Urban Legends Debunked-Animals

The popularity of sites like Snopes and shows like Mythbusters can both attest to the fact that people like to hear about urban legends. These "facts" are usually harmless stories that go around and are fun to hear, even if they're proven false. In this series, I'm going to go over a category of urban legends I've heard and the truth behind them. This particular installment involves our four- or more-legged friends.

UL-Bulls are angered by the color red.
Fact-Bulls, like many other animals, are colorblind. Yes, bulls do get upset when the matador in a bullfight waves a red cape but it's the waving motion that bothers them, not the color.

UL-Turkeys are so stupid that they watch the rain for so long that they drown.
Fact-Not true. Sure, they might be as dumb as bricks, but they don't look up at the rain until they drown. Believe it or not, they actually *can't* look up like that because they don't have what is called "binocular vision"-that is, they can't focus both eyes on the same thing because their eyes are on the sides of their heads rather than the front. Even if they could focus, they really could care less if it rains. They'll just run from it, not watch it.

UL-A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.
Fact-There's no scientific proof for this, so it's up to you whether or not you want Fido to lick your kids. I didn't like having my roommate's dog lick me, but that's because he would eat out of the cat box.

UL-Milk and cream are really good for cats.
Fact- Cats are lactose-intolerant. They may love the taste of your yogurt and perhaps the occasional nip is fine, but dairy products are generally not good for cats.

UL-Female praying mantises always decapitate the males they mate with.
Fact: As much fun as it is to watch men wince when they hear this, it's not entirely true. They do sometimes eat the male for extra protein (?), but not always. Feel free to keep teasing your boyfriend, though; it helps keep them in line!

UL-Birds don't like the smell of humans and will reject eggs or baby birds who have it.
Fact- This isn't true. If you see a small bird on the ground, it's probably there because it is trying to learn to fly. She's won't starve because her parents are watching and feeding her. It's best to avoid handling birds unless you find one that is hurt or sick.

If a bird were to abandon her nest for a few days after human contact, it would be because she sees that the eggs have been moved and is afraid of an intruder, not because of the smell.

If you want to read more urban legends and “de-bunking”, visit http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/wild.asp.

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