Concept : Super Senses in Animals
The sense organs in animals are more active and sharper than those in humans. Animals use their sense organs for the following functions—
- To recognise their mate.
- To recognise other members of their groups.
- To convey the alarm calls.
- To mark and identify their territory.
- Ants have very effective olfactory receptors. They are four to five times more active than any other animal.
- Ants live in colonies. Their colony comprises worker ants, queens and fertile males.
- Worker ants are responsible for searching for food for all the members. On locating the food, the worker ant returns to the colony while marking the trail by continuously tapping its abdomen to the ground. It helps the ant remember the path that the fellow members of the colony later use to go and collect the food.
- Ants follow the trails of the other members of their colony to not be separated from them.
- Ants generally hibernate in winters, but some species are active depending on the environmental temperature.
- Male mosquitoes identify their female counterparts by their smell.
- They can identify their host by the warmth of their body.
- Male silkworms identify their female partners by their smell from several kilometres.
- The sense of smell is very prominent in dogs.
- They have around 2 billion olfactory receptors, increasing their olfactory reception by 100,000 times.
- They have a keen sense of hearing.
- Their ears are comprised of 15 different types of muscles, which enables them to move their ear in all directions.
- They can hear sounds from a long distance.
- Dogs have a wider angle of view than human beings.
- They can efficiently identify the movements around them.
- Their night vision is better than humans.
Dogs mark their territories by urinating and defecating. They can identify the visit of other dogs in their area by the smell of their urine.
- The eyes of the birds are located on the sides of their head.
- It enables them to locate two objects at a time.
- They have sharper eyesight because of more light receptors present in their eyes.
- Kiwi is the only bird whose nostrils are present on the top of its beak. It finds its food by sniffing.
- Owls have an excellent sense of hearing, and can identify faint sounds.
- Birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and owls have their eyes in front, allowing them to locate their prey even if they are far away.
- Some birds like snipes have a long beak that is very sensitive to touch. It allows them to hunt wriggling worms from deep mud.
- Monkeys use their sense of touch wisely because it plays a vital role in the type of habitat they live in.
- They use their hands, legs and tail to detect the presence of trees and branches.
- They use their sense of taste to differentiate between good and bad food. A bitter taste indicates bad food, while the sweet and sour flavours indicate good food.
- The sense of hearing in monkeys is very crucial. They use their sense of hearing to identify the alarm calls made by their group members to convey any danger or presence of a predator.
- The trunk of an elephant is known for its flexibility and strength. It is used for smelling, breathing, drinking, grabbing things and trumpeting.
- The trunk is actually an elongated nose.
- The olfactory senses of elephants are highly developed. They can smell food from several miles afar.
- The large ears of elephants can gather sound waves that enable them to hear the faintest sounds.
- The eyes of dolphins are capable of seeing both inside and outside water.
- They have an acute sense of hearing.
- Their auditory nerve is highly developed that increases their sound processing capability.
- Dolphins communicate using a wide range of sounds and non-verbal gestures.
- The whiskers in a tiger can sense the moving air.
- Whiskers help the tigers to find prey in the dark by detecting its movement.
- Tigers have a sharp sense of hearing and can differentiate between animals walking and rustling leaves.
- Tigers roar differently for different purposes. Their roar can be heard up to a distance of 3 kilometres.
- Tigers avoid encroaching the areas of other tigers and mark their territories with urine.
Sleep cycle of animals:
- The sleeping patterns differ from animal to animal. Sleep is an important life process that helps an organism in various ways.
- Apart from refreshing and rejuvenating the body, sleep is essential to conserve the energy in the absence of food.
- Also, the sleep patterns of animals change to protect themselves from extreme environmental conditions like the phenomena of aestivation and hibernation.
- The factors that affect the sleep cycles of animals are as follows—
- Cold-blooded or hot-blooded
- Brain size
- Feeding patterns
Sleep cycles can be represented diagrammatically.
Example:The sleep cycle of a sloth is given below—
- The full circle indicates 24 hours of a day, where each segment represents two hours.
- The number of hours an animal sleeps in a day is represented by the shaded portion.
Example:The sleep cycles of some of the animals are given below—
Territory: A specific area defended by an individual animal or a group of animals for the purpose of mating, nesting, etc.
Alarm calls: These are specific sounds made by animals in response to danger or an approaching predator. The alarm calls alert the other animals of the group.
Non-verbal gestures:Movements that are done to communicate something without speaking like hand movements, body posture, etc.
Aestivation: It is a summer sleep exhibited by cold-blooded animals (like earthworms, snails etc.) living in harsh regions like deserts to protect themselves from the hot and dry climate. The animals sleep in a cool and moist place to prevent water loss and body damage due to heat.
Hibernation: It is a winter sleep exhibited by hot-blood animals (like mammals, bats etc.) during the cold winter climate. The animals sleep in a warm place to prevent body damage due to the extreme cold. They previously eat a huge amount of food that gets stored as fat which is utilised during the hibernating period.
Did You Know?
- Butterflies use their legs to taste the nectar of leaves.
- Numerous receptors are present along the jawline of the crocodile, which enables it to detect the prey from a far distance.
- Pigeons have a compass-like inbuilt mechanism to detect and analyse the directions based on the Earth’s magnetic field.
- The tiny hairs on the body of a catfish are so sensitive that they can detect an earthquake in advance.
- Nocturnal animals or birds are not able to see colours.