Animal myths you might think are real

Since ancient times, humans have been curious about the creatures we share our planet with, from our beloved pet dogs to the mysterious monsters of the deep sea that legends tell us about. Sometimes, though, our efforts to understand animals have led us to some mistaken beliefs. Let’s explore nine common animal misconceptions that don’t stand up to scientific investigation.

Misconception: Bears hibernate

When we think of animals hibernating, many of us immediately imagine bears, especially big, cuddly grizzlies snoozing in their dens during the winter. It’s easy to picture them nestled in while snow falls outside. This leads to the mistaken idea that bears in hibernation are practically impossible to wake up. True hibernation involves a significant drop in body temperature so that the animal matches its cold surroundings and sleeps for the winter. Animals like groundhogs seem completely lifeless during this time and are hard to rouse.

Bears, however, experience something called torpor, a less intense version of hibernation. Their body temperature drops, and they become sluggish, but not as profoundly as true hibernators. Even in this state, bears can still react to things happening around them. So, if you’re going snowshoeing in bear country, remember to bring your bear spray, just in case.

Goldfish remember more than three seconds

Many people think goldfish have a memory span of only three seconds, but research shows otherwise. Studies reveal that goldfish can remember things like the sound of food being prepared, how to operate small levers, and even recognize their owners. These tasks require memory spans longer than just a few seconds.

Wasps: Respect them, they can sting

While bumblebees generally won’t bother you if you leave them alone, it’s not the same with wasps, like yellow jackets. Wasps have been known to sting without provocation. Factors like how close you are to their nest, the time of year, and if they’ve been disturbed before can make them aggressive.

Bulls aren’t mad at the color red

There’s a common belief that bulls get angry when they see the color red, thanks to Spanish bullfighting. But it’s not the color that sets them off; it’s the movement of the red cloth used by matadors. Research suggests that bulls, like many animals, are colorblind. They can’t tell the difference between certain colors, so it’s not the color red that makes them charge.

Head lice don’t care if your hair is clean or dirty

Once upon a time, it was believed that head lice preferred to live in oily, unwashed hair. Then, the idea shifted to them liking clean hair because it’s easier for them to move around. But the truth is, head lice aren’t picky about cleanliness. Whether your hair is squeaky clean or a bit oily, these tiny pests are happy to make themselves at home.

Don’t worry, touching a baby bird won’t make its mom leave

There’s a myth that if you touch a baby bird, its mother will abandon it because of the human scent. But most birds actually have a weak sense of smell and won’t be deterred by your touch. However, it’s still important not to disturb young birds unnecessarily. Often, their mothers are nearby, keeping an eye on them. It’s more likely that human interference near a nest will cause a mother bird to become concerned for her babies, rather than just a simple touch.

Daddy longlegs: Not venomous spiders

You’ve probably heard the rumor that daddy longlegs are the most venomous spiders around. But here’s the truth: daddy longlegs, like harvestmen, aren’t spiders at all. They belong to a different group of arachnids. Unlike spiders, they don’t have venom glands, silk-producing abilities, or even the typical two-part body structure.

Bats can see just fine

There’s a myth that bats are blind, but it’s not true. While some bats might not have the best eyesight, they’re definitely not blind. In fact, many bats can see just as well as humans do.

Camels: Fat, not water, in their humps

Contrary to popular belief, camels don’t store water in their humps. Instead, those big humps are filled with fat, much like the fat under our skin. This fat serves as a source of energy, helping camels survive for long periods in the desert without needing to eat.

We recently wrote about animal species that look incredibly similar and how to tell them apart, if you’re interested you can read it here.

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