5 Common Wildlife Misconceptions You Should Do Away With
I don’t know how these misconceptions started, but they somehow pass themselves down from one generation to another. Even if we are corrected, it is very tasking to do away with them. The Igbo saying anaghi amu aka ekpe na nka, comes to mind. Literally; “You can’t learn to use your left hand in old age” (i.e) You can’t teach an old dog new tricks .
Back to the topic, here are some popular wildlife misconceptions I know of…
Once again, text is mine, but pictures were sourced from gugu and national geographic.
1— The King of The Jungle
Except you are using this figuratively, we need to be reminded that lions do not live in the jungle. They are found in open grasslands, savannahs…but never jungles. Also, lions do not have kings- forget Lion King, life isn’t a Disney story. There is an explanation to how this “king of the jungle” came about, but I really can’t remember it now .
2—Venomous Snakes Are Poisonous
While people use these words (venomous and poisonous) interchangeably, they are not the same. So let’s establish the difference between venomous and poisonous.
Venomous = Lethal when injected
Poisonous = Lethal when touched/ingested.
A venomous snake can be poisonous, but a venomous snake is not poisonous (what am I even saying? Venoms are found only in the head and are potent when injected into the bloodstream. When ingested, the stomach acids would break it down like every other amala and
nkwobi that comes into the stomach. However, some snakes are poisonous, but you are safe as that species is not found in Nigeria. Go ahead with your roasting and pepper soup (with caution), you don’t want to eat a snake that consumed a poisoned rodent.
Forest cobra (i), Rattle snake (ii), Gaboon viper (iii). All venomous and edible.
3— Black Panther…Not the movie please.
How many of us still think there is a specific near extinct animal called the black panther? Black panther isn’t a type of animal, it is just a generic term used to describe a melanistic big cat (leopard or jaguar).
Whenever you see a black panther, just know it is either a leopard or jaguar.
4— Sharks eat humans
I once saw a wildlife photographer say the movie (Jaws) didn’t help much. According to him, it demonized sharks and worsened existing galeophobia. While there are species of sharks (great white shark, tiger shark and bull shark, notoriety is in this order) known to carry out most attacks on humans, sharks generally do not eat humans. The shark in Jaws was a great white and it has a very discerning palate. It will most likely back off after biting a human, can’t say the same for the tiger shark.
5— Chameleons change their colours to match their environments
Chameleons are known to change their colours, but their intentions are noble- not any of the reasons we were told. Their skin changes its hues based on mood, temperature and as a means of communication (e.g getting the other gender’s attention). Quite difficult to believe this as their colours are usually way too similar to their environment, thus buttressing the misconception. It might please you to know the chameleon’s color is follow-come to fit into its environment as that is the only defence mechanism it has. Isn’t nature wonderful?
Anyway, if you think a chameleon would take the colour of your mum’s hollandis/adire when placed on it, you have to think again.