Animal Kingdom

No huge Kleenex needed – Snot Bot gathers whale snot for scientists to study

Those crazy scientists over at Olin College of Engineering have developed a robot, affectionately named Snot Bot, that is designed to collect mucus (whale snot) from whales who refuse to blow their noses in huge, conveniently-placed Kleenexes. Unlike whale blubber (thankfully), they don’t want to use the whale snot to make soap, candle wax, or yuk, whale-snot cooking oil. They need the whale snot to tell if the whale is sick or not. Whale snot is pretty important stuff. Scientists can study the whale mucus from a whale’s blowhole and tell a lot about its health. . Until now, it was nearly impossible to collect mucus from the whale’s main breathing passageway (the blowhole, ha ha). Snot Bot will change all that. Snot Bot is…
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Animal Kingdom

Can a chopped-off snake head still bite you?

Once during a very dangerous experiment, Reeko was bitten by a poisonous snake. After five days of blinding-white visions, sweltering fever, icy chills, mind-numbing headaches, icky red swelling, and unbelievably excruciating pain – the snake died. A chef in China found himself in a similar situation in August 2014 while he was preparing a popular dish known as cobra soup. In addition to water, salt, and spices, cobra soup contains, you guessed it – cobra meat. The chef, who took great pride in the freshness of his ingredients, butchers the cobra during the preparation of the soup. The Chinese chef decapitated the cobra (cut off the snake’s head) and set the head to the side while he finished tossing tasty ingredients into the stew. Once finished,…
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Animal Kingdom

Amazing video – new method of ants working together – a daisy-chain!

An ant brain is tiny, about 1/40,000th the size of a human brain (ants have 250,000 brain cells vs. humans’ 10,000,000 brain cells) so it goes without saying, they’re not too bright. But an ant colony of 40,000 ants collectively has the same size brain as a human and working together as a group, they are capable of extraordinary feats. Together they may not be able to drive a car, work a computer, or send a text message but check out the amazing video below which shows a colony of ants forming a long daisy-chain in order to pull a dead millipede back to their nest. Ants form daisy-chain to pull millipede along Ants are what biologists call a “superorganism” – a social unit with…
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Animal Kingdom

Uh oh – more African elephants being killed than are born!

Africa’s elephants have just crossed into a pretty scary area. Researchers recently that found more African elephants are being killed than are born. They warn that at this rate, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years. African elephants are killed for their tusks. Called “poaching”, the elephants are killed, their tusks removed, and their bodies left behind. The tusks, which are made of ivory, are sold by the poachers for thousands of dollars. Researchers say about 7% of the elephant population was killed between 2010 and 2013. Births on the other hand, only increase the elephant population by 5% each year. At this rate, there won’t be any elephants left on the planet by the year 2100. What you can do about this?…
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Animal Kingdom

Lone Star tick bite causes bizarre allergy to all forms of meat

Physicians interviewed by Popular Science believe a bizarre new allergy, which causes a potentially deadly allergic reaction to all forms of meat, is caused by the bite of a tick - and it's spreading pretty fast. One physician said that he had seen an increase of 200 alpha-gal allergy cases in the past three years – up from practically zero in 2011. The condition is believed to be caused by the bite of the Lone Star tick, a species of tick that is widespread in the United States ranging from Texas to Iowa in the Midwest and east to the coast where it can be found as far north as Maine. The bite of the tick cause a person to develop a meat allergy to all…
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Animal Kingdom

China discovers world’s largest bug – grab something and hold on tight!

Scientists in China, ever eager to freak us out, have discovered what they believe is the world’s largest aquatic insect. With a wingspan of nearly a foot, the enormous new insect is part of the Megaloptera group which includes dobsonflies, fishflies and other similar species. It’s as big as a sparrow bird and if its size doesn’t give you the shivers, it’s horn-like jaws will set you to quivering. Standard warning/disclaimer: Reeko takes no responsibility for children’s nightmares. Any resemblance between the character in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle (and anyone resembling said character is better off moving to an isolated island and spending the remainder of their lives in solitude). Said insect has been known to carry off…
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Animal Kingdom

Watch as this whale surfaces for food nearly swallowing the photographer (video)

It’s not every day that you get to see a whale coming up to feed on a massive glob of sardines and an even rarer day when you get to see a whale nearly swallow a man. In the video below, a diver, we’ll call him “Jonah”, was filming the whale as the giant beast rose to feed on a huge school of sardines during the annual sardine run, from May through June when millions of sardines travel north along the South African coastline to reproduce. “Jonah” saw the whale coming up and knew he was a goner. According to the diver/photographer: “The diameter of his mouth was big enough to swallow a car. He would have barely felt me going in.” Fortunately for the…
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Animal Kingdom

Rising global temperatures is turning all the sea turtles into girls

Scientists have always known that reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, and turtles, are very sensitive to temperatures of the area that they live in. In fact, temperatures affect reptiles before they are even born and help determine whether the baby reptile will be born a boy or a girl. 84 degrees F is the preferred temperature for reptiles and if it gets hotter than that, the babies begin to be born as girls. At around 87 degrees F, all baby reptiles will be born girls (any hotter and they die altogether). Scientists have found that global warming, the continuing rise of the Earth’s temperature, is impacting the gender of baby sea turtles, warming their environment and causing more girls than boys to be born. Right…
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Animal Kingdom

A deer no bigger than a hamster? Meet the tiny Java mouse-deer

A rare mini-Bambi born in a Spanish zoo in 2014 has put the tiny Java mouse-deer on the front page and in everyone's mind! Seldom seen in zoos, the miniature Java mouse-deer starts off the size of a hamster, weighing less than ¼ lb. When full grown, the tiny-hoofed critter will grow no bigger than a small Chihuahua dog, with legs the size of pencils, and weigh no more than 2 lbs. The tiny Java mouse-deer is extremely shy, intelligent, and although it has no antlers or horns, it does have cute little tusks sticking out from its upper jaw to help protect itself from terrifying beasts such as rabbits and house cats. The Java mouse-deer can be seen running around the tropical rainforests (they travel in herds just…
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Animal Kingdom

Rare (and super ugly) goblin shark caught in Florida

When shrimp captain Carl Moore caught it, he didn’t know what it was – and looking like a creature from the movie “Alien”, he refused to go near it. Luckily, he snapped a few photos before tossing the ugly Goblin shark back into the water so it could resume its primary objective of confusing scientists and terrorizing fishermen throughout the world. Moore was about half way through his 18-hour workday when he made the bizarre catch. He had just begun carrying a camera on his fishing expeditions, wanting to share what he does with his 4-year-old grandson Keaton.  What he didn't want to do however, was give his grandson nightmares so he instead took the pictures of the Goblin shark back to shore and handed…
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