• If an American black bear is pregnant when it goes into hibernation, she could give birth without ever awakening. While she is still in her torpor, her body will draw on reserves of fat to produce milk to nurse her young. However, if something that could be dangerous to her young comes within 50 feet of the den, the mother bear’s heart rate will spike and she will wake to defend the cubs.
• If you’re holding your nose, you can’t hum. Try it.
• If you happen to be fortunate enough to spot numerous bears together in the wild (or unfortunate enough, depending on the circumstances), thanks to this column you’ll be able to call the group by its correct collective noun: It’s a sloth or sleuth of bears.
• On a chemical level, there’s not too much difference between blood and seawater.
• If you’ve ever looked closely at a zipper, you may have noticed the letters YKK on the tab. The letters stand for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha, which is Japanese for “Yoshida Manufacturing Shareholding Company,” which produces most of the zippers found in the U.S.
• An octopus has three hearts.
• A recent study by scientist Karl Berg suggests that an adult green-rumped parrotlet, a tiny bird native to Venezuela, will “name” its babies, assigning each a particular series of peeps to identify it. Not only that, other parrotlets then learn to associate that exact series of peeps with that particular bird, and actually use the sounds to get its attention.
Thought for the Day: “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” — Xenocrates