Saturday, December 29, 2012

These True Facts About Panther

Panthers are those animals that belong to the family of leopards, cats and loins. This is why panthers are also called the big cats. They are known for their lean body and fast speed. Panthers are also called jaguars. Panthers also do have different colors and classifications. Their colors and classifications are according to the areas where they are found. Most famous types of panthers are white and black panthers and both are very rare now days.

1. Types of panthers

The two main types of panthers are black and white panthers. Apart from these two types, there are other types of panthers as well. These are classified as the colors of panthers so other panthers are tawny or spotted panthers.

2. Name

Usually panthers are also called leopards or big cats. The name panther has been eliminated today but still the pure black leopards are called panthers.

3. Black panther

Black panthers are really beautiful but rare. They are usually found in the thick forests of united states, UK and Australia.

4. Ghost of forests

Panther is also called the 'ghost of forest' because of its quickness and stealthy walk. These are its features that help him catching target easily.

5. White panthers

White panthers are even rarer than the Black Panther. The total number of white panther in the whole world is just few hundreds. This is a sad fact that this species is disappearing very fast. White panthers are found in the region named 'chitraal' of Pakistan and some other northern areas of the same country.

6. Yellow panther

There is another type of panthers named as yellow panthers and it is really interesting fact that yellow mother panther can have both yellow and black cubs.

7. Life span

Life span of panthers is very short. The average life of a panther is twelve years but in captivity they can live up to 19 or 20 years.

8. Tree climbers

Panthers are the most capable and fast tree climbers in their whole group of animals. It is noticed that they have some really different and interesting tricks for tree climbing.

9. Strength

Panthers are so strong animals that they can lift heavy animals they killed with them on trees. They can also kill big animals like giraffe.

10. Territory

Panthers live in their own territory and do not allow any other panther to enter in their territory. By the age of 2, they are fully grown and able to hold their separate space.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How Much Do You Know About Bats

Bats are the only true mammals capable of flight. Their wings, which are the anatomical equivalent of a human hand, are made of a thin,hairless membrane that stretches between their long fingers.

Ordinarily, a mammal's life span is related to its size. A field mouse seldom lives beyond a year. A dog is old at 12. The common Little Brown Bat which is smaller than a mouse, can live to be 15 or more! A bat is a nocturnal creature. During the day it sleeps hanging upside down. While asleep, its body temperature drops so it saves energy.

Bats mate in the fall. Infant bats are born in June or July. Most bat species have only one offspring. After mating, males take up bachelor residence and the females roost together. Oftentimes, if you see many bats together in a church steeple or an old barn, you are seeing the females awaiting the birth of their young.

In the United States, there are 35 species of bats and all of them have a diet which consists solely of insects. Just one bat is capable of catching 500 or more mosquito-sized bugs within an hour! Bats do not catch insects in their mouth, but scoop them up in the membrane that stretches between their hind legs, cupping it like a pouch. Then, in full flight, they reach in and eat their catch. We know birds play a major role in controlling dayflying insects, but it is the bat that goes to work at night, consuming such pests as the mosquito, cornborer, cutworm moth and beetles. Imagine! Thirty bats can catch 30,000 bugs in a night. Only chemical pesticides kill more, but unfortunately, there are dangerous and sometimes lethal side effects to the environment.

Bats have highly developed radar and do not fly into people's hair. Nor are they blind. In fact, they have excellent vision. Bats use their vision, but primarily sonar or "echo location" to hunt their insect prey. The bat emits a high pitched sound that bounces off objects and comes back as echoes. This is how he detects insects and avoids obstacles. Scientists say that watt for watt a bat's sonar is a billion times more sensitive and efficient than any radar or sonar device ever invented by man. They continue to study bats to try and unravel their secrets to improve such things as military equipment and navigational aids for the blind.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ten Facts About So Beautiful Squirrels

Squirrels are mouse like small animals that are not ugly or filthy like rodents but are cute. There have been made many cartoons on them and movies too. This small animal is very fast in speed when it comes to eat. They lives on trees and they mostly make their houses inside the tree truck. Summer time is their gala time and they gather food for winter whole summer. There are some squirrel types that do not care for winter and come out in snow. Squirrels have a large and hairy tail which enhances their cute look. They use their hands for the carrying of food and stand on their feet but they run on their hands and feet both. Below are given some more facts about squirrels.

1. Brian

Though squirrels are small, but it does not mean they do not have brain or it works less. It does work good but it is only size of a walnut.

2. Meeting season

The meeting season for squirrels starts from the late winter. This is that time of year when they are most active. They start living in relationship at the age of 1 year.

3. Off springs

Majority of squirrels mate twice a year. And an average family of squirrels has 8 or less members because female squirrel gives birth to only 4 to 8 kids.

4. New born

The new born squirrels are at their time of birth without fur. They remain blind till they are 2 months old or some times more. They are called kittens.

5. Speed

You do not have to underestimate small cute squirrels. They can run faster then you. They maintain the speed of 20 miles per hour when they run.

6. Danger

Danger around, a squirrel is motionless. This is the natural characteristic of squirrels. They become motionless when they sense danger around them.

7. Tail

Its tail is not only beautiful and furry but also has a purpose. The reason squirrels have long furry tail is that it helps to maintain the balance of their body while they move. If the tail is cut, they will not be able to have balance in their movements and jumping.

8. 10 feet

A squirrel is a great jumper. It will survive even if it jumps from a 100 feet building. It is because their feet are padded so they do not get any injury.

9. Nights

Squirrels go back to their nests as soon as the day gets dusky. They do not leave their nests at night.

10. Chirps

They have a sound called chirp. It is distinctive and they communicate with each other in this sound.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Important Is Professional Dog Training

Having a dog is a responsibility, and ensuring the Dog obtains good training is necessary. Most people make the error of thinking that dog training is easy and common sense. Some people spend many hours and thousands of dollars on their dog. But, they sometimes will neglect to give their dog correct training. They will unfortunately count on their misguided "common sense" methods. One can check out for more methods.

Almost each dog training ebook sold today will come with some form of money-back guarantee. These guarantees can vary from 30 days to even over 90 day money-back guarantees. If the dog training ebook that you are thinking about purchasing does not include some type of a guarantee, think carefully about buying that dog training ebook. If it doesn't have of some type of quality guarantee probably means that the creators of that dog training ebook do not have very much confidence in the quality of the material.

Many a dog training ebook will contain free bonus content. This extra dog training material can help with everything from care and health, to aggression training and others. Be sure to browse over all the bonus features that are included in your dog training ebook. To obtain the most value for your dollar, find an e-book that offers the most bonus features.

There are many different ways in which a dog training ebook can be sold. Some take the form of a.pdf file. PDF files are like online books. They can contain text or images and can be downloaded instantly, and they can be read on your computer, or printed out and read anywhere. Other dog training ebook, and some of the bonus material can be presented in video form. A video can help to make sure that you are going through all the motions of dog training correctly. You get the benefit of being able to watch precisely, step-by-step, each and every motion involved in training your dog.

Some dog training ebook can take the form of audio. Audio books can be convenient for someone that doesn't have much time to spend reading or watching a video. With an audio dog training ebook, it is possible to download the dog training ebook and listen to it on an iPod or in a car.It is necessary that any dog receives proper training. Dog training is one aspect that can not be neglected when owning a dog.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Advices On Wild Birds Food And Feeding

If you want to attract a wide variety of wild birds to your garden, it is important to offer a good selection of wild bird food, but it is not necessary to spend lots of money on specialist seed mixes that you may not need! However, avoid prepared food that contains cheap fillers, such as whole oats which have little nutritional value, or seed that is high in cereals, as this will mainly attract pigeons. Here are some tips and advice on what best to feed wild birds.

If you have not fed the birds that visit your garden before, we would suggest you start with a few Fat Balls, Black Sunflower Seed or Sunflower Hearts and Peanuts which can be used in feeders, on bird tables or on the ground and in a variety of places in your garden. Include a few peaceful areas for timid wild birds and to encourage colourful songbirds into your garden.

Sunflower Hearts are basically a bird's equivalent to fast food, as the black outer shell has already been removed, and so leaving only the nutritious hearts. Unlike many prepared supermarket meals, these are a healthy option that is convenient for all wild bird species, as many smaller birds simply can't remove the tough outer shell of a sunflower.

By placing these foods around your garden you should attract a wide variety of bird species commonly found in the majority of gardens in the UK. As you gain confidence you can add some specialist seeds, such as Niger Seed and Hemp or even Dried Mealworms. This variety will increase and broaden your garden's appeal to a larger selection of bird species, including Woodpeckers, Buntings and Nuthatches.

It is recommended that if you feed whole peanuts to your garden visitors, it's important that they are fed from a wire mesh feeder. This is because smaller birds and fledglings can choke on the valuable food source.

Many of the premium wild bird food varieties use peanut granules instead of whole peanuts, as the bite-sized pieces are easy to digest and appeal to a larger variety of wild birds.

We suggest you place the food out at the beginning of each day to allow birds to replace the energy lost overnight and then top it up mid afternoon if necessary, to ensure your garden attracts as many birds as possible!

It is advisable to have multiple bird feeding sites within the garden to prevent overcrowding. Another good idea is to move wild bird feeders around regularly to prevent a build up of droppings. These can spread disease and bacteria. Finally, clean feeders at least once a month.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How We Can Portect Wild Tigers

Recently, I have been really disturbed by the plight of the wild tiger, the largest of all cats, and one of the most threatened species on earth.

As a dog owner, I guess I am your run-of-the-mill animal lover and pet owner. Moreover, having grown up in South Africa, living on a farm and around game and nature reserves, animal conservation has always been an issue close to my heart. I hate to see an animal suffering or in need, and I cannot tolerate the endangerment of any animal species or habitats by irresponsible or destructive human behavior.

I started looking for a way to do something to help save these beautiful cats, and in the process I found some really great organizations doing amazing work for these animals. I hope that by sharing this information and supporting these organizations, I can do my small bit to help protect the majestic tiger.

Right now, we face the very real danger that we could lose the wild tiger. Their very survival is threatened by growing human populations, poaching (of both tigers and their prey species), illegal wildlife trade, and the loss of over 90% of their habitat.
A century ago there were 100,000 tigers roaming the forests, swamps, and tundra of Asia. Today, there are as few as 3,200 left in the wild, and only 7% of historic tiger habitat still contains tigers. At this rate, wild tigers will be extinct in just a few decades.

We can save wild tigers. And by saving tigers, we also save the biologically rich and diverse landscapes where they still roam – Asian last great rain forests, jungles and wild lands.

Anyone can help by supporting these organizations:

WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the world's leading conservation organization, has been helping to ensure the survival of wild animals all around the globe for over 50 years. You can support them by taking part in their Adopt a Tiger program.

Save Tigers Now, a global campaign by WWF and Leonardo DiCaprio, aims to build political, financial and public support to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. You can donate to the campaign to help save tigers in the wild.

Save the Tiger Fund (STF) and Panthera have joined together in the fight to save tigers in the wild. You can contribute to the STF-Panthera Fund to help ensure that tigers will live on in the wild forever.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

There Is A List Of Popular Cat Breeds

The popular cat breed below gives you more insight about the best cat that you can have at home. The cat lover may need to concern about the type of cat breed suitable for their condition. Each cat has their characters and personality that you need to know in details. Even though a cat is not really popular in US, some people find it interesting to have a cat than a dog. What about you?

1.The Persian

The people who love to enjoy the fresh look of a cat may pick the Persian cat breed. This pet is perfect for the people who want to enjoy the loyalty and affection from an animal. However, you need to make sure that you can combine and maintain her long fur every single day.

2.The Maine Coon

Maine Coon is a nice cat for the people who want to have a big and larger cat to sit on your lap. This breed usually is weighting around 15-25 lbs. This gentle cat shares a similar quality with the Persian cat that you can see on its appearance. It also has a long hair but you do not need to groom it every day.

3.The Exotic

This popular cat breed is a bit similar with the Persian cat. The big difference lies on the fur. It only has short fur to maintain. The exotic breed is called as Persian in pajamas. The name is derived from the color of their fur. You just need to groom their fur twice a week for the maintenance.

4.The Ragdoll

The ragdoll cat is cute, funny, and cuddly to have at home even though this cat is large enough. The female breed can reach the weight of 20 lbs. If you have the male breed, it is larger in size. You need to keep this cat inside the house for it is too shy and docile.

5.The Birman

The people, who love to get a cat which resembles a dog, may pick Birman. This long silky haired cat has distinctive trait compared to the other cat. It is usually flexible, friendly, and tempered.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are You Really Ready To Keep A Cat At Your Home

To some people, cats may all appear to be the same compared to the vast differences in dogs when it comes to size, shape and looks. The truth is though that cats, although they all tend to fall within a smaller range when it comes to weight and size, can be very different, not only physically but in personality. If you’re thinking about adding a cat to the family, take time now to figure out what type of cat might be a better match for you.

What are the reasons for choosing one over the other? If you have specific features and traits in mind then a purebred cat may be what you're looking for. If not, then you'll surely be able to find the type of cat you want by searching for a mixed breed. Some purebreds that are bred for specific traits may have some accompanying medical issues. With Persians for example, their snub noses can cause breathing difficulties. Mixed breeds can certainly have medical issues but they haven't been bred with man-made modifications that could create secondary health concerns.

Keep in mind that if you're thinking of a purebred it will cost you more money. Depending on the particular breed, it can cost hundreds and sometimes thousands.

Longhaired cats are gorgeous but they also require more maintenance. Most longhaired cats have coats that mat so daily grooming is required. With some longhair cats you may also have to do occasional bathing. If you're interested in the Spinx cat then frequent bathing will be needed. With a longhaired cat, be prepared to acclimate the kitty to daily grooming. Shorthaired cats benefit from brushing as well but they don't require the same amount of grooming.

Once neutered or spayed, the sex of the cat won't matter. Left unneutered, you will almost definitely end up dealing with a male cat who sprays. Unspayed females become vocal and make it their mission to get out of the house to find a mate. Spaying or neutering your cat will help you avoid lots of behavior problems and will reduce the chances of cancer in the cat later on.

Some people believe that if you already have a cat and are considering getting a second one that it should be of the opposite sex. I have never followed that. I believe it's the cat personality that is most important when choosing a companion for your current cat.

With an adult cat you can, for the most part, see the personality that has already developed so if you're looking for very specific personality traits then an adult would be a better choice. If you choose a kitten then you do have a good opportunity to shape the personality but you'll also have a greater time commitment. Kittens need more supervision and training as they're just learning about their physical abilities and don't yet know the rules of the house. Kittens will also need more frequent veterinary visits initially to get their scheduled vaccinations and dewormings. With a kitten you'll also have the upcoming needed neuter or spay surgery. If you choose an adult cat from the shelter then vaccinations will have been done and you stand an excellent chance of selecting one that has already been spayed or neutered.

A cat will be a member of the family and will hopefully be a part of your life for many, many years. Read about cat care and training so you'll be ready right from the beginning to start your kitten or adult cat off on the right foot. Too many people choose cats instead of dogs because they're under the false impression that cats are low maintenance and don't require any training. That attitude will result in an unhappy life for the cat and frustration for you. Take time to learn what your new cat needs to live a happy, healthy life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Facts About The Sea Turtles You May Not Know

Sea and ocean water covers three fourth part of the earth. This wide region has created and hidden in it a different world, which is interesting to know. Under the blue water, you will find beautiful and weird mammals and fishes. One such amazing species of the water are the sea turtles. They are quite different from the turtles found in the ponds or lakes. Turtles are found all over the world except the artic. These amazing crawling creatures have caught the attention of man, from centuries. Scientist use turtles to know a bit more about our past as these Sea Animals have a long life span, which can last up to two hundred years..
Here are some facts about sea turtles:
If you find any sea turtle crying, then think twice because it is not crying actually but draining away the salt, which it took in while in seawater.
A turtle can stay alive even without any food for a year.
Some females lay their eggs four years after mating.
You will find male sea turtles on land only when they hatch out; otherwise, they never come to the earth's surface.
After knowing some astonishing facts about turtles, you might be inquisitive to know about what this amazing creature eats. Sea turtles' diet depends on the type of species and its habitat. You can know the diet of species by examining its law structure. You might be amazed to know that these cute sea turtles are carnivores; some of them eat meat while some prefer to stay as a vegetarian for life long. While some eat both meat and algae. Green and black sea turtles eat algae and other small plants under water, but when they are caught and are kept in captivity they may be fed with meat.
Sea turtles also migrate from one sea to another using the geomagnetic field. Sea turtles are interesting creatures on this planet and man till now is using them to reveal many facts about evolution.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Know More About Rare Black Rhinoceros

Black rhinoceros are nearing extinction, the black rhinoceros has long been hunted for its horns, thought, in some cultures, to possess magical and medicinal qualities. Black rhinos are browsers that get most of their sustenance from eating trees and bushes. They use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches. Black rhinos always feed at night and during the gloaming hours of dawn and dusk. Under the hot African sun, they take cover by lying in the shade. Rhinos are also wallowers. They often find a suitable water hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural bug repellent and sun block.

Black rhinoceros have sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. They may find one another by following the trail of scent each enormous animal leaves behind it on the landscape.

Black rhinoceros boast two horns, the foremost more prominent than the other. Rhino horns grow as much as three inches a year, and have been known to grow up to five feet long. Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.

The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has also been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for the hard, hairlike growth, which is revered for medicinal uses in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The horn is also valued in North Africa and the Middle East as an ornamental dagger handle.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Know About The Different Types Of Dolphins In The Ocean

Dolphin is a kind of very lovely marine animal, and there are many types of dolphinsin the ocean. Most people automatically think when they see a dolphin that it is a Bottlenose dolphin, that’s not true. Different types of dolphins swim through the ocean and knowing these facts will help you recognize the type of dolphin it is when you spot one. These mammals are beautiful and very interesting to watch. Read the quick facts below about the different types of dolphins to learn more.

The Bottlenose dolphin is one of the prettiest and smartest dolphins in the sea. These are the dolphins you see at Sea World and in movies all the time. They reach 10 – 14 feet in length and grow up to weigh 900 – 1,100 pounds. They are very smart and social animals and are bluish-gray in color.

 The Baiji dolphin is known as the “River Dolphin” because it lives in the rivers of China. It is believed that the dolphin appeared about 25 million years ago. These dolphins would reach about 8 feet in length and up to 500 pounds for males and 350 pounds for females. These dolphins are bluish-gray and have a flexible neck with a long snout. Due to propeller strikes, pollution, human catching and other problems, these dolphins were declared extinct as of last year, but it is believed there are still a few left.

The Black dolphins are also known as the “Chilean Dolphins” because they are located in the coastal waters and river areas of Chile. They grow up to about 5 – 6 feet in length and about 130 – 150 pounds in weight. Out of all the different types of dolphins, this is one of the smallest ones. These dolphins are gray with light color variations on their ventral fin. The Black dolphins dorsal fin and flippers are actually round in shape.

There are many different types of dolphins as you can see and some are similar to others. The Clymene dolphin is very similar to the Spinner dolphin. It is very small in size but has a rather long beak. The dolphin has a white belly with dark gray lines on its’ beaks. These dolphins are deep diving dolphins, meaning they are hardly ever seen at the surface of the water. They are anywhere from 520 feet to 16,400 feet below the surface. They are found in the Atlantic ocean in tropical and sub-tropical waters.

The Hector dolphin is one of the smallest out of all the types of dolphins. If you get the pleasure of spotting one of these, you are very lucky. This particular species is very rare and hardly ever seen. It is one of the smallest only reaching about 3 feet when fully grown. The females do tend to be longer than the males though. These dolphins are brown, gray, black, and white and have markings that are black and white. The Hector dolphin is often called a ‘Torpedo’ because of the shape of its body. It likes to live in muddy swallow water and is found on the coast of New Zealand. The New Zealand coast is actually the only place in the world you can find the Hector dolphin.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Many Parrots Are Kept As Pets

Many parrots are kept as pets, especially macaws, Amazon parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and cockatoos. These birds have been popular companions throughout history because they are intelligent, charismatic, colorful, and musical. Some birds can imitate many nonavian sounds, including human speech. The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic.
Since early breeding can result in egg binding, don’t place a breeding box in with the breeding pair before April. Unlike other human-loving parrots, the fledglings don’t need to be hand fed to become tame. The Indian Ringneck Parrot is a wonderful pet for those who have the time and the love that they need.
I think these are one of the better parrots to introduce to young children especially as they like to be handled and they adore affection and attention. Children love to lavish attention and if the parrot is taught tricks then they will keep are child amused and the bird will be well loved. Also if the child is older and wants to earn a little money they can breed these parrots. So in all I would say that you and your family will have many hours of fun with you Indian Ringneck.
Sure parrots can be loud, but most people can tolerate a bit of noise. It is the loud, prolonged repetitious noises that parrots make that drive us nutty and put us in danger of eviction. This is screaming and not something parrots need to do in the wild. A call across the forest usually gets an answer and the parrot is able to fly to its companion. Parrots in the wild do not need to sit in the same place and scream for a half an hour in order to interact with their companions. Screaming is something that people teach parrots to do. Parrots can learn very quickly that when they scream they get our attention. It’s hard to ignore a screaming parrot, but entering the room to tell a pet bird to hush is “answering the call” and giving it the attention it craved. Parrots don’t naturally scream; we teach them to scream. Instead we should teach them a more acceptable noise or activity that gets them our attention.
Parrots rarely need to bite in the wild. For the most part the threat of a bite keeps parrots out of each other’s personal space. Through a variety of body language, one parrot conveys to another that it is too close or in its territory. Usually, the offending parrot takes these threats seriously and flies off before any blood is shed.
People, on the other hand, miss the body language and don’t back off until they get bitten. Pet birds might quickly learn to skip all the signs of aggression and jump straight to the bite, which is the only thing their caretaker seems to understand. Just like screaming, we teach our pet birds to bite. Instead, respect your parrot’s body language and watch it closely. If you ignore its pinning eyes or some other sign and pick it up anyway, you are teaching your pet bird to bite.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are The Cute Mammals Sea Otters Melting Your Heart

Sea otters
Sea otters are unusual among marine mammals in that they live outside of their zone of thermal neutrality and consequently have extremely high metabolic demands. As a result they require a high rate of food intake, up to 30% of their body weight per day, and they have limited capacity to cope with reduced food availability or additional physiological challenges. Moreover, a large proportion of their diet consists of filter-feeding benthic invertebrates, which tend to concentrate both contaminants and disease-causing pathogens that flow into near-shore waters from land.

The sea otter was hunted to extinction in southeast Alaska by fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the mid-1960's, 402 otters from the northern reaches of Alaska were re-introduced to their southern habitat, and by 1987 the population there had grown to about 3,500 animals. Kvitek was one of the first researchers in the late 1980's to record the expanding population. This rapid expansion, and the pervasive presence of toxic butter clams throughout southeast Alaska, provided Kvitek with the perfect opportunity to set up a comprehensive study . Through observation of the animals, collection of discarded sea otter prey, and sampling prey in areas yet uninhabited by otters, Kvitek hoped to determine whether the foraging behavior and distribution of sea otters under natural conditions was mediated by clam toxicity. Did seasonal toxic algal bloomsdetermine when and where sea otters settled and foraged?

In Summary

The Otter Project considers four factors when evaluating sea otter population status and the result of this year's survey is quite discouraging. It appears that the sea otter population could possibly continue to decline. Three of the four factors are Negative. For 2010, the factors indicated the following:

Spring survey: Mixed. The 3-year running average is down. The raw count for 2010 is up slightly from 2009 but still down from 2008 and 2007. Even though 2010 saw a very modest increase in the number of otters counted in the spring survey, there may be cause for concern as we saw the most significant drop in the 3-year running population average in over a decade.

Dead strandings: Negative. Through December 2010, the number of dead otters recovered was up from previous years.

Mortality by age-class: Negative. Significant increase in mortality of pups and immature otters. An increase in mortality also occurred in reproductive adult age classes this year.

Pup to independent ratio: Negative. The 2010 survey results showed a significant decrease in the pup to independent ratio compared to 2009. The 2009 survey results were the highest in two decades.

Not just otters but also people are potentially at risk from the parasite. People eat many of the same shellfish as otters. There has also been a documented outbreak of human toxoplasmosis in British Columbia, shown later to have been caused by contaminated drinking water, presumably from cat droppings.

Though a potentially serious human health threat, Toxoplasma gondii is only one of many waterborne protozoans that may be entering beach waters via runoff. A new California Sea Grant study is looking at one of the more worrisome of these, Cryptosporidium, widely regarded as one of the most significant causes of diarrhea in humans.

Leading the project are Rob Atwill, also at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis, and Conrad. Taking cues from sea otters, Atwill and Conrad are measuring pathogen levels in bivalves near outfalls of human and agricultural runoff, to track the upstream sources of pollution. Genetic tests are also being used to identify which animal species are the main sources of pathogen pollution. Wildlife, cattle, pets and people can spread Cryptosporidium.

The scientists are also working with dairies along the coast to test the degree to which management practices, such as planting vegetative buffer strips, can reduce pathogen pollution.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

White Tigers Are Extremely Beautiful Animals

Although white tigers are extremely beautiful animals, they serve noconservation purpose, with the exception of increasing attendance to zoos. Thus increasing public awareness andeducation of the plight of all endangered animals. For this reason, the SSP (Species Survival Plan) coordinators for the various surviving subspecies of tiger do not authorize breeding the white tiger in their managed programs. Still this remarkable animal continues to bring hundreds of thousands of fascinated visitors to zoos and educational facilities across the world. Public awareness is the first step in conservation.

The White Tiger is a large and powerful animal that can weigh up to 300kg and reaches more than 3 meters in length. Unlike the white variations found in other animal species, the White Tigeris not an albino as they still carry some form of pigment that creates their fur colour, as some individuals are known to retain an orange tinge to their white coloured fur. Like other Tigerspecies, the White Tiger has black or dark brown stripes that run vertically along it's body, the pattern of which is unique to both the Tiger species and the individual. Along with the change in fur colour, the gene carried by the White Tiger's parents also means that they have blue eyes rather than the green or yellow coloured eyes of normal Bengal Tigers. Despite the beauty of the White Tiger's fur, it does in fact give these individuals a disadvantage as they are not so easily camouflaged into the surrounding jungle.

Across all of Asia, once vast forests have fallen for timber or conversion to agriculture. Only small islands of forest surrounded by a growing and relatively poor human population are left. As forest space is reduced, the number of animals left in the forest is also reduced, and tigers cannot find the prey they need to survive. As a result, tigers begin to eat the livestock of villagers who live near them. Sometimes tigers even attack humans. People sometimes kill the tigers in order to protect themselves and their livestock. As human populations move farther into the forest, groups of tigers become separated from each other by villages and farms. This means that tigers in one area can no longer mate with tigers in nearby areas. Instead, tigers must breed repeatedly with the same small group of animals. Over time, this inbreeding weakens the gene pool, and tigers are born with birth defects and mutations.

In it's natural environment, the White Tiger has no predators due to the fact that it is such a big and powerful animal itself. They are however severely affected by people and have been for hundreds of years, as they have been both captured and hunted for their beauty, and have lost a significant chunk of their historical range to deforestation for both growing Human settlements and agriculture. With the loss in forest, there is also a decline in the White Tiger's prey so populations are becoming increasingly harder to sustain. The fact that the few Bengal Tigers that remain in the wild are becoming more and more isolated means that there is less of a chance that White Tigers will be produced, and this coupled with the severe declines in population numbers could mean that White Tigers have disappeared from the wild forever.

Since they were first brought into captivity, White Tigers have been interbred by Humans in a business that is morally questionable and purely profit based. Since then, this already rare animalis thought to have disappeared completely as there have been no confirmed White Tiger reports since the mid 1900s. Although it is simply a question of two gene carrying individuals mating, the fact that people have hunted them and taken over much of their natural habitat, means that the chances of this happening are not very high. There is an issue however, with increasing instances of Bengal Tigers actually entering Human settlements which causes problems between the Tiger and the villagers. Due to the fact that Tigers are becoming increasingly more vulnerable animals, it is illegal to shoot them and so they often return to the same village night after night.

Even though it is illegal to kill a tiger, wild tigers are still being poached today because their bones, whiskers and other body parts can be sold on the black market for a lot of money. Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine because some people believe that tiger parts have special powers. Forestry and wildlife departments are too understaffed and under budgeted to be effective against the onslaught of poachers. While the exact number of tigers being poached is unknown, some sources have estimated that one tiger a day is being killed in India.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Magnificent Japanese Sea Lion Of The Genus Zalophus Japonicus Is Believed To Be Extinct

Japanese Sea Lion
Until 2003, the Japanese Sea Lion was considered to be a relative of the California Sea Lion. Marine biologists categorized the genus as Zalophus californianus japonicus. However, reclassification became inevitable, under the dictates of taxonomist debates on the distant habitation preferences, differences in morphology and DNA and behavior patterns exhibited by the wollebaeki, japonicus and californianus sub-species. The Japanese Sea Lion inhabited the coastal areas of the Japanese Archipelago, along the Sea of Japan, and the Korean Peninsula. These sea lions primarily inhabited both sides of the Pacific Ocean and were a common sight even along the Kuril Islands, right up to the southernmost tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. There are a number of places around the region that still bear witness to the magnificence of the Japanese Sea Lion through their names. The coast line of Japan has places such as Asahikawa, which translates to 'sea lion rock' and Inubosaki point or the 'dog-barking point'. The latter gets its name from the distinct dog-bark-like howl associated with the Japanese Sea Lion.

The species thrived on the open and flat, sandy beaches and rocky coves, whenever the need arose. The typical male Japanese Sea Lion weighed more than 550 kg and reached a length of around 2.5 meters. It was dark gray in color and visibly larger than their Californian counterparts. The females grew to a length of around 1.6 meters and flaunted a visibly lighter shade of gray or brown, than the males. These mammals were fondly referred to as 'black sea lions', even though they were not melanistic or high in melanin concentration. The Japanese Sea Lion was extensively hunted for its meat and blubber or fat. The blubber was a much sort after source of fat and oil. The oil extracted from the organs and skin of the Japanese Sea Lion was also used as an important ingredient in oriental medicine. Its whiskers made good pipe cleaners, while the skin generated bags and apparel. Commercial harvesting of the Japanese Sea Lion also resulted in the mammal being sought for circus antics.

Research reveals that more than 3,000 Japanese Sea Lions were harvested at the turn of the 20th century. Overfishing brought the numbers down to a few dozens by the 1930s, but commercial harvesting only ceased when the species became extinct in the 1940s. Marine biologists also blame the submarine warfare during World War II for the destruction of their natural habitat. Records reveal that the last of the mammals were sighted by Korean coast guards in the 1950s. Maine biologists are still investigating a number of cryptid sightings on record, all through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974, the last juvenile was captured off the coast of Rebun Island, Hokkaido. Today, stuffed specimens of Japanese Sea Lions can be observed at the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The British Museum and various museums across the Japanese Archipelago. In 1990, the species was pronounced 'extinct' on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

The numerous efforts made to reintroduce sea lions to the Sea of Japan include those made by:
  • The South Korean Ministry of Environment
  • The National Institute of Environmental Research
  • The 2007 joint research venture between China, North and South Korea and Russia
The South Korean Ministry of Environment is currently funding research and support for the revival of sea lions along the coast of Japan. The extinction of the mammal has affected the associated symbolism in Japan, making restoration of the species a national concern. The pelt and skull specimens continue to intrigue visitors at these exhibitions and question our responsibility towards the survival of the ecosystem.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Several Fascinating Aspects Of The Life Of Chipmunks

Chipmunks are small rodents native to the continents of North America and Asia. Owing to their small size, large glossy eyes, stripes, and bushy tail, these small rodents look quite similar to squirrels. There are 25 sub-species of chipmunks, from which Palmer's chipmunk is listed as 'vulnerable' in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) list of threatened species. There are several fascinating aspects of the life of these creatures; one such aspect is the chipmunks habitat.

Chipmunks Habitat
Although the vast habitat of chipmunks ranges from Asia to North America, most of the chipmunk species are found in North America itself. The Siberian Chipmunk, found all over the northern Asia i.e., central Russia to China, Korea and Japan, is an exception though. In the American continent, the chipmunks habitat is spread all throughout the diverse surroundings, ranging from alpine forests to shrubby deserts, from Canada in the north to Mexico in the south. Unlike squirrels, chipmunks spend most of their time on the ground. The burrows built by these chipmunks are complete with several chambers, and tunnels joining these chambers. Other than for living, the chipmunks also use these burrows to store their food. However, some species of chipmunks do prefer to stay on trees, among the logs, or in the bushes.

Being food gatherers, chipmunks prefer an environment characterized by rocks, logs, bushes and dense undergrowth. This also helps them to save themselves from birds of prey like hawks, predatory animals like foxes and coyotes, and their urban predator - the house cat. Being omnivores, most often chipmunks feed on nuts, berries, seeds, and grains, but at times they are also known to feed on insects and eggs of birds. They also store this food in their burrows as a backup food source for cold winters. They transport this food by carrying it in their mouth. Chipmunks do hibernate, but they don't store fats. Instead they use their store of nuts collected throughout the year as food during hibernation.

Chipmunks don't require to drink water so often as they get the required amount of water from their food itself. They are solitary in nature. An individual chipmunks range is spread over an area of half an acre, but when it comes to defending their area, adult males are only concerned with an area of about 50 meters around the burrow entrance.

Chipmunks Adaptations
Over time, chipmunks have adapted well to the climate of the places where they are found. In order to save themselves from cold winters, chipmunks are known to go into hibernation for several months. During this hibernation period, they tend to sustain on the food stored in their burrows. This adaptation has allowed these mammals to increase their survival rate and be least concerned about finding food in snow. If you would like to keep chipmunks as pets in your yard, you can create a nourishing environment for them by preparing a pile of rocks or logs which are important for an ideal chipmunks habitat.

Fascinating Chipmunks Facts
If you thought that the habitat of a chipmunk was interesting, then these facts about chipmunks will truly amaze you. Here are some odd and interesting facts about chipmunks.
  • The chipmunk is called the 'chipmunk' owing to the chipping noises this rodent species tend to make with their teeth.
  • The Eastern chipmunk is considered to be larger than most of the western species of chipmunks.
  • On an average, a single chipmunk is known to store as much as 8 lbs of food in its burrow.
  • Chipmunks are believed to have a lifespan on 2-3 years in the wild and 5-8 years in captivity.
  • A species of chipmunks, the Eastern Chipmunks usually mate twice a year - during early spring and during summer or early fall.
  • Yet another species, the Red-tailed Chipmunk is known to indulge in a dirt bath as a favorite pass time.
  • The Panamint Chipmunk species are found in areas of high heat and barren conditions wherein no other chipmunk species can possibly survive.
  • The Eastern chipmunk has two grinding teeth less than other species of chipmunks.
  • On an average, the chipmunks tend to take around 75 breaths per minute.
  • A chipmunk can carry approximately nine nuts in its mouth at a time.
  • Chipmunks are believed to communicate through a series of noises, body posturing and scents emitted from their scent glands.
This was a brief account of chipmunks habitat and some interesting facts about these cute animals. With so many fascinating things to their credit, it's not surprising to see that chipmunks have also become a part of popular culture. They do seem to have something in them, after all not many members of the animal kingdom have made it big in Hollywood.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shy And Peaceful, Gorillas Can Be A Surprise Package To People

Gorillas have always fascinated me since my school days. I remember doing this project on 'Koko', a very adorable gorilla who gained fame due to her ability of using sign language. Although, some people believe that Koko had mastered the sign language others felt that she only knew how to use the signs without really knowing the meaning behind the particular gesture. As Koko enjoyed being the center of attention, being splashed on the pages of the National Geographic magazine, it was evident that gorillas are very intelligent creatures and the first ever gorilla that was sighted by a Roman explorer in the 5th century B.C. Need to know more about gorillas and their behavioral patterns? Read on for some interesting facts about gorillas and how two species of these omnivorous beings are on the endangered list as well.

Facts about Gorillas:
The first thing that strikes one about gorillas is their massive size. The classification of their species is still under much debate. The short trunk, broad chest and shoulders may make these gorillas seem frightening to some, but in reality, these can be shy in their behavior as well. Of course, as is the case with most animals, these don't usually cause any trouble unless provoked. The Western Lowland gorilla, the Eastern Lowland gorilla, the Mountain gorilla and their subspecies can be safely classified as species of the gorilla.

On an average, gorillas have a height of 165-175 cm as far as adult males are concerned and weigh around 140-200 kg. Female adult gorillas can have a height of about 140 cm and weigh around 100 kg. A baby gorilla can weigh about 4 ½ pounds.

The habitats of these mighty creatures face threat due to the invasion of man in these areas. The loss of forests has largely lead to the depletion of the numbers of these species. In most countries, one can find like-minded people who urge others to maintain such forests and help prevent these areas from encroachment.

As mentioned earlier, the gorillas are actually shy creatures but these also defend their families fiercely. Gorillas can be said to be completely devoted to their families and members of their groups. A group can have up to 30 members. It always has one older male along with females and young gorillas as well. A silverback gorilla always heads groups of gorillas; this is an adult male gorilla that is more than 12 years of age and very dominant in its nature, which is probably why, it remains to be a perfect group leader! The name silverback stands solely because such male gorillas have a very characteristic patch of silver hair on their back.

Using their knuckles to walk around, these generally continue to wander around 10 to 15 miles. They also prefer to stick to their group and often use new branches and grass to create a comfortable area to rest; at dusk.

The diet of a gorilla consists of fruits, stems, leaves, barks, vines, bamboo and a variety of such things as the gorillas have a large appetite! Most of the gorillas can be termed to be herbivorous and are also dependent on the area they habitat, to procure their food. It is said that the Western Lowland gorillas include a lot of fruit in their diet; this is because these are readily available within the lowland areas. But due to the scarcity of food, gorillas also eat snails, insects and slugs to satisfy their hunger.

Gorillas use a wide range of facial expressions to communicate with each other. This is probably why Koko, has also been able to pick up the sign language and use her face and hands to the best of her ability. They sometimes protrude the tongue forward, use various vocal sounds, slap their chest and even laugh when they are tickled. The way a gorilla may express his/her feelings maybe on the similar lines of a human; although they cannot actually use human speech to communicate.

A female gorilla can give birth when she turns ten years old. Males generally breed at the age of 12 or 15 years. Females produce a single young gorilla, which become independent after 3 ½ years.

Today, the gorillas are struggling for their survival. These are being hunted down, for their meat, to use their heads as decoration pieces, to sell the infants (this can result in an entire group being threatened) and for such other acts caused by the human race. I think it is high time people wizen up to the importance of these beings for the entire ecological balance in nature and use one's intelligence for the better.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take An Idea Of Owning An Alaskan Malamute, Knowing These First

The Alaskan Malamute is the largest of the Arctic dogs. This thick well built dog is solid with a plumed tail which is held over the back. The head is wide with erect ears. The eyes are of medium size, dark brown, small, and almond in shape and are obliquely placed in the skull. The dog holds an image of a wolf but with a proud, sweet expression. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue eyes are a fault according to the written standard.
Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

The feet are large, of the snowshoe type with tough pads. The thick, coarse double coat averages one to three inches in length and comes in a range of light gray to intermediate shadings of black, sable and shadings of sable to red. Combinations include, wolf gray, black & white, wolf sable (red undercoat with dark gray outer coat), or red. The only solid color allowed is white. The dog often has darker highlights and sometimes has a dark mask or cap. The legs and muzzle are almost always white. In some areas, dogs may be either smaller or larger than the official standard.
The Alaskan Malamute is extremely loyal and intelligent, sweet and most affectionate toward it's master. Great with children who are old enough to play with him safely. If their canine instincts are met, they mature into a dignified and mellow adult dog. They are very friendly and therefore are not suitable as a
Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

guard dog. Malamutes are happiest living outdoors as long as they receive enough companionship, but they also enjoy living indoors where their human "pack" lives. Without firm leadership and daily mental and physical exercise, these dogs may become destructive nuisances, acting like a big, rambunctious puppy.
In one case, a single dog ruined an entire living room of furniture valued at $15,000 in just three hours! Malamutes love outdoor activities and even do well in obedience with firm encouragement. Although it can be difficult to train Malamutes for formal obedience, it is not particularly hard to train them to be well-mannered because they love to please. Males can be very dominant. This breed needs the humans around him to be firm, confident and consistent pack leaders. Some dogs may be difficult to housebreak.
Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

This breed is a thrifty feeder and needs less food than you might expect. However they do tend to wolf down whatever is offered, which can lead to obesity and bloat. Malamutes are quiet compared to most dogs but they do like to howl and dig. This breed should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as they have a strong prey instinct. This does not mean they are not good with small animals. Some Malamutes have been known to raise small kittens as their own. Both sexes can be combative with other dogs, especially with the same sex and breed and firm handling and training are necessary to curve this. Proper socialization with people and other dogs is imperative. Obedience training is highly recommended.
Height, Weight
Height-Dogs 24-26 inches (61-66 cm.) Bitches 22-24 inches (56-61 cm.)
Weight-Dogs 80-95 pounds (36-43 kg.) Bitches 70-85 pounds (32-38 kg.)
Alaskan Malamute and Women

Alaskan Malamute And Women

Health Problems
The Alaskan Malamute is prone to bloat, hip dysplasia and chondrodysplasia (dwarfism).
Living Conditions
Alaskan Malamutes are not recommended for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and should have at least a large yard. If you live in a suburban area, a high fence is a must, but bury the base, because they are likely to dig their way out. Alaskan Malamutes like to roam in what he considers to be his territory. The Malamutes coat allows them to withstand extreme cold, but be careful to keep the dog cool in hot climates. Make sure they have shade and plenty of clean cool water.
Malamutes need a reasonable amount of exercise with include long daily walks. But be careful not to overdue it in warm weather.
Life Expectancy
About 12-15 years.
Litter Size
Average of 6 puppies

Alaskan Malamute in 2 Months Old

Alaskan Malamute in 2 Months Old

The Alaskan Malamute has a dense coat and should be brushed twice a week. This breed sheds very heavily. The undercoat comes out in clumps twice a year. Bathing is most unnecessary, as the coat sheds dirt readily. Dry shampoo occasionally. This dog is clean and odorless.
The Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic sled dog, descended from the Arctic wolf. Its name comes from Mahlemuts, an Alaskan tribe that raised and cared for these beautiful snow dogs. Originally used 2000 to 3000 years ago by these Mahlemuit Eskimos of Alaska, these highly valued dogs were their only form of transportation. These amazing dogs have strength, endurance with a will to work. They pulled not only light traveling sleds, but they also hauled heavy loads of food and supplies for the Arctic people.
Packs of Malamutes have participated in many polar expeditions, for which they are particularly well adapted due to their tenacity, sense of direction, and excellent sense of smell. They have appeared as unforgettable characters in the stories of Jack London and Rudyard Kipling. The Malamute went with Admiral Byrd's expeditions to the pole. The Alaskan Malamute is cousins with the Arctic breeds, Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and the American Eskimo dog. Some of the Alaskan Malamute's talents are sledding, carting, search & rescue, weight pulling and racing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Barn Owls Are One Of The Most Widely Distributed Birds

Barn owls are one of the most widely distributed birds found everywhere around the world apart from the polar and desert regions. Although this is the case, the barn owl population is more predominant in the Southern Hemisphere due to better climate conditions for the barn owl.

Barn owls tend to measure between 25 and 40cm tall and adult barn owls can have a wingspan of up to 110cm long. The wing span of the barn owl is however dependent on the species of barn owl so some owls may be smaller, where other species of barn owl may be much bigger.

Surprisingly, these common barn owls do not make the hoot sound that can often be heard at night. Instead the owls produce a high-pitched scream and can also hiss in a similar way to a cat or snake if the barn owl feels threatened.

Barns owls can be most commonly seen in the open countryside and along river banks, fields and even the verges on the side of the road. Barn owls are nocturnal animals meaning that typically barn owls rest during the light day time hours and emerge at dusk to begin a night of hunting.

Barn owls most commonly hunt small mammals such as mice, voles and rats but barn owls also hunt fish close to the surface of the water and smaller birds in the tree tops and even in the air. Barn owls swallow their prey whole and then bring back up (regurgitate) the indigestible parts such as bones in the form of a small pellet.

Barn owls are well suited to their nocturnal lifestyle. The large eyes of the barn owl enable the barn owl to have fantastic eyesight even in the darkness of night, but barn owls also have incredibly accurate hearing. The ears of the barn owl are set with one higher than the other giving the barn owl better hearing in general but it also means that when the barn owl is hunting for prey, it can use one ear to detect noise on the ground below and the other ear is used to detect noise from the air and trees above.

Female barn owls lay a clutch of up to 7 eggs in the warm months of spring. The female barn owl nests in a hollow tree or rock, and the barn owl eggs usually hatch after about a month. The male barn owl is known to help feed the barn owl chicks and the barn owl chicks are able to fly by the time they are 12 weeks old.

Although the barn owl, is not considered to be a threatened species of animal, the barn owl population numbers have severely decreased over the years due to pollution and habitat loss as the barn owls are finding it harder and harder in some areas to find food. Despite this being true, the barn owl population in the UK is thought to be increasing again.

There are more than 30 different species of barn owl found across Europe, Africa, Asia and parts of Australia and the Americas. All barn owl species have a similar appearance but can differ great in both size and colour.

Monday, March 19, 2012

African Penguin Conservation Status And Life Today

The African Penguin is a small to medium sized Penguin species that is found along the coast of South Africa and on a number of it's surrounding islands. The African Penguin is thought to be most closely related to the Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins found in southern South America, and the Galapagos Penguin found in the Pacific Ocean near the Equator. The African Penguin was named for the fact that it is the only species of Penguin that is found breeding on the African Coast, and it is believed to be one of the first Penguin species to be discovered by humans.

The African Penguin is a fairly distinctive species of penguin with clean black and white markings and a sharply pointed black beak. The African Penguin also has black feet and a number of dot-like markings flecked across it's white chest which are said to be as unique to the individual Penguin as a Human finger print is, along with a narrow black band. The male African Penguin is generally slightly larger than their female counterparts but both are fairly similar in appearance.

One of the African Penguin's most distinctive features is that they have pink glands above their eyes which help them to cope with the temperate climates. The hotter the African Penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, which in turn, makes these glands more pink.
The African Penguin is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in 27 colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with the largest colony found on Dyer Island, near Kleinbaai. African Penguins are most densely distributed around the cold, nutrient rich waters of the Benguela Current where there is a plentiful supply of food. Although they spend much of their time at sea, African Penguins gather in nesting sites on rocky islands where they spend their days in sheltered burrows to avoid the hot sun. They are one of the only Penguin species to be found in non-freezing conditions and cope with this by burrowing, emerging at dusk and dawn, and using the pink glands above their eyes to cool the blood down.

Like many other Penguin species, African Penguins are incredibly sociable birds, with adults forming pair bonds that last for life (as long as 10 years). African Penguins can often be seen grooming one another, which is not only practical for cleaning purposes, but also for removing parasites and even just rearranging feathers, constantly strengthening the social bond between the pair. Their courtship displays are often very noisy as the male and female Penguin call to each other using a series of donkey-like sounds. African Penguins are also known to submit to a spot of bathing only a few meters from the shore, which they are thought to do quite regularly to both clean and to cool themselves down in the heat.

African Penguins begin to breed at the average age of four, when a male and female will pair up, and tend to breed together for the rest of their lives. The female African Penguin either digs herself a burrow or finds a dip beneath a rock or bush, in which she lays two eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for up to 40 days, when only one of the eggs will usually hatch. The African Penguin chicks are fed and kept warm by their parents constantly until they are a month old when they begin to be left on their own, forming crèches with other chicks for protection from predators. They tend to remain with their parents until they are between 3 and 5 months old, when they will leave the colony (this is dependant though on the supply and quality of food in the area). The chicks return to the colony after a couple of years to moult into their adult plumage. African Penguins generally live for between 10 and 15 years.

The African Penguin is a carnivorous animal that, like all other Penguin species, survives on a diet that is only comprised of marine organisms. Shoaling fish including Anchovies, Sardines, Horse Mackerel and Round Herrings make up the bulk of the African Penguin's diet, along with the occasional Squid or Crustacean when normal food is in short supply. The streamlined body of the African Penguin allows it to move through the water like a rocket, capable of reaching a top speed of around 20 kph when hunting for food. African Penguins catch their prey by diving into the ocean depths for around 2 minutes at a time. Although they normally go to depths of around 30 meters, it is not uncommon for them to be found hunting more than 100 meters beneath the water's surface.

The African Penguin's smaller size means that it has many predators both in the water and also on dry land. Their marine predators are primarily Sharks and Cape Fur Seals, but the biggest threat to them on land is not just to the adult Penguins, but more the vulnerable eggs and chicks. Kelp Gulls and Scared Ibises prey on them from the air and Mongooses, Snakes, and Leopards have been observed hunting them on ground. The African Penguin has also been severely affected by Human activity in their native regions, with populations thought to have taken a drastic decline, mainly due to the exploitation of their eggs for food when they were first discovered. They are also severely affected by the disruption of their natural habitats.

Penguins have more feathers than any other bird, which act as a waterproof layer keeping their skin dry. African Penguins moult once a year which they do back in their colonies. The whole process lasts for about 20 days, in which time, the African Penguins cannot swim or eat, and can lose almost half of their body weight. African Penguins are known to spend long periods of time fishing out at sea, and depending on the area, can travel between 30 and 110 km in one trip. However, those African Penguins who have chicks to feed, will rarely go that far, catching food closer to the shore, and as quickly as possible. The African Penguin is also known as the Jackass penguin, due to the donkey-like call that they make during their courtship rituals.

It is widely believed that African Penguins were one of the first Penguin species to come into contact with Humans, due to the fact that they are found on the temperate South African coast rather than in the heart of Antarctica. This however, does not seem to have worked to the bird's advantage as their eggs were stolen for food (slowing the rate of reproduction), and the guano used in nest building was harvested for fertiliser. Today, other threats face the African Penguin including competition for food from commercial fishing and oil pollution in the water. Only a small handful of nesting sites can be accessed by tourists, but the Penguin's nervous nature of people means that these areas have to be strictly monitored.

Today, the African Penguin is considered to be a vulnerable animal and has been listed as being Endangered by the IUCN. It is thought that today's African Penguin population of around 70,000 breeding pairs, is less than 10% of the population that existed in 1900. By the 1950s, the African Penguin population had halved, and it had then halved again by 1980. There is an approximate 2% decline in the African Penguin population every year, mainly due to the Human consumption of their eggs, competition for food and habitat disruption.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Afghan Hound Physical Characteristics And Interesting Facts

Afghan Hound is thought to be one of the oldest of all domestic Dog breeds, with the first records of the Afghan Hound dating back to 4,000 BC. The fast and agile nature of this Dog meant that they made excellent hunters of small game in their native Afghanistan, most commonly hunting Deer, Goats, Gazelle and Wild Boar along with seeing off larger predators such as Wolves and Snow Leopards. Their gentle nature also made this elegant sight-hound a doting shepherd, fearlessly protecting livestock from hungry predators. This beautiful but gently natured watchdog was brought to Britain in the early 1920s and it's entry to the USA followed in 1926. The elegance of the Afghan Hound meant that they quickly became highly desirable Dogs, both as pets and for show.

Afghan Hound Physical Characteristics

The most characteristic feature of this breed is the long, silky fur that covers the Afghan Hound's body, most notably on the top of it's head. Afghan Hounds are most commonly black or golden in colour although a number of colour variations now exist within the breed including brown, grey and white. The elongated head and muzzle of the Afghan Hound make them easily identifiable, along with their high hip-bones which gave the ancestors of the modern day Afghan Hound their reputation for speed and agility. The face of the Afghan Hound is usually a black-coloured mask, with a black nose and dark almond shaped eyes. The colour of the facial mask is known to vary although white is said to be discouraged as it is seen as a sign of poor breeding. They are fairly large Dogs standing on average at 68cm in height.

Afghan Hound Behaviour and Temperament

The temperament of the typical Afghan Hound tends to be aloof and dignified, but happy and intelligent and generally relatively playful. However, the Afghan Hound has a reputation among Dog trainers for having a relatively slow obedience intelligence possibly due to their slightly stubborn nature. The Afghan Hound has a leaning towards independence and owners should not be surprised if their Dog sometimes chooses to ignore commands. The modern day Afghan Hound is said to have many Cat-like tendencies, loving to laze around the house and is generally much slower than it's Middle Eastern ancestors. The Afghan Hound is seldom used for hunting in Europe and America today where they are one of the most popular domestic Dog breeds.

Afghan Hound Breeding

The Afghan Hound was first bred in the ancient deserts of Egypt and Afghanistan, where they were primarily used as hunters. The Afghan Hound was a favoured choice of Dog as they were able to outrun the majority of other animals, whilst being courageous hunters and were capable of thinking independently, often able to keep larger prey from escaping until the hunter arrived. The first domestic breeding of the modern day Afghan Hound was by an English officer station near Kabul, who later brought the Afghan Hound to the UK in 1925. A year later, the Afghan Hound was taken to America where it's beauty and elegance made it one of the most prestigious breeds of domestic Dog in the States.The average litter size of the Afghan Hound is around 7 puppies, which are blind when first born.

Afghan Hound Interesting Facts and Features

When the Afghan Hound breed was first brought to America, it's naturally independent nature led to it gaining a reputation for being untrustworthy. Today however, many of these traits are not quite as prominent in the breed as they once were. The high hip-bones of this Dog are thought to be one of the main reasons why the Afghan Hound once had a reputation for speed, making them faster at running than most other domestic Dog breeds today. The long topknot on the top of it's head, along with the small ring near the end of it's tail, are two of the most distinctive features of the mature Afghan Hound. They originate from the mountains of Afghanistan and their unique appearance provides these Dogs with vital advantages during the cold winters and hot summers. Although beautiful, this long fur takes daily care and maintenance to ensure that the coat remains healthy.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lovely Goose Even Lives In The Wild

A lovely goose is a medium to large sized bird found in Europe, Asia and North America. There are around 29 known species of geese around the world including Canadian geese and Snowy geese.

Geese mate and build their nests in order to raise their baby geese (known as goslings) in the north during the warmer summer months and the geese then migrate south in the winter to the warmer climates when the baby geese are strong enough to fly.

Geese tend to have the same mating partners for their entire lives, and if not all of it then most of it. The bond between male and female geese partners is very strong and they will often spend most of their time together with both the male goose and the female goose building the nest and raising their young.

Geese are omnivorous birds but mainly feed on insects, grubs, small fish and plankton in the water. Geese spend a great deal of time on the water and have special adaptations such as webbed feet which make their aquatic life easier.
Geese have a number of natural predators although, due to the size and strength of a goose, predatory animals don't always have an easy time if they fancy goose for dinner. The main predators of the goose are foxes, wild dogs, raccoons and birds that predominately prey on the goose eggs and newborn baby geese. Humans are among one of the most common predators of geese, as geese are hunted all around the world for their meat and feathers.

Geese are strong and hardy birds and are known to get to old ages, even in the wild. The average lifespan of a goose is between 20 and 30 years but a number of geese individuals have been known to live for much longer.

Geese are known to have extremely strong wings as they migrate long distances every year to the warmer climates. Due to the fact that the wingspan of a goose is so large (normally one and half times the size of the goose's body), and the wings of the goose are so strong, a goose is known to be able to inflict severe damage to humans should it become threatened or annoyed!

Not only do geese flap their wings to intimidate unwanted company, but they are also known to make a loud hissing noise. If these methods of defence fail, it is not uncommon for a goose to simply charge at the intruder hissing and flapping it's wings all at the same time.

The term geese is normally used to refer to these birds in general, but more particularly a female. The term gander is generally used to refer to a male.. The baby geese are referred to as goslings and a group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle with geese flying in formation being called a wedge or a skein.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Beautiful Peacocks That We All Love

The peacock (also known as peafowl) is a medium sized bird most closely related to the pheasant. Unlike it's common pheasant cousin that inhabits areas of the Northern Hemisphere, the peacock is found in warmer climate of the Southern Hemisphere, with the peacock being most commonly found in India.

There are three main types of peacock, the African Congo peacock, the Indian peacock and the Green peacock all of which are thought to have originated in Asia but are today found in Africa and parts of Australia. All of the three different species of peacock are knwon for their elaborate male peacocks and dull, brown female peacocks (in comparison to the males).

The male peacock is most well known for it's enormous tail feathers that fan out behind the peacock and can be nearly two meters in length. This colourful display of the peacock is thought to be used for both mating and defence purposes. The male peacock attracts a female to mate with by showing off his array of elaborate feathers, and when the male peacock feels threatened, he will fan his tail out in order to make himself look bigger and therefore try to intimidate approaching predators.

The peacock is an omnivorous bird and feeds on insects, plants, seeds, and flower heads. Peacocks have also been known to munch on small mammals and reptiles in order to supplement their diet, which ensures that they are getting the right nutrients. Peacocks have a number of natural predators in the wild that include wild dogs and cats, medium sized mammals such as raccoons and even tigers have been known to hunt peacocks.

Peacocks commonly get to about 20 years old, although some peacock individuals have been known to get to older ages particularly those peacock individuals that are in captivity. Generally, the peacock populations are not under great threat although the green peacock, is listed as being vulnerable to extinction mainly due to hunting and habitat loss.

Male peacocks are known as peacocks and female peacocks are known as peahens (in a similar way to chickens and pheasants). The male is peacock is generally about twice the size of the female peahen, and even larger when the male peacock is displaying his plumage (feathers). When the male peacock does not have his brightly coloured and very elaborate tail feathers on display, they drag behind him. This is known as a tail or a train.

During the mating season, the male peacock may mate with up to six different female peahens. The female peahen lays between 4 and 8 brown coloured eggs. The female peahen incubates her eggs by sitting on them, and the peacock chicks hatch after an incubation period of about a month. The female peacock, looks after and rears her peacock chicks on her own without any help from the male peacock.

Peacocks are most commonly found in deserts and dry savanna areas. Peacocks are also found in forests and dense foliage particularly during the breeding season when the female peacocks are trying to incubate their eggs and rear their chicks without any unwelcome predators spotting them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Important Facts About The South China Tiger

The South China tiger (also known as the Amoy, Chinese or Xiamen tiger) is a smaller-sized subspecies of tiger native to the forests of southern China. The South China tiger is the most critically endangered tiger species with only a handful left in the wild.

The South China tiger is natively found in the temperate upland forests of southern China, where its once wide range has now been reduced to a few isolated populations, which are said to be found inhabiting the mountainous borders between provinces.

The South China tiger is one of the smallest species of tiger behind the Sumatran tiger and the Malayan tiger. As with the other smaller sized tiger species, the small size of the South China tiger allows it to move through the dense jungle more easily.

Like other tiger species, the South China tiger is known to be a strong and capable swimmer, often able to catch its prey when its in the water. This hunting strategy only works however if the South China tiger is faster than the animal it is hunting.

The South China tiger is a dominant and carnivorous predator, hunting it's prey by stalking it until the South China tiger has the opportunity to catch it off guard. South China tigers primarily hunt larger mammals including deer, wild boar, cattle and goats.

Due to the size and power of the South China tiger, it has no natural predators in its native environment. Humans that hunt the South China tiger and habitat loss are the only threats to the South China tiger.
After a gestation period of 3 to 4 months, the female South China tiger gives birth to up to 5 cubs. Newborn South China tiger cubs weigh about 1 kg (2 lb) and are blind and helpless. The mother feeds them milk for about 2 months and then the South China tiger cubs are introduced to meat. South China tiger cubs depend on their mother for the first 18 months and then they start hunting on their own.

Today, due to habitat loss caused by deforestation, and hunting by human poachers, the South China tiger is considered to be a critically endangered species. The South China tiger is the most critically endangered species of tiger and one of the 10 most endangered animals in the world, as there are thought to be less than 20 South China tigers left in the wild.

The South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, was formerly abundant in South China's temperate upland forests. Today its wide range has been reduced to three isolated areas in south-central China, where small and scattered populations are said to persist along the mountainous borders between provinces. As with the Black-footed Ferret, one of the biggest contributing factors to the South China tigers' dwindling population is the destruction of its prey base. Two other major factors that have contributed to the tiger’s decline are poaching and population fragmentation. South China tigers, like other tiger subspecies, live in dense jungles. South China tigers also love spending time in water, similar to other tiger subspecies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Important Facts About Adelie Penguin

The Adelie Penguin is the smallest and most widely distributed species of Penguin in the Southern Ocean and is one of only two species of Penguin found on the Antarctic mainland (the other being the much larger Emperor Penguin). The Adelie Penguin was named in 1840 by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville who named the Penguin for his wife, Adelie. Adelie Penguins have adapted well to life in the Antarctic as these migratory Birds winter in the northern pack-ice before returning south to the Antarctic coast for the warmer summer months.

Adelie Penguin Anatomy and Appearance

The Adelie Penguin is one of the most easily identifiable Penguin species with a blue-black back and completely white chest and belly. The head and beak of the Adelie Penguin are both black, with a distinctive white ring around each eye. The strong, pink feet of the Adelie Penguin are tough and bumpy with nails that not only aid the Adelie Penguin in climbing the rocky cliffs to reach its nesting grounds, but also help to push them along when they are sliding (rowing) along the ice. Adelie Penguins also use their webbed feet along with their small flippers to propel them along when swimming in the cold waters.

Adelie Penguin Distribution and Habitat

The Adelie Penguin is one of the southern-most Birds in the world as it is found along the Antarctic coastline and on the islands close to it. During the winter months, the Adelie Penguins migrate north where they inhabit large platforms of ice and have better access to food. During the warmer summer months, the Adelie Penguins return south where they head for the coastal beaches in search of ice-free ground on the rocky slopes where they can build their nests. More than half a million Adelie Penguins have formed one of the largest animal colonies in the world on Ross Island, an island formed by the activities of four monstrous volcanoes in the Ross Sea.

Adelie Penguin Behaviour and Lifestyle

Like all species of Penguin, the Adelie Penguin is a highly sociable animal, gathering in large groups known as colonies, which often number thousands of Penguin individuals. Although Adelie Penguins are not known to be terribly territorial, it is not uncommon for adults to become aggressive over nesting sites, and have even been known to steal rocks from the nests of their neighbours. Adelie Penguins are also known to hunt in groups as it is thought to reduce the risk of being eaten by hungry predators. Adelie Penguins are constantly interacting with one another, with body language and specific eye movements thought to be the most common forms of communication.

Adelie Penguin Reproduction and Life Cycles

Adelie Penguins return to their breeding grounds during the Antarctic summer months of November and December. Their soft feet are well designed for walking on land making the trek to it's nesting ground much easier as the Penguin fasts during this time. Adelie Penguin pairs mate for life in large colonies, with females laying two eggs a couple of days apart into a nest built from rocks. Both the male and female take it in turns to incubate their eggs while the other goes off to feed, for up to 10 days at a time. The Adelie Penguin chicks have an egg-tooth which is a bump on the top of their beaks, which helps them to break out of the egg. Once hatched, the parents still take it in turns to look after their young while the other goes off to gather food. After about a month, the chicks congregate in groups called crèches and are able to fend for themselves at sea when they are between 2 and 3 months old.

Adelie Penguin Diet and Prey

Adelie Penguins are strong and capable swimmers, obtaining all of their food from the sea. These Penguins primarily feed on krill which are found throughout the Antarctic ocean, as well as Molluscs, Squid and small Fish. The record of fossilised eggshell accumulated in the Adelie Penguin colonies over the last 38,000 years reveals a sudden change from a Fish-based diet to Krill that started two hundred years ago. This is thought to be due to the decline of the Antarctic Fur Seal Seal in the late 1700s and Baleen Whales in the twentieth century. The reduction of competition from these predators has resulted in there being an abundance of Krill, which the Adelie Penguins are now able to exploit as an easier source of food.

Adelie Penguin Predators and Threats

Adult Adelie Penguins have no land based predators due to the uncompromising conditions that they inhabit. In the water however, the biggest threat to the Adelie Penguin is the Leopard Seal, which is one of the southern-most species of Seal and a dominant predator in the Southern Ocean. These Penguins have learnt to avoid these predators by swimming in large groups and not walking on thin ice. The Killer Whale Whale is the other main predator of the Adelie Penguin, although they normally hunt larger species of Penguin further north. South Polar Skuas are known to prey on the Adelie Penguin's eggs if left unguarded, along with chicks that have strayed from a group.

Adelie Penguin Interesting Facts and Features

Adelie Penguins inhabit one of the coldest environments on Earth and so have a thick layer of fat under their skin helping to keep them warm. Their feathers help to insulate them and provide a waterproof layer for extra protection. The Adelie Penguin is a highly efficient hunter and is able to eat up to 2kg of food per day, with a breeding colony thought to consume around 9,000 tonnes of food over 24 hours. The flippers of the Adelie Penguin make them fantastic at swimming and they can dive to depths of 175 meters in search of food. Adelie Penguins do not have teeth as such but instead have tooth-shaped barbs on their tongue and on the roof of their mouths. These barbs do not exist for chewing but instead assist the Penguin to swallow slippery prey.

Adelie Penguin Relationship with HumansA visit to the Adelie Penguin colonies has long since been on the programme for tourists to the Antarctic, who marvel at the vast numbers of them nesting on the beaches and hunting in the surrounding waters. This has meant that Adelie Penguins are one of the most well-known of all Penguin species today. Early explorers however, also hunted the Penguins both for their meat and their eggs in order to survive in such uncompromising conditions.

Adelie Penguin Conservation Status and Life TodayDespite having been confined to living on coastal Antarctica, Adelie Penguins are one of the most common and widespread Penguins in the southern hemisphere. With more than 2.5 million breeding pairs found throughout southern Antarctica, the Adelie Penguin has adapted well to it's polar habitat. Scientists have also been known to use Adelie Penguin nesting patterns as indicators of climate change, noticing that they are able to nest on beaches that were previously covered in ice. The Adelie Penguin is listed as Least Concern.