50 Animal Fun Facts to Share with Kids
There are more than 8.7 million species of animals on the planet! You can find these fascinating creatures in the ocean, up in the trees, roaming large territories or living in your home! Learning about animals inspires kids to discover their environment close to home and around the world.
Below are 50 fun facts about our two, four and no-legged friends from anatomy to diet and communication. Use this list for trivia night, on a road trip, in the classroom or any time you need an engaging activity. Choose a topic like marine animals or dinosaurs or share a fun fact each day with the family to increase brain power!
- No two dog noses are the same. They are the equivalent of a human fingerprint.
- Goldfish recognize faces and have a memory span of up to three months.
- Rabbits can turn their ears 180 degrees to locate the exact place where a sound is coming from, so be careful what you say about them!
- When a dog yawns, it usually doesn't mean he or she is sleepy. Dogs yawn to calm themselves down when they are feeling anxious or stressed.
- A female guinea pig is called a "sow" and a male is called a "boar."
- Most cats have 18 toes - five on each front paw and four on the back paws.
- Hamsters love their snacks! When eating, hamsters will pack food in their cheek pouches to eat later.
- Cats can jump up to six times their length.
- Goldfish can live up to 15 years. That's a lot of swimming!
- Guineas pigs don't sleep for long periods, they prefer to take short naps throughout the day and evening.
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Animals in the Wild
- A polar bear's fur is made up of thick, hollow strands that reflect light making them appear white. These "riders of icebergs" have black skin underneath their coats to help soak up the sun's rays.
- Two-humped camels - also called Bactrian camels - can drink more than 26 gallons of water (100 liters) in 10 minutes.
- Lion roars can reach 114 decibels (the equivalent of a chainsaw's noise) and can be heard from as far as five miles away.
- Prairie dogs have a very complex language using a mix of nouns and verbs. They also have different dialects depending on where they are from.
- It takes a sloth two weeks to digest its food. No wonder they don't move very fast!
- The unique stripes on zebras not only confuse predators, but control body heat.
- A giant anteater can slurp up to 35,000 ants and termites in one day! Their long, sticky tongues help them devour hundreds of ants per minute.
- There are three species of elephant which can be distinguished by the shape of their ears.
- Walruses sleep for 19-20 hours a day and can take a snooze on land or water. Whew...you thought you were tired!
- A grizzly bear's bite can crush a bowling ball. Yikes!
- Dinosaur fossils have been found on all seven continents.
- The first dinosaur to be named was Megalosaurus (meaning "great lizard") and was 9 meters long and three meters tall.
- There are roughly 700 known species of extinct dinosaurs.
- Dinosaurs were the biggest animals ever to walk on earth.
- A newborn human baby has a bigger brain than that of most adult dinosaurs.
- Dinosaurs are divided into two groups based on the structure of their hip bones.
- The heaviest dinosaur was Argentinosaurus.
- The biggest flying reptile was the Quetzalcoatlus. It had a wingspan up to 39 feet!
- The dinosaur with the longest name was the Micropachycephalosaurus, which means "tiny, thick headed lizard"!
- Some dinosaurs swallowed large rocks to help them grind up their food.
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- Electric eels give a shock strong enough to knock out a horse. At 600 volts, it won't kill you but it would seriously hurt!
- The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
- Sharks have six senses. The sixth sense is an electro-receptive sense meaning they can detect electrical impulses from muscles.
- Crabs and lobsters can taste with their feet. Yum!
- Sharks never run out of teeth. If one is lost or knocked out, another moves forward from the rows and rows of backup teeth.
- Dolphins jump out of the water to conserve energy. It's easier to move through the air than through the water.
- While manatees more closely resemble dolphins or whales, they are actually related to elephants.
- Jellyfish have been around longer than dinosaurs. This creature has survived five mass extinctions.
- An octopus has three hearts. Two of the hearts move blood beyond the animal's gills and the third keeps circulation flowing for the organs. That's a lot of heart!
- Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica and they aren't as quiet as you think. They can make a range of noises from clucks to dog-like barking depending on the species.
- Hummingbirds are the only known birds that can also fly backwards.
- A bird's eye takes up to about 50 percent of its head - a human eye only takes up five percent. Human eyes would have to be the size of baseballs to be comparable.
- An owl can turn its head 360 degrees but cannot move their eyes.
- Chickens have 200 distinct sounds to communicate and are the most common species of bird in the world.
- Homing pigeons are bred to find their way home from long distances away and have been used for thousands of years to carry messages.
- Birds have hollow bones that help them fly.
- Birds have a unique digestive system that allows them to eat when they can—usually on the "fly"—and digest it later.
- Birds don't have teeth but are the only animal to have feathers.
- Scientists have found that pigeons can learn to recognize around 50 words. Smarty pants!
- Ducks have a "single brain sleeping pattern" meaning half of their brain sleeps while the other half stays awake to be on the lookout for predators.
Learn more about your kids' favorite animals and add to these fun facts!
Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C. She gratefully shares her life, home and heart with her daughter and their dog.