Crimson Rosella

The Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) is a medium-sized parrot, of about 36 centimetres (14 inches) long, native to the coast and mountains of eastern and south-eastern Australia.

The Crimson Rosella begins with green feathers and developes red and blue colours as it matures.  It is red with blue cheeks and black-scalloped blue-margined wings, with a blue tail.

The Crimson Rosella does not migrate. They are residential and gather in flocks of up to 20 individuals. They eat fruit, seeds, nectar, berries, and nuts of a wide variety of plants. Rosellas will also eat many insects and their larvae, including termites, aphids, beetles, weevils, caterpillars, and moths.

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East African Nile Crocodile

The East African Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus afrocanus) is the largest freshwater predator in Africa, and the second largest reptile in the world, second to the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

The East African Nile Crocodile is dark brown with faded blackish spots and stripes across its back, with a dirty-yellow belly. The colour darkens with age. It has four short legs, a long powerful tail, and a long snout with sharp teeth. They have thick scaly skin.

It has green eyes. Its nostrils, eyes and ears are on the top of the head, so that they can be seen out of the water when the rest of the body is underwater.

The East African Nile Crocodile has 64-68 sharp, pointy, cone-shaped teeth. It it loses a tooth, it can be replaced. On each side of the mouth, there are five teeth in the front of the upper jaw (premaxilla), 13 or 14 in the rest of the upper jaw (maxilla), and 14 or 15 on either side of the lower jaw (mandible).

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CREATURE FEATURE: Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Nephila), or Banana Spider, is a large arachnid – a spider. Nephila means fond of spinning. The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver has yellow (gold) silk, which they use to make their webs.

The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver varies in colour from reddish to greenish yellow. They can grow to 4.8–5.1 centimetres (1.5–2 inches). Females are larger than males.

The Golden Silk Orb-Weaver makes a large asymmetric orb web up to one and a half meters in diameter. They stay in their webs permanently.

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Striated Heron

The Striated Heron (Butorides striata) also known as the Green-Backed Heron, is a small hunched wetlands bird from the tropical regions of the world, mainly in the southern hemisphere, including west Africa, Japan, Australia, and South America.

The Striated Heron is greenish grey, with a white underbelly, a black cap, and short yellow legs. Its neck is short which makes it looked hunched over. It has a long beak, that has a black upper mandible and a yellow lower mandible.

It can grow to 40-48 centimetres (16-19 inches) tall.

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Red Spitting Cobra

The Red Spitting Cobra (Naja pallida), is a medium-sized African spitting cobra between 0.7 and 1.2 meters (2.3 and 3.9 feet) long.

The Red Spitting Cobra is usually bright salmon-red contrasted with a broad black throat band and teardrop markings, but the colour varies. The Kenyan Red Spitting Cobra has an orange-red colour, with a broad, dark blue or black throat band. Most will have a throat band, but it will fade or even sometimes disappear in larger adults.

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Eastern Grey Squirrel

The Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is a tree squirrel native to North America and Europe. It is considered to be an invasive species in Great Britain where it has displaced the red squirrel.

The Eastern Grey Squirrel has grey-brown fur with white fur on its underbelly. It has a large bushy tail. It has four toes on its front feet and five toes on its back (hind) feet.

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Large Brown Spitting Cobra

The Large Brown Spitting Cobra (Naja ahsei) or Ashe’s Spitting Cobra, is the largest species of spitting cobras, at around 1.2 to 3 metres (4-10 feet) long. It is an elapid – a snake with fangs. It emits double the amount of venom from its fangs than other spitting cobras.

The Large Brown Spitting Cobra is found on the Kenyan coast. It was found in 2007 and regarded as a new species of spitting cobra. Its colour varies in brown shades, from light grey to mustard to dark brown.

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Swamp Bluet Damselfly

The Swamp Bluet (Coenagrion lyelli) is a medium-sized blue damselfly, an insect similar to a dragonfly, in the family Coenagrionidae. They live across the globe in most climates, near streams, pools, and lakes.

The Swamp Bluet male is bright blue with black markings. The abdomen is long and slender with ten segments.

It has compound eyes (like house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on their foreheads. It has a small antenna.

The joint between head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head.

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Black-Necked Spitting Cobra

The Black-Necked Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis) is a medium-sized African spitting cobra. It is an elapid – a snake with fangs.

The Black-Necked Spitting Cobra is mainly black, but its colour varies. Some are pale grey with a yellow or reddish ventral side with a broad, black neck band, often with an orange bar on the neck. Others can be yellowish-brown without the bandings around the neck and the reddish colour on the belly, whereas others are deep reddish-brown or olive brown.

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Sheep can recognize faces – of owners and celebrities

A recent British study shows that sheep have a highly developed ability to recognize the faces of celebrities.

Although it has long been known that sheep are able to recognize the faces of their human owners and handlers, scientists have now shown that sheep can be trained to recognize images of famous people.

Professor Jenny Morton, the lead scientist in the Cambridge University study, said that the study showed that sheep have face-recognition abilities comparable with those of humans or monkeys.

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Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian Cobra (Naja haje) is an African snake, and one of the largest cobra species. The largest is the Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca).

The colour of the Egyptian Cobra varies, but most are brown or coppery, or even black, often with lighter or darker mottling, and often a tear-drop mark below the eye.

The Egyptian Cobra has a large head. Its neck has long cervical ribs capable of expanding to form a hood, like all other cobras. The nose of the Egyptian cobra is broad and rounded. The eyes are quite big with round pupils. The body of the Egyptian Cobra is cylindrical and stout with a long tail.

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What are hackles?

What are hackles?

Hackles are long, slender, often glossy feathers on the neck of a bird, especially a male fowl.

Hackles are also the hairs along the back of the neck and backbone of an animal, especially a dog.

When an animal or bird raises their hackles, it is an involuntary action to express communication, such as cold, fear, excitement, anxiety, aggression, nervousness, or uncertainty.



Photographer: Martina Nicolls