RESEARCH: Elephant trunks use extreme suction to suck up water quickly: faster than a human sneeze

Extreme suction helps elephants suck up water quickly, and to hold water and food in their trunks. Extreme suction enables elephants to inhale water at speeds nearly 30 times faster than humans exhale air during a sneeze.

New Scientist magazine, on 2 June 2021, announced recent research results on the effectiveness of elephants using extreme suction. Elephants use their trunks, which weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), in a variety of ways: to forage through vegetation for food, to drink, and even as a snorkel when wading through deep water.

To better understand the trunk in action, scientist Andrew Schulz at the Georgia Institute of Technology in America, and his colleagues, filmed a 34-year-old female African Savannah Elephant (Loxodonta africana) while she completed a series of tests at a zoo in Atlanta.

Continue reading “RESEARCH: Elephant trunks use extreme suction to suck up water quickly: faster than a human sneeze”

Bird Nostrils and Nares

What are bird nostrils and nares?

Bird nostrils and nares are nose holes, or openings, that enable a bird to breathe. 

There are two holes – one on each side of a bird’s beak.

The beaks of birds are different sizes and shapes – long or short, small or large, straight or curved, and wide or thin. Therefore, the nares are in different places for different species of birds. 

Continue reading “Bird Nostrils and Nares”

West African Gaboon Viper

The West African Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica rhinoceros) is a venomous snake and a reptile. It is also called the Butterfly Adder, the Forest Puff Adder, and the Swampjack.

The West African Gaboon Viper has a large triangular-shaped cream-coloured head, with a dark blue-black triangle behind and below its eyes. It is pale-brown, with dark, yellow-edged patterns along its body. Its belly is pale. It has a pair of horn-like structures between its nostrils. Its eyes are large, moveable, and yellow-white.

Continue reading “West African Gaboon Viper”

CREATURE FEATURE: Western Lowland Gorilla

The Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) is a criticaly endangered species of the Western Gorilla. The other species of the Western Gorilla is the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri). It is a primate mammal, and an ape.

The Western Lowland Gorillla has jet black skin with coarse black hair that covers its whole body, except its face, ears, hands, and feet. It has patches of chestnut-brown hair. The black hair of males becomes silver as it ages (and they are called silverbacks). It has a short nose, a large eyebrow ridge, large nostrils, small dark eyes, and small ears. It has no tail.

It has five digits on each hand and foot, which have fingernails and toe nails. Its thumbs are large. It has long arms. It walks with a hunched movement, with the knuckles of its hands touching the ground.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Western Lowland Gorilla”

East African Common Hippopotamus

The East African Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious kiboko) is a large African even-toed ungulate (hoofed) mammal found in Kenya and Somalia. Hippopotamus means river horse, and amphibious means adapted to land and water. The hippo from East Africa has a broader nose and more hollowed eye sockets than other hippos.

The East African Common Hippo has a grey-brown hairless skin, with pink patches in creases.  It has a barrel-shaped body with a short tail. Its head is large, with a wide mouth and canine ivory tusks. It has short legs with four webbed toes, but it can run for short distances at 30 kilometres per hour (19 miles per hour). It cannot jump.

It can grow to 1.65 metres (66 inches) tall and 3.7 metres (148 inches) long. It is the third largest land mammal (the elephant is the largest, and the rhinoceros is the second largest).

Continue reading “East African Common Hippopotamus”

White Rhinoceros

The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is also called the Square-Lipped Rhinoceros. Most rhinos in zoos are Southern White Rhinoceroses. There are only two Northern White Rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium cottoni) left in the world – two females – and they are in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya under 24-hour armed guard. There were three Northern White Rhinos, but Sudan, a male, died of old age on 19 March 2018 at the age of 45.

The White Rhinoceros is an African mammal and the largest rhinoceros in the world. It is grey and hairless, except for hair on the ears and tail tuft.

It has a wide mouth, a broad body, a large head, a short neck, and stumpy legs with three toes on each foot. It has two horn-like keratin growths, one behind the other. The front horn is larger than the second horn. The front horn is about 60 centimetres (2 feet) long.

Continue reading “White Rhinoceros”