'/> Amazing Animals: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Grant’s Zebra: Life In The Herd

Grant’s zebra is a subspecies of the plains zebra, and rangers aver the dry grasslands of east Africa from Zambia to Ethiopia. It is one of the best-documented species, thanks mainly to the work of Hans Klingel who made a close study of over five 500 specimens over a number of years.

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In general, Grant’s zebras live in family groups that consist of a male (stallion), a harem of females (mares) and their young foals. Young stallions remain with the group until they are four years old, when they leave to form bachelor herds. They are not chased off, but leave of their own accord, and the head stallion will often go in search of them if they wander away from the family group prematurely. Young mares will stay with the group for longer, and may even mate with the dominant stallion to produce zebra foals of their own.

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By the age of five or six, a stallion is ready to leave his bachelor herd and collect a harem. Inevitably there is intense competition for mares in breeding condition, and even when the harem has to be on constant guard against other stallions who try to lure mares away. He helped somewhat by the fact that the mares do not all come into season at the same time, so he does not have to guard them all.

Occasionally an intruder will fight with the dominant stallion is busy elsewhere, will often suffice. In some cases the head stallion of a large herd may not be in full control, and another male may come to share his position. Eventually the younger animal will oust his senior altogether, often without a struggle. Old stallions invariably lose control of their harems at some stage, and go off to join bachelor herds.

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This type of social organization means that young males who have left their mothers cannot occupy permanent position in the hierarchy until they have gathered their own harem. The dominant position in each herd is always occupied by a stallion, but despite this, he does not generally lead the herd as they travel between grazing sites.

This role is usually carried out by a senior mare. The other mares recognize a strict subordinate hierarchy that is maintained at all times, and which is evident whenever the herds is on the move. Each mare travels with her foals, which are accorded honorary rank immediately below that of their mother and can share in her advantages. These may include being near the front of the queue at the waterhole, or gaining access to better grazing.

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The group is very close-knit, and one result of this is that young foals will attach themselves to other mares if they get the chance. To prevent this, each mare tries to stay apart from the rest of ‘imprinted’ in her foal’s memory. They will not allow other mares to approach their offspring during this critical period. As with all the horse family, the pregnancy is long-and only one foal is born at a time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Mighty Ants

Don’t be deceived by their size! These ants species are definitely ferocious and mighty creatures in their on right.

Ants may be small in stature but they are considered one of the most highly sophisticated social insects that roam the Earth. From fire ants that deliver very painful sting to harvester ants that harvest plant seeds and store them as a food source, ants are a diverse insect group. Read on to learn more about these incredible and mighty ants.

Acrobat Ants

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Acrobat ants are several species of small to medium-sized ants commonly found in Florida and other Southern states. They get their name from their habit of raising their heart-shaped abdomens above their thorax when disturbed, as if performing a balancing act. These ants range in color from yellow brown to dark brown; and about 1/16- to 1/8- inch long. These mighty ants are often found nesting in damp soil, in shrubs, decaying woods, and beneath rocks. They feed on a wide variety of food, including insects, meats, and the honeydew produced by aphids. Like all ants, the acrobat ants may produce “swarmers” — winged, reproductive individuals. Warning: Don’t be deceived by acrobat ant size, they have ‘stingers’; travel in trail and invade food sources, making the food unsuitable for eating.

Amazon Ants

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Amazon ants are any of 6 small reddish ants of the genus “Polyergus”. These “slave-raiding” ants are warriors of the nastiest kind — known to attack the nests of other ant species, carrying off the pupae and rearing them as slave workers. These vicious ants with grotesquely -shaped jaws raids the colonies of other ant species, because they have no workers in their community.

Argentine Ants

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Argentine ants are an invasive species of dark ants native to southern Brazil, northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These ants are among the world’s 100 most invasive animals and are a serious pest concern in the United States. Argentine ants are capable of building “supercolonies”. A common household pest, these ants form large nests in wet environments; near a food source such as meats, eggs, oils and fats. There can be multiple queens in a nest. Typically, Argentine ants are dark brown to black in color and measure around 2 to 3 mm long. These incredible and excellent infiltrators do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food.

Army Ants

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They are the nomads amongst the ant species because army ants don’t make permanent nests. These ‘legionary ant’ is nocturnal terrors that conduct nighttime raids of other brood nests, using their large, strong mandibles to tear apart their prey. Unlike other species of ants, Army ants built their nests –forming some sort of a ball by linking together their own bodies! Army ant workers are nearly blind, only the queen and drones (males) have single eyes. These active, aggressive insects can kill and eat up to 100,000 animals in a day! Their diet includes: earthworm, lizards, larvae, wasps, turtle eggs among others.

Bullet Ants

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Don’t mess up with these mighty ants, their stingers can inflict potent and unbearable pain! Measuring about an inch long, these huge ants are widespread in lowland rainforests in Central and South America. They live in tree canopy searching for insects and nectar. Colonies consist of several hundred individuals. Workers are sturdy, reddish-black, wingless wasps measuring around 18–30 mm long.

Carpenter Ants

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You must be on the look out for Carpenter ants. They get their name because they build their nests in wood. They do not eat it. However, unlike termites that eat the wood, these huge ants will hollow out some areas of it; leaving ‘frass’, a sawdust-like material. Carpenter ants have dull red bodies with black abdomens. Worker ants measure between 1/4 to 1/2-inch long. A colony can have 2,000 or more workers. Carpenter ants feed on sugary foods, meats, insects, as well as nectar from plants. These mighty ants can cause limited structural damage, but if left unchecked, they will eventually damage the wood that keeps the house standing.

Citronella Ants

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These mighty ants get its name from the citronella-like scent they emit when crushed. They built nests in the soil and often create one under slabs and porches. Typically, workers are yellow in color and measure around 4 to 4.5 mm long. The swarmers are about twice the workers’ size and have dark, smoke-colored wings. Citronella ants are active at night feeding on the honeydew (excretions) of aphids. They are treated as a nuisance pest species.

Crazy Ants

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These small, long-legged ants are easy to recognize on sight by their habit of doing rapid and erratic movements, as if they are lost or acting crazy. Crazy ants have a slender body with long, coarse hairs. They prefer to build their nest indoor (in damp locations), especially in the soil of potted tropical plants. The queen measure about 19.1 mm (3/4 inch), while workers are about 6.44 mm (1/4 inch) long. Color ranges from brown to black. Their diet includes food crumbs nectar produced by aphids and insects. These mighty ants are swift operators! Once a food source is spotted, workers will immediately crawl all over the food. In such a short time, the work is done and the food source disappears quickly.

Field Ants

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Field ants refer to a large group of ant species under the genus Formica. They build nest in open areas near trees, rocks, firewood piles and sidewalks. They seldom nest inside buildings. Field ants are about 3/8-inch long. Color varies from red, black, brown, or red and black in color. The diet includes honeydew, household sweets and alive and dead insects. Field ants do not sting, but their bites can be painful.

Fire Ants

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Fire ants get their names from the painful sting they deliver that leaves a sensation similar to what one feels when they get burned by fire. To sensitive individuals, the sting can be deadly! There are around 280 species of fire ant worldwide. These mighty ants build nest in moist soil, near pond edges, water lawns and river banks. When threatened, they will defend their nests aggressively. Fire ants can be distinguished from other ants by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen. Color varies from blackish to reddish.

Harvester Ants

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They are the desert ants – large ants measuring from 5 to 6 mm long and come in black, yellow or reddish-brown color. So named because they harvest plant seeds and store them in underground nests as food. They build large nests mounds, using grass clippings as materials. Another ferocious and aggressive ant species, they will defend their nest by inflicting painful bites and venomous stings. Two of the most common species are the Texas harvester ant and the western (red) harvester ant.

Honeypot Ants

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They are the desert ants native to deserts of North America, Australia, and Africa. They live underground in colonies. Some species of honey pot ants, notably the Camponotus inflatus are edible and are considered a yummy delicacy by several Australian aboriginal peoples. Workers are reddish-tan to dark brown in color and measure from ¼ to ½ inch long. Honey pot ants feed on aphid honeydew, flower nectar and other insects. Aside from the worker ants, there are the so-called “storage units,” that have larger abdomens than the rest in the colony. They are fed up by workers to the point that the abdomen is too filled with nectar. Why? When times get tough, these storage units will serve as a food source!

Leafcutter Ants

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Meet the fungus farmers! Leafcutter ants are any of 47 species of ants found in Northern Texas, Mexico, South America and Central America. They inhabit rainforest, scrub forests, and open woodlands. These fungus- gardening ants tear off the leaves of plants and bring them in their underground nests. They chew the leaves and the decaying pulp is to use it as compost to cultivate a particular fungus. Size for size, these ants are so mighty, they can carry pieces of leaves that weigh almost 20 times their own body weight! Leaf-cutter ants are large ants with powerful mandibles and long legs. They are dark red in color and measure from 0.1 to 0.5 inch long.

Trap Jaw Ants

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Small as they are, Trap jaw ants are unique species of ants. These mighty ants have large, powerful jaws capable of opening 180 degrees; and can snap shut its jaws on helpless prey with lightning quickness. Studies have clocked the speed of their jaws between 126–230 kilometers per hour! Their powerful mandibles have other uses, including: defense to evade predators, in nest building, and care for larvae. Trap jaw ants inhabit the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.

Weaver Ants

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These mighty ants are known for their distinctive nest building behavior. Weaver ants are considered tree-dwelling ants where the worker ants are tasked to build complex nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk. Weaver ant larvae are capable of producing silk thread with their bodies, needed to glue the leaf edges together. They are widely distributed throughout the tropical forests of Africa and southeast Asia. Color ranges from yellowish brown to a shade of red depending on the species. Weaver ants are highly territorial and workers aggressively defend their colony. They do not have stingers, but are known for their painful, irritating sting.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

House Rabbits

10 popular rabbit breeds that are suitable as pets.

Many families find rabbits as good house pets, especially the children, which see them adorable. Pet rabbits kept indoors are referred to as house rabbits. House rabbits normally have an indoor cage and an exercise pen where they are free to run and have some exercises. When choosing a rabbit for a house pet, one must take into consideration what kind of breed to choose.

Generally, there are several different types of rabbit breeds. Rabbits come with this breed sizes: giant, large, medium, small and dwarf. Some breeds are available in one or more sizes. Also, future rabbit owners must take into consideration the breed’s coat type and need to be aware that the longer coated breeds need daily grooming. Listed below are the 10 most popular rabbit breed that suit well as house rabbits.

Californian Rabbits

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Californian Rabbits fall under the large rabbit breed, where bucks can weigh up to 9 lbs. and does grow up to 9.5 lbs. Californian are white with black nose, feet, tail and has erect ears. They have pink eyes. They make excellent pets since they are laid-back, easy to train and loves attention. Californian fur can be short up to 1.5 inches and requires minimal grooming.

Dutch Rabbits

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Dutch Rabbits normally weigh 4.5 lbs thus fall under the small rabbit breed. The front of the face, body, and the back feet are white; the rest is colored; including tortoiseshell, chocolate and yellow. Dutch rabbits have normal fur so minimal grooming is required. Their activity level: calm, easy going, loving, enjoys attention.

Jersey Wooly Rabbits

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Jersey Wooly Rabbits are easily recognized by its bold head and long wooly coat and may come in a variety of colors. A small rabbit breed, Jersey Wooly can weigh up to 3 pounds. They are affectionate, relax, playful, friendly, intelligent and like to be around with other animals. Its woolly, fur requires twice a week grooming.

Holland Lops

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Holland Lops are the smallest breed from the lop-eared rabbits weighing about 3.5 lbs. They have muscular and compact body marked by wide shoulders, deep chests, and short thick legs. Holland Lops have normal fur and need minimal grooming. Their colors vary from white, brown, brown-white, white-black and black. Holland Lops are calm, easy going, sweet temperament, gentle nature and good with children.

Mini Lops

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Mini Lops fall under the medium sized breed where the average buck weight is about 5.5 lbs. They have thick, soft fur, short massive-looking body, a big block-like head and looped ears. Mini lops are relaxed, easy going and friendly. They come in agouti and white.

Netherland Dwarfs

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Netherland Dwarfs belong to the small breed that usually weighs between 2 lbs. to 2.5 lbs, both for males and females. They have short ears and their eyes and head are large with respect to their bodies. The Netherland dwarfs may come in different colors that include: Black, Blue, Himalayan, Chocolate, Lilac, Fawn, Chestnut and Tortoiseshell. They are highly sociable, curious, independent, but can sometimes be nippy.

New Zealand Rabbits

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New Zealand Rabbits are in the giant rabbit breed category where bucks may grow up to 10 lbs. and does weigh up to 11 lbs. They are normally white rabbits but some come in black and red. New Zealand rabbits have normal fur that need twice a week grooming. They are friendly and at times curious.

Polish Rabbits

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Polish Rabbits are in the small breed group with males and females weighing at most 2.5 lbs. They have normal fur so minimal grooming is required. They are small rabbits with short ears that touch each other all the way to the tips. Polish rabbits are white with either red eyes or blue eyes. The red-eyed white is a true albino. They make great pets as they are reserved and active.

Mini Rex Rabbits

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Mini Rex Rabbits were derived from the standard Rex rabbit. They are small breed where bucks usually weigh 4 lbs. and does grow to 4.5 lbs. They come in different colors that include: Black, blue, broken group, castor, chinchilla, chocolate, Himalayan, lilac, lynx, opal, red, seal tortoise, white. Mini Rex needs minimal grooming since they have short plush-like fur. They are excitable, very friendly, graceful and mild mannered.

Satin Rabbits

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Satin Rabbits fall under the large breed group, bucks can grow to 9.5 lbs. and makes up to 11 lbs. Their coats are incredibly lustrous and shiny, thus it requires minimal grooming. Satin rabbits come in white, black, blue, broken group, chinchilla, chocolate, red, white. They are relaxed and friendly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Weird and Odd-Looking Frogfish

Some interesting information about frogfish.

Frogfishes are a type of anglerfish that belongs to the family Antennariidae in the order Lophiiformes. The family has over 40 species in 13 genera. Of these, Australia has 23 species in 12 genera. The numbers of species in this family will almost certainly increase as research and collecting continues.

They are generally small fish averaging from 10 to 20 cm. in length with big globoid heads. Most anglerfishes have warts, whisker-like filaments, lumps, and bumps on the body. They come in different colors and at times change its color to match its surroundings as a form of camouflage. Frogfishes swim in an unconventional way; they use ‘jet propulsion’ to ‘walk’ on their pectoral fins!

One distinct characteristic that differentiates frogfishes from another angler fish is the appearance of three extended dorsal fin spines on their heads. Their first dorsal fin acts as a luring tool to attract prey. The lure consists of a ‘stalk’ (illicium) and a ‘bait’ (Esca) and may resemble a worm, crustacean, or small fish.

Frogfishes are usually found dwelling in sponge gardens, rocky and coral reefs, at up to 100 meters (330 ft) depth. Here are some species of frogfish.

Clown Frogfish (Antennarius maculatus)

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A small frogfish that grows to about 8-10 cm in length that are usually white or yellow and comes with the red or brown blemish. The skin is covered with warts and some rounded spots. Clown frogfish second dorsal spine has a big crust and generally pushed forward when the animal crawls on the bottom. Their common habitats include: lagoon, bay or in back reef.

Striped Anglerfish (Antennarius striatus)

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The Striped Anglerfish that grows up to 18-22 cm are abundant in tropical waters in particular the Indo-Pacific region. They can be found in shallow waters or at waters more than 200 meters in depth. Their colors vary from white, orange, yellow-brown, gray or black. To catch their prey, striped frogfish hide amongst sponges, stays motionless and if the prey comes closer to investigate the moving lure, it rapidly opens its large mouth and sucks in its prey.

Juvenile Painted Frogfish (Antennarius Pictus>

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The Painted Anglerfish are found living in estuaries and throughout much of the tropical and temperate Indo-Pacific region. Their colors vary from yellow, red, orange, green, brown or yellow. One distinct mark painted frogfish has is its saddle-like markings dorsally. The pectoral fins sometimes have white tips, and the tail usually bears commonly three spots. This anglerfish can grow up to 16 cm in length.

Longlure frogfish (Antennarius Multiocellatus)

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The Longlure Frogfish is a short, fat, round species and commonly grows up to 20 cm long. It has a thick skin covered with modified scales (dermal spicules). Most long lure frogfish coloration varies from bright red, dark green, pale yellow or reddish brown. It has a large mouth, small eyes, and pectoral fins that are situated on its stalks. One visible and peculiar mark of long lure frogfish is the black spots across the body. Longlure frogfish are found mostly in the tropical western part of the Atlantic ocean. It prefers shallow reefs.

Giant frogfish (Antennarius Commerson)

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As the name implies, this is a large frogfish species that usually reach 35 cm in length. Its second dorsal spine is connected to its head by a thick membrane. They are commonly seen in the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific region. They inhabit coral reefs and in lagoons from a depth of 5 to 70 meters. Giant frogfish come in different colors such as; pink, yellow, red, green, orange, brown and black and most of the body has blotches of lighter or darker colors.

Ocellated frogfish (Antennarius Ocellatus)

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The Ocellated frogfish are found in the western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They prefer rocky and coral reefs. The largest frogfish in the western Pacific, it can grow up to 38 cm long. They can be easily identified by the three prominent black spots on each side, each surrounded by lighter ring. They have large eyes, short and sphere-shaped bodies. Ocellated frogfish can have white, yellow, brown or black color pattern.

Psychedelic Frogfish

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The Psychedelic frogfish is a newly discovered species found only in the waters near Ambon Island and Bali, Indonesia. It can easily be identified by its psychedelic pink and white stripes arranged in a fingerprint pattern covering its entire body. The skin surrounding the eyes is bright turquoise, and makes the eyes look slightly larger. Unlike other frogfishes, its color never changes. They can grow up to 9 cm long.

Hisbid Frogfish (Antennarius Hispidus)

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Hispid frogfish is a medium-sized frogfish measuring about 15-20 cm in length. The species have short skin filaments. They can come in different colors that include: white, yellow, brown, black - usually with dark stripes and radiating lines around the eyes.

Scarlet Frogfish (Antennarius Coccineus)

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The Scarlet frogfish is found mostly in the waters of the Indo- Pacific region, particularly in Mexico and Panama.The species inhabit rocky bottoms. Their colors vary from brown to dark brown, yellow-brown, yellowish-white, white and pink. They can grow up to 13 cm long

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rhino: The Amazing Armour Clad Survivors

Relics of another age, the tank-like rhinos are well-armored against any animal predators, but vulnerable to poaching for their horns. Although their eyesight is poor, rhinos have very well developed senses of smell and hearing. Rhinos are a declining group of mammals. In prehistoric times they were numerous and varied, but today they are heading towards extinction – unfortunately helped by mankind.

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Rhinoceroses are large, tough-skinned herbivores immediately recognizable by the prominent horn (or horns, depending on the species) on their snouts. The name ‘rhinoceros’ comes from two Greek words ‘rhinos’ (nose) and ‘keras’ (horn). Unlike the horns of cattle, sheep or antelopes, those of the rhinos have no bony core; they consist of a densely packed outer layer of tough keratin fibres mounted on the skull. Although their eyesight is poor, rhinos have very well developed senses of smell and hearing.

Indian Rhino

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Three species of rhino live in Asia. The Indian Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) or greater one-horned rhinoceros is the most westerly of the species. Once found along the length of the Ganges and Brahmaputra river, it is now largely confined to national parks such as the Chitwam in Nepal and the Kaziranga in Assam. Although some 1700 animals survive today – a vast improvement on the 40 or so animals that existed in 1910 – the Indians rhino still regarded as endangered.

The Indian rhino is a good swimmer. It lives a large solitary life, except when males and females meet briefly to breed or when a mother is rearing her young. Females occupy home ranges extending over nine to fifteen square kilometres; these areas overlap and are undefended, and the animal may wander even further afield in search of food and water. Males have large home ranges, which they will occasionally defend. Neighbours rarely fight or confront each other. Conflict may arise when a strange adult male enters another’s areas, but a dominant male will tolerate the presence of a weaker or non-breeding male in his home range.

Javan Rhino

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The Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) or lesser one-horned rhinoceros (once found in Sumatra, Java, Indochina, China, and in Assam up as far as the Ganges Delta) is now severely reduced in numbers. Only about 50 survive in the Udjong Kulon Reserve near Jakarta, with possibly a few hanging on in remote parts of Indochina, making it one of the most endangered of all mammal species.

Scattered populations of the Sumatran or Asian two-horned rhinoceros inhabit Borneo, Burma, Thailand, Sumatra and Malaysia today; formerly it ranged from Assam and Bengal to Vietnam and south to Borneo. It is in several national parks such as such, Taman Negara in Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. Probably no more than 150 animals exist today.

The skins of Indians and Javan rhinos are hairless. The large Indians species may measure up to 1.9 m at the shoulder and weigh up to two and a quarter tonnes. The Javan rhinos are slightly smaller; it grows up to 1.7m high and weigh up to one and a half tonnes. The Sumatran rhino is still smaller, standing up 1.3 m and weighing up to 800 kg. It also distinguished by sparse covering of long hair.

Sumatran Rhino

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The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is the smallest extant rhinoceros species, as well as the one with the most hair. It can be found at very high altitudes in Borneo and Sumatra. Due to habitat loss and poaching, its numbers have declined and it is the most threatened rhinoceros. About 275 Sumatran rhinos are believed to remain.

A mature rhino typically stands about 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) high at the shoulder, has a length of 2.4–3.2 m (7 ft 10 in–10 ft 6 in) and weighs around 700 kg (1,500 lb), though the largest individuals have been known to weigh as much as 1,000 kilograms. Like the African species, it has two horns; the larger is the front (25–79 cm), with the smaller one usually less than 10 cm long. Males have much larger horns than the females. Hair can range from dense (the densest hair in young calves) to scarce. The color of these rhinos is reddish brown. The body is short and has stubby legs. The lip is prehensile.

The White Rhinos

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There are two subspecies of white rhino: the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) and the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). The white rhino is the giant of the family, measuring up to two metres high at the giant of the shoulders and weighing two and a half to three and a half tonnes – a bulk exceeded in land mammals only by the elephants. As with the Indians rhino, mature white rhino males are much larger than the females. The black rhino is about the same size as the Javan Rhino – up to 1.6 m high and weighing up to 1.3 tonnes.

Since white and black rhinos are actually grey in colour, the best way to tell them apart is by comparing their shapes. White rhinos have a prominent hump on the back of their necks which contains the ligament needed to support their huge. They also have longer muzzle and broader mouth than the black rhino. Black rhinos have a lengthened upper lip which can grasp the branches of bushes and shrubs on which they feed.

Black Rhino

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The Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) is found throughout most of central and southern Africa. The greatest numbers are found in Tanzania and Kenya, mainly in the national parks, such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Masai- Mara, Amboseli and tsavo. It is relatively abundant and widespread. But it was once more numerous. In 1980 there were some 15,000 black rhinos; today, poaching throughout its range, especially south of the Zambezi River, has seriously depleted many black rhino populations and there are now under 9,000 animals. Recent reintroduction programmes in the parks of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and the Addo Park of South Africa have improved the situation locally other populations live in the Etosha National Park in Namibia, in Somalia, Chad, Uganda and Zaire.

Although the black rhino is smaller than the white rhino, it has the reputation of being more aggressive, particularly towards humans. Marry African adventure stories feature a black rhino charging an intrepid hunter who bravely dispatches the ‘enraged beast’ with his gun. The myth of the black rhino’s aggression is based on a half- truth: whole an animal will always charge at an intruder (even another rhino) the charge is not an attack but a display. The animal will either veer off to one side, or stop the charge at a few feet from the victim.

Like other rhinos, black rhinos deposit dung as a means of marking pathways and territory. Where there are few rhinos per hectare, the home ranges of males overlap and are not usually defended by them. Where the density of black rhino is greater, such as in the Hluhluwe- Umfolozi Reserve in South Africa, breeding males will defend territories of 400 hectares against other breeding males. However, non- breeding males are still tolerated within these areas by the resident male. Mating takes place at any time of the year and is followed by a 15 month gestation. The single young, weighing 40kg at birth, lives with the mother for up to four years. Among black, white and Indian rhinos there is usually a space of two to four years before the females have another offspring. Births occur in any month.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

10 Fascinating Animals Whose Names Start with The Letter T

They may not be the most mentioned animals whose names start with the letter T, but after reading down this list, it is a safe fact that you will agree with me that truly these 10 “T”animals are really fascinating and their names worth remembering.

Tammar Wallaby

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The Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), is the smallest wallaby species native to South and Western Australia. Also known as the Dama, Pamma, or Darma Wallaby, it inhabits coastal scrub, woodland, and dense vegetation. A nocturnal, herbivorous animal, a tammar wallaby feeds primarily on grass and leaves.

An adult male measures around 59–68 cm in body length with a 12 inch long tail and weighs 10-22 pounds. Males are bigger than females. It has a small head, sizeable ears and long, tapered tail. Normally, this marsupial has a grayish-brown coat with slightly lighter undersides.

Unlike other macropods, they do not breed all year round. Females get pregnant in about a month and then give birth to a single joey for 8-9 months. Tammar wallabies may live about nine years.


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The Tarsier is a unique, primitive species of primate that generally spends its entire life on trees. Tarsiers, considered one of the smallest known primates, are today found living in lowland & coastal forests on a number of islands in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently, there are 18 different sub-species of Tarsier including the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), Bornean tarsier (Tarsius bancanus), Dian’s tarsier (Tarsius dianae), the spectral tarsier (Tarsius spectrum), and the lesser spectral tarsier or pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus). Tarsiers have a life expectancy of between 8-12 years.

A Tarsier has stocky body, soft brownish-gray fur, large eyes, long ears, long fingers, long hind legs and a long tail. It has sharp teeth, allowing them to catch their prey easier. On average, it measures about 10-15 cm long and weighs between 115-130 g. Tarsiers are arboreal, carnivore primates that feed primarily on insects such as ants, beetles, butterflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, lizards, praying mantis, and other small vertebrates.


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Turacos are medium-sized arboreal birds native to Central and Southern Africa. Their habitat includes savannas, woodlands and forests. There are 23 extant species of turanos. Known for their piercing alarm calls, these non-migratory birds build large pigeon-like nests in trees, and lay 2 or 3 eggs.

Turacos are brightly colored birds noted for their bright green and red feathers. They have raised head, bold green crests, intelligent-looking eyes and colorful tails. They climb and run along branches easily, using their wings and feet. Turacos eat mostly fruits, leaves, flowers, and occasionally some invertebrates, including small insects, snails and slugs.


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The Topi (Damaliscus lunatus) is a medium-sized antelope found in southern Sudan and in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. It inhabits flat lowlands, flood plains, and occasionally in open savannas and woodlands. They are the swiftest of the ungulates. They have a life span of up to 15 years.

Topis are gregarious ungulates known for their glossy reddish-brown to purplish-red coat mark with bold patterns of black patches. They have elongated heads, black face masks; both sexes have thick, deeply-ringed strong, lyre-shaped horns, and yellowish-tan legs. Adults measure between 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet tall and weigh around 200 to 300 pounds. Like other ruminants, they feed primarily on grass, but avoid chewing both mature leaves and very young shoots.


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Tuatara (Rhynchocephalia), are rare, medium-sized reptiles that once widespread on mainland New Zealand. However, due to threatened habitat loss and death caused by predator and people; their population is now confined to 32 rodent-free offshore islands.

They are greenish brown in color having a characteristic teeth arrangement never seen before in other reptiles. Unlike other reptiles, these unique reptiles have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw and a single row in the upper jaw. They have spiny crests on their back, and possess a “third eye” (parietal eye) — an explicit photo-receptive eyes. On average, tuatara reaches up to 80 cm from head to tail-tip and around 1.3 kilograms in weight.

These nocturnal carnivorous reptiles feed primarily on birds' eggs, beetles, frogs, insects, spiders, and small reptiles and mammals. Tuatara can live up to 100 years old and are known to reproduce until they are 60 years old. They only mate every 4 or 5 years.


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Tamarins are small New World Monkeys found along rivers in Central and South America. They live in the trees of the lowland rainforest and flooded areas. They are diurnal and arboreal, and live in a group comprising up to 40 individuals. There are about 19 species of Tamarin including the Bearded Tamarin, Cotton Top Tamarin, Emperor Tamerin, and the Golden Lion Tamarin.

Depending on the species, tamarin differs in appearances, although mustache-like facial hairs are prominent in most species. Color ranges from nearly all black or combinations of black, white and brown. Adults measure from 35 to 70 cm including the tail and weigh between 220 to 900 grams.

Tamarins are omnivores and their diet includes insects, spiders, lizards, frogs as well fruit, leaves and flower nectar. In the wild, these tiny monkeys live to be about 15 years old; while in captivity, they can live for up to 18 years.


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The Takin, is a goat-antelope endemic to the Eastern Himalayas. It prefers temperate forests that thrive in bamboo plants. There are four living subspecies: the Mishmi Takin, the Shanxi or Golden Takin, the Tibetan or Sichuan Takin, and the Bhutan Takin. A very strange-looking animal, it is covered in a thick golden wool, a large nose and a set of small horn around 30 cm that turn upwards in a short point. It measures around 100 to 130 cm at shoulder length and weighs up to 350 kg. A ruminant herbivore, it feeds mainly on bamboo leaves, grasses, as well as pines.


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Tūī are unique passerine birds widespread in New Zealand; inhabiting forests, offshore islands, rural areas, parks and gardens. This clever bird is known for its distinctive pair of white-shafted feathers that runs on the sides of the throat. It has a black curved bill; the plumage shows a metallic blue-green sheen and light- brown patches on the back and sides. Tui feeds primarily on nectar from flowers and often opt for native fruits and insects. Do you know that too, just like a parrot, can clearly imitate human speeches!


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The Tayra (Eira barbara) is a solitary mammal found in the dense forests of Central America, South America and the Yukan Peninsula. Both terrestrial and arboreal, it can be seen moving swiftly through the trees or on the ground. It has a life span of up to 18 years in captivity.

Color varies depending on the species, but generally a Tayra has a brown body, long neck, dark muzzles, rounded ears and a long bushy tail. Its long claws aides the animal in its climbing adventures. On average, Tayra measures about 60 cm, long and weighs around 5 to 7.5 kilograms. An omnivore, it feeds on agoutis, guinea pigs, insects, mice, squirrels, other small mammals; as well as fruits.

Toque Macaque

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The toque macaque (Macaca sinica) is a stocky, reddish-brown Old World monkey native only to Sri Lanka. Known for its shaped whorl of hair on its head, the toque macaque lives in troops, at times numbering up to 20.There are two subspecies of Toque Macaque namely: the Dryzone toque macaque and the Wetzone toque macaque.

Toque macaques have brown to golden yellow body, cheek pouches, a well-formed caplike whorl of hair radiating outward from the center of the head. They have a dusky brown to golden yellow body, cheek pouches, black ears, short limbs and tails. Adults measure around 43-45 cm long and weigh around 3.4-4.3 kg. Males tend to be larger in size than females.

An arboreal, terrestrial, diurnal, and omnivorous animal, its diet includes: fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, and small animals like reptiles and birds.