Popular stereotypes about animals

Needless to say, people have stereotypes not only about other people, but also about many species of animals. Some of them are based on our observations, others have evolved from pseudoscientific facts which are actually totally ungrounded. Let’s look at the some popular stereotypes about animals together and check the real facts!

The strongest animal in the world is an ant

Do you know which animal is the strongest in the world? This is one of the favourite questions many adults like to give to their children waiting for them to mention some of the giant animal like an elephant as the most powerful creature. Then, these animals start explaining their children that, while an elephant can’t raise another elephant whereas an ant can raise the items heavier than themselves up to a hundred of times. Undeniably, this sound very clever and impressive.

Still, this is not true. For instance, many elephants are working as logging operators in Sri-Lanka since their strength allows them to raise up to 4 tons of wood using only their trunk and tusks. If you want to compare this to ants, just imagine this insect raising a log using only the muscles of the upper lip.

Furthermore, if one wants to define an animal as the strongest by its ability to lift heavy objects, than an absolute winner of the contest will be the Onthophagus Taurus bug. This insect can raise the things weighing greater than its own weight up to 1141 times! No ant can ever do something like this.

Spiders and scorpions are insects

For the majority of people spiders and scorpions are insects. There is nothing strange in such a popular belief since we tend to consider all the small unpleasant creatures with more than four limbs to be insects. Of course, it can’t be related to crustaceans, shrimps and crabs, since these organisms live under the water. In addition to it, they are too tasty to be regarded as insects.

Still, you should know that these creatures are not considered to be insects by the modern biologists. They are called arthropods and they are divided into the following classes: insects, crustaceans, arachnid and myriapoda. There are many differences between these groups of animals because of which we can’t call either spiders or scorpions insects.

Hedgehogs are carrying food on their back

One of the cutest pictures you might have seen in your childhood is a hedgehog carrying an apple on its back. Of course, it might be not necessarily an apple since presumably hedgehogs also eagerly carry mushrooms and other food on their quills. What is a possible purpose of such a behaviour?

Some people believe that these animals are carrying products on their backs while they are picking some food for filling their supplies. Others are sure fruits, especially apples, are needed to help hedgehogs to get rid of parasites. Locating an apple on one’s back, a hedgehog has a chance to cleanse the quills with the juice and get some relief from the condition.

Although many people can immediately imagine a hedgehog carrying food on one’s back whenever they hear the name of this animal, still, it turns out that such a popular belief is just myth.

In the real world, hedgehogs are predators which means they hardly ever consume fruits or mushrooms. Their favourite dish is meat, however, the easiest protein source for these animals includes insects and slugs. In captivity, they also enjoy eating cat food.

Furthermore, they do not carry any food on their backs even if this is their favourite meal. Actually, hedgehogs even do not have such a need since they are do not store any food during the winter. A layer of the fat under their skin is major source of energy for these animals during the cold season.

Finally, hedgehogs also do not use apples as a traditional remedy for parasites. In all likelihood, they are using their own saliva for this purpose.

Goldfish have very poor memory

In fact, there is not too much information about the intellectual abilities of fish. Somehow, many people are sure goldfish have rather poor memory though. It is really difficult to say where this myth comes from, but there are no proofs supporting it.

On the contrary, multiple studies have shown quite advanced intellect of this species. Generally, the intellectual abilities of many fish are not worse than the ones of the land animals. Furthermore, such species as the goldfish might be even better in particular tasks than the organisms living on the land.

For example, according to some scientists, goldfish are at least as smart as apes. They have very good memory when it comes to their surroundings and are able to remember human faces. Furthermore, they can even count. One of the examples of the intellectual abilities of goldfish showed that they can remember the place in which they were fed for at least three months and find it without any mistakes. Another amazing ability of goldfish is understanding of time which was proved by teaching this animals to press the lever at a particular time in order to get a reward.

Katie Miller

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