Monday, 19 December 2011

Facts about The Reindeer

Herds of reindeer brave wolf packs, dangerous river crossings and hordes of blood-sucking flies on the exhausting migrations to and from the summer pastures of the High Arctic.

1) The female, or hind, reindeer is the only female deer to grow antlers. They are smaller than the males, but she keeps them all winter to help her defend patches of ground that she has cleared of snow from the stronger males.

2) The reindeer's twice-yearly migrations are one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles of the natural world. The reindeer travels in enormous mixed-gender herds, all in North America, each numbering 50,000-200,000 animals.

3) Depending on the terrain and weather conditions, a herd moves its home range by as far as 1000km, at a rate of 20-25km a day.

4) During the summer, the reindeer lives in herds of 20 to 30 animals, with the females and their calves remaining together and mature males living apart.

5) Constantly on the move, the summer herds are trailed by packs of wolves, which pick off the old, the weak and the sick.

6) The name Caribou is a native North American word meaning 'shoveller' and describes the way the reindeer digs into the snow.


Saturday, 27 August 2011

Facts about The Emperor Penguin

The Emperor Penguin is an inhabitant of the coldest region on Earth. Other birds only share spend time there on a part-time basis, but it is only the emperor penguin that actually uses the ice as a place to lay it’s egg..

Adult and chick Emperor Penguin. (Image Credit)
1) Their dense, waterproof plumage and a 2cm thick layer of fat provide good insulation against the sharp winds and biting, freezing cold.

2) Emperor penguins hunt beneath the surface ice. They can swim after prey for nearly 20 minutes, diving to depths of about 500 meters.

3) Males huddle together for body warmth (wouldn’t that be a sight if humans did the same!) in vast colonies These colonies can consist of up to 40,000 birds, as they incubate their eggs throughout the Antarctic winter.

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Facts about the Ostrich

The ostrich is equiped with strong powerful legs that allow the bird to roam the open plains with little difficulty, along with other special features to assist in coping with the relentless heat and dust.

1) Legs are huge and muscular for running at high speed and delivering defensive kicks. The thighs are naked to improve heat dispersion while running.

2) Feet on an ostrich have only two toes. This feature is unique among birds. The large toe has a flat nail for fast running, and the second two aids balance.

3) Wings on an ostrich are near enough obsolete. However, their uses are mainly for display and heat regulation.

4) The Bill has a broad gape that helps the ostrich dissipate excess body heat during the hottest hours of the day.

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Monday, 22 August 2011

Facts about the Swallowtail Butterfly

The swallowtail butterfly lives in a variety of habitats all over the world. They are fast-flying but short lived and busily go about their business gliding from flower to flower in search of energy-giving nectar.

These butterflies have boldly patterned wings with dark lace-work. These wings are designed not only to confuse predators but to attracted a mate.
1) The short ‘tails’ on the hind-wings is where this beautiful butterfly takes it’s name.
2) Males and females often have completely different wing colours and patterns.
3) There are over 500 species of Swallowtail butterfly worldwide.
4) The caterpillar exudes unpleasant chemicals from a forked gland to protect itself.
5) Wingspan: 4.4 – 20 cm
6) Caterpillar length: 6 – 7 cm
7) Number of eggs: 100 – 200
8′) Caterpillar stage: Approx 30 days

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Facts about the Portuguese Man-of-War

Armed with a multitude of poisonous tenticles, the Portuguese Man-of-War floats aimlessly throughout Nature’s oceans brushing up prey as it goes.

The Portuguese man-of-war is a creature that prefers the warmer waters of the open Atlantic. However, it can happen to be driven inshore by strong oceanic winds, which is why it is seen along the North Atlantic coasts of the Americas, Europe and Africa. Some species live in the Mediterranean.
It relies on its gas-filled float (this is the part above the water), to catch the winds and water currents, and carry it far across the open oceans.
The sting from one of these creatures is not strong enough to kill a human, but can cause severe pain for several days. Not much really! But the Portuguese man-of-war is not just one living organism: it is a colony made up of many individual organisms, each one having a different function.

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Facts about the Mexican Red-Kneed Spider

Specialized and equipped predator of western Mexico, the Mexican Red-Kneed Spider is able to survive a solitude life waiting patiently for its next meal…

Starting on a conservation level, the Mexican red-kneed spider is a very popular, but unusual pet. Unfortunately though this has led to a loss in local but wild populations.
There is, however, no immediate threat to the species since there are many areas still of Mexico, it’s favourite habitat, undisturbed. As long as it stays this way, this species of tarantula remains safe.
The Mexican red-knee is very fond of wooded, rocky ground on hillsides and close to small streams. It is the western coast of Mexico that has ground like this and is no doubt abundant with these tarantulas.
A spider lives in self-made holes in the ground, earth banks or in crevices under rocks or tree roots, which can be up to 1m long, with the entrance covered in deep leaf litter. Although a Mexican red-knee has been found living in bushes within its own constructed silken nest.

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