Salt Licks and Salt Pans

A salt lick, also called a mineral lick, is a place where animals go to lick the the salt and other minerals that have formed a deposit on the ground. It is naturally occurring. A salt lick is white.

Animals benefit from the minerals, such as phosphorus, sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, sulphur, potassium, and zinc.

The minerals help to develop healthy bones and muscles.

Animals that prefer salt licks include antelopes, elephants, lions, moose, tapirs, cattle, sheep, goats, foxes, squirrels, and porcupines.

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How do frogs croak?

Male frogs croak to attract a female. Females respond with a different and quieter vocalization.

The croaking sound occurs when a frog forces air out of its lungs through its mouth. As the air passes its throat, its larynx (vocal chords) vibrate.

The vocal sacs or pouches distend and blow up like a balloon. The vocal sacs are elastic membranes of skin. Some frogs have the vocal sac under their throat, whereas other frogs have the vocal sac on the corner of their mouth.

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Deserts and Semi-Deserts

In true deserts, most of the land has no plant life, the annual rainfall ranges from 0-1.5 centimetres (0-6 inches), the daytime heat is intense and the nighttime temperatures are freezing.

Semi-deserts have 1.5-3 centimetres (6-12 inches) of rain annually on average, usually only falling in one or two months of the year.

Deserts can be hot, cold semi-arid, or coastal.

Plants may be scarce in most deserts, but the seeds of plants lie dormant for years. They sprout during the times of rain.

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Bird Nests: hollow trees

Many species of birds throughout the world use tree hollows for nesting and protection. Birds build nests in a cavity in a hollow tree to avoid ground predators.

Only old, mature trees have hollows. Openings range from as small as 2 centimetres (almost one inch) to as large as 75 centimetres (29 inches). The depth ranges from 10 centimetres (4 inches) to several metres.

Medium-sized hollows are useful for parrots and larger-sized hollows are useful for owls.

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Snakes: Head Shape and Shields  

The head of a snake has many head-shields (scales) and two main head shapes.

Around its eyes, a snake has 8 shields: two pre-ocular (front-eye) shields, two post-ocular (back-eye) shields, two supra-ocular (above-eye) shields, and two sub-ocular (below-eye) shields.

Between the two supra-ocular shields, on the top of its head between its eyes, a snake has a frontal shield (usually in the shape of an hour-glass) and two pre-frontal shields.

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Antelope Horns

Antelope horns are hard and hollow, growing from their skull, at the front of their head. They are made of keratin, which is the same material as human fingernails.

Antelope horns are not shed – they are permanent.

Different antelope species have horns of different sizes and shapes. The 91 species of antelopes (mostly from Africa) include the blackbuck, dik-dik, duiker, eland, gazelle, gerenuk, hartebeest, impala, kudu, oryx, reedbuck, steenbok, and wildebeest.

The following is an example of the different types of antelope horns:

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How do lizards walk upside down?  

How do lizards walk upside down?

Many lizards, such as geckos and skinks, can walk upside down and climb up walls. They have special toe pads that can support their weight.

Their toe pads have microscopic hairs or bristles, called setae, that act like Velcro, enabling their feet to stick to surfaces.

On each of the setae are millions of even smaller tips, called septulae. Each one can grip the surface.

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Spider Webs

Most spiders use webs to trap their prey. Some spiders catch up to 250 insects a day in their web. Spiders use the hairs on their legs to detect web vibrations, which might indicate that their prey has landed on the web.

Spider webs are made of durable silk from their spinnerets and silk-producing glands located on their abdomen.

Some spiders make a new web every day and other spider webs can last for several weeks.

To make a web, a spider must think about its location, the best anchor points, size, and weather conditions, such as wind, rain, frost, and snow.

There are about 40,000 different known species of spiders. Different spiders make different shaped webs, such as thread webs; spiral webs; cobwebs (tangled webs); funnel webs; sheet webs, and canopy webs.

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Lava Flows

Lava flows are the remains of hot lava (molten rock) that erupts from a volcano and flows over the land.

When a volcano erupts, the lava is intensely hot, with red fire flames and hot flowing streams of lava. The lava burns everything it touches – trees, shrubs, bushes, plants, and the soil. The lava flow can spread for kilometres. When the lava flow cools, the molten rock is black, and it leaves the area black for hundreds of years.

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