The snobs that we are, humans tend to be believe that what makes them different from animals is their intelligence, ability to reason and express emotions. But there’s a lot to learn from our friends from the animal kingdom, because there’s so much that they do so better than us:

1. Squirrels adopt orphans

Squirrels are loners and very territorial. But that does not mean that they don’t show compassion and kindness. Squirrels adopt abandoned pups and raise them as their own, although such acts of kindness are not in line with Darwin’s law of natural selection. What could be more altruistic than taking care for an orphaned offspring as though it were one of your own?

2. Seahorses are great dads

Seahorses make the best fathers in the world and outdo most human dads. There is a reversal of reproduction roles and the males get pregnant. Female seahorses lay eggs in the male’s brood pouch and they carries them for almost 45 days till they hatch open and a fry of babies comes alive!

3.  Friends in the forest

Life in the wilderness might be scary but like in most cases friends help us get by. Here are a few examples of some great animal friendships. Otters hold hands when they sleep so that they won’t float away from each other. Cows have best friends and get stressed if they are separated. Elephants are deeply emotional and compassionate, they believe that friends are forever and visit the bones of dead elephants for years to come.

4.  Animal environmentalists

While we sit here discussing deforestation and global warming, animals are out there doing there bit as tree planters.  Squirrels hoard nuts during winters but often forget where they’ve buried them, and unknowingly end up planting thousands of new years each year. Dogs carry pollen in their fur, bees and birds help with pollination and fruitarians help in seed dispersion.

5. Dolphins are live-guards

Reports about dolphins rescuing humans are real and it’s time humans start returning the favour by saving marine life. They also communicate with whales and guide them to safety,  often support sick or injured animals by swimming under them for hours at a time and pushing them to the surface so they can breathe.

6.  Penguin pebble proposals

Penguins propose to their mates by using a carefully selected pebble and those who say that diamonds are the way to a woman’s heart should learn that money can’t buy you love. When a male Gentoo penguin falls in love, he spends days finding the smoothest pebble on the beach and presents it to the female as a love token.

7. Work like a Honeybees

Bees are highly organized social insects which live in well developed colonies. All honeybees have distinct roles assigned to them and all of them are equally significant to the colony. Worker bees even vote in a democratic manner if they want to find a new home. Looks like the honeybees got work ethics figured out before we started asking for labour rights!

8.  No homophobes

Homosexuality is found in over 1500 animal species but homophobia is found only in one. Same-sex seagull couples adopt young ones and raise them together, lesbian Laysan albatross partnerships last longer than traditional marriages and dolphin bromance stories are famous across the oceans. And, if one asks, “are they discriminated against or excluded from the group?” No, they aren’t.

9.  Birds better at geography

Migratory birds travel to their wintering grounds and back to their summer habitats every year. Can you imagine humans travelling from one spot on the globe to another guided by instinct, the earth’s magnetic field, and the sun and the stars as navigation tools? Humans will probably never be able to understand the experience of having a “a built-in GPS system.

10.  Parrots can talk

Even though parrots don’t have any vocal chords, yet they can mimic human voice and “talk” like them. When kept as pets, these bird start looking at their owners as family and want to communicate with them. Humans can’t speak in bird-speech, but pet parrots can learn human languages!

Maybe we underestimate our fellow earth-dwellers a lot and we should take some time out to know them better – do ants greet each other by taking a bow or how do dogs find they way back home? There’s intelligence in every little being.


About Aditi Angiras

Aditi Angiras is a research scholar and has a Masters in English Literature. She's a poet and can be found at slam jams in Delhi. Likes collecting books, illustrating her poems and hip-hop. She's currently working as a freelance writer/editor to fund her first chapbook.