Monday, December 30, 2013

The United States First Spanish Donkey

George Washington owned the first Spanish donkey in the United States.

 Picture from Communio

 In 1785, George Washington was sent a gift of two Spanish donkeys from Charles III, the King of Spain.  Charles III learned that Washington wanted to breed mules for work on the Mount Vernon plantation, and promptly sent two prize mules (which were not permitted to leave the country) across the Atlantic Ocean.  Sadly, only one of them, Royal Gift, survived the trip.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Things A Dingo Mother Does For Her Babies

The female dingo obtains some of the moisture she needs to produce milk for her puppies by eating their droppings.

 Picture from NY Times

Both male and female dingoes take responsibility for rearing their young. Both parents will collect food for their pups, traveling long distances from the burrow and leaving potential prey nearby and untouched, so the pups can later learn to hunt it for themselves, but is the female dingo who provides them with milk. Although fully weaned, a pup may still approach its mother for regurgitated food.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Modern Day Cow Milking

It used to take a person one hour to milk six cows by hand.

 Picture from The Milk Run

Today, a person can milk 100 cows in an hour with modern machines.  Before modern milk delivery and dairies, if a person was traveling and wanted milk, they had to bring their cow along with them on their journey.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chubby Cockatoos

Cockatoos are prone to becoming overweight.

 Picture from Cockatoo Sanctuary

If their diets aren't carefully monitored, captive pet Cockatoos have been known to gain weight and sometimes become obese. Cockatoo owners are encouraged to offer their birds access to minimal seed and a variety of fresh, bird-safe fruits and vegetables. In addition to restricted seed intake, Cockatoo owners are also cautioned to reserve items such as nuts and breads for treats.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Go Ahead, Chow Down Mr. Caterpillar

 A caterpillars one and only job is to eat as much as it can.

 Picture from Amazing Butterflies

During the larval stage, the caterpillar must consume enough to sustain itself into adulthood. Without proper nutrition, it may not have the energy to complete its metamorphosis, or may be unable to develop eggs as an adult. Caterpillars can eat an enormous amount during a life cycle stage that typically lasts several weeks. Some consume 27,000 times their body weight during this life phase.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Canada Geese Nest Guardians

While the female Canada Goose incubates the nest, it's up to the male Canada Goose to protect it.

Picture from Arkive

Canada Geese often build their nests on the ground near water leaving them open to predators.  While they prefer a spots with an unobstructed view in multiple directions, it is the male's job to guard the female and the nest.  Soon after they hatch, goslings spend most of their time sleeping and feeding and will  remain with their parents constantly

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bobcat Enemies

  Several causes are well known for bobcat deaths, but human beings tend to be the biggest contributor.

Picture from Animal Kingdom Inc.

Due to the fact that bobcats are still hunted for their pelts in 38 states as well as Canada and Mexico, human beings are their main predator.  Aside from humans, adult bobcats are threatened by mountina lions and wolves while bobcat kittens fall prey to large owls, coyotes and foxes.  Diseases such as rabies, and other conditions caused by parasites are also cause for bobcat deaths. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A "Flying Rodent" No More

Bats are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are to rodents.

 Picture from Discovery Kids

While they might look like a rodent, several evolution studies indicate that the Old World fruit bats and flying foxes may actually be descended from early primates such as lemurs. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Adolescent Apes

Apes have a long childhood.

 Picture from Fine Art America

Great apes are born helpless and must be carefully nurtured by their mothers from the moment they are born.  A great ape is always with its mother during its first few years of infancy, and remain close for the years following, until it learns how to behave in it's community.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tiny Falcons

American kestrels are the smallest falcons in the Americas.

American kestrels are seven to eight inches in length, and have a wingspan of less than two feet, making them very small for a bird of prey.  Females tend to be larger then males, but still come under a foot in length.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Beneath The Aardwolf's Burrow

 The word aardwolf means "Earth wolf" in Afrikaans.

The aardwolf was given that name because of how they live underground in burrows.  While underground, the aardwolf uses it's large ears to hear termites and hunt them.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sink Your Teeth Into This Wolf Fact

Wolves can crush large bones in just a few bites.

 Picture from Vital Animal

The wolf's jaw can exert 1500 pounds of pressure per square inch, twice the jaw pressure of a German Shepherd.   Wolves have 20 teeth in the upper jaw and 22 teeth in the lower jaw, for a total of 42 teeth.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

That's A Vole Lot Of Babies...

Voles are the most prolific breeders in the rodent family.

Picture from FCPS

Voles produce between three and five pups per litter and up to 17 litters in a year.  A female vole can have 80 offspring in a year! However, since the vole has a wide variety of predators, including large birds, most only survive a few months in the wild.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Takins aka The Goatelope

Known for having things in common with both goats and antelopes, the takin is sometimes referred to as a goat- antelope.

Picture from Zooborns

Most closely related to goats and sheep, the takin is a large, muscular, hoofed animal. The takin nose is long like a moose, horns look like a wildebeest’s, body is bison shaped, it has a bearlike tail, and mountain goat feet and agility.v Their combination of features has also earned them the nicknames "cattle chamois" and "gnu goat".
large, muscular, hoofed mammal

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Inside A Sperm Whales' Head

 Sperm whales' heads are filled with a mysterious substance called spermaceti. 

 Picture from Monterey Bay Aquarium

Scientists have yet to understand its function, but the fluid—which hardens to wax when cold—helps the whale alter its buoyancy so it can dive deep and rise again.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sea Turtle's Nesting Behavior

Little is known about why sea turtles nest on some beaches and not others, but majority of female sea turtles return faithfully to the same beach each time they are ready to nest.

 Picture from Active Rain

Not only do they choose the same beach to nest each time, they often return to a spot within a few hundreds yards of their last nesting location. Sea turtles are generally slow and awkward on land, and nesting is exhausting work.