Friday, January 28, 2011
* Creeks, lakes and swamps, are known to provide for the ideal habitat for the African butterfly fish, as the water in these regions tend to be slow-moving and still. Also, these places are abundant in surface foliage, providing the fish good cover from predators. When kept as a pet, it must be housed in aquarium of at least 20 US gallons.
* The African butterfly fish is known to be a super jumper. This is why it is imperative to have a good cover on the aquarium.
* A year round temperature of 73°F - 86°F is what is considered to be the ideal one required by the fish to survive.
* Coming to an important part of the African butterfly fish care, its a carnivore and its diet consists of crickets, flies, mosquitoes, small spiders, worms, and even gut-loaded small fish. Sometimes, even canned foods will also do. However, it does not prefer prepared food.
* If you plan to keep other fishes along with the African butterfly fish, then best it is to go for those types that swim in the bottom or middle. As you know, this fish which we are talking about, is a surface dweller, and it is aggressive towards other top-dwelling fishes. According to experts the best species of fishes which can mingle well with this one include Congo tetras, elephant nose fish, West African cichliads, and African knife fish.
* Slightly soft, acidic water, is preferred by this fish species, with a pH value of 6.9 - 7.1 and KH of 1-10.
* When it comes to sexing, you can distinguish a male from a female, only when the latter is carrying eggs. Because then, the female appears fatter than the male. However, one feature that may help in this, is the rear edge of the anal fin. In case of a male, it is shaped convexly, while it is a straight one for a female.
* When you are housing the African butterfly fish, ensure that the filtration of the aquarium is not too strong. This is due to the preference of this swimmer to dwell in still waters.
* As a beginner, the prospect of breeding these fish is not a bright one. And even if you are able to do so, raising the fry is another challenge. This is because, the juveniles will only feed on food that come floating into their mouths.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
"island gigantism," exemplified by the giant tortoises which inhabit the Galapagos Islands, the Seychelles and Mascarene Islands,"One of the striking patterns in chelonians, that is, turtles and tortoises, is the fantastic range in body size,"
"You have some species that are not much more than a few grams, to the sea turtles which are over 600 or 700 kilograms. So we wanted to understand that diversity of size, and one of the most striking examples of size evolution within turtles is the evolution of gigantism in the island species in the Galapagos and Seychelles."The team collected carapace measurements for 226 chelonian species. They classified the species into four basic habitat categories -- freshwater, mainland, marine or oceanic island.
They then compared the data set within several modeling parameters, and calculated different optimal body sizes according to habitat.Freshwater chelonians in general are much smaller than the sea turtles or island tortoises, but display a much broader size variation.
"I think what's going on is we've really identified that habitat, in very broad brush strokes, has something to do with the size diversity that we see in the chelonians," "If we were to collect more ecological data we probably could explain more of the size variation within the freshwater or mainland terrestrial species."
"I would not have been surprised if we found that the change in size evolution, or the association between shifts in size evolution, and habitat wasn't that strong."
Examined the relationship between body size and island endemism in birds and mammals. But theirs is the first study to show a strong evolutionary preference for gigantism as an optimal condition in oceanic island tortoises.They say past research suggests that large size was a preadaption, which allowed the ancestors of modern island chelonians to initially reach and populate the islands.
But the fact that they kept their large size suggests that size was at least selectively maintained in the descendants of the initial immigrants.Their size is thought to be linked to a lack of predators, lack of competition for resources and adaptation to potentially erratic environmental fluctuations on islands.
They draw attention to the fact that oceanic islands are susceptible to unpredictable periods of adverse conditions, and that their larger size would make it easier to survive times of reduced food supply.
"Size is a good proxy for many ecological characters," Alfaro says. "It's a character that can be measured pretty readily and compared in a reasonable way across very diverse organisms. What we're doing is constructing a time-tree for vertebrates and conducting new kinds of statistical analyses to find where the hotspots in evolutionary change are."
Monday, January 24, 2011
The common porcupine is a solitary animal, although it may den with other porcupines in the winter. It makes its den in caves, decaying logs and hollow trees. The common porcupine doesn't hibernate, but it may stay in its den during bad weather.
The common porcupine is a good swimmer, its hollow quills help keep it afloat. It is also an excellent tree-climber and spends much of its time in trees. It is a very vocal animal and has a wide-variety of calls including moans, grunts, coughs, wails, whines, shrieks and tooth clicking.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Possums have adapted well to contact with people. However, at times this contact can be noisy and messy - particularly if the possum takes up residence in the roof of your house! If this happens, the possum can be trapped and removed from the ceiling cavity, provided you first obtain a special licence from the NPWS. You must release your resident possum back onto your property, as it will not survive if removed from the area. In some areas, wildlife rehabilitation groups will help you with this.
The best solution is to actually make friends with local possums! If you encourage a possum to stay around and claim your yard as its territory, other possums will be discouraged from taking up residence.
Although you should not feed your resident possum, you could try building it a special shelter, somewhere safe (and away from your roof cavity) where it won't be disturbed by dogs or people.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
American Bitterns are found in dense freshwater marshes and extensive wet meadows. They prefer wetlands with thick cattail and bulrush, mixed with areas of open water. In the winter, they can be found in a wider range of habitats, including flooded willow and salt marshes.
American Bitterns stand still at the edge of the water, sometimes walking slowly. Like most herons, they capture prey with sudden thrusts of their bills. They are most active at dawn and dusk. When alarmed, the bittern extends its neck and head vertically and freezes or sways with the breeze, blending in with the surrounding vegetation.
Its eyes are set low on its head, enabling the bittern to see forward when it stands in this pose. The bizarre call of the American Bittern is the easiest way to locate this hard-to-find bird. The call is often described as sounding like a water pump. This dramatic and unusual vocalization is often heard at dusk or dawn and can carry long distances. The American Bittern produces this sound by spectacular contortions performed with its air-filled esophagus.
Northern populations, where water freezes, are strongly migratory. In milder areas, where water doesn't freeze, they will likely stay in the same area year round. In areas where they migrate, they leave in late September or early October and return from late April to early May.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Amphibians have a harder time with global warming than mammals and other organisms, because their bodies have permeable skin that absorbs water and oxygen, and their lives depend on clean and fresh water.
About 122 species of amphibians have already gone extinct, with 5,734 known species. But scientists believe that both figures could be underestimates because of all the unknown species. The latest threat, being a rapidly spreading fungal disease, is is predicted to wipe out about half the amphibian species exposed to it within six months.
Chytridiomycosis, which damages the skin, is caused most by climate change and polluted water.
Monday, January 17, 2011
• Penguins lay eggs.
• They are warm blooded like humans.
• When mothers lose a chick, they steal another mother’s chick.
• They are mostly found below the equator.
• Penguin chicks have fluffy feathers.
• Penguins have short legs and no knees.
• They have good arrangement of bones in hand. This makes them flexible.
• Their knees and upper legs are covered with feathers.
• Their feathers are short, overlapping and tightly packed.
• They are often black and white in color.
• Some species have yellow feathers.
• When the salt storage completely fills the gland, penguins go to a rock and knock his beak. This allows him to empty the salt content.
• Male penguins take care of their chicks.
• In cold places, males balance eggs on their feet and cover with belly flap to keep them warm.
• They bite fiercely to defend themselves and their nests.
• Penguins use sign language to communicate with each other.
• They make use of their flippers and head to talk to other penguins.
• They feed on fish, cephalopods and krill.
• Penguins swallow their food as a whole.
• They have a variety of bill shapes.
• Giant petrels and Leopard are enemies of penguins.
• They also call, blow and preen.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
K-9 Comets Show is one of the original shows that feature dogs playing Frisbees. They have started showcasing talented show dogs and Frisbee dog shows since 1982, now they still are the best dog show that will give you the enthusiasm and excitement that you are looking for.
We know that cats often express their emotions with their tail. (Right now I have mine ending in a bend like a candy cane.) But what about the eyes? How well do cats express their emotions with their eyes? We're not like Garfield with our eyes half closed most of the time.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Killer whales exhibit a wide variety of activities as they go about their daily lives. The activities of killer whale groups fall into four categories: foraging, travelling, resting, and socializing.
Foraging is the most common activity, and appears where the whales are feeding or appear to be searching for food. Different patterns of foraging are evident in both residents and transients, depending on the type of prey. Members of a pod frequently cooperate in hunts.
Travelling is when a group of killer whales are travelling consistently in one direction in a moderate to fast pace in relatively tight formation. They may travel from one good feeding spot to another, or it could simply be a means of transiting an area.
Members of a group will often rest after foraging. The whales typically group together, diving and surfacing as a cohesive unit. When resting, whales slow down and at times stop altogether, and usually become very quiet underwater. Periods of rest may last from less than an hour to more than 7 hours. Resting is not very common in transients.
Socializing among killer whales includes a great variety of interactions between members of the group. Behaviours seen during socializing episodes include various aerial displays including breaching, spy-hopping, tail slapping, beach rubbing, and flipper slapping. Whales may also interact with inanimate objects such as kelp and have also been seen to surf in the wake of passing boats.
Killer Whale Facts: SENSES & COMMUNICATION:
Killer whales can also be distinguished by the kinds of underwater communication sounds they produce - squeals, squawks, and screams are used for social communication within and between groups. Killer Whale clans, like dolphins, can be distinguished by their different dialects.
Killer whales have acute hearing and also acute vision both in and out of the water.
Echolocation enables them to locate and discriminate objects by projecting high-frequency sound waves and listening for echoes. Killer whales echo-locate by producing clicking sounds and then receiving and interpreting the resulting echo.
Killer Whale Facts: LIFE SPAN:
Some males have been known to live well into their 40s and perhaps to 50-60 years old. Females have been known to live to 60-80 years old.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Choose healthy snacks in 2011.
Keep the amount of calories to 10% of your pet’s daily calorie requirement. Your veterinarian can help you assess how many calories this is. Choose healthy snacks like the 5 calorie baby carrot or the 50 calorie ½ apple. CittiKitty now markets Tuna Treats, premium bonito flakes for treating your cat, but a fish loving dog will find them tasty too. Because the tuna is dried and flaked paper thin, one cup has 35 calories. Using 10 flakes a day as a treat will contribute minimal calories and the taste will be a huge hit with your cat.
Get down to and maintain an ideal body condition.
Weight loss is on almost everyone’s New Year’s resolution list. Because pets come in so many sizes and shapes, it is hard to say your cat should weigh 5 or 10 or 15 pounds. What matters is maintaining an ideal body condition. Veterinarians commonly assess this during an annual examination. It is based on your pet having a waist and skeletal features you can feel with your hands. If your pet doesn’t have these, he/she is likely overweight. To see the dog and cat body condition scale, visit:
• Understanding your Dog’s Body Condition
• Understanding your Cat’s Body Condition
Take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year.
Comparing 2001 and 2006, a decrease of 1 million veterinary visits was recorded and visits have fallen further due to the Great Recession beginning in 2007. This means pets are medically underserved and small problems can quickly become big ones. Preventive healthcare prevents potentially fatal infectious diseases and difficult to treat disorders such as heartworms. Senior pets may need twice yearly visits as a pet’s lifespan is compressed into fewer years than ours are.
Give to less fortunate dogs and cats.
Local animal shelters and rescue group are always in need. Cleaning out your old and shabby towels? Call your local shelter and see if they could use them to give a homeless pet a place to curl up. Check with your local rescue group or food pantry about pet food donations. People without enough to eat may also have pets in the same situation. Offer to walk dogs or brush cats at your local shelter. I am sure any help you offer will be more than appreciated.
Spend quality time with your pet.
We all lead busy lives. It is often very easy to overlook spending good quality time with that four-legged, furry member of your family. Instead of just walking your dog to the corner and back, vow to take him to the park, play fetch or check out the new dog run in the neighborhood. Change your cat’s toys frequently to prevent boredom. By giving your pet this quality time once a day or even once a week, your pet will return the favour with love and devotion. And, guaranteed it will improve your own quality of life!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Chinchillas typically about 15 years, but 18-22 years is not uncommon.
Body length about 10-14 inches; tail is another 5-6 inches or so.
With gentle handling from a young age most chinchillas will become quite tame and bond closely with their owners, although sometimes they do not like to be held or cuddled. They are very active and playful. Chinchillas can be kept singly, and usually will do fine as same sex pairs especially if they are litter mates or introduced at a young age.
Chinchillas are largely nocturnal so will be most active at night. Sometimes they are called crepuscular, meaning their activity peaks at dawn and dusk. In any case, they should be kept in a fairly quiet area during the day.
They prefer a consistent routine for handling a feeding times and may be stressed out by changes to their routine. Since they are so active and playful, chinchillas need a roomy cage for exercise as well as daily playtime. Warm temperatures are more of a concern for chinchillas than cool temperatures, so care must be taken that pet chinchllas do not become overheated.
Chinchillas require a lot of roughage, and the diet should mainly be made up of a good quality grass hay along with pellets made for chinchillas. Treats should be given in moderation (one teaspoon per day in total). The digestive system of chinchillas is fairly sensitive so any diet changes should be gradual.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
- A single cow lets out the amount of harmful methane gas, which can fill about 400-liter bottles; that too in a single day. Pollution!
- Roar, roar! I am the king of the jungle! But did you know the lion would be defeated by a polar bear in a battle between the two?
- Humans daydream with their eyes open, and dolphins actually sleep with their eyes wide open.
- Bulls are known to be colorblind. It’s a black-and-white life for them!
- The sweat glands of a cow are in its nose.
- This is really interesting! You will not believe this one! A mosquito has 47 teeth.
- The Poison Arrow frog has enough poison stored in it that it can harm 2,200 people at one go.
- A ‘blessing’ is a herd of unicorns.
- A ‘mob’ is not just a group of unruly people; but also a group of kangaroos – well behaved or not!
- A ‘parliament’ is not just made up of our dear politicians, but is also a group of owls.
- Hang a chicken upside down and give it something to eat. The result! It will not be able to swallow its food.
- Brainpower! A garden caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head.
- The memory span of goldfish is just about 3 seconds.
- While a donkey will sink in quicksand, a mule will not.
- According to records there are 50 million monkeys. That is quite an over population!
- An angry horned-toad squirts blood from its eyes. Bloodshot eyes!
- My blue-eyed boy! A scallop has 35 eyes that are blue in color.
- Before a spotted skunk is about to spray it will first do a couple of handstands.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
This tamarin lives in the southwest Amazon Basin, in east Peru, north Bolivia and in the west Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas.
The fur of the Emperor Tamarin is predominantly grey colored, with yellowish speckles on its chest. The hands and feet are black and the tail is brown. Outstanding is its long, white mustache, which extends to both sides beyond the shoulders. The animal reaches a length of 24 to 26 cm, plus a 35 cm long tail. It weighs approximately 300 to 400 g.
This primate inhabits tropical rain forests, living deep in the forest and also in open tree-covered areas. It is a diurnal animal, spending the majority of its days in the trees with quick, safe movements and broad jumps among the limbs.