It’s State Fair time, starting this Thursday! Did you know that Legendary pacer horse, Dan Patch, set the world record for the mile (one minute, 55 seconds) at our very own Grandstand? That record stood from 1906 until 1938! The Minnesota State Fair has a lot of great animal exhibits, from the livestock barns, to the DNR building, to our own personal favorite, the Pet Center!
The animal kingdom is truly awesome in its diversity and beauty. Here are a few interesting facts that you may not have realized – even though you are a true animal-lover!
Marine mammals (seals, whales, dolphins, manatees, etc.) have tails that move up and down. Fish, however (including sharks), have tails that move side to side.
Have you ever pondered the neck of a giraffe? Even though the neck of an adult male giraffe may extend three meters, it has the same number of neck bones as a human being (7 cervical vertebrae). These bones in the giraffe are equipped with ball-and-socket joints – like your arm to your shoulder – to allow amazing flexibility. The blood vessels of a giraffe are lined with tiny valves to prevent backward blood flow due to gravity as it travels from the heart to the brain. The giraffe’s heart is three feet long, and the giraffe has dangerously high blood pressure, all in the name of getting blood all the way up that neck to the brain! Not surprisingly, giraffes can suffer from heart attacks!
In the hot summer, you can often hear crickets chirping at night. Did you know that chirping crickets can estimate the ambient temperature? Count the number of chirps produced in 60 seconds, then subtract 40 from this number. Divide the result by 4, then add 50.
For example, if the cricket chirps 120 times in one minute, then the temperature is about 50 + (120 – 40)/4 = 70 degrees!
And here are some fun, fast facts:
- a group of ferrets is called a “business”
- a group of crows is called a “murder”
- a group of rhinos is a “crash”
- snakes can’t blink!
- dogs and cats have sweat glands on their paw pads, and a third eyelid
- birds have voluntary control of their pupil size
- cows clean their noses with their tongues (eww!)
elephants have four knees, but they can’t jump!