Are these animal expressions accurate or ridiculous?


This article was originally published in the Early Summer 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

Some animal expressions are apt. (“Nimble as a mountain goat?” Hey, fair enough.) But some are straight-up wrong: bats aren’t blind. Skunks don’t slur their words or pass out in bus shelters. Maybe clams are happy, but we wouldn’t know. They don’t emote.

Apt or absurd? We give our rulings.

“Quick like a bunny”

Rabbits don’t move as fast as, say, a G6 plane, but jackrabbits can really book it (70 km/h), and snowshoe hares can leap five times their own body length.

Ruling: Apt

“Cute as a bug’s ear”

Many bugs, including butterflies and grasshoppers, have tympanic organs located on their abdomens or legs. Ants, on the other hand, hear by feeling vibrations through their feet. Are any of these “ears” cute? Electron microscope says no.

Ruling: Absurd

“Crazy as a loon”

Ignore the red eyes and the maniacal calls. Loons are practical. They reuse their hidden, sheltered nests from one year to the next, restoring instead of building anew. They also pair bond for a respectable five years and transport their young on their backs. Crazy sensible.

Ruling: Absurd

“Hungry as a bear”

Pre-hibernation, black bears will eat 20,000 calories—or 91 Boston cream doughnuts—per day. That’s pretty damn hungry.

Ruling: Apt