This picture caught my eye…the Coleman’s shrimp artfully camouflaged in a sea urchin. Shrimp have a high tolerance to toxins which probably explains why it’s fine nestled amongst the poisonous spines of a sea urchin. Female shrimp can lay up to a million eggs at a time which hatch in the course of a day into tiny nauplii.
Archive for March, 2011
Well, my Monday has been a bit of a nightmare…so to cheer me up I’ve found some adorable panda cubs having a bit of rough and tumble in the Chengdu Giant Panda Base in Sichaun province, China.
The twin boys were fighting over who got prize spot in a water pit. The play fighting will have to stop when they grow up as they’ll be about 5ft long and up to 150kg!
While this Pink Handfish isn’t going to win any beauty awards…it might for its ingenuity. Instead of swimming, these angler fish walk across sea beds with their hand-like fins. The first of these species were found in 1802 but it’s only recently been properly studied and 14 separate species have been found. They all live off Southern and Eastern coasts of Australia and are considered vulnerable due to their limited ability to flee predators.
Scientists are concerned rhinos in Africa are facing their biggest poaching threat for years. In the last three years alone, gangs are thought to have killed over 800 rhinos for their horns which are used in traditional medicines in parts of Asia. This threatens to undo the good work of recent conservation efforts which has seen a rise in population numbers. Despite all this, the White rhino is currently listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
Britain could be under a raccoon invasion as abandoned pets are dumped in the countryside. Legislation changed in 2007 so people no longer need a licence to keep them as pets. But when inexperienced owners can’t cope with the change in temperament when they reach sexual maturity, they panic and release them into the wild. Experts are warning of a similar population explosion to the non-native grey squirrel…now one of the most ubiquitous critters in the UK!
There’s a lot to be worried about, in 1934 a pair of raccoons were released in Germany to ‘enrich local fauna’ and for sport…now there are an estimated 500,000 – 1 million raccoons and a decrease in bird numbers as the bandits raid their nests for eggs.
Scientists have been studying the evolution war as cuckoos try to stay one step ahead of the birds they hide their eggs in. Female cuckoos lay their egg into other species’ nests and the cuckoo chick nudges out its rivals. Their survival is dependent on their egg shell’s pattern blending in. Birds have four types of cones in their retinas which detect colour, humans only have three, so birds can see a wider range of colours. Scientists found that cuckoos have had to develop a much better camouflage when depositing eggs in redstart nests as these birds seem better at identifying their rogue eggs.
Paddington Bear has a new rival in terms of having a little commute. This little ferret (named Mickey by the SPCA who took him in) was found at Edinburgh train station after he apparently got off a train from London. Mickey appears very friendly so is probably someone’s pet who escaped before taking off on his little adventure. The ferret is a domesticated relative of the pole cat and has been living with humans for about 2,500 years.
With loads of cute videos of the adorable slow loris on YouTube, it’s no surprise it’s become a bit of an internet hit. But people wanting to keep these beautiful primates as pets is endangering the animal. Smugglers are poaching the animals, ripping out their teeth (as they can give humans a toxic bite) before sending them for long journeys which many don’t survive.
The most famous video of a loris apparently enjoying being tickled has been criticized by primate conservationist Dr Anna Nekaris. This clip alone has spurred many people to want these animals as they appear to enjoy the human interaction. But Dr Nekaris says as these creatures are nocturnal, the animal is more likely to be confused and blinded by the camera.
Knut the polar bear cub who won over millions of fans after his mother rejected him and he was handreared by Berlin zookeepers, has sadly died. An inquest is due to determine why he died at such a young age as polar bears in captivity can live to over 20 years.
As the world’s largest land carnivore and the largest bear an adult male can grow up to 1,500lb. The polar bear and brown bear are closely related (strictly speaking, they aren’t two defined species as they can interbred and the offspring are fertile…!)
Photo : AFP/Getty
This weekend I’ve mainly been in Venice and found this fat, fluffed up pigeon nestling on one of the many religious icons. As reclaimed marshland, Venice’s wildlife at first glance seems limited to pigeons and seagulls…though I did spot some ducks diving in the sea. Pigeons always get a bad rep despite not helping spread human diseases probably because they’re one of the most abundant species across the world with an estimated 28 million birds in Europe!
Photos by Suzie Pipes ©