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Seven amazing facts about the animal world which will wow you

Seven amazing facts about the animal world which will wow you

The animal world is amazing - and every day we learn more and more about creatures we share our world with.

For Every Kind campaign, which aims to help people rethink the animals around us, here are seven amazing facts that will change the way you think about the animal world…

1. Crows will hold a grudge for years

If you upset a crow, beware - you may find yourself being harassed for years by them! Scientists at the University of Washington conducted an experiment which suggested that crows will remember faces and will never forget being upset by a human.

The researchers had a number of masks, including a 'bad' mask, and for years afterwards flocks of crows attacked people wearing the particular mask. Which means they also tell their friends and family about who crossed them!

But it's not all bad. Crows will reward good behaviour from humans, if you are consistently nice to them, they may even bring you gifts. They are also very intelligent, can solve puzzles and create tools.

2. Bees love a kick about with a football

A 2017 study found that, despite having brains the size of a poppy seed, bees can be taught to score goals in return for a sugary reward! We already know that bees are clever insects - for example, honey bees do a 'waggle dance' for their nestmates which tells them where the best food source is. And now we know they can also play football! Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, quickly picked up that scoring a goal with a small ball gave them a treat. Gareth, there's still time to call up some new talent for the Euros…

3. Pigs can play video games

Scientists at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, were able to train
four pigs to use a computer joystick to control a cursor on a computer monitor, which could be used to hit three targets on the screen. The two pigs - Ebony and Ivory - managed an 84% success rate. Impressive!

4. Fun-loving rats like being tickled - and it makes them laugh

The bad news is that the laugh is too high pitched for humans to hear - gutting. Researchers in Berlin found out that rats enjoy being tickled after monitoring brain activity - and an ultrasonic microphone picked up their laughter which we can't usually hear. But you can still tell when they are happy - their ears turn pink! These much maligned creatures can also be taught to high five, fetch a ball, count to ten and even sniff out landmines. Amazing!

5. Pigeons have been trained to spot cancer

A University in Iowa trained a flock of pigeons to spot cancerous cells on biopsy slides - and they managed to do so at an accuracy rate of 80%. Previously diagnosed histopathology slides from biopsies of breast tissue appeared on a computer touch screen along with a yellow and a blue button. If the birds correctly identified cancer, they were automatically rewarded with a food pellet. The computer randomised the order of images from benign or malignant tissue, and the birds were challenged with images of the same tissue with different magnifications and colour. Scientists concluded that the pigeons were able to learn quickly because they sense five different colours, as opposed to humans' three. Impressive stuff.

6. Lobsters are social climbers

Similar to humans, lobsters have a nervous system which is attuned to their social status. Only the dominant male lobsters mate, with a hierarchy determined by in-fighting. It's been proven by scientists that when at the top of their hierarchy, lobsters get an extra boost of serotonin in the same way humans do. The lower the lobster becomes in the hierarchy, the more restricted the serotonin supply. Thankfully, since 2021, UK law recognises the sentience of decapods like lobsters, and cephalopods like octopus, so they have better protection.

And finally…

7. Cows have BFFs - and they love to play

A study of over 400 cows found that just over a quarter of them preferred to hang out with one specific individual - their bestie. Cows who were separated from their social group but allowed to stay with their BFF were seen to be less distressed than those who were separated without any of their friends. Studies have also shown that cows engage in play, chasing after each other and bat around objects like balls!

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of the RSPCA, said: “We're learning more every day about the lives and emotions of animals - many have their own personalities and quirks, just like humans do.

"All animals deserve our kindness and respect and the first step to changing the way we treat animals is changing how we see and feel about them. Which is why we're launching our For Every Kind campaign to mark our 200th year. A world that is better for animals, is better for us all." 

The For Every Kind campaign is launching with a new advert which sees singing animals performing Aretha Franklin's iconic hit to demand Respect, voiced by celebrities including  RSPCA President and conservationist Chris Packham and champion ballroom dancer and TV judge Shirley Ballas, actor Brian Blessed, JLS singer and TV presenter JB Gill, and TV personality Pete Wicks .

The changes for the RSPCA come as it celebrates 200 years of changing animals' lives and the charity says the challenges facing animals are 'bigger than ever'.  

Chris said: "This year marks our 200th anniversary - that means 200 years of changing laws, attitudes and behaviours towards animals. But animals are now facing some of the biggest threats in our history, from climate change to intensive farming, from the cost of living to the effects of the pandemic. Unless we act urgently, we risk animals' lives getting worse, not better.

"We all have a part to play improving the lives of animals, because a world that is better for animals, is better for us all. We want to inspire everyone, whoever they are, to get involved with animal welfare so we can rise to the challenges facing animals now and for many years to come. So, to celebrate our anniversary, we're asking people to help us carry out 1 million kind actions for animals."

This year, the RSPCA hopes to inspire one million acts of kindness for animals to celebrate its 200th anniversary. To find out your kind of kindness and turn it into action for animals visit: