From the, largest, biggest, smallest, fastest; the animal kingdom offers us thousands of interesting, fascinating, amazing or even strange facts. But do you know that some of these animals have to undergo and endure incredible journeys in order to survive and produce new generations. Read on to find out!
There are about 2,500 species of cicada around the world. Cicadas live in temperate to tropical climates and are most widely recognized mainly due to their large size and remarkable acoustic talents. Periodical cicadas are average-sized for cicadas, adults have a size of 2.5 to 3 cm (1 to 1.2 inches). They are black, with red eyes and yellow or orange stripes on the underside. The wings are translucent and have orange veins.
The juveniles of the periodical cicadas spend multiple years growing underground, often at depths of 30 cm (one foot) or more, feeding on the juices of plant roots. In the spring of their 13th or 17th year, the nymphs construct an exit tunnel to the surface, before emerging above ground for a short adult stage for only a few weeks. of several weeks to a few months. The nymphs emerge in large numbers at about the same time, sometimes more than 1.5 million individuals per acre.
Lemmings are small rodents that are found only in the Northern Hemisphere. They weigh from 30 to 112 g and are about 7 to 15 cm long. They generally have long, soft fur, and very short tails. Driven by scarcity of foods and over population, lemmings are forced to do mass migrations at high speeds. Observers clocked and recorded a group of traveling lemmings at almost 16 kilometers a day.
For the weak, the pace of the journey has been just too much and they are left behind to die. Lemmings can and do swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. Researchers also recorded that on one occasion a migrating group of the Norway lemmings even reached a cliff overlooking the ocean. They momentarily stop, but the desire to press on causes them to jump off the cliff and start swimming, sometimes to exhaustion and death.
The wildebeest, also called the Gnu, is an antelope that inhabit the plains and open woodlands of Africa. It includes two species, the Black Wildebeest and the Blue Wildebeest. They reach 2.4 meters in length and stand 1.5 m at the shoulder and weigh 160–290 kg. Wildebeest are well known for their annual migration to new pastures. Up to 1.5 million wildebeests as well as hundreds of thousands of other animals, including zebra and gazelle make a migratory circle of 500 to 1,000 miles each year, to avoid the dry seasons in Tanzania and Kenya.
7. Green Turtle
The Green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. The range of the species extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world. Weighing up to 317.5 kilograms, green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world. Adult green turtles are known to grow to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Green turtles migrate long distances between their chosen feeding sites and the beaches from where they hatched.
The pregnant turtles swim distances of more than 2,600 kilometers to reach their spawning grounds. The expectant mothers dredge themselves onto beaches and lay their eggs before heading back home. After a period of time, hatchlings emerge from the nests and head for the water. Those that survive, grow to maturity and live to a maximum of eighty years.
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish of the family Salmonidae. Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. After spending about one to five years (depending on the species) in the ocean.
The adult salmon return to its natal freshwater stream to spawn and eventually die. Salmon can make amazing journeys, sometimes moving hundreds of miles upstream against strong currents just to make the perfect homecoming.
5. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that regularly nests east of the Mississippi River in North America. It is about 7-9 cm long with an 8-11 cm wingspan, and weighs about 3 grams. Since these birds are solitary, adults typically only come into contact for the purpose of mating.
The Ruby-throated hummingbird may double their weight in preparation for migration. To prepare for their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of at least 500 miles, they will have to eat plenty of nectar, insects, and tree sap.
4. Monarch Butterfly
Migrating long distances is in a Monarch Butterfly blood. Each fall, when the weather turns chilly, the Monarch Butterfly of Canada and the United States travel hundreds more than 3,000 miles just to spend the winter in warmer places. In the spring they return, laying eggs along the way.
What is even more remarkable is that the ones that return to the places where Monarchs hibernate have never been there before. These are the great-great-great-grandchildren of those that performed the intrepid journey from southeast Canada and the United States to central Mexico.
3. Whooping Crane
The Whooping Crane is the tallest North American bird. They are found in marshes, shallow lakes, and lagoons. Adult whooping cranes are white with a red crown and a long, dark, pointed bill. They may grow to about 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, weigh about 7.0 k, and with a wingspan of 2.3 meters (7.5 feet). The whooping crane’s primary natural breeding ground is Wood Buffalo National Park, in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Alberta.
When summer ends, these migratory birds set out for the Gulf Coast of Texas, where they winter in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Since, Whopping cranes are endangered species, massive whooping crane programs are being initiated by US and Canadian governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and other contributors. One activity done is using ultralight aircraft to lead young whooping cranes on their first southward migration, from Wisconsin to Florida.
2. Freshwater Eels
There are 16 to 20 species of freshwater eels in genus Anguilla. Freshwater eels are catadromous, meaning they spend their lives in freshwater rivers and return to the ocean to spawn. Freshwater eels spend almost all of their life in fresh waters. However, they run to the sea and migrates to the Sargasso Sea to breed.
The journey may take more than 4,000 miles. After spawning, the adult eels die. After hatching, the baby eels, then run up the rivers, and take up residence in still waters of large rivers and lakes, where they live as adults for as long as 15 years.
1. Humpback Whales
Humpback whales hold the world’s record for the longest mammalian voyage. Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales typically spend its summers in cooler, high-latitude waters, and migrate up to 25,000 kilometers each year to breed and give birth in the winter in tropical and sub-tropical waters. One population spends the warmer months eating a literal ton of food a day in the waters off the Arctic Peninsula.
During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves. In the Pacific they migrate generally from the Bering Sea to Southern Mexico as well. Another known small population migrates from their feeding grounds in Antarctic waters to their Tongan breeding grounds.