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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, 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.
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