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”.

Animal of the day – 08/04/2016 – The Sea Lion

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The animal of the day is the Sea Lion. (Did you know: Not to be confused with seals, Sea Lions are much more mobile on land as their flippers can rotate much more than seals can.

They can move so well on land as a matter of fact, that they can out run a human [you]! And in the water they will straight up embarrass Michael Phelps as they can swim up to 25mph.

The life expectancy of sea lions shows one of the biggest divides between males and females with females living almost twice as long as males. Males live to be about 18, but females can live on to be 30 plus years!

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Females live longer because they get to cuddle with the cutest pups ever!

Animal of the day – 03/25/2016 – The Cone Snail

The deadly geographic cone snail

The animal of the day is the Cone Snail. (Did you know: Oh my goodness, beauty betrays the beast. These wonderfully colored sea snails are predators (other snails eat vegetation, these guys hunt for meat!)

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Because all cone snails are venomous and capable of “stinging” humans, live ones should be handled with great care or preferably not at all.

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These snails use something similar to a needle to inject their poison into small fishes, but the larger versions can inject enough poison to kill a human (that would be you, unless you’re an alien reading this post. If so I hope ur Superman!)

Turtle vs rabbit vs snail. I’m gonna go with the snail! (assuming this race was underwater)

Animal of the day – 12/08/2015 – The Green Iguana

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The animal of the day is the Green Iguana. (Did you know: Iguana’s are the largest lizards in the Americas! But fear not, these guys are herbivores; they are not interested in biting or attacking you silly humans unless you pull it’s tail or are generally being annoying. [Note: That tail is actually used in self defense, it will ‘punch’ it’s attacked with it’s still tail!]

Iguana’s have a third eye!! It doesn’t capture images, but instead can detect changes in light and is used to detect the shadow of predators from above! Hawks especially prey heavily on iguanas.

It's called the Parietal Eye

It’s called the Parietal Eye

Although they are stable and safe on trees, they may occasionally fall down. Iguanas can survive fall from the height of 40 to 50 feet without injuries.

Iguana’s are also great swimmers. They are freqeuntly found near water and can spend 28 minutes under the water without returning to the surface to breathe air.

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Animal of the day – 10/30/2015 – The Electric Eel

electric-eelThe animal of the day is the Electric Eel. (Did you know: Get ready for some shocking facts! [Sorry, some puns simply have to be used]

First of all, talk about misnomers, these aren’t even eels! They’re a member of the knifefish family!

Second, being electric ain’t easy! Electric knifefish (sorry, I just can’t call it an eel anymore) cram all of their body organs into about 20% of their body and use the rest for to make that amazing electric battery that can deliver up to 600 volts of electricity.

See that part called 'viscera' in the top part? That's ALL it's body orgrans!

See that part called ‘viscera’ in the top part? That’s ALL it’s body organs!

Now I’m no electrical engineer (ha! wait, I am!) but 600 volts can be compared to about 5 US standard household sockets which is are each 110 volts, or stepping on the third rail of a train line which is about 650 volts. And also, there’s also something to be said about amperage vs wattage, yada yada yada.

Either way, a shock from an electric knifefish can kill a human, though normally it’s not from stopping the heart or the fact that it can burn your skin, but from making you pass out so you drown. It ain’t the fall that kills you, it’s the stopping at the end.

Lastly, for reproduction the male electric knifefish truly spits game to get a female. In the dry season, a male electric knifefish makes a nest from his saliva into which the female lays her eggs. As many as 3,000 young hatch from the eggs in one nest.

Animal of the day – 10/24/2015 – The Stink Bug

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The animal of the day is the Stink Beetle. (Did you know: Also known as the pinacate beetle keeps it quite funky. literally!

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Looks cute, but the funk is real

Most animals avoid contact with them due to the insect’s ability to produce a stinky secretion. Grasshopper mice, however, get around this problem by grabbing the beetle, jamming its behind into the sand, and eating it head first. Other predators include burrowing owls, loggerhead shrikes and another well-known stinker, skunks.

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