Animals of the world, Hippo

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  • Hippos live in eastern, central and southern sub-Saharan Africa
  • The Hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse,” and the animal has been known since ancient times. The common hippopotamus inhabits rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps
  • The hippo has a bulky body with stumpy legs, an enormous head, a short tail, and four toes on each foot
  • Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances
  • Males stand about 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall, and weigh 3,200 kg (3.5 tons)
  • Colour is greyish brown, with pinkish underparts
  • Their skin secretes a natural sunscreen substance which is red-coloured
  • Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool – hippos don’t sweat –  under the hot African sun
  • At sunset, hippopotamuses leave the water and travel overland to graze. They may travel 10 km (6 miles) at night, along familiar paths, to consume some 35 kg (80 pounds) of grass.
  • The bite force of an adult female has been measured as 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbs)
  • Although hippos lie close to each other, they do not seem to form social bonds except between mothers and daughters, and they are not social animals
  • Longevity is up to 61 years in captivity, but rarely more than 40 in the wild.

Animals of the world, Dromedary

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Dromedar (640x528)

  • The dromedary is a large, even-toed ungulate with one hump on its back.
  • Although wild dromedaries are extinct, the importation of dromedaries to Australia in the 19th century resulted in the establishment of a feral population that continues to live in the country’s interior. The dromedary camel is found in deserts and semi-arid regions
  • The dromedary is the tallest of the three species of camel; adult males stand 1.8–2 m (5.9–6.6 ft) at the shoulder and weigh between 400 and 600 kg (880 and 1,320 lb)
  • Dromedaries in free-ranging herds feed and roam throughout the day, though they rest during the hot hours around noon. The night is mainly spent resting
  • The dromedary (and the Bactrian camel) are known for their ability to produce milk, in comparison to other species of Camelidae. They are raised for transport, milk, and meat, as well as for draught use.
  • Dromedaries have been known to carry a rider 185 km (115 miles) less than 11 hours
  • Dromedary camels can go without water for long periods, but when they do drink, they drink a lot
  • Their feeding behaviour is adapted to living in the desert. The dromedary feeds on foliage and desert vegetation, including salty plants rejected by other grazers
  • The woolly coat that can look shaggy from shedding is generally brown but can range from black to nearly white
  • Racing dromedaries can reach a top speed of 65 km (40 miles) per hour over short distances
  •  The lifespan is about 40 years

Animals of the world, Atlantic Puffins

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Lundefugl (640x466)

  • It is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean; two related species, the tufted puffin and the horned puffin, are found in the northeastern Pacific. The Atlantic puffin breeds in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland, and the Faroe Islands, and as far south as Maine in the west and the west coast of Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom in the east
  • It is about 30 cm (12 inches) long, black above, white below, with grey face plumage, red-orange feet, and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill
  • Puffins only possess coloured bills—and their matching orange feet—during the spring breeding season. Just before winter sets in, they shed the colourful outer beak, leaving a noticeably smaller and duller-coloured beak. The birds develop their brighter colours once again during the spring.
  • Puffins nest in large colonies on the seaside and island cliffs, usually laying only one egg, in a burrow dug one or two metres (three to six feet) deep.
  • These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming
  • While at sea, the birds spread out widely across the North Atlantic Ocean. Each bird has more than a square kilometre of itself
  • The Atlantic puffin diet consists almost entirely of fish, though examination of its stomach contents shows that it occasionally eats shrimp, other crustaceans, molluscs and polychaete worms. When fishing, it swims underwater using its semi-extended wings as paddles to “fly” through the water and its feet as a rudder
  • The reason for why they need to flap their wings so fast when flying is because their bones are not hollow so they are heavier than other birds. This is the reason why they can dive down as far as they do
  • The Atlantic puffin has a direct flight, typically 10 metres (33 ft) above the sea surface and higher over the water than most other auks.
  • Like many seabirds, the Atlantic Puffin is long-lived, averaging 30 plus years

Animals of the world, Lemming

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Lemmen (640x430)

  • Lemmings, any of 20 species of small rodents which are found only in the Northern Hemisphere
  • They have short, stocky bodies with short legs and stumpy tails.
  • Fur colour; grey, sandy yellow, various tints and tones of brown, or slate grey and black.
  • Lemmings measure around 13 – 18 centimetres (5 – 7 inches) in length and weigh around 23 – 34 grams (0.05 – 0.07 pounds)
  • Lemmings feed on almost any sort of vegetation, including roots, buds, leaves, twigs, bark, seeds, grasses, sedges, and mosses.
  • Like other rodents, their incisors are continuously growing which means they are able to munch upon tough food.
  • Lemmings do not hibernate through the harsh northern winter. They remain active, finding food by burrowing through the snow
  • Their underground burrows have rest areas, bathrooms and nesting rooms. Lemmings make nests out of grasses, feathers and musk ox wool
  • Lemmings have large population booms every three or four years. When the concentration of lemmings becomes too high in one area, a large group will set out in search of a new home.
  • Lemmings have become the subject of a widely popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate by jumping off cliffs
  • They are solitary and generally intolerant of one another
  • The life span of a lemming is less than 2 years.

Animals of the world, Skunk

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Skunk (640x547)

  • The skunk family is composed of 11 species, 9 of which are found in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Skunks are typically around the size of house cats. Species vary in size from about 15.6 to 37 in (40 to 94 cm) long
  • They have a stout body, a small head, short legs, bushy tail and thick, black, glossy fur with white stripes that extend down their back. Some skunks are brown or grey and a few are cream-coloured. The tails of skunks are wide, long and bushy, and can be all black or have varying amounts of white
  • Although skunks have excellent smell and hearing, skunks are known to have very poor vision and can only see objects that are right in front of them
  • Skunk scent comes from anal glands located inside the rectum at the base of the tail. When frightened, skunks will shoot a smelly, oily substance from the gland. If threatened, skunks will give many warning signs before spraying their potential victim
  • Primarily nocturnal, skunks are diverse carnivores that live in a wide variety of habitats, including deserts, forests, and mountains
  • Skunks are omnivorous, and not particularly picky. They’ll eat insects, flowers, small rodents, eggs, frogs, worms, and – human’s garbage
  • In winter, skunks spend most of their time underground. They either create burrows by digging under existing structures or steal them from smaller burrowing animals
  • They sleep in dens lined with leaves during the day
  • Their lifespan in the wild can reach seven years, with most living only up to a year