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The Gap Year Blog

12 Heartwarming Animal Facts

17 Apr 2016 14:50 PM

Animals do the cutest things; that’s what I’ve noticed since I was very young. However, I have also noticed that these stem from the fact that animal traits are very similar to human traits, which allow us to have an emotional connection that we can share with animals.

Don’t believe me? Then take it from scientific findings from the University of California and the California Institute of Los Angeles who have found that emotional reactions to animals are elicited by humans in the amygdala – a very basic and old part of the brain – which is involved with emotion, emotional learning and the formation of memories. So, in essence it makes us feel all gooey inside when animals do something cute or recognisable, harking to our ancient need to evaluate whether these animals are friends or enemies.

Whatever the reality is, these animal facts are sure to leave an uplifting mark on your day. Some are funny, some are adorable and some are downright familiar to our own behaviour:

1. Cows have best friends and can get stressed when separated from each other

Image courtesy of Hunter Desportes

This is according to scientist Krista McLennan who states that their stress level in terms of heart rate is reduced when compared to being with a random cow.

2. Sea otters hold each other’s paws whilst sleeping so that they don’t drift

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and here's a video 

3. Gentoo penguins propose to their lifelong partners with a pebble

Image courtesy of pinguino k

4. The Quokka is commonly seen as the happiest animal on Earth, probably because it appears to smile even whilst sleeping

Image courtesy of 2il org

5. Squirrels unwittingly plant thousands of new trees every year, as they forget where they buried their acorns

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

We've all been there; now where did I put my keys...

6. Dolphins have names for each other

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

7. Puffins are domesticated.

Image courtesy of Paddy Patterson

They have a mate for life, and although their homes are set up on cliff sides, they make sure to set aside a separate area for a toilet – very clean!

8. Turtles can breathe through their bottoms.

Image courtesy of Guido

9. Seahorses mate for life and when they travel they hold on to each other’s tail

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Haslam

10. Goats have accents

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

11. Squirrels will adopt other squirrels’ babies if they have been abandoned.

Photo credited to Ryan W. Taylor 

They even move other squirrel infants to safety if they are in danger; very caring indeed.

12. Male puppies will often let female puppies win when they play together, even if they have a physical advantage

Image courtesy of Jason Hollinger 

Frontier runs conservation, developmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

By Manny Mahoon - Online Journalism Intern