Zoology

Unique Talents in the Animal World



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"Unique Talents in the Animal World"
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What do you think when you think of Morse code? What about singing? In both cases, humans will probably come to mind in the form of a favorite singer or band, or in the case of Morse code, you may just roll your eyes. But did you know that there are animals in our world who can communicate through Morse code? Did you know that bats can sing? They aren't the only creatures capable of interesting traits. 

Singing

When people think of an animal who sings, they often think of birds or whales. Surprisingly, singing is the ability that false vampire bats use to communicate with each other. This sound is inaudible to the human ear, but is distinct to the bat using the sound. Interestingly, singing is not only used to attract their mates, but also to warn other false vampire bats away from their territory. 

Morse Code

Created in 1836, Morse code has been used by humans to transmit messages from one another even today. In most cases, Morse code is used in forms of light and sound. However, humans are not the only creatures who use it. The Blind Mole Rat of the middle east uses its head to drum out messages to claim territory or signal interest in mating. These vibrations can travel up to fifty feet and are picked up by other moles by holding their head against the walls of their tunnels.

Hearing

Most animals use their ears to hear the communications made by their brethren and other animals. As noted above, not all animals use their ears, they use other body parts as well. Even more interesting is when you consider that an animal with huge ears may use another body part to hear messages. In this case, the African Elephant uses its feet. Their feet are sensitive enough to feel vibratory messages that are being sent from other elephants. They sometimes use their trunks to pick up these vibrations.

Signals

Almost everyone has had to deal with a dropped cell phone call at some point or another. This problem is often caused by interference in the forms of metals or other electrical devices. One animal uses electricity to cause problems for others. The Elephant-nose fish uses their electricity in an interesting way. When looking for a mate, the males will use their electricity to block others from being noticed. They do this by changing the frequency of their electricity and pulse it, jamming the signals being made by other males.

Magnetic Fields

In order to find their way around the world, the human created a tool called the compass. This instrument is sensitive enough to pick up the subtle pull of the Earth’s magnetic field. However, there is a natural compass that can be found in migratory birds. For years, scientists questioned how birds could travel thousands of miles every year to find their summer and winter homes. Even more fascinating was the fact that even newly hatched birds can find their way to the homes of their species. Only recently, scientists found that these birds have specially developed retinas in their eyes that allow them to actually see the magnetic field

Dynamite

Humans generally use dynamite to help in mining and take down old buildings. But there are creatures that have actually developed the ability to explode. The Malaysian Ant has the ability to detonate itself when threatened. Though not the only insect able to self-destruct, this species of ant has large poison filled glands that run the length of their bodies. When threatened, the worker ant waits for the predator to come close enough and then triggers the internal destruct mechanism. As they explode, poison is sprayed onto the threat.

Claws

Now there are a lot of creatures out there that have claws which can be used in a variety of ways. However, there is one creature that few would believe could have claws; a frog. The hairy frog can break the bones of its hind legs. This act causes a bone to protrude from its toes, which it then uses to protect itself. However, once the bone protrudes from the frog’s flesh, it is unknown if the claw can be retracted.

Blood

No one typically thinks about how gross blood is, and in the animal world, many would believe that blood would draw predators. Or that it was drawn by the predator in an attack. This last animal has the ability to contract its sinuses which burst blood vessels in its eyes. The horned lizard is a lizard that thrives in the North American southwest.  Imagine, if you will, picking up a horned lizard. It is an interesting specimen that could fit in the palm of your hand. But was you get a closer look, it suddenly blinks and blood is splattered everywhere. Chances are, you are going to drop the lizard in surprise if not in fear. Sometimes, having horns just isn't the protection it should be!

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More about this author: Chrystina Trulove-Reyes

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