Animals Planet Earth

Poison Dart Frogs are no Longer Poisonous in Captivity

frogOne of the most poisonous animals on Earth is the Poison Dart Frog. While only around 5cm long, the Poison Dart Frog has enough venom to kill 10 adult humans. Two micrograms of their toxin (an amount that would fit on the head of a pin) would be enough to kill a person.

The indigenous people of South America used their toxin to poison the tips of their blow darts which would kill any animal or person it hit. However, when kept in captivity the poisonous nature of the frog completely disappears.

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Animals Food Misc Musings

Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp

figsFigs are not technically a fruit, they are actually more like an inverted flower. These are known as a syconium where flowers and seeds are borne. Due to the fact that the flower is inverted, most pollinating insects cannot get to the pollen. Without pollination the fig tree wouldn’t be able to reproduce.

This is where the fig wasp comes into play. The fig tree and the fig wasp (Blastophaga psenes) have evolved a mutual relationship. The fig tree can only be pollinated with the help of the fig wasp and the fig wasp can only reproduce inside a fig syconium.

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Animals

Slugs Have 27,000 Teeth

SlugThere are around 30 different species of slug in the UK, which provide a  food source for other predators such as birds, hedgehogs and even toads. Slugs have an important role in the ecosystem and are key composters which help to break down decomposing vegetation. However they are notorious for being able to chomp through garden plants and vegetables in a very short period of time. They do this using their teeth!

Slugs average approximately 27,000 ‘teeth’. They need so many teeth  because instead of chewing their food, they have a ribbon-like flexible band of microscopic teeth called a radula. This acts like a circular saw — cutting through vegetation and eating it as they go. When their teeth wear out new rows of teeth move forward and replace them.

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Animals

Dolphins Sleep with One Eye Open

dolphin.jpgDolphins and whales often sleep with one eye open in order to avoid being eaten by sharks. The ability to stay partially conscious also allows them to continue to get air while sleeping.

How dolphins handle this is to put one half of their brain to sleep, while the other half is still conscious and functioning.  They then alternate which side is sleeping periodically. They stay in this state for approximately eight hours a day.  Doing this allows them to be conscious enough to control their breathing and periodically swim to the surface and get air, while still giving their brain the rest it needs.

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Animals

In Switzerland it’s Against the Law to Own a Single Guinea Pig

guinea piggoo.jpgSwitzerland has strict animal rights legislation that ensures “social rights” for certain pets, this means that certain animals which are classed as sociable creatures must be accompanied by at least one other of the same species when purchased at a pet store.

Guinea pigs are covered by this legislation, when buying a guinea pig you must also buy a companion of the same species for it to socialise with. This legislation is still valid if one of the pair happens to outlive the other, as such “Rent-A-Guinea Pig” services have become available in Switzerland, where when one of the pair dies, a substitute companion can be rented to ensure that the social life of the Guinea pig remains in tact for the rest of his life. The rented Guinea pig can then be returned to the owner.

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Animals History

Pablo Escobar’s Bloat of Hippos

pablopotamusWhen he died in 1993, Pablo Escobar was one of the wealthiest men in the entire world. He made Forbes’ list of international billionaires for seven years straight. His drug empire was worth an estimated $30 billion and, by the end of the 80’s, he supplied 80% of the worlds cocaine.

With this wealth he owned an estate in Antioquia in Columbia. This estate held a private airport, a bullring, a cart racing track, sculpture garden, a collection of dinosaur skeletons and a private zoo filled with various exotic animals including elephants, zebras, giraffes and four hippos, three females and one male.

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Animals

Why are Flamingos Pink?

FlamingosFlamingos are one of the most iconic creatures in the animal kingdom, easily identified by their bright pink plumage. However when Flamingos were first brought to zoos from the wild, the keepers were dismayed to find they lost their bright pink colour and turned a grey/white shade.

It turns out the secret to the flamingo’s pink feathers comes from their diet. In the wild flamingos eat algae and invertebrates that contain things called carotenoids. Carotenoids contain pigments which dissolve in the flamingos fats and are then deposited in the growing feathers of the flamingo giving them their colour. If this is removed from the diet of the flamingo then the colour will be lost and feathers come through as their natural grey colour.

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Animals

Dolphins Only Drink Milk

baby-dolphin-pictures-9Dolphins are mammals, which means, like us, they require fresh water to survive. But how to do they get water? They live in the sea, which contains a large amount of water but unfortunately this is salt water, which for mammals can cause kidney damage and dehydration if drank in excess. They actually obtain their water through eating other animals such as fish and squid whose bodies contain a high amount of fresh water. They eat them whole and as they are broken down inside the dolphin the water is released and absorbed.

But how do they get fresh water before they can hunt?

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Animals Planet Earth

The Misinformed Mongoose Invasion of Hawaii

145359In Hawaii in the 1800’s the sugar industry was facing problems from the growing rat population which was eating through their sugar plantations and costing them a lot of money. In order to try and control the rat population, a predator was introduced to the islands, in 1833 Mongooses, which are originally native to India, were let loose in the fields of Hawaii to end the rat threat to the agriculture.

However this decision seemed to be incredibly misinformed, rats are a nocturnal animal which means they are only active at night and spend the days hidden away in nests, however the Mongoose is diurnal, which means they only hunt in the daytime and nest at night so the two animals would never encounter each other!

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