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February 18, 2021 – With National Love Your Pet Day approaching and Valentine’s Day just past, our fancy turns to thoughts of hearts (to crib a bit from Lord Tennyson).

But not the arrow-through-the-heart Cupid kind. The amazing animal kind – from hummingbirds to whales, big and small, fast and slow. Here are some fun facts about hearts in the animal kingdom:

  • A hummingbird’s heart rate can reach up to 1,000 beats per minute in some species
  • A blue whale’s heart weighs about 400 pounds
  • A cheetah’s heart rate can speed up to 250 beats per minute within seconds
  • Octopuses have three hearts
  • Although coronary artery disease is common in people, it is rare in cats and dogs
  • Zebrafish can regenerate their hearts
  • A seal’s heart rate can go as low as 10 beats per minute during an extended underwater dive
  • Mammals have four-chambered hearts, many reptiles have hearts with three chambers and fish have just a two-chambered heart
  • Giraffes have the highest blood pressure of any mammal, measuring a stratospheric 280/180
  • A cow’s heart is the size of a human head
  • Starfish, sea cucumbers and jellyfish seem to do fine with no heart at all – what do they send to their significant others on Valentine’s Day?

And a few notes on love:

  • Male hippos impress females by, well, passing gas
  • Whooping cranes do an elaborate mating dance that seems to work well, since these birds mate for life
  • Seahorses are notorious flirts
  • Female porcupines are only receptive for mating 8 to 12 hours per year

Since funding its first heart disease study in 1960, Morris Animal Foundation continues investing in the best animal science focused on heart-related issues. Check out all of our heart disease studies and learn what we’re doing to help animals everywhere, including our pets, stay heart healthy for many Valentine’s Days to come