Frilled-Necked Lizard

The Frilled-Necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) is a medium-sized reptile. It is also known as the Frilled Agama or the Frilled Dragon. It is an agamid (a dragon lizard). 

The Frilled-Necked Lizard has a large frilled collar around its neck. The frill stays mostly closed, but will open up when the lizard is startled, and also for courtship. It is mainly grey or brown with dark spots and blotches that are often red or orange. The colour depends on the lizard’s environment as a form of camouflage. 

Continue reading “Frilled-Necked Lizard”

Visayan Warty Pig

The Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons) is a critically endangered ungulate (hoofed) mammal. 

The Visayan Warty Pig has coarse dark-grey hair. Its entire body is covered in hair. It has a thin tail with a tuft of black hair at the tip. It has long, thin ears with hair tufts. It has three pairs of fleshy warts on its face. The male has prominent whiskers and small, sharp tusks. Both the male and female have scent glands near their eyes and on their feet. 

Continue reading “Visayan Warty Pig”

Auk Eggs

What does the egg of the Lesser Auk (Alca torda) look like? 

The Lesser Auk is also known as the Razorbill. It is a marine bird, or sea bird, in the Alcidae family. It lives in the Northern Hemisphere along rocky reefs and coastal cliffs. Approximately 60% to 70% of the Lesser Auk population breeds in Iceland.

The female Lesser Auk lays one egg per year on a bare ledge on a coastal cliff, between late May and early June. 

The egg is oval and elongated in shape. 

Continue reading “Auk Eggs”

Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion (Androctonus crassicauda) is a venomous arachnid. An arachnid, like the spider, has eight legs.

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion has grasping front claws, called pedipalps, and a thick, segmented tail that curves over its back. At the end of the tail is a venomous stinger called a telson. It is highly venomous to humans. 

The Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion is usually reddish-brown in colour, but it can also be brown to black. It does not have an inner skeleton (bones). Instead, like the spider, it has an exo-skeleton – an outer skeleton or shield that protects its body. The exo-skeleton is called the ecdysis. 

Continue reading “Arabian Fat-Tailed Scorpion”

CREATURE FEATURE: Argentine Horned Frog

The Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophys ornata) is a non-venomous amphibian. It is also known as the Pacman Frog, the South American Horned Frog, or the Argentine Wide-Mouthed Frog. 

The Argentine Horned Frog has a thick, round, bright green body with dark or red markings that look like an artist’s palette of paint. It camouflages itself well in its environment. It has a wide mouth, which is why it is named after the video character Pac-Man. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Argentine Horned Frog”

Platypus

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic monotreme (egg-laying) marsupial (pouched) mammal. It is also known as the Duck-Billed Platypus.

The Platypus has a duck-like beak, webbed feet with sharp claws like an otter, an elongated mole-like body, and a broad, flat, beaver-like tail. Its waterproof fur is brown with a whitish underbelly. The male has a venomous spur on it hind (back) feet. The female has a spur, but it is not venomous. It has small brown eyes and small nostrils. 

Continue reading “Platypus”

New Caledonia Flying Fox

The New Caledonia Flying Fox (Pteropus vetulus) is a bat, and a mammal, in the Pteropodidae family. Ptero means winged. It is not a fox.

The New Caledonian Flying Fox has long, silky brownish-red fur. It does not have a tail. Its head looks like the head of a small fox. It has long pointed ears, large eyes, and a small grey nose. It has long, black, clawed fingers, and large black wings. 

Its wings are flexible and look like a human’s hand, except that the digits (fingers) are longer and bats have a thin membrane of skin, called the patagium, between the fingers. These features enable the bat to move in the air and to change direction quickly. 

Continue reading “New Caledonia Flying Fox”

European Pond Turtle

The European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) is a medium-sized freshwater wetland chelonian, and a reptile. It is also known as the European Pond Terrapin because it lives some of the time on land and some of the time in water. It has webbed toes to enable it to swim and walk on land.

The European Pond Turtle has a brown flattish shell, called a carapace, with a green tinge and radiating black lines. It has large brown eyes.

Continue reading “European Pond Turtle”

Stoat

The Stoat (Mustela erminea) is a carnivorous mammal in the Mustelidae family. It is a mustelid. It is also known as the Short-Tailed Weasel. 

The Stoat has an elongated body and neck, with short, rounded ears, and short legs. It has a long tail with a black tip. Its eyes are round, black, and slightly protruded. Its whiskers are long and white or brown. Each foot has five toes with retractable claws. 

In winter, it has a coat of pure white silky fur, called ermine. In summer, its fur is coarse and sandy-brown on the back with a white underbelly.

Continue reading “Stoat”

CREATURE FEATURE: Shield-Tailed Scorpion

The Shield-Tailed Scorpion (Apistobuthus pterygocercus) is a venomous arachnid. An arachnid, like the spider, has eight legs. It is not an insect, because an insect has six legs.

The Shield-Tailed Scorpion has grasping front claws, called pedipalps, and a narrow, segmented tail that curves over its back. At the end of the tail is a venomous stinger. It is usually a sandy-yellow colour. It does not have an inner skeleton (bones). Instead, like the spider, it has an exo-skeleton – an outer skeleton or shield that protects its body. The exo-skeleton is called the ecdysis. 

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Shield-Tailed Scorpion”

Muscovy Duck

The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is a large, tropical wetland dabbllng bird. It is also known as the Barbary Duck.

The Muscovy Duck is mainly black and white, with the male having more iridescent feathers than the female. The white feathers on its neck and head can be consistent or patchy. It often has white patches or bars on its wings. The male has a short crest on the back of its neck. Its beak can be yellow, pink, or black. It has pink or red wattles (loose skin) around its beak. 

It has long claws on its webbed feet and a wide flat tail. Its eyes are yellowish-brown.

Continue reading “Muscovy Duck”

What are the similarities between the Alpaca, the Llama, and the Vicuna?

What are the similarities between the Alpaca (Vicugna pacos), the Llama (Lama glama), and the Vicuna (Vicugna vicugna)? 

The Alpaca, the Llama, and the Vicuna are all ungulate (hoofed) camelid mammals. They are related to the Camel.

The Alpaca, the Llama, and the Vicuna have soft sheep-like wool. The Alpaca has the second softest wool and the Vicuna has the softest wool.

Continue reading “What are the similarities between the Alpaca, the Llama, and the Vicuna?”