Sunday, April 26, 2015

6 Tiny Fur Ball Mammals


Although they’re small in size, these little mammals actually have an edge, especially when it comes to surviving. Their petite figures helps them stay under the radar of predators easily, burrowing into small crevices or running up to flimsy branches to escape. And they’re also really cute.

Below are a few tiny mammals and a little info about them.

Etruscan Shrew

Etruscan Shrew
Shrews are known to be small, but the Etruscan shrew will have to take the prize for the smallest of them all. In fact, they’re recorded as the smallest mammal on earth by mass. They weigh in at 2 grams on an average and grow to 4 centimeters in length. However, for something so small, its appetite is huge. It usually eats twice its own weight in a day.

Jerboas
Jerboas
For its size, this little mammal can really jump high. Although they’re more related to mice than kangaroos, their legs are similar to the kangaroos, which lets them leap far distances. Their ability to hop quickly is a big help since they live in the vast, hot desert.  Pygmy jerboas are the smallest amongst the species. In fact they’re the smallest rodents on earth.

Bumblebee Bat
Bumblebee Bat
Also known as Kitti's hog-nosed bat, they are the smallest bats in the world. They also have the smallest skulls amongst all mammals. These bats are so small that you might even confuse them with an actually bumblebee when they fly near you. Sadly, their delicate size makes them helpless, especially to human activities. They’re now tagged as vulnerable in the IUCN.

Mouse Lemurs

Mouse Lemurs
Recorded as the smallest primate on earth, they measure at about 27 centimeters from the tip of their heads to the tip of their tail. The smallest specie of the Mouse Lemurs is the Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, which on an average weighs in at 30 grams and grows to around 10 centimeters.

Least Weasel
Least Weasel
A very active little guy, the least weasel is considered as the tiniest true carnivore on earth. It’s the smallest amongst the species under the Carnivora order, weighing at about 50 grams. Although they’re small, they are a bit aggressive. These guys are great hunters and scurry around for small rodents to eat.

Pygmy Possum

Pygmy Possum
They mature with a length of around 5to 10 centimeters and weigh in at a little over 10 grams. These tiny marsupials are native to New Guinea and Australia. They spend most of their time in the canopy, hanging upside down on trees. Because they’re so small and hard to find, a new specie was discovered in 2005.
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

8 Animals that Look Like they were touched by Midas


Call them living treasures, these 8 animals that look like they just got dug out of a gold mine. Although they’re not really made out of real gold, but their bright golden yellow colors make them stand out in anywhere.

Golden Lion Tamarin

Golden Lion Tamarin
These wonderful monkeys obviously got their name from their lion mane-like golden coats. They’re found around the coastal forests of eastern Brazil however there are roughly around 1,000 individuals left in the wild. Habitat loss and deforestation is to blame for their population decline and conservationists are doing what they can to save this species. These monkeys are definitely more special and rare than their color.

Golden Tortoise Beetle
Golden Tortoise Beetle
What looks like a small piece of jewelry is actually a creepy crawly beetle. Also known as goldbugs, golden tortoise beetles have a shiny, metal colored shell that they can actually change into a brownish color when they’re frightened or disturbed. This is possible through their ability of changing the fluid flow between the different layers of their shell.

Golden Apple Snail
Golden Apple Snail
A small, amphibious type of apple snails, they’re becoming very popular aquarium pets because of their amazing color. Along with their rich look, this snail has a very peculiar feature. It has both lungs and gills, meaning they don’t have any problems shifting from water and land habitats.

Golden Slender Mongoose

Golden Slender Mongoose
Although slender mongooses have a number of different coat colors, the golden variety has to top all of them. Its beautiful golden coat helps to blend them in with the yellow savanna grasses in sub-Saharan Africa. They look adorable, but they’re actually capable of hunting and taking down a variety of venomous snakes.

Golden Eyelash Viper
Golden Eyelash Viper
The name might sound sort of harmless, but these snakes do bite, and they are venomous. They get their names from fleshy bumps close to their eyes that look like eyelashes. Nevertheless, people still take these snakes in as exotic pets. In fact some are specifically bred to have that bright golden yellow color.

Yellow Tang
Yellow Tang
There are a number of yellow and gold fishes that are seen in the tropics, but the best looking one would have to be the yellow tang. A very popular aquarium fish, they’re actually related to the surgeonfish family. Yellow tangs are commonly seen in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

Gee's Golden Langur
Gee's Golden Langur
Another super stylish monkey, their fur actually varies from a deep golden yellow to cream, as well as a rust-brown. Native to Bhutan and India, they’re currently facing a population problem due to habitat loss because of continues human activities and deforestation.

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
One of the most common birds seen in North America, goldfinches comes in a number of colors, with the yellow ones standing out. Like almost all birds, male specimens are actually more colorful than female ones.  These birds have actually gotten more benefit thanks to human activity. Home owners often leave bird feeders in their yards, so these birds feel very welcome to visit.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

6 Animals that Were Revived Back through Conservation


Researchers say that we are experiencing a mass extinction, what they call the Holocene extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has tagged 17,291 animal species as threated, ad this is just a fraction of the animals that have been assessed. Despite these numbers, there are a few success stories. Below are a few animals that have actually been conserved and successfully returned from extinction.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
America’s most iconic bird almost became extinct during the early 1950’s with only 412 nesting pairs found in the wild. One of the main reasons for the decline of their population is the wide use of DDT pesticide in the farms. DDT has been banned in the 70’s and the conservation of these majestic birds started to yield positive results. Currently, there are more or less 10,000 breeding pairs in the wild. The Bald Eagle has also been taken out of the endangered species list in 1995.

Black-Footed Ferret
Black-Footed Ferret
This specie had literally come back from extinction. The Black-footed ferret was declared extinct during the 70’s. Fortunately, there was a small population that was discovered in a small part of Wyoming. A breeding program in captivity was initiated for the remaining few 18 individuals. Even with the small odds, a number of ferrets were successfully produced and were introduced back to the wild. There are around 1,200 individual ferrets in the wild today.

Southern White Rhino
Southern White Rhino
One of the biggest conservation success stories, there were only around 100 southern white rhinos left and they were hovering very dangerously near to being declared extinct by the late 19th century. After a little over a century of conservation and protection, there are more than 20,000 individuals in the wild, mainly found in the protected parks of South Africa.  Although rhinoceros as a species stull remains highly endangered, these sub-species shine a light of hope for the future.

California Condor
California Condor
One of the biggest birds on the planet, this majestic bird was placed in the extinct list during the late 1980’s. 22 individuals were actually captured and placed under a breeding program under the Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park. There are around 350 California condors alive today and half of them are flying in the wild in Baja California, Arizona, and California.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Like many great whales, the humpback’s population decimated because of commercial whaling which was rampant during the early and mid 1900’s. Researchers even estimated that at some point, the population of these majestic, harmless creatures was reduced to 2 percent of their number a century ago. Their population has risen to 80,000 over the years thanks to protection and anti-whale hunting regulations.

Przewalski's Horse
Przewalski's Horse

Unlike the other species of “wild” horses, these horses were never really domesticated. They represent the only true wild horses after humans started domesticating them thousands of years ago. Tragically, their population declined to its lowest during the 1960’s. After conservation and protection programs, these horses have rebounded with 1,500 individuals in breeding facilities and zoos. 400 horses also roam protected sites in China and Mongolia.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 Animals that can Survive Almost Anything


If the Apocalypses would ever come, whether through a nuclear war, catastrophic climate change, and viral pandemic, not every living creature is going to die. Some animals are built to outlast almost anything that you throw at them. Here are 5 species that can withstand a catastrophic change that would most likely wipe out all the other animals on earth.

Cockroaches
In almost every post-apocalyptic movie or story, cockroaches are always present. These bugs, even though they usually end up at the bottom of our shoe, have actually been around for a little over 250 million years. They’ve survive a number of mass extinctions and they can also live in almost any weather condition. A few other features that makes this animal nearly impossible to extinguish is that they have the ability to regenerate most of their body-parts, hold their breath for a little under an hour and they’re also prolific breeders.

Mummichog
This is a type of fish that lives in the North America’s east coast. Unlike other fishes, this practically normal looking fish can live in almost any habitat, weather, salty or freshwater, cold or warm, and clean or polluted. Their amazing adaptability is because of their strange ability to actually activate or deactivate the majority of their genes, depending on their environment. For example, if the fish moved from fresh to salt water, it would turn off and on some 498 different genes to survive the changes.

Lingula
The most recent mass extinction wiped out about 85% of the animals that lived during that time, including the dinosaurs. But this little guy survived that using its ability to dig and burrow itself into the earth.  Many scientist consider this animal as a living fossil, in fact it even inspired Charles Darwin to coin the concept.

 Humans
 Humans
There are five mass extinctions that happened throughout the earth’s history, with the most recent one happening about 65 million years ago. When it comes to enduring catastrophes, let’s face it. Brains count a lot when it comes to survival. Humans would have to be one of the most adaptive creatures in the planet. Although we’re most likely the cause of the catastrophic change, there’s a big change that our species as a whole, will survive and live through it.

Tardigrade
Tardigrade
A popular animal used as subjects for survival studies, the tardigrades or water bear is arguably the toughest animal alive. You can find these animals almost everywhere, but you’ll have a hard time seeing them since they only grow to about 1 mm long. These creatures have been tested to survive, dehydration, freezing and boiling temperatures, the vacuum of space, radiation and extreme pressures. 
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

7 Extinct Animals that we can bring back





Thanks to developments in science like cloning and selective breeding, it’s now possible for us to help animals become “de-extinct”. Although some people say that we should concentrate more on conservation instead of bringing extinct animals back to life, there are a few species that we can bring back through science. With a little help of DNA from bones, teeth and marrow, here are 7 extinct animals that can live again.

Aurochs
Aurochs
These animals are large, wild cattle that roam North Africa, Asia and Europe. They’re also the ancestors to the domesticated cattle. There were a few species that survived in Europe however the last aurochs was recorded to have died in Poland during 1627. Scientist are planning to bring these animals back by is by using DNA from bones and teeth and find similar DNA strands from present cattle. With selective breeding, the offspring will carry the exact same DNA as the Aurochs

Irish Elks
Irish Elks
This extinct deer species is known to be one of the biggest types of deer that has ever lived. They were once common across Eurasia, from North Asia, Africa and Ireland. Recent remains of this animal found in Siberia were carbon dated back to 7,700 years ago. They were hunted to extinction because of their giant antlers. The closest relatives these animals have that are still alive are the Red Deer.

Steller's Sea Cow
Steller's Sea Cow
Related to the manatees and dugong, the Steller's sea cow is the largest amongst the members of the Sirenia order. This creature reached a length of 9 meters, joining the ranks of large mammals like the whale that ever existed in the water. Although they were abundant in the North Pacific, their population drastically dropped due to hunting and exclusively stayed in the waters surrounding the Commander Islands by 1741.

Passenger Pigeon
Passenger Pigeon
The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America, making up more than one-fourth of the population of all the birds in the continent. There were some 3 to 5 billion of these birds living before the Europeans docked in North America. These birds lived in huge migratory flocks, up until habitat destruction and hunting led to their extinction during the 20th century. The last passenger pigeon, found at the Cincinnati Zoo, died in 1914.

Pyrenean ibex
Pyrenean ibex
An Iberian wild goat or Spanish ibex subspecies, the pyrenean ibex was endemic only to the Iberian Peninsula area. They were seen across the Southern France, Northern Pyrenees, and Cantabrian Mountains. They were larger than their cousins and became extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. They recently became extinct in 2000, but scientist did attempt to develop a clone from the last of the specie’s female individual. However the clone did not survive that long.

Tasmanian Tiger
Tasmanian Tiger
Also known as the thylacine, it is the biggest known carnivorous marsupial in modern times. It looked like a cross between a dingo and a tiger, because of the stripes found on its back. Native to New Guinea, Tasmania, and Australia, it’s said that they became extinct during the 20th century.  They did become rare before the British created settlements in the island, but they strived in Tasmania together with other endemic species like the Tasmanian devil.

Woolly Mammoth
Woolly Mammoth
One of the biggest creature that every walked the earth since the last ice age, we have collected enough samples of DNA to clone these majestic creatures through their cousins, the Asian elephant. These animals were found in the "tundra steppe" which is stretched across northern Asia, many parts of Europe, and the northern part of North America during the last ice age. Researched suggests that the population of these animals started to decline when the earth’s temperatures rose.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Mythical Creatures that could have Actually Existed


For those of us who love played video games or are into sci-fi and fantasy, mythical creatures are a big part of our daily lives. Although these creatures sound like some writer just made them up, a number of these animals are actually based on real-life animals that existed or still exist.

Here are mythical creatures and the real animals that inspired them.

Dragon

Dragon
Other than dinosaurs, another inspiration for these feared creatures could be the Megalania. This is a giant lizard which is closely related to the Komodo dragon, one of the biggest reptiles alive today. They grew to about 26 feet in length and weighed at 4300 pounds. Although they didn’t breath fire, their saliva was very poisonous and could kill large animals in a number of hours.

Emela-Ntouka
Emela-Ntouka
This is a creature that originated in Central Africa. It’s described as a big animal that has a tusk on its snout and a long tail. Its name simply translates to elephant killer, because it’s said that this creature takes down and kills elephants. The profile of this animal fits a rhino, except for the tail. And since rhinos are known to be very aggressive, it’s possible that one can take an elephant down.

Dire Wolves
Dire Wolves
Like the wolves featured in the popular TV show Game of Thrones, dire wolves are projected as giant, powerful fearsome wolves. Real dire wolves existed during the Rancholabrean age, which was 240,000 to 11,000 years ago. These wolves were about the size of gray wolf, only they had a heavier build. It’s believed that the dire wolves are the major competitor over prey with the saber tooth tiger.

Kraken
Kraken
This legendary sea monster is said to be able to take down fleets of boats. The kraken fits the description of the rare giant squid, which lives in the deepest parts of the ocean. A giant squid was even recently capture near the coast of japan which measured 46 feet long and had hooks in its suckers. If a giant squid can take down a whale, a boat sounds pretty easy.

Imoogi
Imoogi
Also known as the Korean dragon, the Imoogi is described as a giant snake-like creature. The closest real creature to this description is the Titanoboa. This is the biggest, heaviest and longest snake, which is said to have died out 10 million years after the dinosaurs became extinct. A real life replica of this snake was even presented in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. It was 49 feet long and weighed in at 1,135-kilograms.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Of the Most Common Owls on Earth


Owls are one of the most famous animals on earth. They’re found in almost all parts of the world and they even play an important part in a number of cultures as a sign of good omen, the afterlife, and even intelligence and wisdom. In some areas, these birds are seen very often, even when these places are already urbanized.

Below are a few of the most common owls and were you can spot them.

Western Screech-Owl
Western Screech-Owl
Growing to a weight of half a pond and a size of 7 to 9 inches tall, these are commonly seen in the areas of west specifically the western areas of Canada and the U.S, as well as parts of central Mexico. One of the strangest things these birds do is that they take in blind snakes, which are worm-like reptiles, to their nest and allow them to live there. They do this to help their owlets feed better since the blind snake consumes pests like flies and ants whose larvae end up consuming their food reserves.

Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn owls are probably the most common owls on earth. They’re seen in six continents, except for the extreme cold areas of northern North America, Asia and Europe. They can stand to a high of 15 inches and weigh in at a pound. A known feature of this bird is the spots that spread across their head and neck. These spots actually help them to become less susceptible to parasites. For female specimens, the more spots they have, the more attractive it is to males.

Eurasian Eagle-Owl
Eurasian Eagle-Owl
A huge owl that’s seen in Asia and Europe, they can grow to about 23 to 29 inches and weigh in at 3 to 9 pounds. These owls hunt small mammals, birds, and even smaller owls. They are even known to attack large birds like Gray Herons. They hunt at dusk and quietly roam the sky with their 6.5 foot wingspan. The combination of sharp vision and a strong grip makes these birds one of the best hunters on air.

Eastern Screech-Owl
Eastern Screech-Owl
Seen in the areas of northeastern Mexico and the Rocky Mountains in the U.S., these owls can grow to 6 to 60 inches tall and weigh half a pound. No matter how urbanized the area is, the eastern screech-owl still thrives in it. It even lives in Central Park, which is found in one of the most populated cities on earth, New York City.

Flammulated Owl
Flammulated Owl
These birds are seen in the southwestern parts of Canada till the western areas of the U.S. and Mexico during the summer during the summer, but during winter, their range in Mexico is not really known. Growing to about 6 inches tall and weighing in at 2 ounces, these owls make a low, husky sound that doesn’t really match its small body.
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

6 Animals with Insanely Far Migration Routes


Millions of types of animals migrate due to different reasons. Some take on the travel in search for food, to mate, or even due to the season. The length of how far they travel varies as much as their reason to migrate. Most routes are measured in miles, but can you imagine migrating from one end of the earth to another?

Below are 6 animals with remarkably far migration routes and the reasons why they move in the first place.

Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly
Although they don’t travel as far as the other animals in the list, these beautiful butterflies still take a journey that sounds impossible to finish in a lifetime. In fact, since they only have a few months to live, it actually takes about two to three generations to finish the whole migration pattern. This means that as they are born, mature, propagate and die, they are actually following the migration route. The route is embedded in the butterfly’s DNA so no matter where they are born, they continue on the path. They mainly migrate due to the changing of the season.

Whales
Whales
Most whale species migrate in a variety of distances, mainly to feed and breed in different hemispheres. Humpback whales, which are one of the biggest animals on the planet, would spend their summers feeding in the polar waters but would travel more than 6,000 miles to breed during winter. Gray whales can travel 10,000 to 12,000 miles in a year. And the southern right whale can reach a total traveled distance of 5,500 miles just to finish their breeding and feeding migration cycle.

Arctic tern

Arctic tern
Some bird species are known for their long migration patterns. Arctic terns are able to travel a staggering 44,000 miles in a single year. They breed during the summer in the Arctic and move to the Antarctic areas during winter and then back again every year. This bird can beat anyone when it comes to frequent flyer points.

Pectoral sandpiper
Pectoral sandpiper
This bird may not be as big as other migratory birds, but the pectoral sandpiper travels a distance of 18,000 miles a year. They fly annually from their breeding grounds in northern Asia, Canada and Alaska to the Southern Hemisphere, specifically Australia and South America.

Sooty shearwater
Sooty shearwater
A large bird that has a wingspan that reaches about three feet wide, this bird is built for flying. They migrate yearly, traveling a distance of 40,000 miles. They circle between the North and South Hemispheres to feed and breed.

Globe skimmer dragonfly
Globe skimmer dragonfly
A perfect name for this amazing insect, the globe skimmer dragonfly is probably the most well-traveled insect on earth. Although they only grow to about an inch in length, these dragonflies are able to travel a journey that will take them 2,300 miles to finish. And since they move more than once a year, scientist say that they can achieve a total traveled distance of about 11,000 miles per year.
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

5 Animals that were Recently Tagged Extinct


Although we have discovered thousands of new species over the past few years, this generation has also seen the extinction of a number of animals. Many of these became extinct because of environmental depletion and some due to hunting and poaching. Here are a few animals that got declared extinct over the last twenty years.

Golden Toad
Golden Toad


Also known as the orange toad or Monteverde toad, this toad was only found in Costa Rica’sMonteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Although once a common specie, their population started to decline in the 80’s until the last one was seen in 1989. They were officially declared extinct in 2007. Researchers say that chytridiomycosis which is an amphibian disease, airborne pollution as well as climate change caused the demise of this specie.

Baiji dolphin
Baiji dolphin


The last Baiji dolphin, or Yantze River dolphin, was seen in the 2002. The specie had already been tagged as critically endangered but scientists are already saying that they could be extinct. A group of researchers even went on a search in 2006, covering almost 2,000 miles looking for any signs of surviving dolphins. Decline of the Baiji dolphin’s population is caused by poaching,pollution, habitat loss, boat traffic, and overfishing. For a time, they were even hunted for their skin, which was used to make luxury bags and gloves.

Hawaiian crow
Hawaiian crow


A native in Hawaii, this bird is said to be extinct in the wild. The last two wild individuals disappeared in 2002. There are some individuals that live in captivity, and more than 40 specimens were hatched in breeding programs. However, the breeding programs did not end well as mortality rate still increased. Scientist till can’t pin point what caused the population of this bird to decrease to the point of extinction, but some speculated that the illness avian malaria could have been a main reason.

Pyrenean ibex
Pyrenean ibex


This is actually one of the two Spanish ibexsubspecies that were tagged extinct. They were once commonly seen across the areas of Spain and France, however during the 1900s, population of the Pyrenean ibex fell lower than a hundred individuals. The last of these animals died in 2000. Researchers tried cloning these animals, but failed. Diseases, poaching and inability to compete for food cause their population to die out.

Spix's macaw
Spix's macaw


Although there are about 70 Spix's macaw alive in captivity, the last bird that lived in the wild was seen in 2000. Although technically extinct, the species is tagged as critically endangered since its potential habitat is not thoroughly surveyed. Once common in northern Brazil, these birds slowly died out in the wild because of trapping, hunting, habitat destruction, as well as the introduction of “killer bees” which competed for their nesting sites.
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