Questions tagged [zoology]

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

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32 votes
6 answers
29k views

Do other animals have non-reproductive sex?

You can view the lecture here. At about the 11:40 point the claim is made that humans are the only species that engage in non-reproductive sex. Is there solid evidence for or against the idea that ...
1 vote
0 answers
424 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, ...
21 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
99 votes
4 answers
59k 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,...
8 votes
2 answers
11k 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?
48 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
8k 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
684 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, ...
6 votes
0 answers
588 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 ...
11 votes
0 answers
964 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/...
43 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
32 votes
2 answers
9k 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
360 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 ...
9 votes
0 answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...
18 votes
4 answers
25k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
655 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
20k 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
700 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
22k 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
942 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
540 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
20k 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
6k 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
685 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
1k 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
797 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
571 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, ...
18 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
81k 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
1k 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
1k 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it illegal in Alaska to wake up a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph?

DumbLaws.com claim: While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited. The Gray Line Alaska blog repeats the claim. There is also a ...
10 votes
3 answers
9k views

Did "hundreds of birds" fall out of the sky in the Netherlands due to a 5G test? [duplicate]

A conspiracy news site claims that (emphasis added): Hundreds of birds have fallen from the sky in The Hague, the Netherlands, during a 5G experiment to see how large the range was and whether the ...
36 votes
2 answers
10k views

Can tortoises become deformed by growing up inside rings of plastic?

I found these images on this image aggregator, which states that the photo credit is unknown for both images. The tortoises are implied to have become deformed from growing up inside the rings of ...
25 votes
1 answer
19k views

Is this video of the Soviet Dog Revival Experiment real?

In this video a dog's head is brought back to life by artificially injecting blood and air. The dog's head reacted to sound and touch and used its tongue to taste. I am not skeptic about its ...
160 votes
4 answers
26k views

Is bread bad for ducks?

This image has being going around (e.g. Facebook with a message attributed to The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks: Transcript: Please don't kill us with bread! Bread is actually a danger to us ducks ...
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do European deer still stick to their sides of the Iron Curtain?

I found such a claim in an article here: http://nowiknow.com/the-thin-red-deer-line/ But that was a long time ago, especially if you’re a deer — they only live about ten or so years in the wild. ...
10 votes
0 answers
438 views

Is it bad for an elephant’s back to carry a human?

Lots of sites warn you not to ride elephants as they are often treated poorly and don't have freedom (1,2). But these sites also mention that it’s bad for the back of an elephant. With some ...
4 votes
0 answers
278 views

Do a diver and a clownfish share a 10 year friendship?

A YouTube video from The Dodo, called Clownfish Named Nemo Has 10-Year Friendship with This Diver shows footage of a New Caledonian scuba diver, Marino, who claims to have a special relationship with ...
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do Japanese crows use traffic to crack nutshells?

In a BBC article, its contended that: In a Japanese city, carrion crows have discovered how to eat nuts that they usually find too hard to tackle. One method is to drop the nuts from height on ...
8 votes
0 answers
3k views

Will koalas eat pre-plucked eucalyptus leaves?

Various sources online (including a frequent copy-pasta disparaging the animal) claim that koalas will not recognize eucalyptus leaves as food if they are cleanly laid out on a table in front of them, ...
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Do we know why animals have evolved to have sex for reproduction?

I've been reading 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time (2010) and Chapter 10 concentrates on the subject of Sex. The author argues that we do not know ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are yowies real?

According to several articles, yowies (i.e. wild, unidentified, hominids, reputed to live in Australia) have been allegedly observed by many. For example, in this Herald Sun article about a man in ...

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