University of California Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Laboratory!
- Starfish eat inside out. To catch their prey, they use tiny suction cups to grab hold of their food; their stomach exits their mouth to digest the food before re-entering the body when they’re done eating!
Stan is the most talented singing starfish in the bay, but will his talent be enough when danger strikes? This underwater story is full of beautiful illustrations of ocean wildlife and explores themes like friendship and teamwork in a way children will find engaging.
- To catch prey, humpback whales work together, swimming in an upward spiral and blowing bubbles underwater, forming a ‘bubble-net’ – a spiral of bubbles that’s difficult for fish to escape!
- In New Zealand, ducks surf waves to catch prey or move through the water more quickly.
- Wild chimpanzees in Guinea have been observed consuming fermented palm sap, making them tipsy!
- The first thing a caterpillar eats is its eggshell. Once it hatches, the creature consumes the remainder of the protein-rich outer layer of the egg, called the chorion.
The Cautious Caterpillar
Cody the Caterpillar is nervous about becoming a butterfly. She’ll need support from her minibeast friends to embrace her exciting transformation! As well as teaching children about the lifecycle of a butterfly, this story is excellent for encouraging discussions about transitions and changes in life.
- Frogs undergo repeated freeze-thaw cycles without dying. As they’re cold-blooded, their body temperature takes on the temperature of the environment around them. So during their winter hibernation, frogs can freeze over themselves when temperatures drop below freezing.
- A group of ferrets is called a business.
- A 2013 study published in PNAS found that bottlenose dolphins have specific whistles for one another.
- A giraffe’s tongue is black! Scientists think that this is, so they don’t get sunburnt while they eat.
- Bees can beat their wings around 200 times a second, allowing them to move the same amount of air as a pair of more enormous, more slowly beating wings, such as those of a bird.
- Emperor penguins leap into the air while swimming, a move known as ‘porpoising’. While this action coats them in micro air bubbles that help reduce underwater friction, scientists think it’s also a form of play!
The Runaway Iceberg
Gaspar and Rossi find themselves on an unintended adventure when the ice breaks as they float away at sea. They’ll need the support of some extraordinary animal friends to make it home. Fantastic for a topic on polar regions, this story features stunning illustrations throughout to bring the events to life.
- It can take a month for a sloth to digest a single leaf, and most only have a bowel movement once a week!
- Alligators can grow for more than 30 years and often don’t hit their full size until they’re 33!
- Snow leopards’ vocal cords are less developed than other large cats, meaning they can’t roar. Instead, they make a sound that resembles a purr, known as a puff.
- Hedgehogs have between 5000 and 7000 spines on their back. They raise and lower them to respond to threatening situations; each spine lasts for about a year before it falls out and is replaced.
Don’t Hog the Hedge!
Hattie, the hedgehog, wants everything ready for her Big Sleep, but she may need the help of some unexpected visitors to discover what makes for a happy hibernation! The autumn story is perfect for teaching children about hibernation.
- Unlike most amphibians, axolotls don’t develop lungs and remain in the water for their lives. As a result, they can rebuild their jaws, spines, and even their brains without scarring, while they can grow to maturity without undergoing metamorphosis.
- Naked mole rats have an incredible resistance to cancer thanks to unique conditions in their bodies that prevent cancer cells from multiplying. As a result, the creatures can live for up to 37 years.
- While rhinos are generally solitary creatures, they spend much time with oxpeckers, also known as ‘tick birds’. Oxpeckers perch on the back of rhinos and live off the parasitic insects in the rhinos’ thick skin. The birds’ loud cries can even alert rhinos of potential danger.
Ronald the Rhino
Ronald the Rhino starts to feel down when he thinks about the other animals in the Javan forest. They all seem to be unique, and he feels inadequate. However, some animal friends are around to help him see how special he is. The rhyming story explores themes like friendship and self-confidence, making it great to inspire discussions.
- Researchers from the University of Guelph found that squirrels take in the orphaned pups of their late family members, which is peculiar considering how solitary and territorial red squirrels are.
- Pangolins dig burrows for sleeping and nesting that contain large circular chambers; some are so big that they can stand up in them.
- African bullfrogs produce mucus membranes that solidify into cocoons to stop their skin from drying out in the heat. The creatures can survive in the cocoons for up to seven years while they wait for rain.
- Cats may be one of the few animals that can’t taste sweet things. However, while they lack the receptor for sweetness, cats can taste something that we humans can’t, for instance, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the compound that supplies the energy in every living cell.
Harold’s Worst Nightmare
Harold lives a pampered life, but when a new kitten arrives in the house, his world is turned upside down! How will he cope? And will he find a way to get along with Muffin, his owners’ new pet? This story is a great way to discuss sibling relationships.
- Kangaroo rats can survive without drinking water, as they get all the moisture they need from seeds in the desert environment.
- Giant anteater’s tongues are two feet long – the longest of any known mammal.
- When a male moth catches the scent of a female moth, he’ll travel miles to find her based solely on the smell.
- A study by researchers at the University of Northampton found that when cows were separated from their preferred partner, their heart rates increased as a sign of stress.
- When bunnies feel worried, they clench their facial muscles and change their body position.
It’s Pet Day in Willow Class, and the children can’t wait to bring their animals into class. However, one pet seems to stand out as they talk about their pets. Read the story to discover if Sid is the violent monster Violet makes him out to be.
- Crocodiles can live to 100.
- Ravens are intelligent enough to play tricks on one another. For example, if one raven knows another is watching it hide its food, it will pretend to put the food in one place but hide it in another. They’ve also been known to push rocks on people to prevent them from climbing to their nests and play dead beside a beaver carcass to scare other ravens away from the food, while they can even imitate human speech.
- Rats laugh when being tickled.
- Tigers have striped skin and fur, and each tiger’s stripes are unique.
- Flamingos can only eat with their heads upside down and are one of the few animals that can move their top jaw while eating. Plus, their pink color comes entirely from the pigment in their food!
- A dog’s sense of smell is about 100 000 times stronger than a human’s! They have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to our six million, while the part of their brain responsible for analyzing smells is 40 times stronger than ours, proportionally speaking. However, dogs have only one-sixth of our number of taste buds.
The Pack of Pompeii
Learn about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD with this imaginative retelling, told from the perspective of three dogs! The story is educational and engaging for a history or volcanoes topic.
- Butterflies have taste receptors in their feet which are 200 times stronger than human taste buds. When they land on plants, they use these sensors to see if the plant is edible.
- Spur-winged geese are poisonous thanks to their diet of blister beetles.
- When vampire bats bite their prey, their saliva functions as an anticoagulant, preventing their victim’s blood from clotting and allowing the blood to flow freely when they feed.
- Once an anaconda has found its prey, it suffocates its victim. Next, it opens its mouth wide, with stretchy ligaments allowing it to swallow its prey whole. It can range from large fish and rodents to caiman (relatives of crocodiles) to jaguars!
Daisy can’t wait to log onto South American webcams and learn about the rainforest. However, she doesn’t expect to find Pedro the potoo trying to get through to the humans destroying his home! Will Daisy be able to help the animals? This story explores pertinent issues like habitat destruction and climate change.
- To ensure their dominance, queen mole rats can produce a substance in their urine that makes other females infertile.
- When dragonflies and damselflies mate, they form a heart with their tails.
- A female peacock is called a peahen.
- Cats don’t meow to communicate with one another but rather to get attention from humans.
- Elephants have developed a human-specific alarm call. While the low rumble may be an emotional response to the threat that other elephants pick up on, it’s possible that elephants voluntarily make the calls to warn others about specific dangers.
The Zoo Vet
Many animals are unwell, and the vet is having a busy week. Will he be able to find the proper treatment for a variety of animals? The fun story encourages children to discuss what’s wrong with each patient and is a chance for children to enjoy lots of familiar animals.
- All clownfish are born male. While they can switch their sex, they will only do so to become the dominant female of a group, and this change is irreversible.
- Hartebeest run in zigzag patterns to decade predators.
- Anteaters don’t have teeth, but their long tongues allow them to eat 35,000 ants and termites daily.
- A polar bear’s fur isn’t white – it’s see-through! Instead, they have black skin underneath the hollow and transparent hair that allows them to absorb as much heat as possible from the Sun.
- Koalas get their name from an Aboriginal term, ‘ no drink’. Koalas get nearly all their moisture from leaves and rarely drink water
Part of the Party
Karri Koala wants to go to the Mummy and Daughter Disco, but she has two dads. So after calling a meeting to see who else feels left out by the event, she comes up with a way to ensure all her friends and their families can be part of the party! The story is excellent for inspiring discussions about inclusion and diversity.
What is the most incredible animal on the planet?
With millions of species to choose from, it isn’t easy to narrow the list down to a few of the most interesting! However, the list below features ten of the most incredible animals based on appearance, cuteness, and behavior.
- Bearded vulture – This creature’s phoenix-like appearance makes it beautiful.
- Goblin shark – The last representative of sharks that lived around 125 million years ago, the goblin shark can grow up to more than 13 feet in length and has been caught in every central ocean.
- Blobfish – With a density only slightly above that of water, the blobfish has a relatively simple hunting technique, simply floating along and waiting for creatures to wander into its mouth.
- Snow leopard- Perhaps the most beautiful of the big cats, snow leopards are solitary creatures who primarily rest near cliffs and ridges.
A snow leopard
- Narwhal – Often called ‘sea unicorns’, a narwhal’s tusk makes it look like a mythical creature.
- Seahorses – Male seahorses have pouches on their stomach, which the female deposits her eggs in, meaning the male ultimately gives birth!
- Great white shark – This fear-inducing predator can smell blood from three miles away.
- Assassin bugs – Assassin bugs hunt ants before turning their victims’ exoskeletons into outerwear, which they wear to confuse future predators.
- Bengal tigers – The ultimate meat-eaters, Bengal tigers can consume up to 60 pounds of meat in one meal, and whatever they don’t eat, they bury in the ground and eat later.
- Cheetah – The fastest animal in the world, cheetahs can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds.
A great white shark
What are some weird things animals do?
- The horror frog breaks its bones to produce claws that puncture their way through the frog’s toe pads! It is likely to be a defense mechanism.
- Rats urinate on their food to mark it and ensure it’s safe.
A horror frog
- Sea cucumbers squirt their internal organs out of their bottoms to protect themselves against predators. Eventually, their organs grow back.
- Pandas aren’t fussy about where they sleep and will fall asleep wherever.
- Sloths live in trees, but once a week, they make the slow, tiresome journey to the ground to go to the toilet.
Weird animal anatomy facts:
- Fish have four nostrils.
- Deadly box jellyfish have advanced eyes that can create shadows, shapes, and motion.
- When frogs swallow, their eyeballs move inside their mouth to push the food down.
- A tick’s eyes are on its back.
- Sperm whales don’t have upper teeth.
A sperm whale’s skeleton
Amazing animal abilities:
- Bats shoot out high-pitched sound waves into the night and use the echoes to pinpoint the location of their prey.
- With a running start, pumas can leap over 12 meters.
- Hummingbirds can fly upside down.
- Dung beetles can pull weights 1,141 times heavier than their body weight, making them the strongest animal on the planet!
- The alpine ibex can walk on steep, nearly vertical walls.
An alpine ibex
What is the most random animal?
Pink fairy armadillo
The fairy armadillos are elusive and rarely seen by humans. However, they’re local to central Argentina, and their two large sets of claws that allow them to dig quickly have earned them the nickname ‘sand-swimmers’.
Japanese spider crab
The Japanese spider crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod in the world, reaching up to 3.8 m in length! While the creature weighs around 19 kg, it’s just 15 inches long. It has eight legs and two arms – which it uses for feeding. Each feeding arm is about 1.5 m long.
Dumbo octopuses live at least 4,000 m below the surface, making them the deepest-living genus of all known octopuses. Its ear-like fins have earned it the name ‘Dumbo’, after the elephant character in the Disney film. Dumbo octopuses don’t have an ink sac, as they’re unlikely to encounter predators in the deep sea.
Naked mole rats can move all of their front teeth separately. They don’t drink water; they get hydration from their plant-based diet. A single colony can make tunnels that are 2.5 miles long,
Dugongs are herbivorous marine mammals that exist on a diet solely of seagrass. Their closest land relative is the elephant, and you can estimate their age by how many rings they have on their tusks. The creatures communicate with barks, chirps, squeaks, and trills.
Babirusas are found in rainforests of Indonesian islands. While they’re members of the pig family, they differ from normal pigs in several ways: their snouts are less specialized, and they have two-chambered stomachs like sheep and other ruminants. In addition, they’re omnivorous and eat almost anything.
The aye-aye is a long-fingered lemur that’s local to Madagascar. It has rodent-like teeth that grow perpetually and a specialized thin finger that it uses to pull grubs out of wood. It’s the largest nocturnal primate, and its eyes change color as it ages.
Maned wolves are found in central and eastern South America, including northern Argentina, South and Central Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and southern Peru. Their thick red coat makes them distinctive, and genetic studies show that they’re neither a fox nor a true wolf; the maned wolf is a distinct species – the only member of its genus.
Creature trivia to share with your friends and family
Why not test friends and family with some of the questions below?
- What is a group of crows called?
- Lemurs are only local to one country – what is it?
- Which breed of dog has the best sense of smell?
- Which mammal has the most powerful bite in the world?
- What animals are included in the ‘big five’ in Africa?
- A murder of crows
- The bloodhound
- The Hippopotamus
- Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and the cape buffalo
What animals have no blood?
Flatworms, nematodes, and cnidarians (jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals) don’t have a circulatory system and, therefore, do not have blood.
What are the most intelligent animals?