6 Creepy Animal Behaviors That Science Can't Explain

Animals do a lot of strange things: dogs will go after their own butts for hours, some fish fly and if some people are to be believed, sheep have the amazing ability to attract New Zealanders and Scotsmen. But there are some things about the animal world that leave the smartest of us scratching their heads in puzzlement saying, "Fucked if I know..."

#6. Animal Suicides

One of the major things that separate humans from animals is that most lower life forms have an intense will to live. Unless they are defending their babies or food, most animals will prefer to run off than fight, because life is precious. Plus, given the fact that most don't really appear to be all that self aware, the likelihood of goth hamsters and emo pigeons seems pretty thin.

Then why do some animals just up and decide to off themselves sometimes? We've already shown you a bridge that seems to drive dogs into a suicidal frenzy, but that kind of thing doesn't happen often, does it? Well, recently (and by recently we mean 2009) there were a couple of major animal suicides; in Switzerland, 28 cows decided to leap off a cliff over the course of three days, and in California, dozens of monstrous squids beached themselves.

And lets not forget Jatinga, India, where hundreds of birds from several species dive into the ground to kill themselves every year.

This picture is from the Assam-Tourism website, which encourages tourists to go watch birds off themselves.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

That's a tough one. People don't typically record animal suicides unless it is really bizarre or a mass suicide, but studies were conducted as far back as the 1800s to try and figure out why.

But, They Must Have a Theory For This...

They do, and very few of them have anything to do with being jilted or members of a cult. Indian scientists believe that atmospheric conditions confused the birds in Jatinga, causing them to lose their sense of direction and crash into the earth, though evolutionarily speaking, that doesn't make a shit-lick of sense. There's also the old "follow the leader" theory, where they suggest that a tightly packed group is following one lost animal that is a bit sick to accidental deaths, similar to the way that some animals get lost during migration and end up leading a massive amount of birds in the wrong direction.

Still, that might explain one mass suicide, but those cows offed themselves during the span of three days. There wasn't just one line of cows lead by some misguided leader; several gangs of cows separately jumped off on their own accord.

Finally, there is the matter of the mass squid suicide. They all beached themselves around the time of an earthquake, so some figure there might be a connection. But scientists point out that squid are basically aggressive water balloons, and don't have any of the structures in them that cause fish and whales to become disoriented during quakes. Additionally, the squids started beaching themselves three days before the quake, which either means that the two events are unrelated or that squids a) can predict earthquakes (more on that later) and b) are using the earthquake as an opportunity to come on land and attack us at our most vulnerable and disoriented. Granted, that was probably the most poorly thought out invasion ever but still, it's scary to know they're planning something.

#5. Bees Are Disappearing. Worldwide

Remember being a kid and running through the grass barefoot, where halfway across the field, you stepped on a bee and instantly developed an unyielding terror of bare skin on grass? Well, the younger generations won't get to experience that joy. It seems that the honey bee population has been on the decline for years, and no one knows why. This seems like good news at first, since barefoot field-running is a joy most of us can't get enough of, but it's bad news if you like honey, wax, food or pictures of bees fucking. Bees are major pollinators, so without bees, food plants can't reproduce.

A stingy flower dong.

How long has this been going on?

Scientists first noticed a change in bee populations as far back as 1972, but the really dramatic drop didn't start until 2006. The decline was noticed in America and Europe first (both are known for their rich running-fields) although cases started being reported in Taiwan in 2007. It also seems to be spreading to India and Brazil, who may soon be experiencing the joys of field running horror of no honey or pollination.

But, they must have a theory for this...

Several, and they run the gamut from interestingly plausible to absurdly retarded. Some suggestions that don't immediately make the people suggesting them look like idiots include mite-spread viruses, poor nutrition and pesticides. On the other end of the spectrum, we have cell phone radiation. Slightly less retarded is the suggestion that cell phone towers might disturb bees, but they are hardly so ubiquitous that they are killing off massive numbers of insects, who then disappear.

"Where are all THE BEES??"

Some folks are suggesting that, quite simply, we're not getting any new, healthy, baby bees because the only bees attempting to reproduce, for some reason, are related. Yep. Brother and sister bees won't stop fucking each other, and now we'll never have honey again.

#4. Cows Have Creepy Eating Habits. Worldwide

When cows aren't launching themselves from cliffs, they are usually eating. Have you ever noticed anything peculiar about cows when they eat? No? Well, neither did anyone else until some German scientists started looking at satellite photos of cows using the high tech wonder-software known as "Google Earth." It turns out that all cows, everywhere, simultaneously face north (or south) while eating.

The ones that don't probably cliff-dive.

Scientists have a pretty good idea how they do this; like most every other animal on Earth that isn't a human, cows (and deer and sheep) can detect the planet's magnetic fields, so well in fact that power lines fuck up their feeding. The big question is why in hell do they bother?

Note the one on the right, uncomfortably arching its neck to stay in line with the ancient edict.

How long has this been going on?

Here's the weird thing; they are pretty sure these animals always did this, just no one noticed, (probably because the directional behavior of dining cows falls hard in the "Who Gives a Shit" category). Still, farmers and hunters didn't notice. Not even Ronald McDonald, as he surveys his fields of delicious cheese covered death, noticed. It wasn't until thousands of square miles of satellite photos were painstakingly pored over that someone finally said "Holy shit! They're all facing the same way!"

But, they must have a theory for this...

Sort of. They originally thought maybe the position of the sun or wind direction played a roll, but that doesn't account for the fact that all of the deer and cows observed faced magnetic north. So then we are left with "because" as a reason. The people who discovered it decided "fuck it, let neuroscientists figure that shit out."

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