Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Squid Nuptial Dance

Squid mating begins with a “circling nuptial dance”, where squids circle around in a specific area of the sea. Then, they begin to mate and continue to do so all day long, only stopping so that the female can dive down and deposit her eggs. When she comes back, she continues mating with the same male. At sunset, they go off to rest and find food, but the next day at sunrise, they head back to the mating area and continue to do it all day again. This routine can sometimes last up to two weeks!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Ferret's Victory Dance

Whenever ferrets get excited, they hop sideways and backwards, engaging in what is called the weasel war dance. They usually do the dance after capturing a toy or stolen object successfully. While they arch their back and sometimes make hissing noises during the dance, they are only showing excitement, not fear or anger. Watch the video below to see an example of two ferrets dancing away!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mating Habits Of The Red-sided Garter Snake

Red-sided garter snakes have quite an unusual time during mating season. Every spring, tens of thousands of these snakes emerge from hibernation and engage in mating balls (like orgies). The males emerge first, waiting for the females. Whenever a female appears, the males surround her, rolling and writhing until one finally mates with her; but often multiple males will take the opportunity.

Even weirder, is that some of the male snakes can create the same female pheromone (a chemical released to attract males). These are known as “she-male” snakes, and they often fool other males into trying to mate with them. However, the reason for why they do this is still unknown.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Swimming for Hippos!

The hippo spends most of its day in water. With eyes, ears and nostrils on the top of its head, it can hear, see and breathe while being almost completely underwater. They can also hold their breath for five minutes or longer when submerged. However, even though the hippo adapted to life under the sea, it cannot swim. It can’t even float because its body is extremely dense. So, it stays in shallow, slow-moving waters, and either walks along the shore or pushes itself off the bottom of the river or lake it resides in.

Bonus Fact: A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4-foot child inside!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eat With Your Tongue

Chameleons have very long tongues, sometimes longer than their own body length. They use their tongue to catch prey by shooting it in and out of their mouth faster than the human eye can see — about 26 body lengths per second. Their tongues are also sticky, allowing even the smallest chameleon to catch large insects.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not Seeing Red

Bulls are actually colorblind. The red cape, which inspired the phrase “seeing red” is just a theatrical tradition. To the bull, the cape is actually gray. It charges at the cape simply because it is irritated by the waving motion in which the matador moves the piece of fabric.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Small Bird, Big Eggs

The kiwi bird (not the fruit) is the smallest living flightless bird. Its wings are only two inches long, which is extremely small considering the bird is about as large as a chicken. Although it is the smallest of the ratites (flightless birds), the kiwi lays the largest egg in the world compared to its body.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Time for a Nap!

Because snails need moisture to keep their bodies going, they mostly sleep during the day to keep away from the sun and its dry heat. Sometimes, however, snails sleep or hibernate for up to three years!

Extra Friday Fact: Land snails are hermaphrodites that can fertilize their own eggs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living Shells

The shell of a turtle or tortoise is made up of about 50 bones that are all connected together. This tissue is very much alive, not like dead tissue found in hair or finger nails. Tortoises also have the ability to store sperm, sometimes producing fertile eggs three years after their last mating.

Bonus Fact: The Galapagos tortoise is the largest living tortoise, weighing approximately 570 pounds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

All in the Family

The chimpanzee is our closest relative with a less-than-one-percent difference in DNA. They also were the first animal to disprove the fact that only humans had the ability to make and use tools. The chimpanzee’s use of branches to scoop up termites from their nest proved that they too could make use of other objects.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What a Job!

Without dung beetles, the world would be piled high with manure. They are responsible for cleaning up most waste in every continent, except Antarctica. These beetles either eat or bury dung all day. In fact, just one can bury dung up to 250 times its own weight in one day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Restocking Fee

In case you weren’t already aware, the Jungle Store recently removed the 15% restocking fee from their Return Policy to continue improving the customer’s shopping experience. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Capybaras Rule the Rodent World

The capybara is the largest rodent in the world. Adult capybaras can be up to 4 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. In comparison, the second largest rodent, a mara, only weighs about 25 pounds. Capybaras are semi-aquatic, which means they spend a lot of time in water. In fact, they can remain underwater for up to five minutes at a time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Javan Rhinos Close to Extinction

The Javan rhinoceros is the world’s most endangered mammal. Only 60 of them still exist, and with a birth rate of about one a year, they aren’t expanding very fast. Almost all of them live in the same Indonesian national park, so researchers have set up 34 cameras to try and watch their behavior. The researchers hope to figure out a way to keep the species alive before it’s too late. Watch the video below for a closer look at this rare mammal.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meet the Real Big Bird

The ostrich is the world’s largest bird. Its eyes, alone, are the largest of any land animal, each measuring almost two inches across. However, even though its body, legs and eyes are huge, its brain is actually one of the smallest in proportion to its size. In fact, just one of its eyes is bigger than its brain.

Bonus fact: Ostriches can’t fly, but they can run up to 43 miles per hour.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Think You're Old?

The Greenland right whale or Bowhead whale is the longest-lived animal on Earth, although many believe humans to be. The average Bowhead whale lives between 90 and 110 years, and one lived to be an estimated 211 years! Although they grow old, they are still youthful; female bowheads are thought to be the most flirtatious ocean mammal, constantly teasing their male counterpart.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Female Whiptail Lizards Can Do It All

The whiptail lizard is the only unisexual reptile, which means it’s the only species of reptile that consists of just females. These female lizards are asexual and reproduce using a method called parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction that produces an exact genetic duplicate of the mother. They have been around for generations, which makes their case especially interesting because without genetic variation, they can never evolve to adapt to their environment. Scientists still don't completely understand how they can survive without evolution, but for now, they seem to be adapting just fine.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hunting in the Dark

Contrary to the saying “blind as a bat,” bats are not actually blind. It is true, however, that they don’t always use their eyes to look for prey; instead, they use something called echolocation. They make a series of high-frequency sounds, which echo back, allowing the bat to locate its prey and avoid obstacles — even ones as thin as a hair — during the hunt. The reason they developed this sense is because they’re nocturnal animals, so they can find food in even the darkest places.

Bonus bat fact: Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly, and they can live more than 30 years!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beavers Keep on Gnawing

A beaver’s teeth never stop growing. Beavers have to gnaw and chew and chomp in order to keep their teeth at a reasonable size. They are second to humans in their ability to manipulate their environment. By building dams, they can change the vegetation and animal life in the areas that they live. The small pools of water that these dams create also serve as a defense to keep out predators.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Watch Out for the Box Jellyfish

The Box Jellyfish is the most poisonous jellyfish: Its sting can kill within three minutes. In fact, the amount of venom in a Box Jellyfish could kill 60 people. This type of jellyfish is pale blue and transparent, and can have up to 15 tentacles that can reach 10 feet in length. They can be found in the Indo-Pacific and off the coast of Northern Australia, so next time you’re in the area make sure to watch out!

Bonus Fact: The Box Jellyfish has 24 eyes, but ironically has blurry vision. And it has 64 anuses.