Weird Nature
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20 Bizarre Anatomical Features Of Common Animals

Updated May 22, 2020 59.1k views20 items
Pet owners and animal lovers think of their favorite animals as non-human people. With their range of personalities, behaviors, and habits, it’s hard not to see why...until you delve into the uncommon anatomy of common animals. After that,  it’s hard to forget that humans and animals are not the same. From missing body parts to extra appendages, some animals are just plain bizarre. 
  • Dogs Can Retract Their Eyeballs Into Their Sockets

    Photo: djwhelan / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    If you’ve ever tried to give your dog eye drops, you may have noticed that the eyeball seems to disappear. Dogs don’t have magical eyeballs, but they do have a wondrous set of muscles called retractor bulbi.

    These muscles allow dogs to retract their eyeballs into their sockets, far away from that eye dropper (or anything else they don’t want near their eyes). 

  • Woodpeckers Have A Bone In Their Insanely Long Tongues

    The anatomy of a woodpecker’s tongue is so mind-boggling it might take a few head bumps off a tree to make sense of it. These freakishly long tongues extend from the throat to the jaw, past the sinus cavities, around the brain, and down through the nostril. Woodpeckers’ tongues are solid at the beginning, split for some of the long journey, and reunite at the tip.

    As if that wasn’t crazy enough, woodpecker's have a bone in their tongues; they can peck through a lot more than trees.  

  • Argonaut Octopuses Have Detatchable Penises

    Photo: Bernd Hofmann / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0

    In usual mating situations, the male spreads his seed and the female pretty much just lets him. Then there are Argonaut octopuses, truly unique in the animal kingdom. A male Argonaut keeps his sperm in a detachable tentacle – yes, that’s what it’s technically called – and throws said tentacle in the general direction of a female, so she can fertilize herself. After detaching his, errr, special tentacle, the male dies.

    The female shows her appreciation by collecting the spermy tentacles from different ‘donors’ and fertilizing herself as often as she wants. How’s that for the most impersonal (and horrifying) mating ritual imaginable?

  • Almost 10 Percent Of Cat Bones Are In Their Tails

    Cats use their tails to share their mood and to land on their feet when they jump (or fall) from that bookcase you keep telling them not to climb. Their tails aren’t just handy tools to keep their humans from hyperventilating. Cats’ tails are complex anatomical structures that keep them balanced – so complex, in fact, that they house ten percent of a feline’s bones.

    With about 20 vertebrae in their tails alone (give or take depending on their breeds), it’s no wonder cats express their feelings through their most complicated appendages!