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Wombats

Wombats
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There’s a factoid that’s gotten a lot of attention lately, and no surprise – that wombats poop square poo is truly a weird phenomenon! The reasons for how and why this is so have been a mystery for years, but recently a couple of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Australia’s University of Adelaide decided to do a more rigorous analysis. Turns out, wombat poo is extremely dry, since wombats, which live in arid climates, extract all moisture from their food. National Geographic reports that their intestines are also irregularly-shaped and stretchy, helping to sculpt dry scat into its unique cube-like shape. Find out the 10 things you need to know before you get an exotic pet.

Ducks

Ducks
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California is a hotspot for surfing, for both humans and ducks! Back in 2010, according to a story reported by The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, people started reporting that they’d spotted mallards everywhere from Santa Barbara to San Diego catching some waves, allowing their feathery bodies to be carried to shore. The reason: food, namely, sand crabs. It’s a behaviour scientists think they learned from watching native shorebirds such as sand scoters and black brants.

Manatees

Manatees
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Also known as sea cows, these plump, distant elephant relatives can weigh as much as 450 kilograms. They’re also vegetarian, which means that in order to have enough energy to swim around ocean shallows (like Florida), they have to eat 10 percent of their body weight every single day. That’s a whole lotta sea salad!

Manatees (part two)

Manatees (part two)
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These gentle creatures share water space with some of the fiercest predators out there – namely, alligators. You’d think that would be bad news for manatees. But scientists report this cool animal fact: the two species coexist quite nicely. Alligators have been caught catching rides on manatees’ backs – although there’s speculation that it was the manatee benefitting, from a back scratch. And manatees aren’t shy about bumping alligators to get them to move out of their way, says PBS.

Grizzly bears

Grizzly bears
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You’re not seeing things: These powerful (and unfortunately endangered) bears do indeed have humpbacks. The hump is actually a strong muscle, says BearSmart.com, developed to help grizzlies with their digging – “ripping through the earth and tearing apart rotted logs in search of roots, plant bulbs, insects, rodents, and other grubs…[as well as]…powering them as they dig out winter dens.”

Tigers

Tigers
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It’s perhaps common animal-fact knowledge by now that the stripes on every tiger are as individual as fingerprints or snowflakes – no two patterns alike. But did you also know that those patterns on a tiger’s fur repeat on its skin? These patterns, says National Geographic, serve as camouflage, with the stripes making it hard for prey to see all of its predator at once. It’s possible the Sumatran tiger could disappear in your lifetime.

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Giraffes

Giraffes
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These docile African ruminants, which can grow as tall as six metres, have a very unusual feature: Their tongues are deep purple. Although there’s lots of speculation as to the whys of the extra-dense melanin of giraffes’ mouth organs – and no hard facts – scientists believe that the dark colour is to protect them from sunburn as they munch leaves all day long out in the strong sun.

Dogs

Dogs
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Did you ever leave your dog alone for longer than usual, only to come home and swear that she missed you more than usual? You probably weren’t imagining things. According to Animal Planet, dogs can tell the difference between one hour and five hours. They also have an innate sense of when things should happen – like their regularly-scheduled walks and meals. Find out the 53 mistakes every dog owner makes.

Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys

Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys
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With all the bad news about animal species going extinct around the world, there’s good reason to celebrate when new species are actually found. One such recently discovered species is the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, a.k.a. the sneezing monkey. How did it get this name? Its upturned nose gets water in it when it rains, which the monkey sneezes out, reports The Guardian.

Rhinos

Rhinos
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Most animal horns are made of bone. Not so the rhinoceros. As researchers at Ohio University learned in 2006, they’re made of keratin, the same stuff that comprises human hair and fingernails. Threading through the core of the keratin and making it super strong are calcium deposits, which are non-existent on the horn’s outer, softer surface. Over time, that surface gets whittled into its pointy shape by sun exposure and frequent head-butts between fighting animals.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team