Top 10 Animals Who Could Do Astonishing Things

by Linda on October 13, 2009

Do you spend time online looking for strange animal behaviors? For the most part, people don’t look for animals that fall in love, squirrels drinking from straws or dancing cats. But, some people are fascinated with what animals can do, and when they find a connection between animals and humans the fascination never seems to end.

While some might see the following examples of astonishing animal behavior as exploitative, take a look at how the animals listed below are treated. They are treated well and are well-loved to boot. Additionally, in many cases, the money that animals make with their talents often is used to help other animals or other people. Finally, although the animals listed below have shown some astonishing behaviors and talents, we think all animals are amazing.

To that end, the following list is compiled in alphabetical order by the animal’s name to show our readers that we do not favor one animal’s skills over another.

  1. Duke, the Jammin HammieDuke, the Jammin’ Hammie: Duke is artist-in-residence at Lil Orphan Hammies, a shelter for pot-bellied pigs in Slvang, California. Duke performs on keyboards, violin, guitar and the xylophone. He also is an accomplished painter and enjoys golf and basketball. But, his strength is music, and he has performed in what most believe to be the first recording to include music based upon a tune invented by a pig. He also has performed in concerts on television and on stage, taking the level of music just one hoof higher for many folks.
  2. JojoJojo’s Artistry: Jojo the elephant not only paints, but he also is an accomplished musician who can play both the xylophone and the harmonica. Born in 1992, he is one of the top three ‘fine artists’ at the Elephant Art Gallery, creating distinctive works that have sold at international auctions for thousands of dollars. Jojo has an active social life, with three girlfriends and an affinity for human companionship, but when it comes to painting, he’s a moody elephant who may or may not apply his skills.
  3. KokoKoko’s Sign Language: Koko the gorilla has a sign language vocabulary of over 1,000 words, which she uses to communicate. While most of her words are ASL (American Sign Language), she has modified some signs slightly to what is known as Gorilla Sign Langue (GSL), or “Gorilla Speak.” Her posters are used in schools to help children learn ASL. Here, she’s showing the sign for “rotten” as she makes a “claw” hand with her fingers bent in toward her palm, taps her thumb to her nose and brings her hand out and slightly down. Her face also makes a “smells bad” look.
  4. NoraNora, the Piano-Playing Cat: In 2007 a YouTube video that showed a piano teacher’s cat playing the piano went viral for the past two years. The reason for Nora’s popularity is that she wasn’t tearing toilet paper into shreds, nor was she running into walls nor being chased by a raccoon. No, Nora was one smart cat, as she seemed to mimic her master with her piano style and technique. Although her musical stylings are not the most impressive, her movements are what capture the imagination. She performed live on the Today Show and a Lithuanian composer, Mindaugas Piecaitis, created a symphony to accompany Nora’s piano style.
  5. OscarOscar the Comforting Cat: Oscar’s skills have led this cat to curl up with patients at a Rhode Island medical facility who are near death. Oscar makes his rounds daily, inspecting patients and choosing to snuggle up with those individuals only when death is imminent. He has helped over twenty-five patients make the transition to “the other side,” and the medical facility has awarded him a home and a plaque for his compassion. His attention is so predictable that physicians and nursing home staff consider his presence at a bedside as an absolute indicator of impending death. This allows staff members to adequately notify loved ones, and Oscar’s presence comforts those who have no family to mourn a life’s passing. His abilities are so uncanny that Oscar has been written up in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  6. PandaPanda, a Guide Pony for the Blind: Ann Edie has been blind from birth and has used seeing-eye dogs. But, Panda has changed her life, as this small pony is just as skilled and can live longer than any dog. Panda is the first horse to ‘graduate’ from the Guide Horse Foundation, located in North Carolina. The advocates for seeing-eye ponies state that the training and use of a miniature pony is far more cost effective than a dog as well. If you want more information, watch the video.
  7. Skidboot: Skidboot was about to be booted off the farm when the dog owner’s husband, David Hartwig, discovered the dog’s unique talents. This dog could mimic David, knew numbers and orders and could entertain audiences without a bit of shyness. Skidboot’s career began with a $25,000 award for his skills on a talent show. From there, he was on Oprah and performed for people nationwide at churches and in rodeos. David has no doubt that Skidboot has changed his life, as well as the lives of many other people. Skidboot died on 25 Mar 2007 from old age, but you can watch him perform in this video.
  8. ToulaToula, the Life-Changing Dog: Christine Mahaney was working part-time as a paralegal when she and her rescued Border Collie, Toula, won Petco’s America’s Most Talented Pet contest in 2007. Within two years, Christine has become one of the most sought-after on-set trainers in the Midwest and Toula starred opposite Johnny Depp in Michale Mann’s Public Enemies. Watch Toula’s award-winning video, where her skills catapulted this dog and her trainer into a new life.
  9. TwiggyTwiggy, the Waterskiing Squirrel: In 1978, a baby squirrel was rescued after being blown by its nest after a hurricane, and chuck and Lou Ann Best adopted this baby. After Chuck purchased a remote-control boat for his daughter, he began to take the squirrel on waterskiing trips with this remote-control boat. The local paper picked up the story, then the UPI circuit followed, and Good Morning America won an Emmy for their story on Twiggy. From there, it was history, as Twiggy performed for twenty-seven years across the world. Chuck and Lou Ann also taught two miniature horses, two French poodles, one black cat, an armadillo and a toad frog how to ski. Although Chuck suffered a heart attack and drowned in 1997, Lou Ann continues with her squirrel road shows – with Twiggy IV.
  10. TysonTyson, the Skateboarding Bulldog: Tyson was born October 4, 2001, and spent his early years at Huntington Beach, California going crazy over skateboarders. At age one, he was provided with a skateboard and within moments he was riding. For Tyson, who is miserable on days when he is not skating, his skateboard is his life. Tyson has been skating now for about 6.5 years and has been featured in TV shows in England, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the USA. He’s done television commercials and appeared at sporting events. He’s been petted by Martha Stewart and Oprah and he was was voted number 19 on the Vh1 show “Internet Superstars.” This dog is not slowing down. Visit his link to watch videos and more.

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