Paw-sonally, we just love any excuse to share interesting facts about our animal friends. So, while you’re on the prowl for the Golden Paw, take paw-se to think about these fun facts.
The hidden dew claw
Lions, hyaenas and even your pets at home have a special fifth digit on their front paw, known as the dew claw.
This extra digit is found just below the carpus (or wrist) joint on the front limbs, and acts as an extra point of stabilisation.
It also provides the animal with more grip if they need to climb trees or hold objects to chew.
Most animals with this claw have five digits on the front paw and four on the back. But interestingly, the African Painted Dog lacks this dew claw altogether and has only four digits on both front and back paws.
While the Red Panda’s paws look innocuous from the top, you may be surprised to know that underneath they do not have paw pads.
Instead of pads made from tough skin, a Red Panda has fur covering its soles. This fur helps to provide extra insultation and keep them warm, and also allows them to grip branches better as they climb.
A Red Panda also has a hidden pseudo thumb which helps it to grasp bamboo to munch on.
Ever wondered why sometimes big cat paws are all adorable with their toe beans one minute, and boasting terrifying sharp claws the next?
That’s because their claws are retractable!
Most animals in the Felidae family – from big cats like lions and tigers all the way down to domestic cats – have a special ligament which allows the animal to retract the claw back into its skin.
This helps to protect their claws from general wear and tear, ensuring they are sharp when catching and tearing prey.
But interestingly, cheetah are the exception - they lack retractable claws as this helps them get traction at fast speeds.
A heartbreaking paw fact
Sadly, many Sun Bears are hunted in the wild for their paws, which are considered a delicacy when turned into bear paw soup.
In fact, our very own Sun Bear Jamran was rescued from this fate as a cub. He was found tied at a restaurant, but thankfully was rescued by Free the Bears and provided a safe home with us.
We work closely with Free the Bears to help protect more bears from the harsh reality of poaching.
A paw-some fact to check at home!
Did you know?
Dog paws have a mild odour that is reminiscent of corn chips! Dogs thermoregulate by sweating through their paws, and this can activate species of bacteria such as Pseudomonas and Proteus. It has a slight yeasty smell that you may recognise, and is even more prominent after they’ve been playing or running as they try to cool down.