If the internet was a perfect place, it would surely give us something more valuable than time well wasted. Imagine how awesome it would be if our all-time favorite pet pics and animal videos were to meet the knowledge we all crave. Well, guess what?
This Reddit community titled "Awwducational" is doing precisely that. Created in November 2012, it has become home to some of the most amusing educational facts you’d love to share on your next trivia round with friends. The best part: they all have to do with the most wholesome furry creatures out there, from cute possums and giggling rats, to playful cows and the slow-mo sloths.
So let’s get ready to soak up some did-you-knows and make your biology teacher proud. And scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with r/awwducational senior moderators who shared some insights about their wholesome Reddit community.
Trained African Giant Pouched Rats Have Found Thousands Of Unexploded Landmines And Bombs. Researchers Have Also Trained These Rats To Detect Tuberculosis. And Most Recently They Are Training Them To Sniff Out Poached Wildlife Trophies Being Exported Out Of African Ports
In Most Western Cultures, Black Cats Are Considered A Bad Omen. But In Scottish Lore, The Arrival Of A Strange Black Cat Signifies Prosperity
Cheetahs Are So Shy That Zoos Give Them Their Own Emotional “Support Dogs”
To find out more about this awesome subreddit, we spoke to senior moderators u/IchTanze and u/AGreatWind. Reddit user u/IchTanze, who has been moderating r/awwducational for 5 years now, said that the cool title of the subreddit refers to the “aww” reaction to insects, flowers, baby animals, or a critically endangered species. “‘Aww is in the eye of the beholder’ as we say,” he said.
Meanwhile, “The educational component is what gets added in the comment section, where the user must provide a source for their fact in the title that is either peer-reviewed, from a highly reputable source, or has citations from one of the above to back it up.” Most importantly, the community wants their users to learn something.
Opposums Get A Lot Of Hate, But They Clear Many Unwanted Bugs And Parasites From The Ecosystem And Are Generally Helpful Friends. Please Appreciate Them, Especially This Good Boy
Capybara's Are Social Animals, Who Get Along With A Large Variety Of Other Animals, Including Chickens, Ducks, Dogs, Cats, Llamas, Rabbits And Turtles
Alex, The African Grey Parrot, Is The Only Animal To Ever Ask An Existential Question. He Asked “What Color” He Was
Another senior user u/AGreatWind commented that they allow content about natural history as well as “animals and plants of all kinds, even if their cuteness may be... subjective.” The moderator said that users provide a source for their fact, which must link to peer-reviewed research or an article that links to peer-reviewed research, which is then verified by a member of the mod team.
“Our mod team is a diverse group of animal lovers, enthusiasts, and scientists from a range of backgrounds spanning ecology, biophysics, and infectious disease.”
u/AGreatWind also said that it’s a lot of work as each post needs to be attended to, but the community enjoys it since they “get to learn new things every day.”
A Sloth's Claws Work The Opposite Way That Human Hand Does. The Default Position Is A Tight Strong Grip, And Sloths Must Exert Effort To Open Them Up. This Is Why Sloths Don't Fall Out Of Trees When They're Asleep
Cows Have "Eureka" Moments, And Take Pleasure In Their Own Learning Achievements
Scientists Know That Rats Like To Have Their Bellies Tickled, So They Used That As Basis For Testing Happiness In Rats. They Found Out That The Ears Of Rats Undergoing Tickling Became Droopier And Pinker - Subtle Signs Of Being Relaxed And Happy
Redditor u/AGreatWind said that in his time as a moderator here, “we went from 50,000 subscribers to over 2 million. In that time, we have maintained a consistent approach to verification and civility.” Thus, u/AGreatWind likes to think of /r/Awwducational as "a big little sub."
“We are rather large by subscriber count, but the community still feels small because of the interaction and cooperation we have with them. We try to engage with and listen to our subscribers rather than try to herd them, much as we did when there were only a few thousand.”
In the r/awwducational community, the users make it as much as the mod team. “So often someone in the comments has a remarkable insight about a post's subject animal, be it cooperation amongst lab rats, newly discovered birds of paradise, or the hyoid mechanics of a snow leopard's voice box. It’s fantastic!”