5 Shockingly Awesome Animals

Tonight’s episode of Animals Gone Wild is sure to leave you in Shock and Awe! Every animal has the ability to surprise humans, sometimes in extraordinary ways that are completely unpredictable.  The most innocuous ones can pack a serious punch, and the biggest ones can be incredibly agile.  Here are some facts about a couple of our favorite shocking stars:

 

Giant North Pacific Octopus

funny gif of octopus running underwater

Octopi have absolutely no bones, and their most rigid structure is their beak.  This means they are extremely agile, especially since each of their arms act independently from each other.  In this episode, you’ll see a 40-pound octopus fit through a tiny three-inch hole! Giant Pacific octopi are the biggest and longest living octopus species in the world with one hitting a record of 30 feet across and 600 pounds.  They are also incredibly intelligent, capable of learning how to open jars and solve mazes, and can even change their appearance, like a chameleon, depending on the rocks or coral around them in order to blend in.

 

African Elephants

gif of female african elephant stampeding

African elephants are the biggest animals on land standing at up to over 13 feet and weighing anywhere between 5,000 and 14,000 pounds.  They are easily recognizable by their huge ears which they flap to keep themselves cool in Africa’s very hot environment.  Their trunks are also notable as they are essentially a long nose but have many more uses than our own.  They not only smell and breathe through their trunks but also trumpet, drink, and even grab things.  It is the ultimate tool, and that amount of use means it is very strong with about 100,000 different muscles.

 

Orangutan

gif of orange red orangutan reaching for camera in the forest

The word orangutan is Malay for “person of the forest.”  They spend around 90% of their time traipsing through the high trees of Southeast Asia, using leaves and branches as beds and umbrellas.  They don’t tend to share those shelters, however, as they are not particularly social animals.  The males even howl while they travel so that they do not run into each other, and the only really strong connections are between mothers and their children.  An infant stays with his mother for up to seven years to develop survival skills, and the females only give birth once every eight years.  Those types of situations are unusual in the animal world, but it only goes to show how close orangutans are to humans.

 

Impala

gif of impala herd leaping crossing the street

Impalas are much more social than orangutans.  They are almost always in herds, which serve as protection from possible predators because impalas warn each other when they see other animals like lions which may be looking for a meal.  An impala’s alarm sends the entire herd running and leaping.  This makes it very difficult to catch one because they run incredibly quickly and can leap up to 33 feet to escape their pursuer.  These herds are unique and provide what would be a polygamous social hierarchy for humans.  Older male impalas have mating territories and groups of females that belong to one specific male.   The males will fight each other with their long, iconic antlers in order to fend off any rivals.  The loser returns to a bachelor herd, and the winner keeps his mates.

 

Orcas

gif of orca underwater approaching camera

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are actually the largest species of dolphin growing up to 32 feet long and weight up to 6 tons.  They are apex predators that hunt and eat everything from seabirds to other whales with their four inch teeth.  Naturally social and curious animals, they travel in families called pods with up to 40 individual orcas that all cooperate well to hunt together very effectively.  Each of these pods actually has its own noises, almost like a code with which the whales can recognize the other members of their respective pods.  They are close families, and other females even help a mother to birth and care for her young after 17 months of pregnancy.

 

Tune in tonight, Friday June 20 at 9PM to see just a few of the endless ways in which the animal kingdom regularly surprises us, leaving us in Shock and Awe.