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3 Common Animal Myths

Frogs in boiling water, bumblebees that shouldn’t fly, and bulls seeing red

January 2024

Script

You’ve been lied to ... about frogs.

The old cliché has it that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it’ll hop right out, but if you boil the water slowly, they won’t realize things are heating up.

It’s a great metaphor. And it’s totally wrong.

If you tried to boil a frog, it’d notice as the temperature increased and hop out once it got too hot to handle.

Putting a frog directly in boiling water, meanwhile, would bring the amphibian to an untimely end.i

That’s not the only common myth about animal behavior.

For instance, it’s often said that, according to the laws of physics ... bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly.

The idea seems to have come from a French scientist in the 1930s who posited that the bees’ wings shouldn’t be able to keep their body weight afloat.

In reality, bumblebees fly by flapping their wings side-to-side, not up-and-down.

This creates miniature hurricanes beneath their wings, the force of which propels them upwards.ii

One more myth: Contrary to popular belief, seeing red doesn’t make bulls angry.

It couldn’t, since bulls are actually colorblind to red.iii

It’s the rapid motion — and the taunting of the matador — that gets bulls to charge.

Still, probably best to avoid charging bulls, no matter the color of your cape.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Frogs *would* notice if you slowly boiled them in a pot of water.
  2. The way that bumblebees fly does not defy the laws of physics.
  3. Bulls charge matadors’ capes because they’re waving, not because they’re red.

Sources

  1. "Frogs Are Not Okay With Being Slowly Boiled Alive, Metaphors Be Damned" (Esther Inglis-Arkell)  Gizmodo 
  2. "Explained: The Physics-Defying Flight of the Bumblebee" (Joseph Calamia)  LiveScience
  3. "Why Do Bulls Charge When They See Red?" (Brooke Borel)  LiveScience 

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SOUND: "Mi Changui" (Picoso)

FOOTAGE: LagunaticPhoto (Getty) // CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND HAVE NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED ANY PORTION OF THIS PRODUCTION.

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