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Animal Misconceptions - Animal Facts That Are Actually Myths

By Edited Nov 10, 2015 10 9

As technology advances, we are presented with more and more ways to learn about animals that we will never see or see every day. However, while television and the internet are entertaining, they are also excellent at telling outright lies. To be fair, some older television shows do not mean to lie, they were just made for the true facts came out. However, with learning from technological sources and what our parents told us comes a lot of misconceptions about animals that we treat as facts. However, a lot of these hardcore believed facts turn out to be myths.

daddy long legs

Daddy Long Legs Are Incredibly Poisonous

Daddy long legs are inevitably the constant companions of a lot of houses. However, people believe that the daddy long legs are incredibly poisonous, but cannot bit us because their mouths are too small to break the skin.  As it turns out, Daddy Long Legs have no fangs, no venom, and no way to subdue prey. In fact, they actually don't hunt anything, they more so scavenge for decomposing plant and animal matter to eat. The daddy long legs isn't even considered a spider. They are in the Arachnid family, but belongs to a subset called Opiliones, or Harvestmen as they are often referred to.[3]


Bulls Are Angered By The Color Red

Ah, the bullfighters of Spain and their fancy outfits and red capes. This classic Spanish entertainment gave way to the myth that bulls are angered by the color red. This prodded farm kids everywhere to take out their brightest red shirt and go out to the grazing field and risk being horribly mauled.

As it turns out, bulls like many other animals, have trouble distinguishing different colors. A lot of people just assume that most animals have our incredibly powerful capability for sight, what with our fancy range of colors and all that. You could wave any color in front of an already riled up bull and he would want to kick your butt, the color does not matter. What makes them enraged is a frumpy man waving a cape while the crowd is being annoyingly loud. It's the motion and the noise that makes them so aggressive, which is really just them being defensive.


Gold Fish Have Short Memory

This animal myth is used to excuse being mean to your pet fish by tapping annoyingly on the tank. "Oh, they'll just forget it in five seconds anyway", said many a jerk. This was thought to be true until 2008 when a 15 year old put scientists to shame by teaching his goldfish tricks.[2] Just more proof that given enough free time, teens can do anything. The gold fish could be trained to do tasks like ring a bell and pull levers. then it would remember them up to weeks later. So next time, think twice before tapping on the glass, they might be plotting your downfall in their tiny plastic underwater castle.


Toads Give You Warts

While toad secretions can cause skin irritation, they do not give you warts. It's not a far hope to realize how this myth started. Toads have bumps on them that look like warts, someone picked them up and later developed a wart. Humans really get warts by touching objects with a wart causing virus on it (the primary wart causing virus happens to be HPV, by the way), but not from touching toads. This myth never personally stopped me, I always thought toads and frogs were adorable.

old dog

Old Dogs Cannot Learn New Tricks

As it is said, old dogs cannot learn new tricks nor can old people. Once you are set in your ways not you nobody no way can get you to change them. This is actually completely untrue. Studies have shown that with the right training old dogs can learn tricks just as well as new dogs, though the training is different. This can also be said about old people. Some people believe that young people learn better, but older people learn just as well, if not better, because of years of smart study techniques. This is probably less a myth about dogs and more a metaphor for stubborn old folks, to be honest.


Dolphins Are Our Gentle Sea Friends

In the past, this myth may have actually been a fact. There are stories of people being saved from sharks by dolphins and being led back to shore. People swim with the dolphins all the time and find it invigorating. however, recently dolphins have been showing signs of being huge psychopaths. In the San Francisco Bay area dolphins have been becoming increasingly violent toward porpoises for reasons unknown. They even have a term for it now—porpiscide. The dolphins have been torturing the young porpoises until they die, what is kind of creepy is that many of the blunt force trauma is found in the genital area.[1] Scientists think that just because these two predators are competing for territory and suspect the "porpitrators" (yeah, they call them that) to be a group of sexually frustrated young male dolphins. Personally, that sound strangely human-like behavior.

Next time you find yourself circled by these once playful sea clowns, you may want to cover your junk. For now though, we must endure the waiting until our dolphin overloards rise from the ocean and kick us off land.


Ostriches Bury Their Heads In The Sand

This is one of those facts you find hard to believe they are real, which is good because it is not. Though undoubtedly you may have heard the expression of "burying your head in the sand" when you do not want to deal with something. Ostriches will often run away when in danger, but they also have an extremely forceful kick. If ostriches are anything like their close cousin the Emu (which they are), believe me they will not just sit there and let someone attack them with their head in the sand. They will kick you, right in the shin, something I know all about. Though when indirectly threatened, but not so much they need to run, an Ostrich will lower their head to make themselves harder to see.



May 18, 2013 2:04pm
Hillbillies love to cite the daddy long-legs "most poisonous" myth I always enjoy disabusing them of that notion. Thumb.
Jun 2, 2013 6:19am
I am a hillbilly and never purported that.
Jun 1, 2013 3:32am
Interesting facts that shed light to some widely accepted misconception. However I think that dolphins can still be considered as gentle and intelligent creatures despite the fact of exhibiting common animal behavior when it comes to territorial claiming.
Jun 1, 2013 12:02pm
I didn't know about any of these truths--thank you for the facts! I was especially interested by the porpiscide :)
Jun 2, 2013 6:23am
My senior thesis in my undergraduate classes was to show that rats can count. I had a maze they had to go through. At the end was either sugar water (Rats love sugar water) or nothing at all. I would place them in the beginning of the maze and only every third trial there would be sugar water at the end. The rats were surprisingly fast every third time after they were trained for a couple of months. The two times they was not sugar water at the end, they would stop and check out the sites, so to speak. We redid this study and changed the sugar water to every five times and again after some training, the rats were very fast on the fifth trial. I know this is not a myth because I never heard anybody say rats could count, but it does add a thought to rats being dumb.
Jun 2, 2013 3:16pm
Interesting details: Regarding the dolphins, I believe that they are just protecting their territorial.
Jun 2, 2013 5:35pm
Hi, really enjoyed this article and for a guy who has done lots of work with domestic and exotic animals I found it both entertaining and informative. Actually, I had never heard that Daddy Longlegs were poisonous as we were forever picking them up as kids. I now have lots of fish in my pond and I can verify that fish have great memories. The dolphin observation you make was a surprise to me, however. Yet, when I think about it we human beings have been warring against each other for thousands of years so who knows maybe like people they are killing for some kind of payload. You suggest protecting their territory--sounds right to me. Anyway, good job and two big thumbs from me and yep a rating.
Jun 3, 2013 5:32am
Great share and for someone who is a nature lover I enjoyed a full read of the article. Very interesting.
Mar 27, 2015 7:08pm
Great article. Will be sharing this on social media.
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  1. "Killer Dolphins Slaying, Sexually Assaulting Porpoises In San Francisco." ABC News. 21/11/2011. 17/05/2013 <Web >
  2. Anna Hipsley "Goldfish three-second memory myth busted." ABC News. 19/02/2008. 17/05/2013 <Web >
  3. "http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.html." UCR Spiders. 17/05/2013 <Web >

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