Animal Kingdom

An eagle has amazing eyes – it can even see UV light which lets it track an animal by its urine trail.

Eagles are regal, powerful animals. At the top of the bird food chain, they can grow up to 7-foot wide and weigh up to 15 lbs. They can carry their weight (15 pounds) while flying. This lets them carry an animal about the weight of a baby mule deer. Their eyes are extremely powerful, about 3-times more powerful than a human’s eye (their eyesight is about 20/5 vs. 20/20 for a human). An eagle’s eye fills a large portion of its head. Unlike a human, their eyes are fixed – they cannot move their eyes in the eyeball socket. To look around, they must turn their head. When hunting, they swivel their head back and forth looking for prey. Their fixed eye design gives the…
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Animal Kingdom

The shiny cocoons of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly look like beautiful gold jewels.

No, these golden beauties are not fine jewelry or decorative trinkets. Although they look metallic, they are actually made of chitin, the material that gives some insects their shiny look. And inside these chitin containers, are baby butterflies! The orange-spotted tiger clearwing butterfly (or mechantis polymnia) lives in the jungles from Mexico down to the Amazon forests. They are colorful orange, yellow, and black butterflies, similar to a monarch butterfly, and grow to about 3-inches wide. The shiny golden cocoons they spin contain pupae, the third stage of baby butterfly’s development. Since pupae cannot move and are unable to defend themselves, they often rely on the appearance of their cocoon to deter predators. It is believed that the shiny surface of the orange-spotted tiger clearwing’s…
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Animal Kingdom

Here’s why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others.

It’s true. Mosquitoes prefer biting some people over others and now scientists know why. As it turns out, about 20% of people are especially yummy to mosquitoes. Here’s why. Mosquitoes smell carbon dioxide Mosquitoes find victims by smelling carbon dioxide. They can smell it from across a large yard. People who exhale more carbon dioxide than others become targets. This is why children, who breathe smaller breaths, are bitten less often than adults. Mosquitoes prefer dark colors Just as we see with human beings, to a mosquito, certain colors stand out more than others. If you wear black, dark blue, or red, mosquitoes will swarm your way. Mosquitoes smell lactic acid Mosquitoes can also smell lactic acid, the chemical excreted when you exercise. They also…
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Animal Kingdom

Unable to find food in it natural habitat, this starving polar bear roamed into a town in Russia looking for food.

Residents of Norilsk, Russia woke to a strange site. A starving polar bear was roaming the streets looking for food. The animal would normally be in the Kara Sea area, about 300 miles from Norilsk, but climate change has forced animals such as this, to roam far from home looking for food and habitat they require to survive. The polar bear was photographed roaming throughout the city looking for food. Its paws are blackened with mud accumulated during its long trek. Authorities in the area say the polar bear may be sedated and transported to a zoo. World Wildlife Fund's Russia office told reporters: "It’s not normal for them to walk so far south, but the unusual situation can happen because of the lack of…
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Animal Kingdom

Why malaria-spreading mosquitoes are so hard to kill – and how scientists found a way to kill them without impacting the environment or other living creatures.

Almost half of the people in the world live in an area where malaria parasites can infect and kill them. Malaria parasites enter the body via a mosquito. The parasites travel to the liver where they it can remain undetected for as long as a year. While in the liver, malaria parasites develop and release toxic substances that infect red blood cells. These toxins are dumped into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body. This is when symptoms begin to show. Symptoms of someone infected with malaria include fever, chills, headache, vomiting, sweating, cough, and chest, stomach, and muscle pain. Often these symptoms appear in waves or “attacks” that come and go. Fighting the mosquitoes that transfer malaria to humans has been difficult. Mosquitoes have…
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Animal Kingdom

Natures way to spread plant life – birds, bees, and… goats in trees that spit seeds?

It’s not unusual to see birds in trees. Pigeons in trees are a common sight in New York City. In Texas, noisy finch crowd trees along scenic roadways. In Washington, , vultures loom in trees waiting the opportunity to swoop down on unassuming middle-class citizens. But in south-western Morocco, hungry goats perch with acrobat-like agility high above the ground eating fruit and leaves and spitting out seeds. Goats? In trees? Spitting seeds? Goats in the boughs of trees are a common site in dry, arid areas like Spain and Mexico where edible ground-plants are harder for the goats to find. But the goats in trees in Morocco tower above all others. Locals say it’s common for 10-20 goats at a time to climb argan trees…
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Animal Kingdom

After decades of obscurity, scientists again discover the weird-looking “faceless fish” off coast of Australia

  It hasn’t seen or been seen in a long, long time. Last week the “faceless fish”, uh, showed its face in Australian waters for the first time in over 100 years. It has long been thought to be extinct. Australian scientists discovered the faceless creature about 13,000 feet below the surface during an expedition off Australia’s east coast. At first, scientists didn’t recognize the little guy. They thought it was a new species and were about to report it as such when the cook stumbled from the galley to see what all the commotion was about and with a disgusted look on his face, proclaimed, “Dang, I haven’t seen one of those in a long time.” The faceless fish, more accurately termed Typhlonus nasus…
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Animal Kingdom

Say it isn’t so Reeko – a world without giraffes?!?!

  Sorry kids, but that lovable knock-kneed doofus we call giraffes may soon be no more. Today the International Union for Conversation of Nature classified the crane-necked creature as “vulnerable” meaning it’s at a high risk for extinction. If humans don’t change their behavior, the only giraffe we’ll ever see is between the covers of a book (yeah, they’re almost extinct too). The giraffe joins the elephant, orangutan, bees, and coral as creatures that may soon face extinction. Their disappearance comes amidst the loss of habitat, varying degrees of devastating climate change, and illegal poaching. The director of Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve told CNN we have at the most, 20 years to change the way we treat nature or we will bring about…
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists warn Earth faces global mass extinction of wildlife – here’s a mind-boggling list that illustrates the seriousness

Conservationists issued a chilling warning this week telling New Scientists magazine that global wildlife populations are set to have fallen by more than two thirds of 1970 levels by the year 2020 – and there is no sign that declining wildlife numbers will slow down in our lifetime. Researchers say mammal, bird, fish, amphibian, and reptile populations have fallen by 58% from 1970 to 2012. At the current rate (about 2% reduction per year), by 2020, the populations will have declined by more than 67%. This has prompted experts to warn that we are facing a global “mass extinction” for the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs. Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at World Wildlife Foundation, said: “For the first time since…
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Animal Kingdom

And the award for the world’s weirdest animal goes to…

  There are plenty of reasons we need a list of the world’s strangest animals besides just proving that these creatures really do exist. Among this list you’ll find Halloween costume ideas, ideas for faces you can make behind the teacher’s back, and new names you can call your friends. Plus, if you’re ugly, you won’t feel nearly as unattractive after laying eyes on these hideous beasts.  Without further ado, here are the world's weirdest animals. The world’s weirdest animals Naked mole rat   The naked mole rat, also known as the sand puppy or desert mole rat, is notorious for its lack of hair and funny-looking buck-teeth. The naked mole rat’s overly large teeth stick out of its mouth which allows it to dig…
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