Animal of the day – 11/30/2016 – The Gannet

A Cape Gannet stares straight at the camera and through another gannet, Malgas Island, West Coast National Park, South Africa

The animal of the day is the Gannet. (Did you know: The Gannet is the largest sea bird in the Atlantic, and 2nd largest in the world [to the albatross]. They are known for their impressive diving and underwater swimming abilities.

The have some cool adaptations that help them swim underwater. First of all, they have no external nostrils (WHAT?!), their nostrils are INSIDE their mouths! So when they dive, they just have to keep their trap shut.

Second, and this is weird, they have air sacs in their face and chests that act like bubble wrap protecting them as they slam into the water at high speeds!

Cape gannet {Morus capensis} close-up profile of head. Lamberts bay, S Africa

Hold up yo, but where are your nostrils at?!

The gannet’s supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to “gannet” becoming a disapproving description of somebody who eats excessively, similar to “glutton”.

Animal of the day – 11/18/2016 – The Quenk aka the Collared Peccary

collared_peccary_mother_and_pigletThe animal of the day is the Quenk aka the Collared Peccary. (Did you know: Looks like a pig right? They look similar, but pigs are from the “Old World” and quenk are “New World” animals.

There are many other differences most having to do with differences in physical anatomy [a big difference is how their digestive systems are setup]. Found in the Caribbean and in South America, it is much smaller than wild pigs in the America’s.

800px-collared_peccary444 Their odor is strong enough to be picked up by humans, which also earns the quenk the nickname of “skunk pig”.

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