Animals of the world, Spotted Hyena

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spotted hyena (640x582)

  • Spotted Hyenas live in much of central and southern Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.
  • Hyenas are fairly large in build and have relatively short torsos with lower hindquarters and sloping backs. They have short, thick yellow-grey fur which is covered in a spot pattern. Fur colour varies greatly and changes with age
  • Adults have a shoulder height of 70–91.5 cm (28–36 in). Adult male spotted hyenas in the Serengeti weigh 40.5–55.0 kg (89–121 lbs), while females weigh 44.5–63.9 kg (98–141 lbs)
  • Spotted hyenas are the largest of three hyena species. Brown and striped hyenas are the other two.
  • The powerful jaws and digestive tract of the hyena allow it to process and obtain nutrients from skin and bones
  • Spotted hyenas are quite vocal and make a wide variety of sounds, including the “laughing” that has long been associated with their name.
  • Spotted hyenas have a complex social system where animals live in female-dominated clans of up to 90 individuals. To live and interact in such a large clan requires a great deal of social intelligence.
  • Packs of spotted hyenas can bring down an animal as large as a giraffe, a zebra, or even an African Cape buffalo. Hyenas not only prey on almost any kind of live animal they can catch — large and small — but also eat carrion
  • The average lifespan in the wild is 19 years

Animals of the world, Manakins

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manakin (640x413)

  • The manakins are a family, Pipridae, of small suboscine passerine birds living in the American tropics.
  • They range in size from 7 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in) and in weight from 8 to 30 g (0.28 to 1.06 Oz)
  • They are compact stubby birds with short tails, broad and rounded wings, and big heads
  • Females and immature males are typically coloured in drab greens and browns, but adult males are often black with splashes of bright plumage ranging from cerulean blue to fiery red to egg-yolk yellow, and in some species having long, decorative tail or crown feathers or erectile throat feathers.
  • Despite their numerical dominance, they are often difficult to observe because of their small size, quick flight speed, and preference for patches of dense vegetation
  • Manakins feed on small fruits and berries, and to a lesser degree, insects
  • Many manakin species have spectacular lekking courtship rituals, some have heavily modified wing feathers, which they use to make buzzing and snapping sounds. Depending on the species, Manakins choose areas with thin saplings, a bit of bare ground, or even a flat log to perform their dances. While some lift and rattle their wings, others shake their tails back and forth, and many do sudden, little jumps into the air — accompanied by abrupt calls

Animals of the world, Octopus

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octopus (640x378)

  • Common octopus is classified as a mollusk
  • The typical octopus has a saccular body: the head is only slightly demarcated from the body and has large, complex eyes and a beak, and eight contractile arms
  • The octopus has the useful ability to regenerate a tentacle if it loses one.
  • Adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lb), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft)
  • They live in all the world’s oceans, but are especially abundant in warm, tropical waters.
  • Most octopuses move by crawling along the bottom with their arms and suckers
  • Octopuses are solitary animals who make their homes in rocks and coral or dig burrows.
  • The soft body can rapidly alter its shape, enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps.
  • The octopus can change to grey, brown, pink, blue, or green to blend in with its surroundings.
  • Most octopuses swim by expelling a jet of water from the mantle through the siphon into the sea
  • Octopuses feed mainly upon crabs and lobsters, although some are plankton feeders, and they are fed upon by a number of marine fishes.
  • If threatened, octopuses shoot an inky fluid that darkens the water, confusing the aggressor.
  • Octopuses are highly intelligent; the extent of their intelligence and learning capability are not well defined

Animals of the world, Narwhal

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narrhval (640x377)

  • A medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large tusk
  • Found primarily in the Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic and Russian waters, the narwhal is a uniquely specialized Arctic predator
  • The tusks are actually teeth. Usually, the canine tooth on the left side of the upper jaw becomes a tusk. All adult narwhals have two teeth. Narwhals don’t use their teeth for biting or chewing. Instead, they suck their prey down whole. In the females, both teeth usually remain in the skull. One in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right tooth, normally small, also grows out
  • The total body size can range from 3.95 to 5.5 m (13 to 18 ft)
  • Recent research by Nweeia who works at Harvard University in Boston, Mass. suggests that Narwhals are using sound waves to stun the fish before they eat them. Research also revealed that the tusk has no enamel coating, protecting the nerves underneath. Without enamel, the Narwhal can sense changes in the water, like how salty the water is. When ice forms in the ocean the water will become slightly saltier, which is a signal to leave the area before ice forms over their head.
  • They  feed mainly on species of cod, in some areas they include squid, shrimp, and various fish
  • Narwhals normally congregate in groups of about five to ten, and sometimes up to 20
  • Narwhals exhibit seasonal migrations, with a high fidelity of return to preferred, ice-free summering grounds, usually in shallow waters
  • Narwhals can live up to 50 years

Animals of the world, Pika

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Pika (640x456)

  • Pikas are found in the mountains of western North America and much of Asia
  • Pikas are most commonly identified by their small, rounded body, short limbs, rounded ears, and lack of tail. They resemble their close cousin the rabbit, but with shorter ears
  • Their fur is long and soft and is generally greyish-brown in colour, although a few species are rusty red
  • Most species live on rocky mountainsides, where there are numerous crevices in which to shelter, although some pikas also construct crude burrows. A few burrowing species are native to open Steppe land
  • Pikas forage for grasses, seeds, weeds, thistles, and berries during the hours of daylight.
  • In the autumn, they pull hay, soft twigs and other stores of food into their burrows to eat during the long, cold winter. Pikas do not hibernate
  • Unlike rabbits and hares, pikas are active during the day, with the exception of the nocturnal steppe pikas
  • Pikas have distinct calls that vary in duration. The call can either be short and quick, a little longer and more drawn out, or they can be songs
  • Being largely alpine, most pikas are adapted to living in cold environments and cannot tolerate heat. When temperatures are high, they confine their activity to early morning and late afternoon.
  • The average lifespan in pikas is roughly seven years in the wild