5 Animals That Casually Play Tricks With the Laws of Physics

Unless there's something they're not telling us, animals don't actually understand physics. If they fall from the top of a tree and go splat, they have no idea that it was gravity. They only know that they are now dead. But that doesn't stop them from mastering the physical laws of the universe in ways that science just barely understands ...

#5. Dogs Use an Internal Compass When They Poop

Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images

Dog owners, see if this sounds familiar:

You're out walking your dog and are about to cross a busy intersection. You've started to cross, the light is changing, and this is the moment your pooch decides to take a dump. There he is, sniffing out a spot on the asphalt and spinning around in half a dozen circles to find a position he likes while cars are honking and the driver beside you chucks a Red Bull can full of chewing tobacco spit at your face. But Mr. Poochington cannot be stopped -- in his maddeningly obsessive-compulsive way, he must lay out that turd in a very precise alignment with some crazy feng shui shit that only dogs can understand. The very last thought that crosses your mind before the old grouch in the Suburban floors it and runs you over is "Why exactly are dogs so freaking particular about exactly where they poop, anyway?"

"I learned it by watching YOU!"

Believe it or not, science just might have found an answer. After carefully monitoring nearly 7,500 shits from 70 dogs across 37 diverse breeds, researchers found that the dogs consistently laid waste along the north-south axis of the Earth's magnetic field.

And while you'd like to write that off as coincidence, or that maybe they're going by the position of the sun or some shit, scientists are pretty sure that the dogs were following a kind of built-in magnetic sensor. When they disrupted the magnetic field in the room, the pups' poop centers went haywire, dropping turds in the kind of random patterns that up to now most of you assumed were the norm for canine shits.

Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images
Do not test this at home with your dog and a microwave.

If this sounds like some kind of dog turd-based pseudoscience, it's not -- this ability to sense magnetic fields exists in a lot of species. For instance, we've mentioned before how cows have been caught feeding in the same direction on satellite imagery and foxes hunt best while using the magnetic field to triangulate their attacks. It's just that in both of those cases, the magnetic instinct seems to be put toward something useful: a unified herding behavior or an advanced targeting system. But what possible need does a dog have for spinning around and around just to find the perfect angle to play a deuce ... unless it's to flaunt its magnetic mastery in our faces.

#4. Cockroaches and Geckos Are Parkour Masters

defun/iStock/Getty Images

If you were to send something flying off a ramp, whether it be a toy truck, a skateboard, or that car you're test driving and don't feel like bringing back, the result would always be the same -- the moment said object leaves solid ground, gravity takes over, it rotates into a nosedive, and you curse that asshole Newton for being right again.

Jacob Peter Gowy
We glided like birds before Newton fucked things up.

For the most part, this is also the case with animals -- if your precious Mr. Fluffykins runs off the edge of the table like the dumbass he is, he'll crash to the ground immediately -- but two completely unrelated creatures have evolved a fun method of telling the laws of inertia to fuck right the hell off. Geckos and cockroaches, when not respectively selling you insurance and making you puke after finding one in your sandwich, escape from predators via an insane vanishing act that defies reason:

University of California, Berkeley
Geckos evolved this ability during their many years aboard pirate ships.

Well. That certainly shouldn't be possible. It even looks like the little bastard is having fun, and possibly screaming in gecko-ese about being king of the world. And cockroaches, strangely, swing around in the exact same pendulum-like manner:

University of California, Berkeley
This is why it's so hard to shake them off your leg.

Both species are clinging to the edge by their adorable little claws and then using their abs of steel to swing underneath the ledge to safety. They appear to be the only species able to do this without the aid of some kind of special shoes. The claws are essential, though. We know this because after researchers declawed the animals, this happened:

University of California, Berkeley
It's funny because fuck roaches.

#3. Elephants Communicate Across Miles via Inaudible Signals

kurga/iStock/Getty Images

Aside from being big and goofy-looking and causing massive property damage during pissed-off drunken rampages, elephants are known for being one thing: loud. The idea of them having any kind of inside voice, never mind a secret method of communication that's inaudible to humans, just sounds like a bunch of bullshit. But it's not, unless science is just screwing with us.

Brooklyn Museum
"Yeah, and you can stick their ivory tusks up your pee hole to cure your impotency."

By manipulating their vocal cords much the same way we do, elephants are able to communicate via a rumbly infrasonic murmur at a pitch far lower than anything our pitiful human ears could ever pick up. Other elephants can hear it perfectly, though, including ones that live, oh, 20 miles away.

Yep, while some of us can't hear a shriek coming from right outside our living room, elephants are whispering full conversations with their faraway buddies. It's not because their ears are so abnormally large, either (if figuring out animal biology were that simple, anyone could do it) -- it's actually because elephants may have the most sensitive feet on the planet. Their rumbly whispers create little earthquakes that enter a fellow pachyderm's body by the toenail. From there, the sound travels up their leg, through the body, and into the brain. And based on which toenail felt the whispery tremors first, they can even decipher which direction the sound came from.

MattiaATH/iStock/Getty Images
"A new prince has been born to the north. They need our trumpets!"

This bit of superhearing allows elephants to do all sorts of networking. They can stay in touch with loved ones, alert others to nearby predators and thunderstorms, and even flirt with a potential mate. It's like an elephant Internet, only their Nigerian scams are resolved by finding the bastard responsible and goring his ass to death.

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