Slideshow: Ridiculously Cute Facts About Animals
Marc Gordon - April 9, 2019

The animal kingdom is full of exotic, strange, and remarkable creatures that aren’t so different from ourselves. They love, they laugh, they get angry, they get scared, but most of all they provide us with all the things that make us human. Although many species have been around for much longer than modern humans, we have a bit of an evolutionary advantage. Here are some of our favorite facts about today’s species that prove we’re all a lot more similar than we thought.



1. Penguins “propose” to their mate with a pebble.


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Penguins are one of the few animals known to man that mate for life. While humans buy chocolates and flowers to express their love, these cute marine animals keep love alive in an unexpected way: with rocks! No, not the sparkly kind. They also sing to their mates. How it works: the female penguin gets to choose who she wants as her mate, and the male penguin will provide her with a pebble as a symbol of devotion.





2. Otters hold hands while they sleep.


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This photo of sea otters holding hands to keep from floating away from each other has been circulating around the internet evoking a collective ‘aww’ from pretty much everyone. Often it is a mother and pup that will hold hands so they don’t lose each other in the vast ocean overnight while they sleep. They also have other techniques like anchoring themselves to sea kelp attached to the ocean floor.



3. Squirrels accidentally plant millions of trees every year.


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Squirrels are not just any old rodent! They are one of the most important animals to help spread oak trees. They are nature’s little helpers, planting baby oak trees each time they store acorns in the ground. These crazy little critters love collecting acorns and they keep them safe from other squirrels by burying them in the dirt. Unfortunately for them, they lose track of about 80% of the acorns they bury! Fortunately for us, this is how millions of new trees get planted every year!





4. Male puppies are chivalrous to female puppies.


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Little puppies are proving they aren’t just cute little balls of fluff, but also that chivalry is not dead. If a male puppy is engaging in play with a female puppy, he will often let her win. This allows the male puppy to get to know the female puppy better, and by evolutionary standards, determine if she could be a potential mate. The male puppies do this also to encourage more playtime with female pups. Who knew man’s best buddy is also a little gentleman?



5. Crows like to pull pranks on each other.


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Crows are so smart that they actually tease each other. Along with ravens, crows are Earth’s smartest birds. These birds have even outsmarted children and apes! Researches have studied crows for centuries and have observed their incredible depth of intelligence. One phenomenon they have observed is the act of playing practical jokes on each other for the purpose of entertainment. They have also been known to pull pranks on other animals, even humans!





6. Puffins mate for life. 



These aren’t just your average adorable black-and-white polar bird! These precious creatures get their name from their puffed-up appearance. Puffins rarely change partners and couples usually return to the same place year after year to nest. The couple performs a mating ceremony before they nest where they rub their beaks together. Even the male puffin helps take care for their baby!



7. Elephants entwine their trunks as a sign of affection.



Just like human beings use their hands, elephants use their trunks. The ends of their trunks are actually more sensitive than human fingertips! With as many as 100,000 different muscles, the trunk plays a central role in their ability to communicate. Elephants will stroke each others heads with their trunks to express themselves. Calves place the tips of their trunk in their mothers mouths for reassurance. Elephants are truly incredible animals with the capacity to express themselves using sounds and body language.





8. Turtles can breathe through their butts.



Some species of aquatic turtles can breathe through their butts! The Australian white-throated snapping turtle got the nickname “bum-breathing turtle” for getting nearly 70% of its oxygen through its butt. It’s sad to say, but this species is on the critically endangered list.



9. Cows have best friends.



Cows have best friends! Scientists conducted a study in which cows were penned with a ‘friend’ and one with a cow they did not know. The heart rates of the cows were measured during this time. When paired with their friend, the cows’ heart rates were lower. Other studies have indicated that cows have a desire to develop connections with others.





10. Each dogs’ nose print is as unique as a human fingerprint. 



No two dogs have the same nose print! Their cute little snout is unique to them and can be used to accurately identify them just like a human’s fingerprints. If you look closely at your dog’s nose, you can see lines that form patterns, just like fingerprints.



11. Butterflies taste with their feet.



Both butterflies and moths have smell receptors all over their body, including their antennae and legs. Their feet have taste organs that allow them to taste the sugar in nectar on flowers. The receptors on their legs are just like the taste buds in our mouths, but their’s is 200 times stronger! In general, butterflies use their receptors to test sites for toxins before laying their eggs there.





12. Dolphins give themselves names.



These seemingly unsuspecting sea creatures are considered to be one of the most intelligent mammals in the sea. Dolphins are often described as cute and friendly rather than smart and sometimes even dangerous animals. The scientific community believes that dolphins give themselves names! They discovered that a dolphin will refer to himself using a custom whistle. Researchers use technology to mimic these sounds and observe the dolphins response.