Articles to read when you need to be distracted: animal edition

There are times in life when you need a distraction. They run the gamut, including:
waiting to find out if you are pregnant
being super pregnant and being super ready to be done being pregnant
trying to think about anything other than infertility
trying to think about anything other than your screaming child
trying to think about anything other than your loved one who has passed away

While plunging yourself into avoidance is always unhealthy, sometimes you may just need a temporary reprieve – a break, a moment to reset, or something to think about other than the thing you can’t stop thinking about. In those cases, distractions have helped me reduce my stress levels, feel like I’ve done or completed something, and think about something new.

For these reasons, I often find that reading nonfiction articles, particularly longform articles, is a useful distraction. If you feel that way too, keep an eye out for occasional posts – such as this one – that include collated lists of articles for those distracting moments.

For the first post of this kind, I’ve gathered nine articles about the animal kingdom that I found riveting and arranged them here from short to long. Bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need a break from what’s going on in your life – or even just if you want to learn something new!

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


How domestication ruined dogs’ pack instincts (The Atlantic) – I found the comparison between wolves, dogs, and pet dogs fascinating.

That time people sent a cat through the mail using pneumatic tubes (The Atlantic) – all I can say about this strange piece of history is, this poor poor cat.

The surprising reason zebras have stripes (The Atlantic) – don’t let the click-baity title fool you; this quick article does actually explain the main theory.

Sperm whales in the 19th century shared ship attack information (The Guardian) – I’m always surprised to learn that animals communicate in ways I can’t even imagine.

‘Murder hornets’ in the U.S.: the rush to stop the Asian Giant Hornet (The New York Times) – I came across this article in late 2020 when I started wondering, “Whatever happened with those murder hornets?” This piece gave me context I missed earlier because, you know, 2020 was a sort of weird year.

Why animals don’t get lost (The New Yorker) – As someone who gets lost frequently, I am all sorts of jealous about the incredible tools different species have for navigation that are described in this article.

The secret life of bees (Smithsonian Magazine) – I think there’s something romantic about how bees choose homes.

Ruffled feathers (Texas Monthly) – This emotional examination is not one I recommend if you’re grieving, but otherwise it is an engaging social, political, and ecological story of an endangered species: whooping cranes.

52 blue (The Atavist Magazine) – This article pulls out threads of what it means to be human in several individual’s responses to a mysterious whale. (Heads up – there’s an f-bomb in this article.)


What animal articles have provided you with a good distraction? Comment below!

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