10 Strange And Striking Facts Of Nature
Nature continues to amaze us with its repertoire of wonders and mysteries that seems to be unending. Presented below is a compilation of ten such bizarre facts which in no way can be termed as comprehensive, and which will have a lot more additions in the days to come.
Claim to fame: its size, a mouse so small it can fit into a hole the size of a ballpoint pen.
Mice prefer to remain outdoors during the summer months, though the onset of winter sends them flocking to our homes in hordes to seek warmth. Armed with a soft skull and an ability to gnaw, mice only require a hole the size of that of a ballpoint pen to sneak into our homes. And once they are inside, they would gnaw at almost anything and everything they come across, be it concrete, plastic or lead. This is a measure to keep their teeth within manageable limits, which otherwise would simply continue to grow. Also, much unlike what most believe, mice don’t have any preference for cheese but would eat them occasionally. They can swim, jump up to a height of 46 cm or 18 inches and can travel vertically up or down with equal ease. To prevent your house from becoming a playground of mice, all you have to do is look for holes that measure 6mm or one-fourth of an inch. Or better still, use a ballpoint pen, if the hole is big enough for that, it will be the same for mice.
Claim to fame: goats have pupils that are rectangular in shape, unlike round pupils that most other creatures have.
Pupils are always expected to be round, since that is what we get to see most of the times. However, things are different in case of most animals that have hooves, like goats. They have horizontal slits that make their pupils to be almost rectangular when dilated. This gives them vision covering 320 to 340 degrees that enables them to see virtually everything around them without having to move. This is in comparison to vision in human eye that covers 160 to 210 degrees. Another benefit of rectangular pupils is that the animals enjoy clearer vision at night, which is due to them having larger pupils and which can be shut more tightly during daytime to restrict light. Another interesting fact is that octopuses too have rectangular eyes.
Claim to fame: horses are completely blind to things that are directly in front of them.
Horses have the largest eyes among all land mammals and has considerably wide field of vision, 350 degrees to be precise. However, in spite of this impressive range of vision, horses suffer from two blind spots – one directly in front of them with another being directly behind their head. Also, if seeing details is taken into consideration, horses have been found to be red color-blind and have a vision of 20/33, which is 20/20 in case of a perfect human vision.
Claim to fame: rats don’t have the ability to vomit.
A wall that separates their two stomachs and an involuntary diaphragm muscle together contributes to the rat’s inability to vomit or even burp, actions that require active control over the diaphragm muscle. The same goes for rabbits or guinea pigs as well. This makes rats to be extremely sensitive to poisons or such substances, which again explains the widespread use of poisons for controlling rat menace. Rats tend to nibble at food to find out if it suits them and though they can’t vomit, they surely feel they are capable of doing it. So if the food does not cause nausea to them, they will simply finish it off.
Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla
Claim to fame: the scientific name of a gorilla is Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla.
First the clarification, Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla is the scientific name of a particular type of gorilla, the Western Lowland Gorilla – the most common type and one that is most likely to be present in every zoo. However, the reason why gorillas came to be classified with strange names is anybody’s guess. For instance, if it isn’t Gorilla gorilla gorilla, then it can be Gorilla gorilla diehli, Gorilla beringei beringei, or Gorilla beringei graueri. The Bwindi Gorilla, a type of Gorilla beringei, is yet to be assigned a trinomen. So there’s no stopping you from assigning a name to it, like it can be named Gorilla beringei ChuckNorris, just for fun as well as to make it a bit different. And don’t worry if you can’t make anything out of it, it surely will be the same for anybody out there.
Claim to fame: a swan has enough power to break a man’s arm.
Swans are beautiful to look at but if you’re harboring thoughts of feeding them or giving them a loving pat on the back, be on your guard. For swans possess immense strength in their wings, and which they make they best use of to protect themselves and their young ones. Their wing can span 2.75 meters or 9 feet and will use them to ward of dogs or even humans. In 2001, a young Irish paid dearly for provoking swans, for a deft blow from the bird broke his leg. There have also been reports of a man who ended up with broken arms the following year, all due to swan attack.
Claim to fame: a tarantula will shatter from the impact of a drop.
A bite from a tarantula can be extremely painful. But apart from that, tarantula venom is largely harmless to humans, unless of course you’re particularly allergic to it. Tarantulas can also shoot their hairs off their legs, which can cause a great deal of discomfort if it pierces the human skin. They are endowed with an exoskeleton, or a skeleton that is on the outside, much like crayfish or crabs. They routinely indulge in shedding their skeleton as they grow, which they normally do by lying on their back. They are particularly vulnerable during this state, which makes them extremely aggressive and prone to launch attacks at the slightest of pretexts. However, the strangest of facts is that their exoskeleton is incredibly fragile, so much that a drop from even a low height can be enough to shatter it completely, which is almost always fatal.
Claim to fame: Nutmeg is poisonous.
Some poisonous food tickle our taste buds. Nutmeg is one of them. Our favorite custard tarts or fruit-cakes are never complete without the addition of nutmeg, even though it’s known to be a drug that can cause hallucination. It can even have a poisoning effect on us, which can also cause death in extreme cases due a variety of side effects arising out of its use. Consumption of a seemingly harmless 2 grams of nutmeg can be enough to arouse in you feelings of having taken amphetamines, with side effects ranging from nausea to fever and headaches. 7.5 grams of it will lead to convulsions while ingesting 10 grams is enough to cause hallucinations. Consuming an entire nutmeg will lead to what is referred to as ‘nutmeg psychosis’, characterized by a feeling of impending doom, confusion and agitation. There have been two recorded incidences of death caused by nutmeg consumption, one in 1908 and another in 2001.
Claim to fame: the telegraph plant can move on its own, even when there’s no wind around.
A tropical plant that is common in Asia as well as parts of South America, the telegraph plant has the most unlikely ability of making rapid movements with its leaves, which involves rotational movements around an axis as well as up and down movements. Some plants too are known to be able to execute rapid movements like the venus fly-trap, but the ability of the telegraph plant is perhaps the most bizarre and one that is known the least. However, one thing that has to be kept in mind is that rapid movements in case of plants is not something that is extremely fast, but one that can always be seen with the naked eye.
Claim to fame: The Bombardier beetle can shoot down boiling hot liquid in self defense.
The Bombardier beetle is one creature that’s incredibly complex and is endowed with the unique ability to shoot down boiling hot chemicals on its adversaries when provoked. A combination of hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones, the chemicals combine inside the beetle’s body resulting in a chemical reaction. They shoot from their abdomen and can do it up to about 70 times rapidly, which is deadly for small insects while it’s extremely painful if it comes in contact with human skin.