Cool Cow Trivia for Kids
If you ask kids to tell you everything they know about cows, chances are they will not be able to come with a whole lot of information beyond the fact that they produce milk, live on farms, and say Moo! Tons of children's books about cows tell funny stories about their lives with farm animal friends. Yet unless a kid's book collection includes non-fiction cow books, chances are they don't know much about how these animals socialize, think, respond to stimuli, and view the world around them. Here are some cool cow facts to share with your little ones next time you are reading a story about these interesting animals.
Cows have high emotional intelligence.
They form relationships with other cows and spend the most time with their favorites. They primarily rely on their sense of smell to guide and develop relationships. Cows are even sensitive to the emotional state of others cows. In fact, they can smell the stress hormone in the urine of other bovines. Cows also are known to hold grudges against other cows in the herd or humans who have hurt them. Their keen sense of memory steers them away from others who are perceived as unfriendly.
Cows have 20,000 taste buds.
A highly developed sense of taste ensures that they are consuming foods with the required caloric content while steering clear of toxic vegetation. Cows dislike the bitter taste most commonly associated with poisonous plants. They love the taste of sweet food that boosts their daily calorie count. Cows also love salty snacks that keep their electrolytes in balance.
Cows have amazing spatial memory.
Animals that graze for food, like cows, have an uncanny ability to navigate mazes and other spatial navigation activities. They remember how to find watering holes, can track previous migration routes, and easily make their way back to newborn calves. Cows can always find their way back to a favorite grazing spot, even if they have been sold off at auction and moved to a farm in the far distance. They always manage to return to their favorite pasture.
The term "cow" only refers to females.
But before they have their first baby, the appropriate term for a female cow is "heifer". Males are called steer or bulls.
Cows have always been vegetarian.
They have unique, four-compartment stomachs with rumen bacteria that allow them to digest a wide variety of plant by-products. As physiological herbivores, cows are not able to tolerate meat except in very small quantities. Cows who consume meat are prone to health problems, including Mad Cow Disease. If infected, cows have difficulty rising, develop bad posture, produce less milk, and develop changes in temperament like nervousness and aggression.
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