72 Lesser-Known Facts About Animals That Made People Say ‘Aww’ (New Pics)

Here at Bored Panda, we firmly believe that cuteness, animal pics, and education perfectly go hand-in-hand: there hasn’t been a better trio since Harry, Hermione, and Ron graced the halls of Hogwarts. So when it comes to Reddit, the ‘Awwducational’ subreddit is at the top of our list of favorites, dishing out wholesomeness and scientific facts left, right, and center.

The 3-million-strong subreddit that has been going strong since 2012 shares educational animal facts paired with truly soul-healing photos that will satisfy not just your heart but also your mind. We’ve got a lot of ‘awwducational’ photos for you to enjoy today, Pandas, so grab yourself a big mug of hot tea, snuggle under a blanket, and let’s get scrolling. Don’t forget to upvote your fave facts and pics!

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Redditor u/AGreatWind, an incredibly friendly moderator who manages r/Awwducational at night and works as an infectious diseases researcher during the day, went in-depth with me about the community’s rules about avoiding trivial animal facts and always adding in reputable sources with posts. The redditor, who has over 7 years of experience working on the subreddit, also opened up to Bored Panda about the fact that some of the mods are actual scientists which is very cool in itself. 

Oh, and be sure to have a read through Bored Panda’s second interview with the always-friendly PDSA team who was more than happy to share some insights into animal behavior and body language. If you still haven’t hit your cuteness limit for the day with this list, we cordially invite you to scroll through our previous article about r/Awwducational right over here.

#1 Orphaned Baby Bats Which Are Rescued Are Wrapped Snugly In Blankets To Mimic The Warm Embrace Of Their Mother’s Wings

Image credits: skyfall91404

Since r/Awwducational suggests avoiding sharing trivial animal facts with the community, I was curious to learn more about where the line between something trivial and, well, rarer lies, and whether it’s all subjective. However, moderator u/AGreatWind told Bored Panda that things aren’t quite as subjective as they might seem at first glance.

“This rule applies to posts that are a better fit for /r/Aww such as ‘this cat and dog are friends’ or ‘tigers have beautiful stripes.’ Those are facts, but they are trivial and a better fit for the pure cuteness subreddits. Such posts would be removed under the trivial fact rule,” the mod explained.

“The rule is to cull very low effort posts rather than differentiate between common and lesser-known facts/posts. After modding here for 7+ years, a lot of animal facts begin to feel like common knowledge to me, but it would be unfair to remove posts solely on that basis! So the trivial post rule is limited to removing posts that are objectively trivial (Deer eat plants) rather than subjectively so.”

#2 New Study Shows “Rollie Pollies” Remove Heavy Metals From Soil And Protect Groundwater. Thank You To These Little Helpers!

Image credits: reddit.com

#3 Wolverines Can Be Taught To Rescue Avalanche Survivors

Image credits: skyfall91404

Meanwhile, u/AGreatWind also went into detail about the need to add sources to back up your awwducational animal facts. “Sources and Removals: Our removal trends go through waves of frequency. For the last several months I would say that we have not removed many posts for poorly cited sources,” they shared with Bored Panda.

Post removals are more common on r/Awwducational than on most other subreddits because posting a fact the right way takes more effort. However, new users aren’t penalized if they make a mistake: it’s all part of the learning curve. “We understand that it takes more effort on the part of the users to post on this sub, so with new users, we try to err on the side of encouragement. If a new user makes a post with dubious sources we will try to provide a verifiable source along with a warning to be mindful of source material rather than a straight removal. Like a science classroom, we aim to be difficult but fair. It usually only takes one warning before new users grasp the format, which is always encouraging to us!”

#4 Some Species Of Birds Turn To Living Mammals As A Source Of Building Material For Their Nests. The Process Of Stealing Hair Is Called Kleptotrichy, And Birds Will Test Their Ability To Pluck Hair From Various Mammals. In This Vid, A Black-Crested Titmouse Is Plucking Hairs From A Snoozing Fox

Image credits: KimCureAll

#5 It Takes Bald Eagles About Five Years To Obtain Their White Head! These Pictures Are Of The Same Bird Taken Years Apart, Illustrating The Difference Between Juvenile And Subadult Plumage

Image credits: aefeagles

#6 Red Pandas Can Stand On Their Hind Legs To Make Themselves Appear Larger. They Also Have “False Thumbs”, Which Is An Extension Of The Wrist Bone, To Aid Them In Grasping Their Food

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Image credits: petdog347

The moderator confirmed to me that they have some actual real-life scientists among the redditors who help manage the community. “I am a researcher in Infectious Disease, for example. We have ecologists, biologists, and grad students on the team as well as enthusiasts and animal lovers from other backgrounds. Reddit is a platform with anonymous users, as such, we try to keep our real lives and identities separate from our Reddit modding activities,” they said. “It is certainly plausible that members of the modteam are producing or contributing to research that could be used as a source on /r/Awwducational, but I cannot say for sure. None of my stuff would be a good fit, that’s for sure.”

Learning all about rare and elusive animal facts is all very well and good, but sometimes it’s good to have a refresher about the basics. That’s why I reached out to the PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity, to have a chat with them about dogs. A whopping 33 percent of British households keep dogs as pets. That number is slightly higher (38.4 percent) in the US. Naturally, with so many dogs going on walkies all the time, it’s important to know a bit more about them as animals and when to know if we can approach and pet them. (They might look cute but they’re not always in the mood for a stranger to ruffle their fur and scratch their bellies!) PDSA Vet Anna Ewers Clark told Bored Panda that dogs often show early signs that they don’t feel comfortable.

#7 Ravens Are Capable Of High-Quality Imitation Of Human Speech

Image credits: regian24

#8 Done Brushing Your Dog? Birds Love Using The Hair To Build Nests. Set Aside One Birdfeeder To Fill With Hair

Image credits: 5_Frog_Margin

#9 Alex, The African Grey Parrot, Is The Only Animal To Ever Ask An Existential Question. He Asked “What Color” He Was

Image credits: OstentatiousSock

“Looking away, crouching down, creeping towards their owner, staring, nose licking, and even yawning are all key signs of stress and anxiety, meaning it’s probably best to leave them be,” vet Anna explained to Bored Panda what signs we should all look out for that indicate that it’s best to leave the pooch be instead of introducing yourself and snuggling it in the middle of the street.

“If you ignore these signs, the dog may have no choice but to progress to more obvious signals like growling, lifting their lip, snarling, or snapping,” she warned.

Anna also noted the opposite signs we should keep an eye for that indicate a dog most likely wants our attention and to play with us. “If you’re approaching a playful furry friend with a relaxed body and a wagging tail, they are much more likely to invite a good stroke and you might just end up with a friend for life!” You can find some more great tips on how to tell if a dog is happy right over here.

#10 Sand Cats Specialize In Surviving In The Desert. They Are Not Good Climbers Or Jumpers, But They Are Excellent Diggers. They Use Their Digging Ability To Dig Shallow Burrows To Escape The Heat Of The Desert During The Day

Image credits: petdog347

#11 Dogs Sneeze While Playing To Let Other Dogs Know They Are Playing And Aren’t Trying To Be Aggresive

Image credits: Ravenclaw_14

#12 Penguin Chicks, Because Of Their Fat Insulation, When They Get Too Hot, They Pant And Stick Their Legs Out, Which Cools Them Off

Image credits: Ravenclaw_14

According to PDSA Vet Anna, knowing how to read dog body language is vital if you have children with you because they might accidentally get hurt or make the dogs that you meet nervous.

“Dogs can find them [children] noisy and unpredictable, so it’s always safest to keep your kids away from dogs until you’ve spoken to the owner,” Anna cautioned. “You’ll also need to monitor the whole interaction from start to end to make sure the dog stays happy and relaxed. It’s also a good idea to teach your children about canine body language and how to safely interact with dogs, so they can keep themselves safe and know what to do if they’re approached by a dog when you’re not with them.”

#13 Despite Their Appearance, Elephant Shrews Are In Fact More Closely Related To Elephants Than Shrews

Image credits: SophiaLongnameovich

#14 The Southern Viscacha Is A Species Of Rodent Native To Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, And Peru. They Spend A Large Portion Of Their Day Sunbathing, Grooming, And Resting.

Image credits: Pardusco

#15 Secretary Birds Are Famous For Its Snake-Stomping Legs; A Single Kick Delivered Some 195 Newtons Of Force. They Are Also Famous For Their Long Eyelashes

Image credits: misanthrophile1

If you’re planning on joining r/Awwducational and posting some incredibly wholesome content, the community has some rules that you ought to be aware of. First of all, you should have your animal-specific fact in the title of the post. Also, as mentioned before, you should also avoid any obvious or common facts that absolutely everyone knows and try to go for something educational.

#16 On Average, Opossums Eat Up To 5000 Ticks In A Season, But They Don’t Contract Or Carry Lyme Disease.

Image credits: reddit.com

#17 Australian “Firehawk” Raptors, Such As This Black Kite, Have Recently Been Found To Purposefully Spread Wildfires, By Carrying Smouldering Branches To Unburnt Areas, To Flush Out Prey, Confirming Long-Held Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge.

Image credits: tea_and_biology

#18 The Mangalica Is The Only Pig Species Covered In A Long Wool Coat, Similar To A Sheep’s

Image credits: shan_eh_dor

The mods also ask that you include a source for your title in the comments beneath your post. They’re very serious about this part and require you to use scientific news sites with proper citations and references. To help you with everything, the moderators even have a list of respectable and trustworthy sources for you to check.

#19 American Kestrel Is The Smallest And Most Common Falcon In North America. It Is Also Called The Sparrow Hawk

Image credits: A_Lazko

#20 Manatees Have No Significant Natural Predators And Can Be Found Co-Existing Peacefully With Gators

Image credits: themflyingeyes

#21 Pigs Are Known For Being Very Sociable And Intelligent, And This Is Especially The Case For Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs (Pictured On Left With A Family Of Pups).

Image credits: meowroarhiss

Previously, my colleague spoke to two of r/Awwducational’s moderators, u/IchTanze and u/AGreatWind, about the community. Redditor u/IchTanze, a moderator-veteran with 6 years of experience now (5 at the time of the interview), told Bored Panda that the ‘aww’ part of the subreddit refers to how people react to baby animals, flowers, endangered species, and other subjectively cute things. “‘Aww is in the eye of the beholder,’ as we say.”

The moderators and the entire community want everyone who joins the online group to learn something new about the animal world. That’s why they insist on everyone backing up their facts with proper sources.

#22 Seals Will Perform The Banana Pose When They Are Feeling Safe And Content. Lifting Their Heads And Flippers Into To The Air Also Helps To Regulate Their Body Temperature And Keeps Their Extremities Dry When Close To Water.

Image credits: prean625

#23 Pigs Have Episodic Memory. It Is Likely That They Can Replay And Feel Past Experiences In Their Heads.

Image credits: HanabinoOto

#24 Golden Moles Have Eyeballs, But They Are Covered By Skin So They Don’t Really Work. Oh Well.

Image credits: remotectrl

“The educational component is what gets added in the comment section, where the user must provide a source for their fact in the title that is either peer-reviewed, from a highly reputable source, or has citations from one of the above to back it up,” the mod explained.

Meanwhile, moderator u/AGreatWind pointed out that r/Awwducational allows content about natural history, alongside “animals and plants of all kinds, even if their cuteness may be… subjective.” In short, it doesn’t have to be super cute to get on the subreddit (though it helps!).

#25 The Asiatic Black Bear Has The Largest Ears Of Any Bear Species

Image credits: shan_eh_dor

#26 Hippos Can’t Really Swim. Their Big Bones Are Too Dense And Heavy, So They Just Push Off The Ground, Walking Or Bouncing Off The Bottom.

Image credits: awkwardtheturtle

#27 Due To The Height Of Their Mother’s, Baby Giraffes Endure A 5-6ft Drop Straight To The Ground When They’re Born

Image credits: grandechino

The moderator team approves all the posts and knows what they’re doing when it comes to animal facts. And their background proves it. “Our mod team is a diverse group of animal lovers, enthusiasts, and scientists from a range of backgrounds spanning ecology, biophysics, and infectious disease,” u/AGreatWind explained, adding that the mod team has its hands full with work. However, in the end, it’s all worth it.

#28 Most River Otter Species Are Monogamous And Mate For Life. So Those Cute Pictures Of Otter Couples You See, They May Just Be Together Forever.

Image credits: puddlesnsnakes

#29 Beavers Have Orange Teeth Because Their Tooth Enamal Has A High Iron Content To Make Them Strong Enough To Chew Through Wood.

Image credits: saskatoonbaldguy

#30 Pangolins Has Soft, Pale Scales When Born, Which Begin To Harden By Second Day

Image credits: aloofloofah

“We are rather large by subscriber count, but the community still feels small because of the interaction and cooperation we have with them. We try to engage with and listen to our subscribers rather than try to herd them, much as we did when there were only a few thousand,” u/AGreatWind told Bored Panda, calling r/Awwducational “a big little sub.”

#31 Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos Are Monogamous Breeders, With Pair Bonds That Can Last Their Entire Life. They Can Live For Around 40 Years In The Wild

Image credits: Pardusco

#32 Black-Footed Cat (Felis Nigripes) Is The Smallest Cat In Africa (Up To 5 Lbs) And Can Hunt Preys Bigger Than Himself.

Image credits: ca6lypso

#33 Puffins Can Use Sticks As Scratching Tools, Which Makes Them The First Known Tool-Using Seabirds

Image credits: skyfall91404

#34 There Are Only 880 Mountain Gorillas Left…

Image credits: Bite_Tricky

#35 The Aardvark, Alphabetically The First Animal, Plays An Important Role In Preventing Wildlife Deaths From Fire. They Dig Large Underground Burrows That Wildlife Can Hide In During Fires.

Image credits: Mail30silver

#36 Fawns Are Rarely Actually Abandoned! Do Not Try To Rescue Fawns Unless You Know For Certain They Are In Danger Or The Mother Has Been Killed. Many Times The Mom Leaves Them For An Extended Period Of Time, Even In Surprising Places Like Front Yards. This Fawn’s Mom Returned Several Hours Later

Image credits: Pepperamaki

#37 The Manul (Or Pallas’ Cat) Of Central Asia Has The Longest And Densest Fur Of All The Cat Species

Image credits: JerryfromTomandJerry

#38 New Study Finds Holstein Dairy Calves Are Natural Optimists Or Pessimists, Just Like Us

Image credits: QuietCakeBionics

#39 Capybara’s Are Social Animals, Who Get Along With A Large Variety Of Other Animals, Including Chickens, Ducks, Dogs, Cats, Llamas, Rabbits And Turtles.

Image credits: Btherock78

#40 Aardwolves Are Neither Aardvarks Nor Wolves. They Are Actually Related To Hyenas, But With One Big Exception – Aardwolves Feed Mainly On Termites, Around 200,000 A Day. This Diet Helps Aardwolves Maintain Their Protein And Moisture Needs In Some Of The Driest Places In Africa.

Image credits: KimCureAll

#41 Marine Iguanas Have A Mutualistic Relationship With Lava Lizards, As The Lizards Often Scurry Over Them To Hunt Flies. As The Iguanas Are Herbivores, They Rely On The Lizards To Remove The Flies.

Image credits: skyfall91404

#42 These Guys Are Goldcrests, The Smallest Birds In Europe. They Weigh 1/100th Of A Pound And Their Eggs Are The Size Of Peas. They Also Looks Really Grumpy All The Time.

Image credits: best_cricket

#43 Lumpsuckers Are So Named Because They Have Modified Pelvic Fins That Have Evolved Into Adhesive Discs, “Suckers”, Which They Use To Anchor Themselves.

Image credits: Cheshix

#44 Cats Place Their Hind Paws In Exactly The Same Spot As Their Front Paws When Walking To Allow Them To Make Precise Movements

Image credits: RKola

#45 The Pygmy Falcon Is The Smallest Raptor In Africa – Adults Are Less Than 8” Long.

Image credits: KippyFisher

#46 Native To Mexico, The Axolotl Has A Slimy Tail And A Mouth That Curls Into An Odd Smile. It Is Known As The “Water Monster” Or The “Mexican Walking Fish.”

Image credits: polisci201

#47 The Chinese Mountain Cat Is One Of The Rarest Wild Cats, And Was First Captured On Camera In The Wild In 2007

Image credits: tt598

#48 Coyotes And Badgers Occasionally Form Short-Term Alliances To Hunt. The Most Common Structure Is One Coyote And One Badger, Though Occasionally Two Coyotes Will Join Up.

Image credits: petdog347

#49 Gibbons Are One Of The Only Non-Human Primates Which Practice Monogamy. Both Parents Play A Vital Role In Raising Of Their Young

Image credits: reddit.com

#50 Snow Leopards Cover The Distance Of A Marathon (26.2 Mi) In One Night. They Also Cannot Roar. They Are Also More Closely Related To Tigers Than They Are To Leopards! But They Are Definitely The Cutest

Image credits: BrainSlugParty3000

#51 Despite Being Voracious Carnivores, Crocodilians Are Surprisingly Caring And Nurturing Parents. Mothers Will Fiercely Guard Their Offspring Against Predators For Over A Year Till They’re Large Enough To Fend From Themselves

Image credits: [deleted]/

#52 Bunnies Flop Over When They Feel Completely Safe

Image credits: AppelJoose

#53 Pangolins, Despite Looking Similar To Anteaters And Armadillos, They Are Actually Closer Related To Bears, Cats, And Dogs.

Image credits: bearswhoplaythecello

#54 Three-Banded Armadillos Are Capable Of Rolling Into A Complete Ball To Defend Themselves

Image credits: Pardusco

#55 Otters Juggle Rocks More When They Are Hungry. In Captivity, The Increase In Rock Juggling Occurs When Feeding Time Draws Close — Suggesting That It Could Indicate Excitement For Food.

Image credits: skyfall91404

#56 Bearded Dragons Are A Popular Species Among Children Because Of Their Friendly And Calm Nature, And The Relative Ease Of Caring For Them. Generally Speaking, The Bearded Dragon Is A Solitary Animal.

Image credits: SendMeAlpacaSelfies

#57 Pygmy Hippos Are Critically Endangered, With Less Than 3,000 In The Wild. The San Diego Zoo Has Bred One For The First Time In Three Decades. His Name Is Akobi, And He’s Two Months Old.

Image credits: reddit.com

#58 Elephants Are Intelligent, Social, Empathetic Animals Who Display ‘Ah Ha’ Spontaneous Problem Solving Behaviour. As Babies They Tend To Be Helpless, Relying On Their Moms Until They’re Three.

Image credits: cheekypuns

#59 Sea Otters Are Keystone Species In Kelp Forests. They Feed On Sea Urchins, Which Eat Kelp. Without The Otters, These Otherwise Productive Ecosystems Turn Into Urchin Barrens.

Image credits: remotectrl

#60 The California Ground And Rock Squirrels Have Acquired A Great Anti-Rattlesnake Defense. They Chew On The Old Snake Skins, Then Lick And Apply The Mush Onto Their Fur To Disguise Their Own Odor, Tricking The Rattler Into Scenting Only Snake And Thus Avoid Detection From Its Slithering Predators.

Image credits: SunCloud-777

#61 Say Hello To An Australian Echidna! One Of Only Two Mammals In The World That Lay Eggs (Called Monotremes)! This Little Girl Was Brought Into My Work.

Image credits: p3rthr0

#62 The Ears Of Caracal Kittens Do Not Become Active Until The Third Or Fourth Week After Birth.

Image credits: AGreatWind

#63 Unlike Most Other Ducks, The Wood Duck Has Sharp Claws For Perching In Trees And Can, In Southern Regions, Produce Two Broods In A Single Season—the Only North American Duck That Can Do So.

Image credits: remotectrl

#64 The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon Brachyurus) Is The Largest Canid In South America. His Marks Resemble Those Of Foxes, But He Is Not A Fox Or A Wolf. It Is The Only Species Of The Genus Chrysocyon (Which Means “Golden Dog”). These Wolves Are Also Commonly Mistaken For “El Chupacabra”.

Image credits: mccur1eyfries

#65 Arctic Fox Yawning, Unperturbed By The Cold Thanks To Its Thick, Insulating Coat Which Allows It To Survive Temperatures That Other Organisms Cannot

Image credits: NatsuDragnee1

#66 An Adult North American Porcupine (Erethizon Dorsatum) Has About 30,000 Quills That Cover Almost All Of Its Body. The Quills Are Hollow And Used Primarily For Defense, But Also Serve To Insulate Their Bodies During Winter. They Cannot Throw Their Quills.

Image credits: remotectrl

#67 The Lemming Is A Small Rodent, Usually Found In Or Near The Arctic In Tundra Biomes. Their Defence System Is Thought To Be Based On Aposematism (Warning Display). They Can Be Very Territorial And Aggressive.

Image credits: petdog347

#68 Pangolins Are The Only Mammal With Keratin Scales. They Are Nocturnal, And They Eat Mainly Ants And Termites. They Are The Most Trafficked Mammal In The World, Feeding The Market For Pseudoscience Products. All Eight Species Of Pangolin Are Either Vulnerable, Threatened, Or Critically Endangered.

Image credits: H_G_Bells

#69 Cats Are Easy To Train And Have A Working Memory Of 30 Seconds

Image credits: Random_420-69

#70 Hazel Dormice Spend A Large Proportion Of Their Lives Sleeping – Either Hibernating In Nests On The Ground In Winter, Or In A State Of Torpor (Curls Up Into A Ball And Sleep) In Summer. They Are Also Nocturnal On Top Of It All. You Can Also Hear Them Snore.

Image credits: petdog347

#71 This Is The Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel. It Lives In Sub-Alpine Forests In Japan And Feeds On Leaves, Bark, Fruit And Seeds.

Image credits: Ooodles-of-nooodles

#72 King Cheetahs Are Variety Of Cheetahs With A Rare Mutation Caused By A Recessive Allele. Their Cream-Colored Fur Are Marked With Large, Blotchy Spots And Three Dark, Wide Stripes Extend From The Neck To The Tail.

Image credits: skyfall91404

Source: boredpanda.com

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