Zoo Docent Shares XX+ Amazing Animal Facts They Didn’t Teach You In School

The animal kingdom is full of surprises. Did you know that one-fifth of all the known mammal species are bats? And that kangaroos walk awkwardly because they can’t move their legs independently of each other? The zoo docent who works in Columbus Zoo and Aquarium shared some fascinating facts about animals.

A zoo docent is a volunteer educator is a person who helps zoo guests have the best possible experience. “We are there to answer questions about the animals, talk to the guests about the zoo’s many conservation projects, and assist them any way we can – sometimes just by helping them find the restroom!” the zoo docent told Bored Panda. According to her becoming a zoo docent is quite a commitment, can you image learning all the zoo animal names and ages? However, she said she loves her job “It’s one of my favorite things in life. It’s rewarding to share information with guests and help them have a great experience at our zoo, which we’re very proud of, as it’s considered one of the best zoos in the country!”

It’s not required for zoo docents to have a background in biology or zoology, they learn everything they need to know through an extensive training. “Our training is thorough and I am always continuing to learn new things. We have weekly meetings for continuing education, and listening to the keeper’s talk (as well as more experienced docents) is always educational for me.”

The Truth About Santa’s Raindeers

“Reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers. The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring. So all of Santa’s reindeer are girls, heh. I love telling little kids that.”

Flamingo’s Joints

“People often think that flamingoes’ knees bend the wrong way. They don’t – the joint you’re seeing in the middle of their leg isn’t their knee, it’s their ankle. Their knee is up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does.”

Self-Aware Elephants

“Elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test – in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do). They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself. The only animals that pass this test are the higher primates, the higher cetaceans (orcas, dolphines), elephants, and weirdly, magpies.”

Polar Bears’ Fur Color

“Polar bear fur is not white, it’s transparent, like fiber optics. Also, their skin is black.”

Purring And Roaring Cats

“There are several ways to classify the large cats, one of the more useful ones is into the roaring cats (tigers, lions) and the purring cats (bobcats, lynxes). The puma (also known as the mountain lion) is the largest cat that purrs. I’ve heard it up close, it’s amazing. A cheetah’s purr sounds like an idling motorcycle engine.”

Our Closest Genetic Relative

“Bonobos, our closest genetic relative (they are more closely related to us than they are to either chimps or gorillas) are almost entirely non-aggressive, matriarchal, and use sex to solve all their problems. They engage in both same and opposite sex interactions, non-penetrative sex (oral, rubbing, manual) and with any age. That’s an interesting area to work in, lemme tell you.”

Bat’s Population

“One-fifth of all the known mammal species are bats.”

Awkwardly Walking Kangaroos

“Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync – when they’re on land. When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move – a walking kangaroo is awkward as hell. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.”

Very Noisy Tortoises

“Tortoises have super loud sex. Like, really loud.”

Langur Monkey’s Baby Color

“Langur monkeys are silvery-gray in color – their babies are bright orange. Like Cheeto orange, I do not exaggerate.”

Unexpected Bald Eagle’s Vocalization

“Bald eagles’ vocalizations are not what you expect. When you see a flying bald eagle in the movies and hear that majestic caw sound? That isn’t an eagle, it’s been dubbed over with another bird, usually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles actually sound…not majestic. Kind of like if a kitten could be a bird.”

Gorilla’s Soap Opera

“Gorillas get crushes on each other. And on the humans that take care of them. Male gorillas also masturbate. I don’t know if the females do, I’ve never seen it. Sometimes it’s like a soap opera up in there.”

Grizzlies Vs. Brown Bears

“All grizzlies are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies (grizzlies are a sub-categorization of the brown bear).”

Giraffe’s Sleep Requirements

“Giraffes only sleep 1-2 hours a day.”

Rhino’s Horns

” If a rhinoceros knocks off its horn, it grows back faster than you’d expect. One of ours, Rosie, has knocked hers off twice.”