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African Elephant

Photo Credit: Gary M. Stolz Although the African elephant is the largest and most powerful of all living land mammals, it is also amo...

Monday, October 9, 2017

Kangaroo


The kangaroo is a marsupial that is indigenous to Australia and and the Indonesian island of New Guinea. Although kangaroos are often seen congregating in groups, kangaroos are generally fairly solitary mammals but kangaroos are also known for being sociable animals when with other kangaroos.

Kangaroos have a deep pouch on their front in which to carry their young. A baby kangaroo is called a joey. Kangaroos eat plants, nuts, berries and insects that the kangaroos rummage for in the arid wilderness.

Kangaroos have large, flat feet which the kangaroos use in order to aid their movement which the kangaroos do by hopping. Despite the fact that kangaroos do not move about in the conventional way, kangaroos can often be seen running at high speeds, generally when the kangaroo is scared or being chased by oncoming predators.

Kangaroos are herbivores. They eat grasses, flowers, leaves, ferns, moss and even insects. Like cows, kangaroos regurgitate their food and re-chew it before it is ready to be totally digested.

Did you know?
There are four species of kangaroo, the Red, Antilopine, Eastern Grey and Western Grey Kangaroo.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Paper Wasp


In North America alone, there are over 22 species of paper wasps. Paper wasps measure 1.9 to 3.2 cm in length. Their narrow bodies are most commonly dark brown in color, with black wings and yellow markings. Some even appear similar to yellow jackets in coloration.

These insects are called paper wasps due to the construction of their nests. Paper wasp nests are made from plant material combined with saliva and appear to be made from paper. Their nests include numerous compartments within which wasps lay their eggs and rear their young. The nests typically do not have an outer shell with the cells of the nest visible. In fact, it somewhat resembles an umbrella and is the reason they may be called umbrella wasps. These nests are frequently found in sheltered areas, such as door frames, window sill and the eaves of houses.

Did you know?
Paper wasps feed on nectar and pollen, although they also hunt for insects such as caterpillars with which to nourish their colonies’ larvae.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Scorpion Fish



A scorpion fish is a group of predatory, marine fish that are found amongst coral reefs and in shallow waters in the more temperate oceans. The scorpion fish is most closely related to the lionfish and is most commonly found in the Indian and South Pacific oceans.

There are more than 200 recognized species of scorpion fish, hiding amongst the ocean reefs and in artificial aquariums around the world. Scorpion fish are kept in tanks by numerous people because of their interesting appearance and behavior. The body of the scorpion fish is often cover in feathery fins that help the scorpion fish to camouflage itself into the surrounding coral. The colors and markings of the scorpion fish are also used to help the scorpion fish to hide.

Scorpion fish are nocturnal predators, and spend the daylight hours resting in a hidden crevice in the coral. Scorpion fish are also able to ambush their prey from this position and often catch small fish by surprise.

Scorpion fish are able to stun their prey with their venom before eating it. Scorpion fish also use their venomous sting to fend off unwanted predators.

Did you know?
Scorpion fish are omnivorous fish and hunt small fish, crustaceans and snails on the coral reefs.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Peafowl


Peacocks and peahens—these are the birds known as peafowl, members of the pheasant family. Although most people call the species peacocks, the word really only refers to the male bird. Just like among chickens, where the male is called a rooster or cock and the female is called a hen, male peafowl are peacocks, female peafowl are peahens, and babies are peachicks! There are two peafowl species: Indian or blue peafowl and green peafowl. Most people are familiar with the Indian peafowl, since that is the kind found in many zoos and parks.

As omnivores, peafowls eat plants, berries, seeds and insects.

The blue peafowl lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peafowl is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peafowl, inhabits African rain forests.

Did you know?
The Indian peafowl is the national bird of India and is protected in that country. To Hindus, the peafowl is a sacred bird; the spots on the peacock’s train symbolize the eyes of the gods.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mountain Chicken

Photo Credit: TimVickers
Despite its name, the mountain chicken is actually one of the world's largest frogs. It is so named because its meat is said to taste like chicken. Sadly it is also one of the world's most threatened frog species. Once found on many Caribbean islands, it is now restricted to a few moist areas of only two: Dominica and Montserrat.

Its diet is highly varied, but it is thought to be strictly carnivorous, largely consuming crickets, although it also eats millipedes, insects, crustaceans and even small vertebrates, such as other frogs, snakes and small mammals.

Did you know?
Also known as giant ditch frogs, mountain chickens are one of the largest frogs in the world, measuring up to 21 cm.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fiddler Crab


You can find fiddler crabs in West Africa, the Eastern Pacific, the Western Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific. The fiddler crab lives in a moist habitat with many dens where they can hide. They are often seen digging holes in the sand to make homes. They live in sandy beaches, mangroves, salt marshes and muddy beaches of West Africa, the Western Atlantic, the Eastern Pacific and the Indo-Pacific, fiddler crabs are easily recognized by their distinctively asymmetric claws.

Fiddler crabs are characterized by a rectangular shell and a narrow abdomen, which is flexed under the body. They are called fiddler crabs because the males have one enormous claw, held in front of the body like a fiddle. A fiddler crab is a small crab that walks sideways. The male has one giant claw but the female doesn't.

In the wild fiddler crabs eat algae. Fiddler crabs are scavengers and feed on organic matter that are found on the surface of rocks and mud. Fiddler crabs as with most crabs are not picky eaters.

Did you know?
Males have one large claw and one small claw. Females' claws are the same size.

Monday, August 14, 2017

African Lion


Lions live and roam in open country and fields where there are spreading trees, tall reeds and grass which offer nature camouflage for these skillful predators.

Usually around twenty of these animals (sometimes as many as forty) live together in groups called prides. A pride usually consists of one or more mature males plus several females and their cubs. The adult members hunt together to stalk and ambush prey and are capable of reaching speeds up to thirty-seven miles per hour, but only for short distances.

Males are identified by the dark mane of hair around their head, neck and shoulders. Females are slightly smaller and have no mane. It is for this reason that the female is usually the one to capture prey, as she is far less noticeable. It is the male's job to protect the pride.

Lions reach their prime at about five years, but can start hunting for themselves at about one year.

Did you know?
Except for humans, lions have no natural enemies.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Scorpion


Scorpions are not insects but arachnids, like spiders, and have eight legs and two main body regions, the prosoma, or cephalothorax, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen. The prosoma has two eyes on top and two to five lateral eyes along each side (as many as five pairs).

Scorpions are found on every continent except Antarctica, in habitats ranging from tropical rain forests to grasslands and deserts. As adults, most scorpions are nocturnal and solitary, usually staying in the same territory throughout their lives. Many species live in burrows they dig or claim and defend from other animals. Scorpions use the burrows and other types of shelters to hide from predators and to stay cool during hot days and warm during cold nights. Their burrows are typically small and snug. Scorpion species that do not burrow may climb trees or hide under bark or leaf litter for shelter.

Scorpions use different ways to get a meal, which may be an insect, spider, or even a small mouse or lizard. Many species wait by their burrow with pedipalps open and stinger raised until their unsuspecting prey wanders by. Others forage for their prey, and some species may even dig pitfall traps in the sand for prey. Scorpions have such sensitive hairs on their pedipalps that they can even locate and snap up an insect in flight. Once the prey is within reach, it is grabbed with the pincers and crushed. Most scorpions use their venomous sting only if needed, as it takes a lot of body energy to produce more venom. Younger and smaller scorpions may use their stinger more often than older and larger ones.

Did you know?
Scorpions have a very tiny mouth and can only suck up liquid, so prey that is caught is mashed up and bathed in enzymes that dissolve the prey's insides, a process that may take up to an hour.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mahi-mahi

Photo Credit: http://www.fishtrack.com
The mahi-mahi or common dolphinfish is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.

Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and a single long-based dorsal fin extending from the head almost to the tail. Mature males have prominent foreheads protruding well above the body proper. Females have a rounded head. Their caudal fins and anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colors: golden on the sides, and bright blues and greens on the sides and back. The pectoral fins of the mahi-mahi are iridescent blue. The flank is broad and golden. Out of the water, the fish often change color (giving rise to their Spanish name, dorado, "golden"), going though several hues before finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death.

Did you know?
Mahi-mahi can live up to 5 years, although they seldom exceed four.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mallard


Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads, and wide, flat bills. Like many “dabbling ducks” the body is long and the tail rides high out of the water, giving a blunt shape. In flight their wings are broad and set back toward the rear.

Mallards occur throughout North America and Eurasia in ponds and parks as well as wilder wetlands and estuaries. The male’s gleaming green head, gray flanks, and black tail-curl arguably make it the most easily identified duck. Mallards have long been hunted for the table, and almost all domestic ducks come from this species.

Mallards can live in almost any wetland habitat, natural or artificial. Look for them on lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, and coastal habitats, as well as city and suburban parks and residential backyards.

Mallards are “dabbling ducks”—they feed in the water by tipping forward and grazing on underwater plants. They almost never dive. They can be very tame ducks especially in city ponds, and often group together with other Mallards and other species of dabbling ducks.

Did you know?
Mallards are generalist foragers and will eat a wide variety of food. They don’t dive, but dabble to feed, tipping forward in the water to eat seeds and aquatic vegetation. They also roam around on the shore and pick at vegetation and prey on the ground.

Monday, July 17, 2017

American Alligator

Photo Credit: nationalzoo.si.edu
American alligators live in Southeastern United States. They can be found in rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps.

Alligators are efficient predators and eat just about any animal that comes near, including fish, small mammals, birds and reptiles. They rarely attack humans unless provoked.

American alligators once faced extinction. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on the endangered species list in 1967. Fortunately, the legal protection worked. Just 20 years later, American alligators were taken off the list.

An average male American alligator is 10 to 15 feet (three to five meters) long. Half of its length is its massive, strong tail. An alligator can weigh as much as half a ton (1,000 pounds), but an average male weighs between 500 and 600 pounds (227 to 272 kilograms). Females are usually smaller than males.

Alligators are carnivorous. They have very strong jaws that can crack a turtle shell. They eat fish, snails and other invertebrates, birds, frogs and mammals that come to the water's edge. They use their sharp teeth to seize and hold prey. They swallow small prey whole. If the prey is large, they shake it apart into smaller, manageable pieces. If it is very large, they will bite it, then spin on the long axis of their bodies to tear off easily swallowed pieces.

Did you know?
American alligators live about 50 years in the wild. After they are 4 feet long, alligators are safe from predators except humans and occasionally other alligators.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Photo Credit: Stemonitis
The Caribbean spiny lobster is one of the largest crustaceans on coral reefs and seagrass beds in the Caribbean Sea and adjacent waters and is one of the most valuable fishery resources for every country throughout its range. Along with true crabs, prawns, and other lobsters, the Caribbean spiny lobster is a decapod; it has ten legs. It is covered with a spiny exoskeleton that provides it some protection from potential predators, but it remains the favorite prey of many species, including nurse sharks and Nassau groupers.

During the day, Caribbean spiny lobsters remain hidden in caves, under ledges, and in crevices on the reef surface. During the twilight hours and at night, individuals are much more active and forage along the reef for small snails and crabs, decaying organic matter, and some plants. Caribbean spiny lobsters will eat most things that they find. Unlike the famous Maine lobster, Caribbean spiny lobsters do not have enlarged front claws and are harmless to people.

Spiny lobsters get their name for the small spikes covers their carapace (exoskeleton). Males and females are the same size but the male’s exoskeleton is longer. Adult Caribbean Spiny Lobsters have two long antennae that are longer than their carapace. Small antennae that are shorter and about two-thirds of their body length. Two large eyes are at the front of their heads, pleopods which are forked legs that aid them when swimming. Spiny lobsters have small claws unlike Maine lobsters which have large claws.

Did you know?
Spiny lobsters reproduce in spring and summer. Females carry the bright orange eggs on the underside of the tail until the eggs are ready to hatch.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Raccoon


Raccoons are easy to identify with their furry, ringed tails and their black "bandit" masks across the eyes. They are usually gray to almost black in color with a tinge of brown or sometimes even red. They have a pointed muzzle and rather long toes. A raccoon's footprints resemble those of people.

They are good climbers and swimmers and like to make their dens near water in woods, brushy areas and even open country. Raccoons do not hibernate, but may remain in a den for the winter, coming out only during breaks in the weather.

Raccoons are usually solitary, nocturnal animals with a diet consisting of crayfish, crabs, frogs, fish, worms, nuts, seeds, acorns, berries, or whatever they might come upon in someone's backyard trash.

Did you know?
Raccoons are found in North and Central America, Europe and Japan.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cricket

Photo Credit: http://grist.org
Crickets (also known as "true crickets"), of the family Gryllidae, are insects related to bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. The Gryllidae have mainly cylindrical bodies, round heads, and long antennae. Behind the head is a smooth, robust pronotum. The abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci (spikes); females have a long, cylindrical ovipositor. The hind legs have enlarged femora (thighs), providing power for jumping. The front wings are adapted as tough, leathery elytra (wing covers), and some crickets chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings are membranous and folded when not in use for flight; many species, however, are flightless. The largest members of the family are the bull crickets, Brachytrupes, which are up to 5 cm (2 in) long.

More than 900 species of crickets are described; the Gryllidae are distributed all around the world except at latitudes 55° or higher, with the greatest diversity being in the tropics. They occur in varied habitats from grassland, bushes, and forests to marshes, beaches, and caves. Crickets are mainly nocturnal, and are best known for the loud, persistent, chirping song of males trying to attract females, although some species are mute. The singing species have good hearing, via the tympani (eardrums) on the tibiae of the front legs.

Crickets have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found in all parts of the world with the exception of cold regions at latitudes higher than about 55° North and South. They have colonized many large and small islands, sometimes flying over the sea to reach these locations, or perhaps conveyed on floating timber or by human activity. The greatest diversity occurs in tropical locations, such as in Malaysia, where 88 species were heard chirping from a single location near Kuala Lumpur. A greater number than this could have been present because some species are mute

Did you know?
Crickets are found in many habitats. Members of several subfamilies are found in the upper tree canopy, in bushes, and among grasses and herbs. They also occur on the ground and in caves, and some are subterranean, excavating shallow or deep burrows. Some make galleries in rotting wood, and certain beach-dwelling species can run and jump over the surface of pools.

Monday, May 29, 2017

West African Lungfish

Photo Credit: Gőtehal.jpg: Mathae
The West African lungfish is found in a wide range of freshwater habitats in West and Middle Africa, as well as the northern half of Southern Africa. Like other African lungfish, the West African lungfish is an obligate air breather and a freshwater-dwelling fish. It is demersal, meaning that it lives primarily buried within riverbeds. Due to the dry season frequently drying the rivers and floodplains in which it lives, the West African lungfish can aestivate for up to a year; however the West African lungfish generally only estivates between wet seasons.

They have a prominent snout and small eyes. Its body is long and eel-like, some 9–15 times the length of the head. It has two pairs of long, filamentous fins. The pectoral fins have a basal fringe and are about three times the head length, while its pelvic fins are about twice the head length. In general, three external gills are inserted posterior to the gill slits and above the pectoral fins.

West African lungfish have some fascinating adaptations. They have two lungs, and can breathe air. This is a vital feature, since they live in flood plains in waterways that often dry up. To manage this life-threatening situation, the lungfish secretes a thin layer of mucus around itself that dries into a cocoon. It can live out of water in this cocoon for up to a year, breathing through its lungs until rains refill its waterway.

West African lungfish have elongated bodies like an eel with soft scales. They have narrow thread-like pelvic and pectoral fins which help them to swim and crawl on land. Prehistoric African lungfish had two dorsal fins, a caudal fin and a tail fin all independent of each other. In the present day fish, the three types of fins are fused to form a single fin-like structure. They have a flexible rod-like structure called notochord that acts as a support for their body. Lungfish retain their notochords throughout their lives. These fish can weigh almost around 25 pounds.

Did you know?
The West African lungfish has a diet not unlike other lungfish, consisting of various mollusks, crabs, prawn, and small fish within its distribution.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Falcon

Photo Credit: jjron
Falcons are medium sized birds of prey found all across the world although falcons tend to prefer the more temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Falcons are best known for their ruthlessness and their incredible flying abilities.

Falcons have tapered wings that allow the falcon to change direction extremely quickly especially when compared to other birds. Falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of up to 200mph, meaning they are the fastest creatures on the planet!

There are more than 40 different species of falcon that can be found all around the world such as the peregrine falcon and the black falcon. Falcons vary in size from 25cm tall to more than 60cm tall, but the height of the falcon depends on the species. The peregrine falcon is the most common bird of prey in the world and is found on every continent besides Antarctica.

Falcons are birds of prey and are therefore known for their incredible hunting skills and being a ruthless, dominant predator within their environment. Falcons hunt their prey from the skies above and swoop down through the air to catch it once they have spotted a meal with their incredible eyesight. Falcons hunt all kinds of small animals like mice, frogs, fish and falcons will even catch small birds in the air.

Falcons are generally solitary birds and only really come together to mate. Although falcons are known to stay in the same place, many species of falcon are migratory birds and have been known to travel more than 15,000 miles per year.

Did you know? 
Due to the large size, speed and alertness of the falcon, the falcon has few natural predators and even fewer that are actually airborne

Monday, May 8, 2017

Alligator Newt

Photo Credit: https://www.stlzoo.org
The alligator newt can be found in the Southern islands of Japan. They inhabit forests, grasslands, croplands, swamps; breeds in ponds and pools.

A newt is a salamander that spends much of its adult life on land but returns to the water each spring for a long breeding season.

The alligator newt is so-called because of its rough appearance, thanks to knobby glands located on the sides of the body. The glands are often tinted orange, as are the underside of the tail and the soles of the feet; otherwise, this critter is dark brown or black. It grows up to six or so inches in total length.

The day-to-day habits of the alligator newt remain rather mysterious because this little creature is well-hidden in its terrestrial (land) habitat. We do know that it eats a variety of small invertebrates, including earthworms, spiders, and insects.

Did you know?
Like many salamanders, the alligator newt has toxic skin secretions. But the alligator newt has a special way of passing its poison to a would-be predator. When grabbed, the salamander's sharp rib tips poke through the glands on the sides of its body, and the toxin is injected straight into the attacker. Now that hurts!

Source

Monday, April 17, 2017

Shrimp

Photo Credit: Etrusko25
Shrimp are marine crustaceans that are found on the bottom of the water in nearly every environment around the world. Shrimps are generally tiny in size, with some species of shrimp being so small that many animals cannot see them.

The shrimp lives on the river beds and ocean floors around the world, filtering sand and particles in the water. Shrimp are known to stay in schools that contain numerous shrimp individuals, and are able to adapt easily to changes in water conditions.

Shrimps are omnivorous animals and therefore ingest and variety of both plant and animal species. Shrimp mainly feed on algae and other plant particles along with tiny fish and plankton in the water. One species of shrimp is known to stun it's prey before eating it by making a loud noise with one of it's claws, that makes a snapping sound through the water.

The shrimp is very closely related to the prawn and the thing that makes the shrimp and prawn stand out from other species of crustacean is the fact that they are able to swim through the water and although shrimps and prawns are very closely related, there are differences between them. The main difference between a shrimp and a prawn is they have different gill structures. There are different interpretations all around the world as to which species is a shrimp and which is a prawn that are often based on size and the water type where they are found.

Did you know?
The female shrimp can lay up to a million eggs at once that only take a couple of weeks to hatch.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Moose


The largest member of the deer family, the moose lives in forests, bogs and marshlands where, for the most part of the year, it feeds on aquatic plants and young shoots. During the winter months, however, its diet usually consists of branches, bushes, and bark

The antlers of the male moose (bull) are impressive. Made entirely of fast-growing bone, these antlers appear during the spring and summer and are cast off nine months later. New ones grow and are discarded each year.

Males are generally solitary, while females are usually accompanied by their calves, which are born in the spring after a 250-day gestation period.

A moose is most susceptible of its predators (wolves, bear, and man) during the winter months, not because it has shed its antlers, but because it is weakened from the rut (the mating season), during which time they do not feed.

Did you know?
An Alaskan moose can grow a rack of antlers with a span of six feet, equal in weight to the skeleton of a normal adult human.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Brown Recluse


The brown recluse spider is well-known for its appearance and poisonous bite. It is the most common and widespread of the brown spiders, but it is found only in the south and central United States.

Brown recluse spiders live in a region comprising Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.

The brown recluse gets its name from its color and its "shy nature."Brown recluses often hide in dark, secluded places, like under porches or deep in closets. The brown recluse thrives in man-made areas, and may be found under trash cans, tires, etc. It is primarily nocturnal and lays its eggs from May to July.

Adult specimens vary in color from dull yellow to tawny, dark brown. Younger spiders are lighter in color than adults. The abdomen of the brown recluse has no stripes or spots. Adults measure approximately 6 to 11 mm in length of body. At the widest leg span, their bodies are roughly the size of a United States quarter.

Did you know?
Female brown recluses generate one to five egg sacs which can contain 31-300 eggs. Eggs usually hatch in about a month. Development from egg to adult is approximately a year.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Atlantic Bonito


Photo Credit: Bigsharks.com

The Atlantic bonito is a large mackerel-like fish of the family Scombridae. It is common in shallow waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea, where it is an important commercial and game fish.

Atlantic bonito belong to a group which have the dorsal fins very near, or separated by a narrow interspace. Its body is completely scaled, with those scales in the pectoral fin area and the lateral line usually larger in size. Bonitos (fish in the genus Sarda) differ from tuna by their compressed bodies, their lack of teeth on the roof of the mouth, and certain differences in coloration.

Atlantic bonito share Atlantic waters with the striped bonito, Sarda orientalis (the Atlantic population of which is sometimes considered a separate species, Sarda velox). The striped bonito has been taken on the Atlantic coast as far north as Cape Cod. It is similar in its habits, but somewhat smaller than the more common Atlantic bonito. The Atlantic bonito can be distinguished from its relative by its dark oblique stripes on the back and with a maxillary only about half as long as the head, whereas the striped bonito has striping on its topside nearly horizontal and a maxillary more than half the length of the head.

Atlantic bonito grow up to 75 centimetres (30 in) and weigh 5–6 kilograms (11–13 lb) at this size.

Did you know?
The Atlantic bonito eats mackerel, menhaden, alewives, silversides, sand lances, and other fish, as well as squid.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pelican


Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that makes up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterized by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches and bare facial skin of all species become brightly colored before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America as well as from polar regions and the open ocean.

Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively and breeding colonially. Four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground, and four brown or grey-plumaged species nest mainly in trees.

Did you know?
Pelicans have the largest bill of all birds. It can reach 18 inches in length. Underneath the bill, pelicans have a throat pouch that can hold 3 gallons of water.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Chameleon


All chameleons are found in the Old World, but most live in Madagascar and Africa. The rest are found in the Middle East, a few on islands in the Indian Ocean, and one, the Indian chameleon, in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Another, the common chameleon, is native to Spain, Portugal, the islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Near East.

Chameleons live in a variety of habitats, from rain forests and lowlands to deserts, semi-deserts, scrub savannas, and even mountains. Many inhabit trees, but some live in grass or on small bushes, fallen leaves, or dry branches.

How chameleons change color is a fascinating and complicated process. First of all, they don't really change color to match their surroundings, and they cannot change to any and all colors. For example, if a chameleon is sitting on a red-and-white polka dot tablecloth, it will not turn red and develop round, white spots! Chameleons don't look at what they're sitting on and deliberately decide to match it. Instead, each chameleon species has a group of patterns and colors that it is able to display.

Chameleons generally eat insects such as locusts, mantids, grasshoppers, stick insects, and crickets. Some larger chameleons also eat small birds and other lizards. A few species have been known to eat a bit of plant material.

Did you know?
Chameleons don't move around very fast, so they use their incredibly long tongue to catch the insects they eat.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cuttlefish

Photo Credit: João Carvalho

The cuttlefish is a small-medium sized mollusk that is found throughout the ocean waters of the world. In the same way as their squid and octopus relatives, cuttlefish have a large, elongated body with tentacles surrounding their mouths.

There are 120 known species of cuttlefish found across the globe which vary in size from just 15 cm to the Australian giant cuttlefish which is often half a meter in length (not including its tentacles) and weighs more than 10kg.

The cuttlefish is a carnivorous animal that primarily preys on small crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs, but the cuttlefish also eats alot of fish. The cuttlefish uses its ability to change body colour to hide itself, before catching its prey with the sucker-pads on the end of its long tentacles which bring the prey into the sharp beak of the cuttlefish.

Did you know?
Cuttlefish have green-blue blood and three hearts!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Deer Mouse

Photo Credit: 6th Happiness
The deer mouse is the most wide-ranging native mouse. It varies in body color from a grayish buff to a deep reddish brown and has a tail that is at lease one-third the length of its body.

The ears of the deer mouse are covered with find hair and are relatively large in proportion to the rest of its body. Deer mice are found in a wide variety of habitats such as forests, woodlands, grasslands, and arid tropical areas.

They are mostly nocturnal and are active all year round. They feed on seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, insects and other small invertebrates.

Did you know?
The skin on a deer mouse's tail can slip off so they can escape from predators.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mayfly



Mayflies are aquatic insects. They spend most of their lives in the water as nymphs and then emerge as adults for only a short while. It is there that they mate and the female deposits eggs in the water. Mayflies are found throughout North America and worldwide. Most of the nymphs develop in streams and rivers that are relatively clean.

Despite their name, mayflies are active during the warmer months of the year (not just May). They tend to be grayish, yellowish or brownish and have long, thin abdomens. Mayfly larvae are aquatic and found in nearly all types of water bodies, from streams to lakes. The larvae is often used as a bioindicator species to measure health of the water. The mayfly larvae feed on detritus and other plant materials. Some may feed on insects. The adults do not feed.

Did you know? 
There are over 600 species of mayfly in the United States and 3,000 worldwide.
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