Animals of the world, Stick insect

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Pinnedyr (640x459)

  • Found predominantly in the tropics and subtropics—although several species live in temperate regions
  • As its name suggests, the stick insect resembles the twigs among which it lives. They’re typically brown, black, or green, with stick-shaped bodies that help them blend in
  • They can be relatively large, ranging from 1.5 centimetres (0.6 in) to over 30 centimetres (12 in) in length
  • Stick insects are unusual among the insects in that they have the ability to regenerate legs and antennae.
  • They have an impressive visual system that allows them to perceive significant detail, even in dim conditions, which suits their typically nocturnal lifestyle
  • Stick insects thrive in forests and grasslands, where they feed on leaves
  • They are usually active after dark
  • When disturbed, stick insects will often fall to the ground and “play dead” for hours
  • Some stick insect species can reproduce without males
  • The lifespan of stick insects varies by species, but ranges from a few months to up to three years

Animals of the world, Polar bear

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Isbjørn (640x484)

  • Polar bears are the only bear species to be considered marine mammals because of their dependence on the sea ice. Their native range lies largely within the Arctic circle
  • Polar bears are stocky, with a long neck, relatively small head, short, rounded ears, and a short tail.
  • They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellant coat that insulates them from the cold air and water.
  • Polar bear fur consists of a layer of dense underfur and an outer layer of guard hairs, which appear white to tan but are actually transparent. The white coat usually yellows with age
  • Male polar bears weigh around 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lbs), and are twice the size of females
  • The broad feet have hairy soles to protect and insulate as well as to facilitate movement across the ice
  • Polar Bears have no natural predators, though walruses and wolves can kill them.
  • Polar bears can swim for long distances to get from one piece of ice to another. In swimming the polar bear uses only its front limbs, an aquatic adaption found in no other four-legged mammal
  • Their diet mainly consists of ringed and bearded seals
  • Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present
  • Longevity in the wild is 25 to 30 years

Animals of the world, Common seadragon

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Sjødrage (640x395)

  • Endemic to the relatively shallow, coastal waters of south and east Australia
  • They are relatives of seahorses
  • Sea dragons have very long, thin snouts; slender trunks covered in bony rings; and thin tails.
  • Adult common seadragons are a reddish colour, with yellow and purple markings. The body is adorned with gossamer, leaf-shaped appendages
  • Common seadragons can reach 45 cm (18 in) in length
  • They are slow-moving and rely on their camouflage as protection against predation
  • Sea dragons survive on tiny crustaceans such as mysids and sea lice. They may also eat fish larvae and plankton.
  • They have no teeth and feed by sucking prey into their pipe-like mouths
  • They don’t have a digestive system which is why they eat often
  • Sea dragons are not strong swimmers, they spend most of their time swaying with currents like the seagrass
  • They may live up to six years.

Animals of the world, Hedgehog

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piggsvin (640x532)

  • There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction.
  • Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines- hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. The spines cover the body except for the underside, legs, face, and ears. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators
  • The underside is covered by a sparse, coarse coat, ranging from white to black
  • Most species weigh under 700 grams (1.5 pounds)
  • They are capable of short bursts of speed, raising their body high off the ground as they run on the hairless soles of their feet.
  • Hedgehogs are fairly vocal and communicate through a combination of grunts, snuffles and/or squeals, depending on species.
  • The bulk of their diet consists of insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes
  • Hedgehog shelter by day beneath vegetation, in rock crevices, beneath overhanging rock ledges, or in burrows
  • Some species, including the West European hedgehog, hibernate during the winter months

Animals of the world, Garden snail

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Hagesnegle (640x506)

  • Garden snail (Cornu aspersum) is native to the Mediterranean area and Western Europe, but whether deliberately or accidentally, humans have spread it to temperate and subtropical areas worldwide
  • Cornu aspersum, known by the common name garden snail, is a species of land snail
  • The body is soft and slimy, brownish-grey, and the animal retracts itself entirely into the shell when inactive or threatened
  • The shell is variable in colouring and shade of colour, but generally, it has a reticulated pattern of dark brown, brownish-golden, or chestnut with yellow stripes, flecks, or streaks
  • The shell of Cornu aspersum is almost always right-coiled, but exceptional left-coiled specimens are also known
  • The head bears four tentacles; the upper two are larger and bear eye-like light sensors, and the lower two are tactile and olfactory sense organs.
  • The snail secretes thixotropic adhesive mucus that permits locomotion by rhythmic waves of contraction passing forward within its muscular “foot”
  • The snail moves at a top speed of 1.3 centimetres per second
  • It feeds on numerous types of fruit trees, vegetable crops, rose bushes, garden flowers, and cereals
  • During dry or cold weather it seals the aperture of the shell with a thin membrane of dried mucus, it helps the snail retain moisture and protects it from small predators such as some ants