Most of them, like many other insects, are poisonous and make any animal that eats them ill. While some insects synthesize their own poisons, monarchs sequester poisons, cardiac glycosides, from the milkweed plants that they eat in their caterpillar stage. Cardiac glycosides, which are related to digitalis, a drug used to treat heart problems, are […]
Is the Giant Squid Bigger than an Octopus and How Big is the Second Biggest Cephalopod in the World?
The giant squid is the second biggest squid and marine invertebrate in the world after the colossal squid. The giant squid is bigger than any octopus, and can grow up to 43 feet for females and 33 feet for males from caudal fin to the tip of the two long tentacles. There have been reports […]
The phrase “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” was a socially acceptable substitution for the shockingly blasphemous phrase “I’ll be damned!” It became popular around 1925 during the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial,” in which Tennessee history teacher John Scopes was prosecuted and convicted for the crime of teaching about the theory of evolution. The phrase was […]
Lions reproduce very well in captivity and do not mate at any specific time of year. A lioness may mate with more than one male when she is in heat. Female lions are polyestrous, and in the wild a female will normally breed every two years. A mating bout could last several days, and during […]
Different animals have different ways of protecting themselves from their enemies. The snowshoe rabbit is protected by its coloring. This animal is brown like the earth in summer, then becomes white like the snow in winter. Actually, the snowshoe rabbit is really a hare; its correct name is the varying hare. Its varying, or changing, […]
Polar Bears have a rather good sense of smell. They can sniff out a dead seal from twelve miles away, and even detect a seal buried under 3 feet of snow. The polar bear’s most common hunting method is called still-hunting, where it uses its excellent sense of smell to locate a seal breathing hole, […]
The longest-lived creature in the insect world is the termite queen. She has been known to live for over 50 years. During that time, the queen can lay over 30,000 eggs each day, so in her 50 years of life, it is possible for her to give birth to half a billion children!
Does Captain James Hook finally get Eaten by the Crocodile in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan like in the Disney Movie?
In the book Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, the crocodile hooks his supper in the end. Seeing that he had been bested by Peter and overrun by all of the boys, Captain James Hook goes overboard to be consumed by the hungry crocodile. If only Disney would stop changing the true endings of classics, […]
Mastodons became extinct as recently as 8,000 years ago, along with their Pleistocene cousins, the mammoths. Although mastodons had many similarities to both mammoths and elephants, they were different in one way. Their teeth weren’t flat, but bumpy, perhaps for better tearing and grinding. Mastodons ate shrubs, leaves, and grasses, and some experts say their […]
Because we can easily see colors around us every day, we might assume that every creature does too. But that is not so. The question of whether animals can distinguish between colors has long, puzzled scientists. However, they have come up with some interesting answers as a result of thousands of experiments. Dogs, for example, […]
The meerkat, also known by its scientific name Suricata suricatta, is a small mammal, and a member of the mongoose family. Native to South Africa, meerkats live about 12 to 14 years. The word “meerkat” means “lake cat” in Dutch, but the meerkat is not in the cat family and the name is a mis-identification. […]
It’s almost impossible for you to fall asleep while standing. The moment you began to doze, you’re likely to fall down. But horses often seem to sleep while they’re standing up, and they do! When a horse stands perfectly still and relaxes, joints in his legs lock into position, holding the horse up even if […]
How Many Marsupial Species Live in Europe, Asia, or Africa, Besides Native Australia, and How did They Evolve?
No marsupial species are native to Europe, Asia, or Africa. It was once thought modern placental mammals evolved from marsupials, but recent fossil evidence disputes this assumption. The earliest known marsupial is Sinodelphys szalayi, which lived in China around 125 million years ago. On many continents placental mammals were much more successful and no marsupials […]
For the longest time, scientists thought there were only two different species of elephants, the African and the Asian. They believed that the African elephant had two subspecies, the savannah elephant and the forest elephant. However, some scientists began to doubt that classification. For one thing, forest elephants are smaller than savannah elephants. Furthermore, their […]
Panthers and Leopards are basically the same animal. Black panthers are completely black or very dark colour variants of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are known as black jaguars in Asia, and called black leopards in Africa. In North America they may be called black jaguars or possibly black […]
We’re not sure if you really want to know why female dogs keep cleaning her puppies all the time. Puppies are completely helpless at birth, even more so than human babies. They’re not able to hear for two to three weeks because their ear canals remain sealed. They don’t even open their eyes for at […]
What is the Difference Between Trout and Salmon, How are they Related, and How do you Tell them Apart?
Trout and Salmon are so closely related that some fishermen and scientists have trouble classifying the individual species. Techincally, Trout is a species of freshwater and saltwater fish. Salmon belong to some of the same family as trout but, unlike most trout, most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water. Both Trout […]
The notion that a cat can fall from a great height and live probably sounds like a superstition, like the idea that cats have nine lives. But, to some extent, the notion is true. Cats can fall from very high places and survive. Why? Because a cat’s sense of balance enables it to always land […]
One species of cicadas, small dark insects about 1 to 2 inches long with heavy bodies and thin wings, holds the insect record for the most unusual life cycle. The cicada, also called the 17 year-locust, spends 17 years sleeping in the ground, comes out for five weeks in the sun, then it dies! Scientists […]
The llama is the animal which defends itself by spitting. Llamas spit bad-smelling saliva through their teeth when they are angry or annoyed, and also to protect themselves. They are said to have great accuracy in spitting. The camel, which belongs to the same family as the llama, also possesses this trait. Both camels and […]
Along with lions, tigers are the largest members of the cat family. One of the most feared animals of the jungle, the tiger has no enemies except man. Tigers are native to the Asian continent. Although many peoples have legends to explain the tiger’s stripes, the reason is really the animal’s adaptation to its environment. […]
People who buy or own something that costs a great deal of money to keep up, without serving any useful purpose, are said to own a “white elephant.” But there are actual Asian elephants whose skin is so light that that they are considered white. These white elephants were worshipped as gods by the people […]
As a snake grows, its skin doesn’t grow with it, so the snake has to shed its skin every now and then, and grow a new one. Some snakes shed once or twice a year; others shed as much as six times in one summer. As the time for shedding grows near, the snake’s outer […]
The oxpeckers are two species of bird from the Buphagidae family which live in the savanna of Sub-Saharan Africa. Their names come from their habit of perching on large mammals such as cattle or rhinoceroses, and eating ticks, botfly larvae, and other parasites. The oxpeckers are related to mockingbirds and starlings, and possibly evolved from […]
Today, rats can be found everywhere in the world. But it wasn’t always like that. The rat is a native of Asia, and was unknown in Europe during ancient times, except in ports where ships from Asia docked. The first kind of rat to reach Europe was the black rat, which came from southern Asia […]
Polar bears will eat about anything that moves, as well as a lot of things that don’t. They probably would eat penguins if given a chance, but because the two are on opposite ends of the earth, it just won’t happen. Polar bears and penguins are literally poles apart. Polar bears live in the Arctic […]
The state of Wisconsin definitely has badgers, but it’s not why it’s called the badger state. Wisconsin doesn’t have many more badgers than any other state, but you have to admit that Wisconsin has one up on Michigan. However, the state wasn’t really called that because of its badgers, surprise, surprise, except indirectly. “Badgers” became […]
Kangaroo rats are small rodents that live in North America, and their name comes from the way they hop like a kangaroo, although they are not related. There are currently 19 kangaroo rat species and they have highly developed hind legs, live in deep burrows to protect them from the desert heat, and do not […]
Piggy banks are storage devices traditionally used for coins and are generally used by children of all ages. Piggy banks are usually made of ceramic or porcelain, and serve to teach children the value of money by encouraging them to save money. Money is inserted through a hole in the top and traditional Piggy Banks […]
Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but owls have large forward-facing stereoscopic eyes that enable depth perception necessary for low-light hunting. The large eyes of an owl are for acute night vision, and they are also like pair of sunglasses. Being nocturnal, much of their hunting is done at […]
When a baby brown bear or grizzly bear is born, it weighs about a pound and a half and is eight inches long. Fully grown, they are nine feet tall and weigh over 500 pounds. These huge animals live in wild mountainous areas and in forests and wander about either in family groups or singly. […]
How does the Fur on a Sea Otter Help Keep it Warm in Cold Water and do they have Blubber like Whales?
The sea otter is a marine mammal that can be found on the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Its thick luxurious fur almost drove them to extinction, and is the thickest fur in the animal kingdom. The otter’s unbelievable density of fur, has about 650,000 hairs per square inch of its […]
Salmon return to the same exact spot where they were born when spawning and die shortly after. We still don’t know how these fish are able to remember the site of their birth. Salmon live in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Great Lakes of North America. Most of us have […]
The phoenix never existed. It was a large bird, much like an eagle, written about in Greek mythology and based on ancient Egyptian legends. Only one phoenix was said to have lived at a time. This gold and red bird, always a male, lived in Arabia. Each phoenix lived for exactly 500 years, and when […]
A sloth gives birth to just one offspring per litter. The baby clings to its mother until it is old enough to take care of itself. The Maned Three-Toed Sloth is classified as endangered, and the ongoing destruction of South America’s forests may soon prove a threat to other sloth species. Sloth have a unique […]
Bats are not blind. Like many animals, they are born blind, but gain eyesight from the time they are seven to nine days old. The saying, “blind as a bat,” probably arose because of the way bats fly around, darting here and there at night. Actually, the bat is hunting insects, which people cannot see […]