5 Ridiculous Animal Myths That You Probably Believe

#2. Camels Store Water in Their Humps

The very first time you were shown a drawing of a camel in kindergarten, you were told two things: They have humps and they live in the desert because they can go a long time without drinking.

The teacher or parent probably also put two and two together and said that the very reason the camels can go on those long trips through an oven-hot desert is that they store water in those humps. The idea made its way into old-timey science books, and to this day has been purported by "experts" like Bear Grylls who claim to have gotten water via a camel's humps. So it must come as a surprise when they find out that camel humps don't actually do any such thing.

"Either I've pierced something or I've wet myself."

The Problem ...

In reality, camels don't store water in their humps; they store fat. Fat works much better than water in the desert, because it provides camels with the energy they need to keep up their metabolism and keep moving. Remember that food is also short in the desert.

Man, there was a scorpion buffet right there and he missed it!

Some of you are saying, "Well, duh, they store water in the fat!" and it's true that when camels metabolize all that fat in their humps, they actually yield some water. But the yielded water is lost in the body, and the camel never gets to use it for nourishment.

But Cracked, you say, don't camels need water so they don't dehydrate? Well, yes, of course. But camels work differently from people. Camels can cool down, and stay cool, much longer than we can. They also have special cells that don't allow blood pressure to drop when body volume drops. All of it adds up to a creature that can go a long time without dehydrating.

They're like hardcore metal fans.

So How'd It Get Started?

The origin of this myth is probably twofold. Ancient Roman philosopher/naturalist Pliny the Elder is recorded as having hypothesized that a camel has two stomachs: one made to hold water, and another to hold food. The community at large accepted this as fact, and assumed that those two stomachs must be in the two humps.

There are also stories (which may have inspired Pliny) that say that traveling Muslim armies would split open a camel's belly and drink its water. Well, that's likely because food and water divide into two separate sections of the camel's stomach before digestion, allowing one to get a hold of the portion of the stomach filled only with water. Nomads in the desert are also known to drain water from half-digested camel food in times of desperation. Still, none of this adds up to the "water in humps" story we were all told.

It's like the tauntaun Han Solo killed in The Empire Strikes Back, only you can drink from it as well as live in it.

#1. Bulls Are Enraged by the Color Red


For many of us, the only Spanish bit of culture we know is that they gather in stadiums so that a man in a ridiculous outfit intentionally faces a pissed off bull just to make it more pissed off by waving a big red napkin in its face. It's kind of like the rodeo, except with less adrenaline and more pants pissing.

And then at some point you saw, probably in a cartoon, that it was the color red that mesmerizes a bull. It makes sense -- the whole point of the bull fight is that the bull runs after the red cape while the matador stands aside. Clearly, the bull thinks the cape is the problem.

Bulls are one of the few animal species capable of judging people based on their fashion choices.

The Problem ...

Not exactly. As anyone who works with bulls will tell you, bulls are color blind. No, not the half-assed color blind you see in dogs; bulls full on can't tell the difference between colors.

In reality, bulls get enraged by the flapping motion of the cloth. Which, in retrospect, would piss off anyone, human or animal, that's been starved and thrown into a ring.

We're a bit sick of these photos, so here's a happy bull having a nice sit down.

So How'd It Get Started?

The myth probably comes from another simple misunderstanding. The matador show is divided into three portions; in the first two, or the primer and secundo tercio, the matador utilizes a yellow cape called a capote. The purpose of these stages is to basically frustrate the bull long enough until the show reaches its third stage, called the tercer tercio. In this stage, the matador brings out the signature red cape and enrages the bull into attacking. At this point, the bull is mad enough that the cape could be purple, blue or rainbow with sparkles on it; the bull couldn't care less. He just wants a matador sandwich.

Supersized with fries.

For more misconceptions that need correcting, check out 5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies) and 6 Ridiculous History Myths (You Probably Think Are True).

And stop by LinkSTORM to see why foxes and hounds are always best good friends.

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