Do you know ... why are there so many dog breeds?
Have you ever sat down and really thought about how there came to be so many different breeds of dogs?
And if you have asked your self that question, have you gone a step further and wondered why there are numerous BREEDS and not separate SPECIES?
Well, if you have, we have your answer for you!
From the DNA record, we know that our domesticated pups all descended from the gray wolf (canis lupus) .... 20,000-ish years ago. We think hunger played a very big part in that domestication. Humans cooking by campfires versus out for the hunt ... you get the picture.
Now, within just the last couple of hundred years, humans began playing with gene selection to modify the gray wolf-like descendant into an animal that best fit their needs and environmental conditions.
Basically, the answer all comes down to a question of time.
BREEDS .. created by humans through selective breeding over the last 200 years.
SPECIES ... created by nature over a VERY VERY VERY LONG period of time.
In the next millennium, separate dog species may become quite likely. But in the meantime ..... dogs are all just canis (lupus) familiaris ... and isn't that just as it should be! It's interesting to note that the most popular breed in the world is indeed the MUTT ... the lovable mix of many breeds ... found in countless backyards and on countless couches!
Do you know ... do raccoons wash their food before eating it?
According to the experts at For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue ...
"Raccoons are famous for their tendency to "wash" their food, but they're not washing anything at all! Raccoons aren't exactly the most hygienic animals; they'll often dip their food into the same body of water they use as a latrine (communal toilet). Ick!
The reason for this behavior is actually much more interesting than you might think! Raccoons have the most sensitive sense of touch of any animal known. Over two thirds of the sensory processing power of a raccoon's brain are dedicated to its sense of touch, while the critter's tiny hands are packed with over ten times the number of nerve endings as a human hand.
These very sensitive hands develop a thin protective barrier over time -sort of like a callous- but the layer is softened by water. When a raccoon dips its hands into water, it can feel with perfect acuity. A raccoon will explore its food, memorizing and savoring its texture to learn about it and to be better able to identify and search for it in the future.
'Washing' food, though certainly common, isn't as universal as many believe. In the wild, raccoons really only do it occasionally but are often seen with their hands dipped in water as they search for crayfish, snails, fish, and worms. We've found that our patients only bring their food to water to explore it about one time out of ten, though they do often take toys and pebbles into their pools to play with them.
If you'd like to help provide our trash panda patients with foods and toys to wash, please consider checking forfoxsakewildlife.com for ways to support our work!"
I think we have our answer! Thank you to the wonderful folks at For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, doing incredible rehabilitation work outside of Nashville, TN.
Do you know ... are sloths really lazy?
What we should have recognized in these animals is not laziness at all but the fact that they are actually amazingly efficient.
Their daily behaviors and physiology are integral to their survival and that can hardly be called lazy! It is wrong for us to anthropomorphize these amazing creatures with our own slovenly habits! "Sloth" even translates to "lazy" in some languages ... how silly is that?
The niche that they have created for themselves ... evolving over 64
million years.... is
So now that you know the facts ... if someone compares you to a sloth, you know you are just being called highly efficient!
Do you know ... are Daddy Long Legs really the most poisonous
spiders in the world?
Well ... since you asked .... there is so much wrong with that question!
First ... They are NOT spiders... they ARE Opiliones.
Second ... they are NOT poisonous!
So ... NO ... they are not the most poisonous spiders in the world.
They ARE mild mannered omnivore Opiliones that use camouflage and "playing dead" and a foul smelling scent gland to keep themselves out of trouble. They cluster together in "aggregations" of 3 or more to provide extra protection. They will even shed one of their legs if caught which is really extreme as their legs do not grow back and causes a change in their gait!
They ARE a very old critter! Fossils have been found that are over 400 million years old! Puts them 200 million years older than the dinos! Scientists have even been able to trace the shifting of Pangea by following the evolution of Opiliones.
There are over 6500 different species of Daddy Long Legs ... 21 are threatened, 14 endangered and 5 are already extinct. They ARE found all over the world ( except Antarctica ... it's COLD there! :)
So .... if you find one ... say hi and give it lots of space and by
all means do not try to pick it up and move it. Remember how fragile
those little legs are!
Do you know ... should we feed deer during the winter?
NO but the reason might be different than what you think ... it's not because they will become domesticated and hang around your yard for the rest of their life!
It's because ... like ALL of nature ... their physiology is designed to work perfectly with the change of seasons and change of diet!
Their digestive systems become perfectly adapted during the fall months to digest the woody vegetation that they most likely find during the winter. To suddenly change the diet to soft, fresh, high calorie foods will cause immediate damage to their systems.
Lesson learned? 99% of the time ... nature has things figured out!
Animal species are designed to exist and thrive without our help. As
long as we have not damaged their ecosystem, causing them damage that
requires wildlife rehabilitation experts, please leave wildlife alone.
What Do you know ... about mules?
What you probably know for sure ...
* Mules are hybrid equines with one parent a donkey and one parent a horse. They inherit their intelligence from the donkey side and their athleticism from their horse parent
What you probably think you know but is indeed a myth ...
* Mules are NOT stubborn ... they are in fact, terribly intelligent and should be trained only through kindness, patience and understanding. They have an incredible sense of self preservation and will rarely do anything that will put them selves in danger. With that said ... it's good to remember that a mule will trusts it's own instincts before he trusts a humans!
What you will probably be surprised to know ....
* They have only 63 chromosomes (64 from the horse parent and 62 from the donkey parent) thus are unable to reproduce.
* Can accurately kick sideways and backwards but only with good reason.
* Can see all four of their feet at the same time due to the placement of their eyes! This absolutely plays into their sure-footedness on narrow trails. This helps explains their historic use on canyon trails in the likes of the Grand Canyon National Park.
* Can go 24 hours without water
* Their temperament and strength makes them very good therapy animals. See Hearts and Horses at www.heartsandhorses.org
* Can go 2 and 1/2 miles an hour
* Whereas horses rely on a flight response to danger, mules positively demonstrate a freeze response which is welcome in many trail situations!
* Will live 30 - 40 years.
Do you know ... is a Whale Shark a shark or a whale?
It is definitely a shark so it is definitely a fish, having cartilage instead of bone and breathing though gills. Not only is it a fish but it is the largest fish on Earth, now or ever ... growing to an average length of 39 feet and weight of 15 tons. It's buddy, size-wise, is the Blue Whale, it being the largest mammal on Earth.
It is called a "whale" shark merely for it's size though it actually has other things in common with whales. Just as true as with the blue whale ... these giants feed on some of smallest food in the ocean..... krill and plankton. They are filter feeder just like baleen whales.
Do you know ... why moths are so attracted to lights?
About the middle of summer, many people will just shake their heads and say it is because they are not too bright, pun usually intended!
The reality is that, thanks to the invention of the electric light bulb, Thomas Edison has given them a great big headache.
Moths navigate the night sky by what is called transverse orientation .... A sophisticated system where by flying at a specific angle to the light of the moon they are able to fly in straight lines ...... I think you see where I am going with this ...
All of our electric lights interfere with their natural instincts and cause them a whole mess of problems ...
Another, of SOOOOO many reasons for the world to reestablish "the dark sky" initiatives. Get these little critters away from our porch lights and back into doing what moths do!
So ... the answer to the question is ... they are not attracted to the light as much as they are confused by the light and that should go a long way in their gaining our sympathies ... Humans did it again ...
Ways to help: International Night Sky Association https://www.darksky.org
Do you know ... the most dangerous animal on Earth?
Humans! ..... We top this list for so many reasons! Homicides alone number up to 450,000 a year globally. Add to that our intensively aggressive behavior towards each other for thousands of years .... war deaths add another 150 million - 1 billion deaths on to our rap sheet. Add into that our disregard for lives in the natural world and there is no doubt what the most dangerous animal is. Think of the annihilation of the whole globe that could happen at the push of a button. Yes, my fellow humans ... this is a no brainer. We make the conscious choice to harm others.
The hopeful side to this is that we can reverse this trend if we want
to ..... Peace has been proven to work miracles. Environmental stewardship
also produces amazing results. We CAN make a positive change to these
numbers and on this planet!
Mosquitos! ... These tiny critters are a second to humans for the high
number of deaths related to the pathogens they spread ... malaria, encephalitis,
yellow fever, Zika virus and dengue fever, among others. As they are
found everywhere on the globe except for Antarctica .... the World Health
Organization states that more than 1/2 of the population of the Earth
is at risk for contracting mosquito borne diseases. Though they can
be associated with over 725,000 deaths a year, it must be taken into
account that they are just doing what comes naturally to them. Humans
can and should protect themselves by using insect repellents and staying
clear of hot spot areas when traveling.
- Tsetse flies ... carriers of "African Sleeping Sickness" having no vaccine available or even medical treatment for it.
- Cape Buffalo ... nicknamed Black Death, they are responsible for more human deaths in Africa than any other animal.
Can charge at up to 35 miles an hour and those are BIG horns coming at you!
- Cone Snails ... yup ..... I said snails! Be careful in the Hawaiian and Caribbean waters. No anti-venom exists.
- Golden Poison Dart Frogs ... they don't even need to bite you! ... just handling them is sufficient to transfer the venom.
- Box Jellyfish ... 15 tentacles ... 10" long. Enough said!
- Black Mamba ... very venomous and very fast! Can slither toward you at 12.5 miles per hour.
- Saltwater crocs .... very aggressive towards all animals and can be found in both freshwater and saltwater.
They have a bite of 3700 PSI ... something you'd experience with a T-Rex, should you come across one of those!
- Hippos .... again, very dangerous for their speed. They can run upto 14 miles an hour and are known to have a mean streak.
Do you know ... do birds hibernate? more
There are many adaptations that allow birds to handle the cold that send many other animals into a state of hibernation.
Migration, flying to warmer climate, the first and foremost solution
(i.e. geese & duck)
Do you know ... what a group of lady bugs is called? more
A Loveliness! ...... Lets's do some more! :)
Do you know ... which animals have fingerprints? more
Presumably, you have started with human beings and you are correct.
I'm thinking your next guess will be gorillas? Again correct.
Now ... it gets a little tougher ... just one more critter to guess.
Our hint is that, while all these first group of animals shared a common evolutional thread of a couple million years ago, the critter we are looking for lies far off, some 70 million years.
All of those are incorrect!
Run out of guesses? ...
The only other animal to have them .... KOALAS! Not only do they have them but they are identical enough that even trained experts can not tell them apart from the primates.
Soooo ... if a gorilla, an orangutan and a koala ever commit a heist together, be assured, it will be difficult to "finger" the actual suspect! :)
Working your way up the mountain ....
At 10,000ft: Red Pandas
Up to 15,000ft: Snow Leopards
Up to 16,000ft: Lammergeier and Mountain Tahr and Sand Fox and Kiang
Bumble Bees: highest living insects at 18,000ft :)
Snow Partridges at 18,000ft (hard to flap their wings in the decreased oxygen)
19,000ft: Tibetan Gazelles
Up to 20,000ft: Yak .... so well adapted for cold living they can not live below 10,000!
Up to 21,000ft: Alpine Clough
FYI : highest growing plant at 21,000 ... alpine moss
Himalayan jumping spiders ... highest living animal at 22,000 feet above sea level! :)
As a side note Bar-headed Geese... their migration route actually takes them over a peak at 23,000 ft with oxygen at 1/3 levels at sea level!
At the highest peak elevation of 29,035ft.... just itty bitty microorganisms! :)
Do you know ... where on Earth you find polar bears and penguins sharing a home? more
An easy way to remember where you want to travel to see each of these critters ...
Polar bears live only in the northern hemisphere, the Arctic (the Greek word for BEAR) and penguins are found in the Southern hemisphere, in the Antarctic (Greek meaning “the opposite of BEAR)Well ... that makes that pretty clear!
Do you know ... what's the largest living animal on Earth? more
It's the Blue Whale! Averaging 60 - 80 feet long and weighing up to 200 tons! They are not only the largest now but largest ever on Earth!
And what diet keeps an animal that size healthy? Surely it seeks out the largest prey it can find ocean-wide.
Quite the opposite actually ...... it sustains itself on "krill" mostly ..... these are teeny tiny crustaceans ... not even an inch long! Needless to say, they need a LOT ..... 4 tons a day in fact ... 40 million krill per day!In order to get the amount of food needed, they use a technique known as filter feeding. They swim towards large schools of krill and take in as much as they can, water and all. The water is pushed against the baleen bristles in their mouth and forced out ... keeping just their lunch inside!
More whale facts:
Can swim up to 25 miles per hour when frightened but have a 5 mph cruising speed.
Live in pods.
Their life spans are 80 - 90 years in the wild ... which is the only place they belong! :)
They are mammals.
Are found in every ocean.
Are the largest AND the loudest animal on Earth.
And the rest of the top ten list of largest animals ...
Do you know ... why do smaller birds often seem to chase after raptors? more
We have all seen it ... you look up in the sky and see a majestic raptor riding the air currents and very often, you will also see smaller birds in the same airspace and definitely giving the raptor a piece of its mind.
This very intriguing behavior is known as mobbing and the reasons behind seem quite reasonable. Raptors are known to be the tough guys of the neighborhood and the smaller birds are giving them notice that they are not welcomed into the neighborhood. They are mostly protecting home and hearth and it is often witnesses in spring and early summer when young are near.
Birds that are well known to take on the big guys are swallows, mockingbirds, chickadees, jays, crows and very often red-winged blackbirds. They will take on almost any larger bird! Birds often on the receiving side of the mobbing are crows, hawks and owls though other animals can be mobbed as well when seen as harmful to their home .... foxes, coyotes ... even humans!
An interesting fact .... when you see this taking place, take note of the birds doing the mobbing. Sometimes it's a singular bird.... sometimes many of that species will join it but often enough, different species will all work together to give the raptor at large, a united send off! Not only that, but they will be using a non-species specific call to get others attentions!
The thing that seems to raise questions is why the raptors take this aggregation when more often than not, they are the larger, more aggressive of the birds in the airspace.
Scientist have a few ideas ... one is that this type of face to face confrontation works against their most useful weapon ... the element of surprise! Another thought is that often, the smaller birds are just so much more agile in flight that it's going to take a lot of energy to join in the fight. Most believe it is just more work than it is worth to chase off the rascally rascals!
Do you know ... what animal has the longest memory? more
Bottlenose Dolphins! Studies have shown they remember and can identify the unique whistle sounds of dolphins they encountered 20 years previously!
Other interesting dolphin facts:
- It is illegal to touch or feed a dolphin in the wild.
- A dolphin chooses it's own "name" shortly after birth and retains it throughout it's life.
- There are over 40 species ... 5 live in rivers, all others in temperate ocean waters.
- Use tools! Have been seen using sea sponges to protect their noses while foraging for food.
- Orca's ... Killer Whales ... are really dolphins!
- Have no sense of smell.
- Humans are dolphins most dangerous predators ... they have few enemies in the wild.
- They breathe through their blowholes.
- Highly intelligent ... ranking up there with apes and humans!
Do you know ... how many critter species do we share this planet with? more
We all know the diversity of animal life on this planet is incredible but just HOW diverse is it? Science has been pondering this question for over 250 years but we are still dealing with much estimation and speculation.
What we DO know as of 2019 .... 1.5 million animals have been identified and scientists believe that to be just 14% of all animal life on Earth. They estimate that as many as 86% are still to be identified on land and up to 91% in the oceans.
Of that 1.5 million ....97% are invertebrates and just 3% are vertebrates.
To remind you ...
Looking at the incredible task of counting ALL living things, adding plants, fungi and microbes into the equation, we could be looking at up to 1 trillion species but that’s for another Do You Know!
However estimated the current count is of life on Earth, it goes without saying that humans occupy a very small percentage of that total and yet can cause vast destruction and disrepair to our fragile planet. We are asking you to be mindful of our place among all living things and treat our planet with great respect and care. MANY MANY other lifeforms are relying on clean and safe environments.
Do you know ... are bees really essential to human survival? more
The simple fact of the matter is that bees are responsible for the pollination of 1/3 of the all crops humans eat today.
Not only that but they an essential part of the rich biodiversity of life on Earth so not only are we endangering OUR survival but that of all critters.
Jonas Salk put it very succinctly... “If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappear from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”
So yes ... they ARE absolutely essential to survival!
Do you know ... are bats blind?" more
No ... they actually have very good eyesight.ALL bats can see. Some species of bats actually see three times better than people do! Most bats use a combination of echolocation and vision when hunting. Pair that with excellent sense of smell and hearing and these beautifull creatures are well equipped for the marvelous role they play in the ecosystem. Though they use echolocation (a form of sonar) to navigate at night, their eyes are fully functioning and with their excellent hearing they are incredible hunters both day and night.
“Blind as a bat” actually means “you can see very well!”Other “batastic” facts:
- Known to share food with other bats.
- No bat makes a nest.
- Blood sucking bats make up only 3 species of over 1300.
- Baby bats are called “pups”.
- Incredibly essential to ecosystems ... 300 species of fruit depend on bats for pollinations.
- Without bats we wouldn’t have chocolate!
- Just as important as bees as pollinators.
- Natural pest control ... each bat eating thousand of bugs each night.
- Disease is their biggest threat ... white-nose syndrome.
- Most live 20 years in the wild.
- They are the only flying mammal.
How to help our wonderful bats? ... put up bat houses!
Do you know ... what it means for a species to be "endangered"? more
This is a term we hear almost everyday but do you know the specifics regarding it's depth of meaning, use and underlying importance?
"Endangered" refers to a species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
And who exactly makes these determinations?
Since 1964, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has been compiling data on over 96,500 species. Of those, 26,500 are considered threatened today.
The health of a species put them into one of 8 categories:
(EX) Extinct - No individuals remaining.
(EW) Extinct in the Wild - Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
(CR) Critically Endangered - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
(EN) Endangered - Very High risk of extinction in the wild.
(VU) Vulnerable - High risk of extinction in the wild.
(NT) Near Threatened - Likely to become endangered in the near future.
(LC) Least Concern - Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
(DD) Data Deficient - Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
(NE) Not Evaluated - Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
On the IUCN Red List, a species is "threatened" if it falls into one of these categories:
* Critically Endangered
Many things play into the endangering of a species:
* Habitat destruction through human intrusions such deforestation, mining, farming, development
* Climate changes
* Disease or predation
* Competition from invasive species
For species specifics.... please visit https://www.iucnredlist.org
Do you know ... are eagles found world wide? more
There are 60 species of eagle ... most of these being found in Africa and Eurasia. 2 are found in North America, 9 in Central / South America and 3 in Australia.
There are 4 general groups that eagle are placed into, generally divided by diet or physical appearance. There are fish eagles (11 species), booted eagles (28 species), snake eagles (15 species) and harpy eagles (6 species).
Size and power are the 2 most identifiable attributes that set the eagle apart from the rest of the raptors. They have heavier beaks then most birds of prey and incredible eye sight.
The Philippine eagle is generally considered the largest eagle in the world with a 6.5 foot wingspan and standing 3 feet tall. They can weigh up to 16 pounds. As so many other animal species, human interference and environmental destruction has reduced their number to just 200 in the wild.
The more you learn about these majestic birds, the more you will love them! For a complete list of eagles around the world and their conservation status, please visit www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/list-eagle-species.
Do you know ... what do Bees, Bonobos and Orcas have in common? more
They all live in matriarchal societies! That is to say, theirs are societies where females are held in higher status than males and hold primary positions of power.
Honey Bees ..... The hive is ruled by the queen bee with 95% of the remaining hive being workers, all female! The remaining 5% are the drones.
Bonobos ... Not only are they our closest genetic relative, their social status is determined by the mother.
Orcas.... Found in every ocean on Earth, the grandmother of the pod runs the show! Pods of orcas are made up of mother, daughters and sons. Females can live up to 40 years past menopause, bringing their vast knowledge of survival tactics to the success of their pod. Orca males move to their mate’s grandmothers pods once they have matured.
Other animal species functioning under strong matriarchal systems:
Elephants .... The oldest female leads a herd of immediate relatives. Her memories of water holes and travel paths are priceless to the survival of the group. When she dies, her place as leader of the herd is taken by her first born daughter. Males leave after 12 - 15 years.
African Lions .... The pride is typically made up of related females. The females, in addition to raising the cubs, do the majority of the hunting, being lighter and more agile.
Lemurs ... Females are given the choice of mates and food. They will stay with the group for all of their lives whiles males change groups frequently.
Do you know ... how can owls fly so quietly? more
Owls are often referred to as silent hunters ... what enables them to do so? Their feather and wing shape is the answer!
When most typical birds fly, their wing shapes produces air turbulence, and thus sound, while in flight.
Owls, on the other hand, have feathers that are serrated at the very edge. These little combs breaks up the turbulence and the minimal sound made is absorbed by the unique texture of the owls wings. Owls also have a larger wing to body size ratio thus allowing them to fly slower then others birds ... more gliding, less flapping, less noise.
Many scientific studies have come to the conclusion that this silent flight serves 2 purposes: it keeps the prey from hearing their approach AND it allows the owls to stay attuned to the prey. Neat little fact, you can tell what time of day an owl hunts by looking at it's eye:
- Black eyes ... hunt at night (Nocturnal)
- Yellow eyes, daytime (Diurnal)
- Orange eyes, dawn and dusk (Crepuscular)
Other cocktail party facts:
- Can move their heads ... no, not 360 degrees (they can only do that once as a local master falconer is known to say)
but a good 270 degrees due to increased numbers of vertebrae in their neck.
- A group is called a parliament
- Rarely build nests of their own
Check out some owls you may not know ....
- Eurasian Eagle Owls .. wing spans up to 6 feet
- Oriental Bay Owl ... very unusual
- Northern Pygmy Owl ... only 6 inches long
- Tawny Fish Owls ... a fish eater!
- Blakiston's Fish Owl ... largest living species of owl
- Barn Owl ... most widespread
- Spectacled Owl .... if there was ever an animal that looked like Muppet, this is it!
- Collared Scops-Owl ... and insect eater
- Burrowing Owls ... live in prairie dog holes
Do you know ... can reindeer fly? more
Only under very special circumstances!! :) In1823, flying reindeer
were introduced to the world through Clement C. Moore's poem " A Visit
from St.Nicholas" ..... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid,
Dunder (Donner), Blixem (Blitzen). People became so mesmerized with
the animals in the story, not everyone realized that there really were
such critters as reindeers/caribou in the wild!
- Reindeer and caribou are closely related, so close that many scientists consider reindeer to be merely domesticated caribou but research is on-going and there will be more information on that in the future.
Do you know ... How do animals survive the cold winter months? more
Hibernation: this is a voluntary behavior that leads the animal to bulk up prior to the cold season to be able to live off stored fat and drop their body temperature to near climate numbers for months at a time. Bears are considered highly efficient hibernators as they drop their temperatures only slightly and can are easily awakened. Like most hibernators though, they can spend up to 7 months without sleeping, drinking or producing waste. Smaller animals that do lower their temperatures to near freezing, will wake every few days to eat then lower their temps and repeat the cycle. Critters: Bears, chipmunks, ground bees, snakes, bats, wood frogs, gila monsters, turtles and groundhogs!
Torpor: this is an involuntary state that many animals go into during cold nights and is experienced by birds, rodents and bats and is usually less than 24 hours in duration.. Their activity is normal during the daytime hours but will enter a state of torpor during the cold nights. It can often be used to wait out periods of reduced food supply. Critters: Raccoons, squirrels, mice, hummingbirds, chickadees, and skunks!
Estivation: as a side note, with climate changes we are facing, for animals that must survive long, hot, dry climates, the term estivation describes periods of inactivity and lowered metabolism. Critters: salamanders, snails, crabs, mosquitos,desert tortoises, fat-tailed lemurs, and hedgehogs!
(Installment 6 of 6) Can hear through their feet? YES! ... elephants have exceptional hearing but are also able to "hear" low frequencies which travel from sensors in their feet up to their middle ear.
(Installment 5 of 6) Afraid of mice? Well ... it has been shown that elephants will back away from mice when in close proximity.
(Installment 4 of 6) Too heavy to swim? NO!... They love the water and can swim for hours. They can even smell a water hole up to 5 miles away.
(Installment 3 of 6) Rarely forgets? YES!! ...elephants have superb memories as their life depends on it out in the wild. Water is scarce and water holes come and go. The matriarch of the herd must remember where that water can be found. They are also very social animals, living in herds of typically 10 females and their calves, and have shown the ability to recognize other elephants that they met years prior.
(Installment 2 of 6) Use their trunks as a straw? NO! ... their trunks are actually elongated noses and they use it to breathe. Needing 30 - 60 gallons of water daily, they will easily scoop water up in the lower part of their trunks and spray it up to their mouths
(Installment 1 of 6) Love peanuts? NO! ... not only are peanuts not found out in the wild, these would barely make a dent in the elephants sizable appetite! Elephants need over 300 pounds of food daily. They much prefer to fill up on hay, grains, fruit and vegetables.
Do you know ... why chameleons change color? more
Most people will say that they change color to blend into their surroundings but, actually, the opposite is true! When you think about it, it is most likely that they already are blending into their habitat. So why the colorful routine? Emotional and phycological needs seems to play a key role. They are communicating in one way or another. Temperature, light and mood! Darker shade to absorb heart when cold ... Lighter color to cool off and multi-color to attract a mate! Watch this National Georgaphic video on how cameleons change colors VIDEO
Do you know ... Coastal Wolves? more
Found on the Pacific coast, these wolves get up to 90% of their diet from the ocean. Distinctively different from coastal wolves in their DNA, they are physically smaller and great swimmers. Current studies show that mainland and coastal wolves live very different lives.Coastal wolves swim from island to island off the coast of British Columbia ... swimming recorded distances of up to 7 miles from coast! These wolf populations are unprotected and at one time were found from northern California to Alaska but are losing their habitat as are so many animals.
For more information see: https://www.raincoast.org/projects/wolves/
Do you know ... do mice favor cheese? more
This myth goes back centuries...it may have come from cheese being an available food before refrigeration...meats and grains would have been stored away while cheese would have been left out on a cupboard. Cheese is certainly not a part of their natural diet. Scientific test have actually shown them rejecting cheese all together in favor of peanuts, fruits, veggies and even chocolate!
Do you know ... do goldfish have poor memories? more
Tests have proven just the opposite! In feeding trials, escape route tests, and maze running, results show memories of up to 5 months or more. This may have you consider your tank set-up for your beautiful gold friend.... the more complicated you can make the setup, the happier and more active your fish will be! As a matter of fact, if you can keep changing it up, it will be even better!
Do you know ... are dogs color blind? more
They do not see as wide a range of colors as we do, but they are definitely not color blind. Studies show that they see a dichromatic range in the yellows and blues of the color spectrum. This is good to know when choosing items in your dogs world... you might want to avoid red and green, as they will appear just a murky brown for them. It certainly does explain why dogs always seem to love those yellow tennis balls!!
Do you know ... how similar are humans and chimpanzees? more
We share about 96% of our DNA with them but ancestrally, we split into separate branches of the family tree about 6-8 million years ago. Here's a fact sheet from our favorite primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall ... http://wiki.janegoodall.org/wiki/The_Chimpanzee
Do you know ... are carrots the preferred food of bunnies? more
In the wild, rabbits will eat greens before anything else. Very few will find carrots laying around for them. For domesticated bunnies, carrots should be kept to a minimum due to high a sugar content. Bugs Bunny crunching on a carrot is due more to a scene from It Happened One Night (for those of us who remember it!) than actual food preferences.
Do you know ... are pit bulls a dangerous breed? more
People definitely feel strongly one way or another on this question. As our answer to this, we offer 2 opinions from organizations that should know what they are talking about.
AKC Breed Standards http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/american-staffordshire-terrier/
ASPCA Position Statement http://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-pit-bulls.
Do you know ... do ostriches bury their heads in the sand? more
With the ability to run up 40 miles an hour and weigh up to 320 pounds, their need to hide in the sand from predators is pretty unlikely. See Past Animal of the Month
Do you know ... can you get warts from a toad? more
Warts are caused by a human virus and can not be blamed on the poor little toad family.
Do you know ... do camels store water in their humps? more
It is actually a fat deposit and allows them to go without eating for up to three months, if needed.
Do you know ... are elephants the only animal that can't jump? more
They are joined in that lack by sloths, hippos, giraffes and rhinos. This whole question certainly paints an interesting picture in your mind though, doesn't it?
Do you know ... do bees die after they sting you? more
One species out of 20,000 species does die after stinging. The others do not.
Do you know ... whose feather is that? more
For great feather identification information, peruse the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Feather Atlas! Feather Atlas
Do you know ... is that a moth or a butterfly? more
The odds are that it is a moth as they make up a good 90% of the Lepidoptera order. That leaves just 10% being butterflies. But if you not playing the odds, there are other ways to tell the difference.
Butterflies: Metamorphosis: egg to caterpillar
and in turn a chrysalis … then flight! Diurnal … spotted during your
daytime walks. Wings upright and in a V unless sunning. Antenna look
like a little club … wider at the tips. Thin bodies. Usually bright,
Do you know ... should you feed bread to ducks and geese? more
We love ducks and you CAN feed them....just NOT people food. Human foods aren't nutritious enough for animals and may cause a deformity called "angel wing" in ducks, geese, swans and other waterfowl who are fed white bread, popcorn, crackers, or other people food. Instead... Look for waterfowl feed or duck pellets at feed stores. Also, seedless grapes cut in half, shredded kale, Swiss chard or romaine lettuce, and grains, including wheat, barley and oats. Make sure anything you feed is BITE-SIZED to avoid choking...Our feathered friends thank-you!"
Do you know ... should you take indoor spiders outside when you
want to relocate them?
Not usually! There are actually species of indoor spiders and those who thrive being out in the wild. Indoor spiders: Our houses are their houses! Their main job is to eat other insects that invade our homes ... NOT to eat us! Not only that, but they were here first ... tracing their ancestry back about 300 million years ago, pre-dinosaur, pre-us! They have been part of our households since Roman times ... so you get the idea that taking these homebodies OUTSIDE is really not going to help them! As Rod Crawford, curator of arachnid collections at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, says “ You can’t put something BACK outside that never was outside in the first place! Only about 5% of spiders you seen indoors have ever set foot outdoors.” Benefits to keeping these critters around? They will keep down the number of littler critters and keep you from having to use any kind of chemical insecticide and that’s a win-win situation! So .... what SHOULD you do if you are really just fine with having them hang out in your house but don’t exactly want to have them too close? They tend to like rooms where they can find water which is why you apt to find them in shower stalls and sinks. They do not crawl out of water pipes but merely get themselves stuck on slippery porcelain surfaces. Try relocating them to a room further from your living space and let them do their bug hunting there. Another thought? Be familiar with the poisonous spiders in your own locale and know how to identify them. All the rest? Enjoy them! Myths abound about these arachnoids but be assured, they aren’t attacking and they aren’t biting you! They are filling a necessary niche in your home’s ecosystem! Keep in mind .... there is an old superstition that if a spider crawls in your pocket, you will always have money! Makes you want to make friends with your nearest little spider! :) "
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