Thursday, January 28, 2010

Desert Cottontail

Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii)

The Desert Cottontail, also known as Audobon's Cottontail, spends most of the day concealed in a shallow form and becomes most active after sunset. This wittle wabbit scratches a living throughout the central United States from eastern Montana to western Texas, and in northern Mexico. Throughout the weatward valleys its range extends to central Nevada and southern California and Baja California. Shrubbery, grassy grass, and other plant material such as fallen fruits and nuts, make up the bulk of its diet. It rarely drinks as it satiates itself from glistening dew and the water in the plants it consumes. Many desert animals prey mercilessly on cottontails, and sometimes-perhaps to better see its foes-this particular cottontail occasionally climbs trees. The cottontails traditional anti-predator behavior is to hightail it out of the way of harm in zig zags; it can reach speeds up to almost 20 mph!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Northern Sea Lion

Northern Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)

The Northern Sea Lion also known as the steller sea lion, is a threatened specis of sea lion in the norther Pacific. An inhabitant of like coastal waters and offshore islands, the range all the way from the North Pacific from the the coasts of Japan and Kamchatkato the islands of the Bering Sea and coastal Alaska, and southward to California's Channel Islands. They can be easily spotted on Seal Rocks, near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, and around the Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast. Due to the northern sea lions' significant, unexplained declines in their population over their range in Alaska, they have attracted a considerable amount of attention. Northern sea lions eat a great variety including octopus, squid, crab and fish. Fisherman dislike them as they sometimes eat "commercial fish" and damage their nets in the process. Hunters in British Columbia, in a single year, killed 9,000, cutting the provicial population from 12,000 to 3,000.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Cute Lil' Coati

Coati (Nasua nasua)
Native to South America, Central America, and south-west North America, unlike other procyonids, this one is the most active during the day. The coati's sensitive, tough, and flexible snout has given it many nicknames: hog-nosed coon, pizotes and snookum bears. It is omnivorous and feeds on anything from berries and mice to insects and lizards. Although their long tail cannot be used to grasp, it helps in maintaining balance while tree climbing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Doggone Dingo

The Dingo (Canis lupus dingo)
Living largely independent from humans in its distribution, the dingo is a breed of dog which has reverted to a wild state for thousands of years. Thus, in its wild form, dingoes are not by nature a pack dog. The dingo is most commonly found in the Australian mainland and where there are bodies of water as it needs to drink once a day. Temperment a bit aloof, the dingo has the unusual ability of being a great tree climber! Preying on man's livestock, the relationship between the two is untidy and quarrelsome. It is possible to domesticate a dingo if they are taken from the litter before 6 weeks of age. The term "dingo" originated during early European colonization in New South Wales and was most likely derived from the word "tingo", a term used by the aboriginal people of Port Jackson to describe their camp dogs.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hideous Hagfish

Hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) Hagfish are found in all depth of water and lie buried in fine sands or silt when not feeding. A hermaphrodite, Hagfish belong to the group of primitive, jawless fish including the marine and freshwater lampreys. A thick layer of glutinous slime covers the whole body and can be sloughed in copious amounts when handled. It should be noted that they are the only animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column. Their fossils date back approximately 330 million years to the Late Carboniferous period. Due to their unusual feeding habits and slime-producing capabilities, members of the scientific and popular media to dub the hagfish as the most "disgusting" of all sea creatures.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Save the Saiga Antelope

Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica)
Saiga is classified as critically endangered, there is an estimated total number of 50,000 Saigas today. Males are bigger than females and are the only sex to carry horns. The horns have some value as Chinese traditional medicine and for that reason Saiga are now endangered by poaching. Their enlarged nose that hangs down over the mouth makes for a very distinctive appearance. They are found in only a few areas today, Kalmykia, three areas of Kazakhstan and in two isolated areas of Mongolia. Log on to to learn more about how you can play role in preventing one of the most sudden and dramatic population crashes of a large mammal ever seen!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Mickey Mouse of the Desert

Long-eared Jerboa (Euchoreutes naso)
Very little is known about this little creature. Named the Mickey Mouse of the desert, the Long-eared Jerboa, is a nocturnal mouse-like rodent with a long tail, long hind legs for jumping, and exceptionally large ears. Like other jerboas, they spend the daylight hours underground in burrows, which they dig themselves. It has been reported in China and in ten localities in desert habitats of Trans Altai Govi Desert and the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The species is thought to be declining as a result of human disturbance of its habitat.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Never heard of a Narwhal!?

Narwhal (Monodon monocerus)
Narwhal's hold a special place in my heart as they definitely could be categorized as one of the many "freaks of nature." The narwhal's common name means "corpse whale" (nahvalr) in old Norwegian, from the spots and blotches of colour resembling that of a drowned person. These medium-sized cetaceans dwell only in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. Thought to be a secondary sex charcteristic like the antlers on a deer, the male narwhal is unique among cetaceans, in having a tooth that continues to grow until it becomes lancelike, hollow and can reach up to 9 feet! Although this unicornlike tusk serves no evolutionary purpose, they have fun with it when they joust with their fellow narwhal buds. Centuries ago the narwhal's tusk was sold by hunters as a "unicorn's horn" for ten times its weight in gold! In September 1969, the New York Aquarium became the first to exhibit a live narwhal, a calf that lived for only a few weeks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Giant One-Horned Chameleon

The Meller's chameleon is the largest chameleon not native to Madagascar. They can grow up to two feet long and weigh more than a pound. With their size and the small horn that comes sticks out of their snout, they earned the nick name "giant one-horned chameleon." Like all chameleons, Meller's change colors with their emotions, instead of with their surroundings (like most people think).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cuban Screech Owls' Naked Legs

Cuban screech owls stand out amongst the more than 200 owl species because they don't have feathers that go down to their toes. Instead, they have featherless feet because of the warm, tropical climate that they live in. In fact, their naked appendages look like legs, but they are actually just their feet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Vibrant Parrots Fly Big

The macaw parrot is extremely vibrant, adapted to live in the colorful habitat of the Central and South American rain forests. They are smart, social birds that gather in groups of 10 to 30. And their loud squawks can be heard throughout the forests. There are over 17 species of macaw; unfortunately, many of them are endangered because of their rapid loss of habitat. The hyacinth macaw is the largest of the parrot family with a wingspan of up to 4 feet long.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Agoutis Crack the Nut

The agouti is a rodent that lives in Central and South America, as well as the West Indies. It looks very similar to the guinea pig, although it's much larger. The agouti walks on its front feet that contains five toes, while its back feet only contains three. Amazingly enough, the agouti is the only animal that can crack through the outer shell of the Brazil nut.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Inflatable Fish

Because pufferfish are slow and vulnerable to predators, they use the elasticity in their stomachs to swallow water and air to inflate themselves into an inedible ball several times larger than their normal size. These fish also contain a natural toxin called tetrodotoxin that can be lethal to fish and other animals. In fact, one pufferfish holds enough toxins to kill 30 adult humans. Some predators, like tiger sharks and sea snakes, aren't harmed by the pufferfish's natural toxins though.