Debunking animal myths-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
IF YOU’VE ever had a rabbit, you’ve probably at least once tried feeding it a carrot. Then you thought it looked cute that he was nibbling on it with his little rabbit teeth and you remembered that, according to your “sense of commons,” rabbits adored carrots.
However, a rabbit on a steady diet of carrots would be equivalent to a human on a steady diet of nothing but chocolate. Would they like it? Of course they would! But is it good for them? No, not at all.
Just like a human being fed nothing but chocolate forever, a rabbit would eventually keel over and die from eating just carrots.
Several misconceptions about our pets and animals in the wild have led to some pretty bad situations. For example, it’s a common belief that mother birds will abandon their chicks if a human touches them. The common misconception is that a bird won’t care for a hatchling if it has “eau de human” sloshed all over it. This, of course, is wrong.
While touching a bird may freak it out, the mother will still care for it upon her return. It’s generally ill-advised to touch them just the same though. Being picked up by a giant would be a traumatic experience for any baby animal.
Then there’s the thing with bats: they’re not blind. Just because they use sonar to navigate at night doesn’t mean their eyes aren’t fully functional. Some species see as well as dogs, and that’s far from being blind. Speaking of dogs...
Dogs can see in color. According to Dr. Dawn Ruben, doctor of veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri, dogs do see in color, but their perception of color is not the same as it is for people. They cannot distinguish between red, orange, yellow or green. They can see various shades of blue and can differentiate between closely related shades of gray that are not distinguishable to people.
When comparing dog and human vision, people are better at depth perception, color perception and seeing minute details of an object. Dogs are better at seeing in dim light, responding to an image rapidly and detecting the slightest motion. They also have better peripheral vision, depending on the type of dog.
Dogs with long snouts like Dobermans and Dachshunds have great peripheral vision because their eyes are on the sides of their face. Pugs and bulldogs however, have horrible, horrible peripheral vision, which makes sneaking up on a sleeping pug really easy.
Speaking of ease, you may think it’d be easy for a camel to travel in the desert because of all that water stored in those humps of theirs, right? Wrong. I had a camel skin water jug once, and that made-for-the-tourist Egyptian trinket didn’t retain water at all.
Camels store fat in the humps, so no, you won’t yield water when you cut open a camel’s hump. If you try really hard, you’ll be able to squeeze some out of it though.
Camels don’t dehydrate primarily because of the way they were designed. They have different cellular structures from humans, allowing them to stay cool for much longer than a human can.
And speaking of temperature, let’s go back to dogs. If you want to tell if a dog is sick, you touch his nose and if it’s warm, he’s got a fever, right? Wrong again. That’s a myth. I’m touching my dog’s nose right now and he’s getting very upset because I’m waking him up, but I know he’s not sick because he was jumping all around the room right before he decided to go to sleep.
The only accurate method to access a dog's temperature is to take it with a thermometer. Normal dog temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F.
Also, I have to stop poking my pets on the nose—they really don’t like that. I’ve already been bitten a couple of times.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 18, 2012.