10 Myths About Animals That Are Totally Untrue

By Michael Avery in Nature On 24th March 2018

#1 Blind as a bat? Bats are blind.

Everyone has heard the phrase "blind as a bat" but is it actually true?Not entirely. While their eyesight isn't perfect they do have eyes for a reason. Most bats have an ability called echolocation which they use, kind of like sonar, to see better than their weak eyes allow them to but they can still see out of their eyes.

#2 Birds will explode after eating wedding rice.

Whoever started this myth has been lost to time but it's a crazy myth nonetheless. The myth goes that if a bird eats wedding rice or other grain that has been dehydrated it will begin to expand inside of their stomachs and explode eventually. Pretty absurd right?

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#3 Baby birds being rejected by their mothers after being handled by humans.

It's been awhile since I heard this myth but it's definitely out there. The myth goes that if you come across baby birds in their nest, either in a tree or on the ground, you should not pick up the birds because the mother will abandon them afterward. That's just plain untrue. Birds can't smell as well as other animals so they have no way of knowing that a human has touched their babies.

#4 If a dogs nose is wet, it's healthy.

The amount of moisture on a dogs nose has nothing to do with health and everything to do with how active they were. Much like humans, dogs will sweat when they are active which leads to their noses being wet.

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#5 You can get warts from picking up toads.

As a boy growing up in the southern united states I heard this one all the time. Don't pick up that toad or you will get warts, my grandfather would say. And because I was a kid I believed it. The truth of the matter is you can't get warts from a toad. Warts are caused by a virus, not by picking up an animal.

#6 Daddy Long Legs are super poisonous

Daddy long legs fall into 2 categories, opilionids, and pholcids. Opilionids are not actually spiders while pholcids are true spiders. Opilionids do not have fangs or venom glands while pholcids do have fangs and a mild venom that only burns for a few seconds before wearing off. Either way, neither one of these creatures is highly venomous so consider this myth busted.

#7 Pit Bulls are the most dangerous breed of dog there is.

The media has made people believe that Pit Bulls are very dangerous dogs but this is not true. Dogs are only dangerous when they are trained to be or mistreated. Any kind of dog would attack you if it was taught to be that way, not just Pit Bulls. The CDC says that around 4.5 million people get bitten every year by dogs but Pit Bulls do not make up some huge percentage of those bites. Pit Bulls are not the only breed of dog that has been trained to be aggressive but they get all the hate which is unfair.

#8 Ostriches and putting their heads in the sand.

Ostriches do not actually bury their heads in the sand. If they did they would die because they would suffocate. Ostriches eat rocks to help them break down their food and use their heads to rotate their eggs so this is likely what they are doing when it looks like they have buried their head in the sand.

#9 How's it hanging Mr. Possum?

Possum tails are slightly prehensile and they can hang upside down for a very short time while they are young but as they grow into adults they can no longer hang upside down and never spend more than a few seconds at a time hanging around in their youth.

#10 Lemmings and suicide dives.

According to a Canadian documentary called "Cruel Camera" the Disney film "White Wilderness" completely staged the portion of the film featuring lemmings jumping to their death in mass migrations. The lemmings did not actually jump off the edge of the cliff, they were forced off of it.

Check out the video for more myths that are totally untrue.