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Jessi shares three weird things some animals can do that we just can't.

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Jessi: I love learning new things! Especially when it's something I never would have imagined like how some animals normal everyday functions are so different than my own. Today, let's talk about three weird things that some animals can do that we just can't.

[Intro plays]

First, did you know that frogs swallow with their eyeballs?! This is Stumpy the White's tree frog. Look how big her eyes are. She uses them to help her see and catch her prey at night. But these huge eyes also help her to swallow her prey whole. When she's hunting, her eyes sense the motion of her prey. Say it's a cricket. She focuses on the movement and then she launches herself forward with these long back legs. She then uses her short, sticky tongue to snatch the prey and bring it into her mouth. Once it's inside her mouth she does something completely different than humans do. When we have a mouthful of food, we swallow it by using the tongue to push the food down our throat. Stumpy's tongue is not like ours, though. Instead of using her tongue, she blinks, and her eyeballs move inward, pushing the mouthful of cricket down her throat. Check out Jabba the African pixie frog doing the same thing. It's so weird but so awesome!

The second weird animal thing is, cockroaches can live up to a month without their head. Maybe don't do this to any cockroaches that you know because the head can't be reattached and it doesn't grow back, so they will eventually die. This is Sue, she's a Madagascar hissing cockroach. All 4,500 species of cockroaches have brains. So do we, but if lost our head, we most definitely wouldn't be able to survive because we can't live without our brain. But cockroaches can! So, if it's not the brain, that keeps them alive, what is it?

It actually has to do with how they breathe. Now, humans need a brain in order to breathe. But instead of having a brain controlling their breathing through their mouth and lungs cockroaches breathe through tiny holes along their sides called spiracles. The spiracles bring oxygen to their body directly to their body without the use of blood. So if they lose their head they can continue to breathe and their body will remain alive. But, there's one thing that they can't continue to do without a head: they can't eat. Ultimately, their cause of death will be starvation because they have no mouth to eat with.

The third weird animal thing also has to do with breathing. Birds are so efficient at breathing that they are continuously moving fresh air through their lungs. Kind of like if we were able to inhale and exhale at the same time. While us humans are left being half as good at something as simple as breathing, birds excel because of the way they move and store oxygen in their bodies. Birds have lungs but they also have air sacks throughout their body, usually nine of them. When a bird inhales, fresh air goes into their lungs and their air sacks towards the back of their body. When they exhale, the used air from their lungs move into their front air sacks, at the same time, the fresh air from their back air sacks moves into their lungs. When they inhale a second time, fresh air once again goes back into their lungs and back air sacks. They exhale a second time and the used air from their lungs pushes the used air from the front air sacks out their mouth at the same time fresh air in their back air sacks enters their lungs. This form of breathing is called unilateral breathing, meaning the air continuously moves in one direction thanks to many specialized valves. So humans move air in and then out while birds move air in a cyclical pattern which is how they're able to sustain the heavy demands of extended periods of flight.

There are thousands of weird and interesting things to learn about animals and I'll never get tired of learning more. I would love to know if you have any weird animal facts that I haven't heard of. If you do, put them in the comments below. Thanks for watching and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montana. If you have any questions about weird animal things, you can ask me on Tumblr at Animal Wonders Montana. Thanks guys.


Jessi: I asked her to check on Chili Pepper, too. She examined the furless patch and also found nothing of concern on the skin, but she then closely examined the rest of his body, too.