World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February annually. With 35% of the world’s wetlands having disappeared in the last 50 years, and nearly 90% degraded since the 1700s, the theme for the 2023 World Wetlands Day is Wetland Restoration – ‘revive and restore degraded wetlands.’ Wetlands are important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and freshwater availability.Continue reading “World Wetlands Day: wetland animals”
Banded Mongoose females have a unique system of supersynchrony when they have their babies – they all give birth on the same night.
The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa – and one of 25 African species of mongoose. It is related to the Meerkat.
Most mongooses are solitary, but the Banded Mongoose lives in a colony of about 20 individuals, and up to 55 individuals. The colony lives underground in burrows, called dens.Continue reading “Supersynchrony in Banded Mongoose females”
The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine (saltwater) mammal, and the largest animal known on the planet.
The Blue Whale can grow to 30 metres (98 feet) in length. The female is larger than the male.Continue reading “Blue Whale heart and tongue “
Kai Kupferschmidt, the author of the 2021 book, Blue: In Search of Nature’s Rarest Color says that the colour blue is rare in birds, reptiles, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and fish, but even rarer in mammals.Continue reading “Why is blue the rarest colour in nature?”
A new Zebra Shark has joined the large pool in the Paris Aquarium in the capital of France. The Zebra Shark has been named Rôti, which is French for Roast. It joins other Zebra Sharks but Rôti is easily recognized because it is the smallest of the Zebra Sharks.
Rôti comes from the Skegness Aquarium in England, as part of an exchange for the preservation of species. Skegness is a seaside town in Lincolnshire on the east coast of England. The Skegness Aquarium opened in 2015.Continue reading “Rôti the Zebra Shark joins the Paris Aquarium”
What is a brood parasite?
A brood parasite is an animal that does not raise its own young – it relies on other animals to look after its babies. The most famous brood parasite is the Cuckoo because some Cuckoos lay their eggs in the nest of other species of birds.Continue reading “What is a brood parasite?”
What is a group of sardines called?
A group of sardines is called a school of sardines, or a family of sardines.Continue reading “What is a group of sardines called?”
How do birds manage to stand on cold ground, especially ice, and still keep themselves warm?
Birds in the coldest regions, with ice and snow, still manage to stand for long periods of time on the cold ground.
Birds in arctic and polar regions are adapted physically to extreme temperatures.Continue reading “Standing on cold ground: how do birds keep warm?”
The Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia, America, is celebrating the birth of a baby Pygmy Hippo.
Born on 6 December 2022, the Pygmy Hippopotamus does not yet have a name. Its parents are Iris and Corwin. Iris was pregnant for 7 months before giving birth to her daughter.
She weighed 7 kilograms (16 pounds) and is growing rapidly. After a week, she was already 11 kilograms (24 pounds). When she is an adult, she will weigh up to 272 kilograms (600 pounds).Continue reading “Pygmy hippo born at Metro Richmond Zoo in December 2022”
What is special about a Woodpecker’s tongue?
The Woodpecker grabs its prey out of holes and crevices in tree trunks. It has a sticky or barbed tongue. When it sticks its tongue in a hole, the tongue acts like glue and insects stick to it. A Woodpecker can eat 1,000 to 2,000 ants a day. It also eats beetle larvae (grubs).Continue reading “Woodpecker’s Tongue”
What is a group of wrens called?
A group of wrens is called a herd of wrens, or a chime of wrens.Continue reading “What is a group of wrens called?”
People can see the beating heart of the see-through Glass Frog. But, its blood is less visible. Scientists have recently discovered why. The Glass Frog hides its blood in its liver when it sleeps.
The Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium yaku) and the Fleischmann’s Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni) live in the tropical, dense Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador.
The size of a marshmallow, the amphibians are called Glass Frogs because their skin is translucent and transparent (see-through). Jesse Delia at the American Museum of Natural History in New York said to the New Scientist LIFE magazine in 2022, “If it wasn’t for that green skin on their back, you would probably be able to read a newspaper through them.”Continue reading “See-through Glass Frog hides its blood”
What is a group of mules called?
A mule is a hybrid equine between a male donkey and a female horse. Generally, the foreparts (front part and the head) look like a donkey and the hindparts (back part and the tail) look like a horse.Continue reading “What is a group of mules called?”
The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large North American migratory bird of Canada and the northern United States. It can grow to 75-110 centimetres (30-43 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 127-185 centimetres (50-73 inches). So, it can be a fierce-looking bird when it chases humans.Continue reading “Goose harassment – what to do if a Canada Goose harasses you”
Not all birds sing songs. Some birds make no sound at all.
The birds that sing songs are called songbirds, perching birds, or passerines. They belong to the diverse Passeriformes order of birds.Continue reading “Songbirds”
In 2019, the New Scientist LIFE magazine wrote about the superpowers of reindeers. Do they really have superpowers?
The Reindeer, or Caribou, is a large mammal in the Cervidae family of deers. Nearly 5 million Reindeers live in the freezing climate of the Arctic, from Alaska to Siberia and Greenland, where there are more periods of night-time darkness than day-time light.
Genetic scientists know that Reindeers can change the colour of their eyes from gold in summer to blue in winter. They are also working on the Ruminant Genome Project to study Reindeer genes – their DNA – to compare their genes to human genes and other animals, especially other ruminants. Ruminants are animals that chew their cud, such as deer, cattle, goats, sheep, giraffes, gazelles, and antelopes.Continue reading “RESEARCH: Reindeer can help humans treat depression”
The Flamingo is a large wading wetlands bird in the Phoenicopteridae family.
The four Flamingo species are found in countries in North America, South America, Africa, southern Europe and south-west Asia.
It is a social bird, living in colonies. A group is called a stand of Flamingos or a flamboyance of Flamingos.Continue reading “Flamingo friends forever”
What is a group of geese called?
A group of geese is called a flock of geese, a gaggle of geese, or a plump of geese.Continue reading “What is a group of geese called?”
This is the first study that shows behavioural evidence that laboratory mice have perceptual abilities, just like mammalian humans and non-human primates (apes, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, lemurs, monkeys, etc.).
Robert W Stackman and FAU neuroscience researchers from the Department of Psychology, Charles E Schmidt College of Science, Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Science, and Institue for Human Health and Disease Intervention found that ‘a functional mouse hippocampus is required for this form of non-spatial visual recognition memory and picture-object equivalence.’Continue reading “RESEARCH: Mice can tell the difference between an image and the real thing”