Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting A Grasp On The Red Panda's Wrist

The red panda has a modified wrist bone that acts as a sixth digit or thumb.

 Picture from Ingrid Vekemans

It shares this trait with the Giant Panda, both of whom are big bamboo eaters.  The modified wrist bone is what allows them to hold onto the bamboo while chewing it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Egg Dumping

Female quails have been known to participate in "egg dumping".

Picture from Tall Timbers

Egg dumping is where a female quail lays eggs in a nest other than it's own.  This is why sometimes you'll find a quail's nest with upwards of 25 eggs in it.  Typically a clutch (group of quail eggs) varies in size between 10 and 20 eggs.

Friday, November 22, 2013

That One Time Of Year You Can Tell Penguins Apart

During mating season is the best time to tell male and female penguins apart.

Picture from Kimball Stock

For the most part, penguins look almost identical, making it very difficult to determine their sex.   However during mating season the males sometimes leave muddy footprints on the back of their female mates, making it much easier to tell the sexes apart.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Osprey's Migration Miles

An Osprey may log more than 160,000 migration miles during its 15-to-20-year lifespan.

 Picture from Birding In Maine

Scientists track Ospreys by strapping lightweight satellite transmitters to their backs. The device cab pinpoint an Osprey's location to within a few hundred yards and lasts up to three years. During a thirteen day span in  2008, one Osprey flew 2,700 miles—from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, to French Guiana, South America. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Night Hunting Ocelots

Ocelots do their hunting in the dark at night.

Picture from National Geographic

During the day, ocelots rest in trees high above the ground.  At night however, they use their excellent hearing and eyesight, along with great speed and agility to hunt their prey in the dark.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Musky Rats?

Ever wonder where Muskrats get their name?

Picture from Wildlife Photography

Muskrats are named for their resemblance to stocky rats, with small eyes, long tails and very short, rounded ears, as well as from the musky odor produced by their scent glands. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Territorial Mole Tunnels

Each mole has it's own burrow system.

 Picture from Green Heritage News

These tunnels are about five centimeters wide and can be over seventy meters long.  The vary in depth from just beneath the surface of the ground, to seventy centimeters deep.  While the territories of several moles overlap, the moles themselves will not enter another mole's tunnel and will avoid each other if they can.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Little Lemmings

Lemmings are very small creatures measuring usually between three and six inches long.  However, the smallest lemming measures only eight centimeters!  

The wood lemming is the tiniest of them all, measuring anywhere between eight and twelve centimeters long.  They typically weigh less than one ounce as well.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping Baby Koalas Safe

Even though most people refer to Koalas as bears, they are actually marsupials.  

 Picture from Stanford

This means their young are born immature and they develop further in the safety of a pouch, being carried around by their mother.  In the pouch, it attaches itself to one of the two teats which swells in its mouth, preventing it from being dislodged from its source of food.  The joey stays in its mother's pouch for about six or seven months, drinking only milk.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Impala Hydration Habits

Impalas usually wait until the hottest part of the day to hydrate.

 Picture from Nottens

Predators, such as lions, leopards and cheetahs, frequently wait around waterholes at dusk in order to  pounce on impalas.  By waiting until the hottest part of the day to drink, the predators are at their most sluggish, leaving the impalas able to drink more leisurely.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eye Spy A House Fly

House flies only have two eyes, but within those eyes are thousands of individual lenses.

Picture from Dirt Doctor

These compound eyes are capable of detecting both the polarization of light and color spectrums that can not be seen by the human eye.   House flies meticulously groom around their eyes by using their forelegs to remove any material that they come into contact with.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Slimey Hagfish

In self defense, hagfish produce slime.

 Picture from PHYS

When harassed, or when predators or other fish are trying to steal their food, a hagfish's glands secrete a stringy protein that expands into a transparent, sticky substance when it comes in contact with seawater. 
 To prevent choking on its own slime, a hagfish can “sneeze” out its slime-filled nostril, and tie its body into a knot to keep the slime from dripping onto its face.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gabbing With Gorillas

Gorillas have several different ways of communicating with each other.

 Picture From Wildlife Trails

One gorilla will communicate with another by using gestures, body postures, facial expressions, vocal sounds, chest slaps, drumming and even odors.  Although they can't make the sounds of human speech, gorillas are capable of understanding spoken languages and they can learn to communicate with sign language.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Albino Frogs

Albino frogs are a fairly common occurrence.
Picture from Asia Finest
It is not uncommon for a recessive gene to be present in many different species of frogs, causing them to be born without normal pigmentation.  These frogs will have redish eyes and a white or pinkish coloring to their skin.  Like the eyes of human albinos, they tend to be highly sensitive to light.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Emu Feathers

The feathers on the emu are unique in the fact that there are two feathers to a single quill.

 Picture from Carolina Emu

Feathers on an emu range greatly in size and texture.   The smallest emu feather may only be an inch long and very soft while the longest feathers are 18 inches or more and feel like straw.    However, they all have the double plume, or two feathers coming out of one shaft.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bald Eagle Babies

 Bald Eagle babies look quite different than their parents, color wise. 

 Picture from Wild Nature Images

Young birds have mostly dark heads and tails with their brown wings and bodies mottled with white in varying amounts. Bald eagle babies attain adult coloring, including a white head, in about five years.

Friday, November 1, 2013

More Than Just A Cat Nap

On average, cats spend 2/3 of every day, or roughly fifteen hours sleeping. 

 Picture from Stuff Point

That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.  Like people, cats either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply.  Also like people, thier sleeping habits are affected by the weather.