Animal Myths

Chameleons can change to a color by touching it.

Perhaps you have seen the commercial for Valspar Paint where the Chameleons are touching paint chips and turning into the colors they touch. It is a cute commercial, but that is not what Chameleons do.  It is a myth. They do not change  color to match their environment. Rather, Chameleons change color in response to their mood, temperature, health, communication, and light.  Not all kinds of Chameleons can even change colors and many only have limited ability for color changing. Some of them can only turn to green, brown or gray. Others can change to pink, blue , red , orange, green, black, brown, blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple.  Those that can change color will often change to darker shades when they are cold and lighter colors when they are too hot. Most color changes, though, are simply mood changes or  communication. For instance, the Panther Chameleon will change to red and yellow  to warn other chameleons that they are angry and ready to attack.  Some  male chameleons will change to mixed bright colors when they are trying to attract a nearby female chameleon. Girls like them bright colors. So no, your Chameleon will not change to Valspars  Dusky Purple or Radiant Red.


Frogs and Toads can give you Warts.

kiss_frogWe have all heard that touching frogs or toads can give you warts. Some of us learned touching the frog or toad will do the job, others, the critter had to pee on you for the damage to be done. I learned it was the urine that would give you warts. Many toads and frog  when picked up will urinate or defecate. They do so in order to make them less tasty to anything that might want to make a meal of them.  While you and I know we mean no harm, the poor critter does not know that. Touching either of those nasties won’t give you warts. Neither will handling them. Kissing them will also not give you warts (or a Prince). ]The wartlike bumps behind a toad’s ears can be dangerous. These parotoid glands contain a nasty poison that irritates the mouths of some predators and often the skin of humans. So you can get irratation, but not warts. What does give you warts? It is a Virus. Common warts are actually an infection in the top layer of skin, caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus family. When the virus invades this outer layer of skin, usually through a tiny scratch, it causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin thus creating the wart. So if kissin g frogs is your thing go for it, you are safe from warts.


Earwigs like to live in your ears.

Some of us have heard that earwigs are named such because they like to snuggle in our ears. Our eearwig in earars are dark and warm and that is prime earwig territory. Well, no, they do not prefer our ears. Earwigs do like warm and dark, but they also prefer there home to be small, humid crevices. Even if one did manage to crawl into your ear, it would crawl out, not having gotten very far.  There’s a thick bone in your ear canal to block it from burrowing into your ear, eating your brain and laying eggs. Did you know that there are 2000 species of earwigs? They  eat smaller insects, plants and are pretty good scavengers. Earwigs emerge at night to feed and can do quite  bit of damage to your plants.  The female is also a good mother. She will stay with her eggs and take care of her young until they can fend for themselves.  The reason you see so many in one spot is due to their ability to release pheromones. They are not really social but will tolerate each other. They are kind of amazing little insects who do not crawl into our ears.


Camels store water in their humps.

Camel-drinking-water-006 (2)So the story goes that camels,when they drink, will store the water in their humps for long desert treks. As they use the water, their humps empty and fall over.  Kind of makes sense. Except it is not true. The camel stores fat in its hump. While not water it is used for those long treks across the desert. As we all know that water is in short supply, so is food.  At least food that a camel would like to eat. So the fat is used as needed to keep the animal from going hungry for up to three weeks. As for the storing of water, well they dont really store water per se. They do use water more effeciently than we do. That is thanks to its kidneys and intestines.  These two organs are so good at using the water that the Camel urine comes out super thick and it’s feces are so dry, it can be used to fuel fires.

FUN BONUS FACT: All Camels are domesticated. There are NO wild Camels left in the world. If use see some running wild, they are considered Feral, but not wild.


Birds that eat rice at weddings will explode when they drink water

When we throw rice at weddings, it is natural for the birds to eat the rice. They eat so much it makes them thirbirdfoodsty so they get a drink of water. Well that water is absorded by the rice and the rice then expands. it expands sooo much that there is no room left in the bird and it explodes.  So don’t throw rice. Right? Wrong. Many birds eat grains and seeds. Their little birdie bodies are set up for that diet. It includes rice, which is a grain.  In fact, birds eat so much rice from rice paddies they are considered pests. If you are totally into messing with birds digestive systems and want them to suffer, feeding them the french fries at the outdoor eating areas of resteraunts is more damaging than rice will ever be. The real reason not to throw rice is it slippery and can cause your guest to slip and fall. Not the way you want them to remember your wedding.