You’ve probably heard that sharks, despite living in the ocean, would drown if they stopped swimming. But this, like so many other animal “facts,” is actually not at all true.
Enter True or Poo?, a new book by scientists Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, and a much-needed field guide in this age of animal ~fake news~.
So, without further ado, here are 15 other animal “facts” you might believe are true, but are actually “poo.”
1. Contrary to popular belief, birds don’t actually abandon their chicks if people touch them — their sense of smell isn’t good enough to be able to detect human scent.
2. And no, camels don’t store water in their humps — they store fat there instead.
3. Cutting an earthworm in half does not create two earthworms — however, the half containing the head can grow a new tail and survive.
4. Despite what you’ve heard, Komodo dragons do not kill their prey with bacteria-ridden saliva — they actually produce deadly venom themselves.
5. Anteaters do not suck up ants with their nose — instead, using their tongue, they lap up ants into their mouth, which is also a part of their snout.
6. Rest easy knowing you don’t actually eat spiders in your sleep…
7. …and that earwigs don’t actually seek out people’s ears to lay eggs in.
8. Chameleons do not change color in order to camouflage themselves — instead, their color changes with their temperature and mood.
9. Baby snakes are said to be more dangerous than adults because of their inability to control how much venom they inject, but this is actually not the case.
10. Porcupines don’t actually shoot their quills at predators — instead, they raise their quills, which detach easily when touched.
11. The myth that granddaddy longlegs are deadly but can’t bite you is doubly false: One type of granddaddy longlegs actually can bite humans, but neither type is venomous.
12. Sharks, often said to be invulnerable to cancer, are not immune after all.
13. Despite what you were told as a kid, toads can’t actually give you warts.
14. Out of 31 species of widow spiders, only female brown widows and Australian redbacks — but not American black widows — eat their mates.
15. And finally the myth that there’s always a rat within 6 feet of you is simply not true.
Get True or Poo? from Amazon for $11.13, Barnes & Noble for $14.40, IndieBound, or from your local library.
Check out these other animals posts while you’re at it!