animals The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals  

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We've heard all these things about animals and their behaviors and we've all believed them. In fact, many of these animal myths have been around for so long that people even get angry when you debunk them. However, these things are not facts and they have only anecdotal evidence (as in, you heard a story from a friend, who had a cousin, who knew a guy...) to back them up, not scientific data. These are 10 of the myths about animals that many people still believe, but which science tells us are just not true.

Are these untrue animal myths really true? That's up to you to decide but have fun taking a peek at these untrue myths about animals and their explanations.

Wedding Rice Kills Birds


Wedding Rice Kills Birds is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo: SAN_DRINO/Flickr

The myth: When birds eat wedding rice, their bellies explode.

The truth: Who knows where this misconception came from, but it's definitely not true. Wedding rice typically is dehydrated rice, different from wild grains. Despite being a tradition that spans back to ancient Egypt, modern-day wedding planners have opted to use bubbles instead of rice for fear it's killing the poor little church birdies when it expands in their stomachs. But the truth is the rice doesn't expand enough to hurt the birds even a little bit. A research done at the University of Kentucky in 2002 showed regular bird seed expands in a stomach more than the rice does. So, really, wedding rice doesn't even constitute as a full meal for church birds. 

Bats Are Blind


Bats Are Blind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo: Razvan Radu/Flickr

The myth: Bats are completely blind.

The truth: All bats can see to some extent - that's why they have eyes. No, but really. Bats can actually see really well, because they use both their eyesight and their "sonar" sight. Most bats employ echolocation (which is like a kind of sonar) allowing them to "see" in greater detail than any human ever could. How else do you think these little guys can locate the tiniest flying gnat in near-darkness?

Baby Birds Will Be Rejected By Their Mothers If Handled By People


Baby Birds Will Be Rejected By... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr

The myth: Baby birds will be rejected by their moms if they come into contact with humans.

The truth: While it's probably for the best is commonly believed, this fact simply isn't true. This myth is rooted in the misconception that mother birds won't recognize the scene of their babies if they're picked up by humans, but in reality birds have a very bad sense of smell and don't notice the difference. Baby birds are often found alone because they're learning to fly. This myth is probably a result of well-meaning adults who didn't want children picking up baby birds and potentially injuring them. So, seriously, leave it be.

Pit Bulls Are A Dangerous And Harmful Dog Breed


Pit Bulls Are A Dangerous And ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo:  Cseszka/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The myth: Pit bulls are vicious killer dogs. 

The truth: Any dog is capable of attacking a human, and while the pit bull is no exception, the breed itself isn't more violent because of its DNA. It's kind of easy to pick on this dog because it is commonly bred to fight, but many breeds of dog were trained to kill things and they don't get banned from parks or buildings simply because of their breed. German shepherds, rottweilers, dobermans, and chows are all bred from a line of "aggressors." Pit bulls are only aggressive when they've been trained to be that way. 

Toads Give You Warts


Toads Give You Warts is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo:  Josch13/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The myth: Toads give you warts.

The truth: This myth probably came into existence when mothers wanted a way to have their children stop picking up animals outside for fear they had diseases and were dirty. The lumpy toad - or any toad for that matter - don't give you warts. These lumps help toads live in dry climates, unlike most frogs, which require moisture. This trait also helps toads blend into their environment with textures made possible by the wart like protrusions. It's possible people assumed because the toads have wart-like bumps on them, they can transfer them to humans. But they can't. 

Daddy Longlegs Are The Most Poisonous Spiders


Daddy Longlegs Are The Most Po... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo: madaise/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0

The myth: Daddy longlegs are poisonous.

The truth: There is probably a lot you don't know about this spider. For one thing, the spider you think is a daddy longlegs might actually be something else. There is a daddy longlegs spider, but in England the creature with this name isn't a spider at all. The long-legged cellar spider is an example of a daddy longlegs and it is probably what is referred to in this myth.

The thing is, there is no record of a pholcid spider ever biting a human and causing any kind of reaction at all. If they were really poisonous, the only way we would know is if we had milked them and injected the venom into humans. And this has not been done. And there are no toxicology studies of any kind showing the effects of pholocid venom on any mammal. So, no scientific basis.

Ostriches Bury Their Heads in Sand


Ostriches Bury Their Heads in ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo:  Bluesnap/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The myth: Ostriches bury their head in the sand.

The truth: This myth probably came from the fact that ostriches, like many other kinds of birds, eat pebbles and sand to help them digest their food. They also turn their eggs with their beaks, another thing that makes them put their heads near the ground. If an ostrich put its head in the sand like we once believed, it would probably suffocate and die. 

Lemmings Commit Mass Suicide When Migrating


Lemmings Commit Mass Suicide W... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top 16 Untrue Myths About Animals
Photo: dration/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The myth: Lemmings are suicidal.

The truth: During the filming of a 1958 Disney "documentary" White Wilderness (which won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature), filmmakers staged footage of lemmings jumping to their death after faking scenes of mass migration. A Canadian documentary called Cruel Camera that came out years later found the lemmings used for White Wilderness were flown from Hudson Bay to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but in fact were launched off the cliff using a turntable.

Lemmings do no such thing. They do not hurl themselves off cliffs. They do migrate, and sometimes during these migrations they will fall into rivers or off cliffs accidentally like many other migratory species.