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Questions tagged [zoology]

Use this tag for questions involving animal biology; evolution, ecology, physiology, behavior, genetics, and marine biology.

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45 votes
1 answer
52k views

Do dolphins have homosexual "blowhole" sex?

In his comedy act, Ricky Gervais shows examples of homosexuality in nature, all of them from the book "Biological Exuberance, animal homosexuality and natural diversity" by Bruce Bagemihl. One of the ...
44 votes
6 answers
9k views

Can a frog be slowly boiled alive without it noticing?

It's commonly believed that a frog will not perceive a rise in temperature, and will boil alive. And, of course, if it were to be put in already-boiling water, it will immediately jump out. Any ...
29 votes
2 answers
9k views

Do rats swim 240 times longer after being saved from drowning?

A post on Facebook with 104k shares reads, During a study at Harvard in the 1950s, Dr. Curt Richter placed rats in a pool of water to test how long they could tread water. On average they'd give up ...
1 vote
1 answer
302 views

Do chimpanzees perform lab memory tasks well by having a good memory?

A working memory test of chimpanzees, described in this BBC Earth video, shows a chimpanzee outperforming a human. Another video shows a chimpanzee performing the test: Young chimpanzees outperform ...
5 votes
1 answer
603 views

Does gaunyle, derived from cow urine, work as a disinfectant?

The Times of India reports: Union minister Maneka Gandhi has asked her ministerial colleagues to opt for a "natural disinfectant'' made from extracts of cow urine instead of the "chemically ...
8 votes
1 answer
986 views

Do Americans spend 49 billion dollars a year on pets?

I heard that people in Germany spend billions on pets and didn't believe it. But actually Germans spend around 3.3 billion Euro a year. The source seems serious. The only hint I found for US is this ...
102 votes
4 answers
61k views

Does every species get around a billion heartbeats on average?

I read this webcomic today: From: abominable.cc I have no idea where the author got his factoid about the billion heartbeats. But it sounds interesting. The examples I can think of (rabbits, humans, ...
21 votes
3 answers
12k views

Can a cat's purr heal injuries?

I've read it on Wikipedia's article about purring (in French), which I will paraphrase as follows: Veterinarians think that cats heal fractures etc. more rapidly than dogs. [citation] A hypothesis ...
23 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can a 7-Hz tone kill chickens via resonance?

In the Sound function section of the Turbo C Version 2.0 Reference Guide 1988, I found the following comment. Emits a 7-Hz tone for 10 seconds. True story: 7 Hz is the resonant frequency of a chicken'...
20 votes
4 answers
27k views

Is 94% of male giraffe sexual behaviour homosexual?

I've been trying to track down the source of a claim that research has shown giraffe exhibiting a really high rate of male homosexual relations. Going through the blog spam leads me to a site without ...
12 votes
0 answers
7k views

Do fleas jump lower after being covered by lid? If so, do their offspring adjust to this lower height?

This is one of the popular experiments mentioned in motivational books. Here is summary from a motivational webpage: At the beginning of the experiment a number of fleas are placed in a jar. The ...
9 votes
1 answer
589 views

Do bison conceal their pregnancy?

Today there is an article in The Guardian that states Three bison were released in Kent in July but, unknown to the rangers, one had a secret passenger on board. Bison conceal their pregnancies to ...
8 votes
1 answer
14k views

Are all white cats with blue eyes deaf?

I was told that all pure white cats with both eyes being blue are completely deaf, and that all pure white cats with one blue eye are deaf on the side that has the blue eye. If the cat has even a ...
26 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is moderated livestock grazing an effective countermeasure for desertification?

In this TED talk from 2013, Allan Savory claims that livestock/cattle grazing (not industrial farming, but rather some frugal grazing of herds) help prevent and reverse desertification processes, ...
22 votes
1 answer
9k views

Did an octopus visit another tank to hunt?

I've seen several versions of this story. An aquarium (or pet store, or rich fish collector) noticed that fish were mysteriously vanishing from a tank at night. After this happened a few times, ...
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do fish feel pain?

As a small kid, I was told that fish don't feel any pain when they bite into a fishing hook. I'm not sure if this was just something made up so I didn't feel sorry for the fishies. It appears that the ...
32 votes
6 answers
30k views

Do other animals have non-reproductive sex?

At about the 11:40 point in the class day 2009 lecture by Robert Sapolsky the claim is made that humans are the only species that engage in non-reproductive sex. Is there solid evidence for or against ...
3 votes
0 answers
623 views

Can whales send each other 3D images?

I recently asked this question on Biology Stack Exchange but didn’t get any answers. Russell Arnott, apparently an oceanographer, who currently works as a project manager at the Sainsbury Laboratory, ...
8 votes
2 answers
12k views

Can a skunk spray with its feet off the ground?

A colleague has a family story that if confronted by a skunk, if you can get its rear feet off the ground, it's unable to release its foul-smelling spray. Evidence for or to the contrary?
47 votes
1 answer
8k views

Has a mole stored over a thousand earthworms in its underground larder?

On the wikipedia article for moles, I found some remarkable assertions: Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still-living prey for later ...
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are the British to blame for Israel's stray cat problem? [closed]

Stray cats are extremely common in Israel and there is a common urban legend that they were imported by the British during the mandate period to combat a rat problem. For example, you can see this ...
37 votes
2 answers
5k views

Has it ever rained fish?

There have been several reports of "raining fish" where fish fall from the sky (usually during a rain storm). An example such as this 2010 video from National Geographic seems unlikely at best. Has ...
10 votes
1 answer
12k views

Did a cheetah refuse to race against dogs?

This speed race wanted to know the fastest, the dogs or the cheetah. But the cheetah did not move a finger and sat in place. People asked the race coordinator what happened. He responded after seeing ...
6 votes
2 answers
826 views

Have pacu fish castrated people?

Supposedly In Papua New Guinea, the invasive species has reportedly earned a reputation as the "ball-cutter" after castrating a couple of local fishermen. It doesn't sound totally ...
59 votes
4 answers
15k views

Are spiders unable to hurt humans, especially very small spiders?

In an episode of Peppa Pig, one of the characters says that spiders are very very small, and that they can’t hurt you. Broadcasters in Australia have avoided broadcasting the episode involved, ...
5 votes
0 answers
884 views

Are dog silhouettes effective at keeping geese away?

Canada Geese are a big nuisance where I live (despite living several hours away from Canada). To keep them away, I've seen more and more places put down black wooden dog silhouettes like this one from ...
10 votes
0 answers
2k views

Do cows need their tails when ploughing?

I was watching this documentary about North Korean defectors, and one of the claims struck me as very odd. One of the defectors claimed that the CIA was largely responsible for the famines in North ...
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a breeding population of big cats living wild in the UK?

In an October 2020 Daily Mail article, a 'big cat tracker', Rhoda Watkins claims the UK has a healthy wild population of leopards and pumas. However, when I search on Wikipedia and other wildlife/...
42 votes
1 answer
7k views

Did Louis Pasteur keep a gun in the laboratory while developing the rabies vaccine?

Is it true that while developing the vaccine for rabies Louis Pasteur kept a gun in his laboratory and had instructed all his lab assistants to shoot anyone in the head who accidentally got infected ...
33 votes
2 answers
10k views

Did an ostrich pull off its own head?

In The Runaway Brain by Christopher Wills, the author illustrates the fact that ostriches aren't too bright by saying that an ostrich has been recorded as getting tangled in the fork of a tree, ...
4 votes
0 answers
463 views

Were rats in Kowloon addicted to street drugs?

The book Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings by James Crawford has a chapter about the walled city of Kowloon in Hong Kong, and there is also an article based on this ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a negative correlation between parenthood and pet ownership?

That's what a friend of mime recently stated. I.e. if one owns a pet one is less likely to be parent and vice-versa. Are there any data available to support such a claim? I'm sceptical, because there ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can domestic cats be healthy as vegetarians?

I used to hear that dogs can be given vegetarian dog food, but that cats need meat. I'm not sure therefore how to interpret the following PETA claim about cats. Vegetarian Cats and Dogs If you have ...
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Do praying mantises kill lizards in the wild?

There are some videos of praying mantises eating slow-moving lizards (calotes versicolor?) that don't even put up a fight. The videos are filmed in aquariums with macro lenses and special lighting. ...
28 votes
1 answer
21k views

Can kangaroos walk backwards?

Source From Exploring Nature: They cannot jump backward because of their thick, muscular tail. Their long feet and heavy tail also make walking impossible, forward or backward. The ...
7 votes
1 answer
717 views

Can Rambo, the German shepherd, follow written commands?

An article on The Laughing Squid shows a German shepherd seemingly following written commands. An impressively intelligent German shepherd named Rambo, who’s learning how to read with the help of ...
52 votes
8 answers
23k views

Can trained humans run faster than all other animals on a marathon distance?

During the athletics world championship, a commentator mentioned casually during the marathon discipline that humans are faster over long distances than all animals. I'm unsure if this can be said ...
10 votes
1 answer
992 views

Is there any benefit to leaving Animal Planet on when leaving a cat alone?

I recently discovered that some people put Animal Planet (or similar nature channel) on the TV when leaving a cat alone all day. I'd never heard of this before, but I found many mentions of it while ...
7 votes
1 answer
560 views

Did a group of monkeys steal SARS-CoV-2 positive blood samples from a health care worker in India?

An article from Reuters claims that a health care worker in India was assaulted by a team of monkeys and robbed of the blood samples that he was carrying: LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - A troop of ...
8 votes
1 answer
26k views

Can mice find their way back to your home from 1+ miles away?

I've read on many pest control websites that if you catch a mouse in your home that they must be taken 1+ miles away, otherwise they will easily make their way back to their old home (ie. your house). ...
19 votes
2 answers
7k views

Did Catherine the Great die of injuries from a horse?

Perhaps I have been reading the wrong kind of scurrilous literature, but I have seen it asserted that the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia died from injuries received by committing unnatural acts ...
19 votes
1 answer
788 views

In WWI, did the British Board of Invention and Research propose conditioning seagulls to associate a submarine's periscope with food?

One of the more unusual ideas proposed by the BIR [British Board of Invention and Research] involved dragging a dummy periscope behind a ship while food was discharged nearby. The aim was to attract a ...
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do wombats share their burrows during fires?

In the wake of the devastating bushfires currently burning in Australia, an image has been widely shared on social media: Here is one example from Twitter, retweeted 11K times: While I have an ...
13 votes
1 answer
828 views

Have 500 million mammals, birds and reptiles died in the 2019 Australian bushfires?

Several news sites have reported that almost 500 million animals* have died in the 2019 Australian bushfires. Example: article in news.com.au (Jan 1st 2020) Ecologists from the University of Sydney ...
3 votes
0 answers
1k views

Can water buffalo be hypnotized as depicted in Crocodile Dundee (1986)? [closed]

In the fictional movie Crocodile Dundee (1986), the character Mick Dundee is seen "hypnotizing" a water buffalo with hand movements. Is this possible in real life?
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

The extinction of the thylacine: could some still survive?

(Image comes from Wikimedia Commons) The last known thylacine died in 1936, and the species was officially moved from 'endangered' to 'extinct' in the 1980s. Since the last living specimen died, ...
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

Are some breeds of dog inherently dangerous, despite training?

On another SE site, this report was cited as evidence that some breeds of dogs are inherently more dangerous than others. I have some serious issues with that report (not least of which is that it is ...
4 votes
1 answer
89k views

Will a shark kept in a fish tank have stunted growth?

There is a widely recited saying that sharks kept in fish tanks won't grow to their full size. For example, author and motivational speaker Bob Harrison posted: A shark in a fish tank will grow 8 ...
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do geoducks increase sex drive?

Geoducks are a species of clam from North America, sold as aphrodisiacs, but are they? 1987 UPI article: Saving the geoduck from the sexually hungry 'The geoduck is threatened with extinction due ...
5 votes
0 answers
2k views

Did Finding Nemo encourage people to flush pet fish down the toilet?

A Smithsonian article about goldfish starts out with (emphasis added): The 2003 Pixar film Finding Nemo popularized the misconception that all drains lead to the ocean, encouraging young fans to ...

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