Strange But True - Beasts of the Wild


Hippo Sweat is Red - One interesting thing about hippopotamus physiology is that their sweat appears to be red. During the night, hippos venture out onto land and eat as much food as they can and then spend most of the day in the water digesting their food. When they need to venture out during the day under the hot sun, they do not have fur to protect their skin. They don't have true sweat glands; instead, they secrete a thick, red substance from their pores known as "blood sweat," as it looks like the animal is sweating blood. The liquid creates a layer of mucous that protects hippo skin from sunburn and keeps it moist. It also protects the skin from becoming waterlogged when a hippo is in the water for hours on end. The hippo sweat comes in two different colors, red and orange. The red sweat also has antibacterial properties that prevent pathogens from getting into the wounds and accelerates healing.


Happy Rhinoceroses Say “Mmwonk” - Indian rhinos are extremely vocal about their feelings and are known to make at least 10 distinct sounds. These include honks or growls (used during head-to-head fights), bleats (signaling submission), and moo-grunts (used between mothers and calves). Black rhinos use grunts as a greeting and make a deep resonating sound that could be written as “mmwonk” when they're happy or content.


War Elephants vs War Pigs? - Elephants were much like the tanks of the ancient world, being used to charge through the enemy and instilling terror everywhere they went. Although their size and ferocity made them almost unbeatable in combat, there was one countermeasure that was very unusual but was surprisingly effective. In ancient warfare, against these war elephants armies would use pigs; war pigs. Since the first century BC, armies attempted to thwart the elephantine assaults by launching wild beasts of their own such as lions or savage boars against the enemy, but with catastrophic results. Historical accounts of flaming pigs were recorded by the military writer Polyaenus and by philosopher Claudius Aelianus. Both men reported that Antigonus II Gonatas' siege of Megara in 266 BC was broken when the Megarians doused some pigs with combustible pitch and set them ablaze, then driving them towards the enemy's massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the sounds of the squealing pigs, often killing great numbers of their own soldiers by trampling them to death. According to an account, Gonatas later made his mahouts keep a swine among elephants to accustom the animals to pigs. According to legend, Alexander the Great also used this tactic, citing that he learned about this secret weapon against war elephants from King Porus in India.


Orcas Can Learn to Speak Dolphin - Killer whales are known for their haunting songs consisting of complex whistles and clicks and groups of killer whales have their own dialects that are further influenced by the company they keep. Research published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America reveals that orcas housed with bottlenose dolphins over a long period of time were able to replicate the dolphins' language. They were even able to learn entirely new sounds, like the chirp sequence that the human caretakers had taught the dolphins before the whale’s arrival.


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