Wednesday, November 24, 2010


True Wild Life | Markhor | The markhor is an endangered species of wild goat that is natively found in the mountainous regions of western and central and Asia. The markhor is thought to have been named using the Persian word for snake, either because of the large coiled horns of the markhor or due to it's ability to kill snakes in the wild, although the exact reason is unknown. The markhor is found in northeastern Afghanistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Nagar Valley, northern and central Pakistan and the disputed territory of Kashmir, southern Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan. The markhor is most commonly found inhabiting the high-altitude monsoon forests that litter these areas.

The markhor is a very distinctive species of wild goat, easily identified by it's long, white winter hair and the enormous spiralled horns that can grow to more than 1.5 meters in length on the males. The horns of the females are, although still large for goats, generally less than 50cm in length. Markhor are well adapted to mountainous terrain, and can be found between 600-3,600 meters in elevation. They typically inhabit scrub forests made up primarily of oaks , pines, and junipers where there is plenty for the markhor to eat. Markhor are also diurnal animals, meaning that they are mainly active in the early morning and late afternoon.

The markhor is a herbivorous animal that primarily grazes on a variety of vegetation including grasses, leaves, herbs, fruits and flowers. Like other wild goats, the markhor play a valuable role within their eco-system as they munch the leaves from the low-lying trees and scrub, spreading the seeds in their dung. Despite living almost on a cliff-edge, there are actually a number of animals that prey on these incredibly majestic creatures. Packs of wolves and wild cats such as lynxes snow leopards are the main predators of the markhor, along with humans who have deforested much of their natural habitat.

The markhor breeds in the winter when, after a gestation period that lasts for up to 170 days, usually one and occasionally two markhor babies (known as kids) are born. The markhor kids remain safe and looked after by their mother until they are able to eat solid food and become more and more independent. Today, despite being the national animal of Pakistan, the markhor is considered to be an endangered species with less than 2,500 individuals thought to be left in a few remote areas of the Asian mountains. The decline in markhor population numbers in mainly due to deforestation resulting in the loss of their native habitats.
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Green Bee-Eater

True Wild Life | Green Bee-Eater  | The green bee-eater (also known as the little green bee-eater) is a small species of bee-eater bird found throughout parts of Africa and Asia. The green bee-eater is one of 26 species of bee-eater, a group of birds that a primarily found throughout Africa and in parts of Asia and the Middle East. The green bee-eater is found on grasslands and in open forests on both the African and Asian continents, and is widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and Gambia to Ethiopia, the Nile valley, western Arabia and Asia, from India to Vietnam. In Asia, the green bee-eater is usually seen on the lowland plains but these colourful litter birds can sometimes be found up to 6000 feet in the Himalayas.

The green bee-eater is a small sized bird, rarely growing to more than 18cm in length. The green bee-eater is an easily distinguishable bird due to it's bright green plumage and attractive long tail-feathers. The green bee-eater also has a long, but sharp and narrow black beak which is perfectly designed for catching flying insects. The green bee-eater is known to be a slow starter in the mornings and may be found huddled next to one another with their bills tucked in their backs well after sunrise. The green bee-eater is also known to sand-bathe more frequently than other bee-eater species and will sometimes bathe in water by dipping into water in flight. Green bee-eaters are usually seen in small groups and often roost communally in large numbers of up to 300 birds.

Like other bee-eater species, the green bee-eater primarily feeds on insects. More than 80% of the green bee-eater's diet is comprised of honeybees and the rest is mainly made up of other bee species along with numerous species of flying insect. The green bee-eater is an omnivorous animal and will also eat fruits and berries along with ground-dwelling insects when it needs to supplement it's diet. Due to the small size and colourful appearance of the green bee-eater it is a target for numerous predators across it's natural range. Larger birds of prey are the primary predators of the green bee-eater along with smaller mammals and reptiles that prey on both the birds and their eggs. Green bee-eaters nest between May and June in tunnels dug into the sandy banks. Females lay an average of 5 small, glossy, white eggs which are incubated for two weeks by both the breeding pair and others that have come to help. The green bee-eater chicks are cared for by their parents until they fledge (leave the nest) before they reach a month old.

Today, the green bee-eater is classified as a species that is in least danger of immediate extinction in the wild. However, the decline in both their native habitat and bee population numbers around the world, could have devastating consequences for this plucky little bird.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


True Wild Life | Llama | The llama is thought to have originated in North America around 40 million years ago and the llama is believed to have then migrated to South America and Asia around 3 million years ago, before the American and Asian continents finally separated at Alaska. The llama is thought to have become extinct from North America during the ice age. Today the llama is most commonly found in the Andes mountain region of South America where the llama was kept as a pack animal by the ancient Inca people. Llamas are used for meat, wool, skin and for transporting heavy loads (a little like donkeys).

The llama is thought to have evolved from the old world camel-like animals that inhabited the regions that is today the Middle East. Although the llama has many similarities to the camel, the most noticeable difference between the llama and the camel is that the llama does not have a hump on its back. Llamas are very sociable animals and enjoy being with other llamas in a herd. The llama is also believed to be a particularly intelligent animal as llamas are commonly taught tasks which the llama picks up with only a few repetitions of the task.

Female llamas give birth to baby llamas (known as crias) standing up. The gestation period for a llama is between 11 and 12 months and the birth of the cria is usually over within half an hour. Baby llamas are generally standing up and attempting to walk within an hour of birth. Llama mating takes place throughout the year and baby llamas tend to be born in the morning when the weather is warm. This is believed to increase the fertility rate of the cria.

The llama is a herbivore and gets most of its nutrition from grass, leaves and young shoots. Llamas also do not have the same water retaining properties of their camel cousins, meaning that the llama must drink more often and llamas therefore prefer to be close to water.
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Golden Lion Tamarin

True Wild Life | Golden Lion Tamarin | The golden lion tamarin is a small monkey native to the eastern rainforests of Brazil. The golden lion tamarin is today considered an endangered species as there are estimated to be around 1,000 golden lion tamarin individuals left in the wild. Golden lion tamarins are best known for their bright fur which (as the name suggests) is golden and orange in colour. The golden lion tamarin is one of the smallest primates in the world with the average golden lion tamarin adult growing to just 20cm tall! The golden lion tamarin also has an incredibly long tail which is often longer than the golden lion tamarin's body. Despite the long length of the golden lion tamarin's tail, it is not prehensile which means that the golden lion tamarin cannot use it's tail to grab onto trees and hold on.

The golden lion tamarin leads and arboreal existence meaning that the golden lion tamarin spends the majority of it's life inhabiting and moving around in the trees. The golden lion tamarin has sharp nails that are almost claw-like in appearance which helps the golden lion tamarin to move around in and climb the trees more easily. The paws and tail of the golden lion tamarin are often slightly black in colour. The golden lion tamarin is an omnivorous animal so the golden lion tamarin feasts on a mixture of plants and animals. The golden lion tamarin eats sweet fruits, berries, leaves, insects and small mammals and reptiles that coexist in the tree tops.

Like, many other species of monkey, the golden lion tamarin is a diurnal mammal meaning that it is awake and hunts for food during the day and sleeps during the night. The biggest predators of the golden lion tamarin are nocturnal animals such as snakes, wild cats and rats which can reach the golden lion tamarins in their resting place in the trees. However, golden lion tamarins often sleep in nesting holes or small hollows in the trees which can make it difficult for large nocturnal predators to get to them. Golden lion tamarins live together in groups (known as troops) with each golden lion tamarin troop patrolling their territory which can be as large as 100 acres (400,000 square meters). The golden lion tamarin troop is led by the breeding male and female and fights often occur between golden lion tamarin troops over their territory.

Golden lion tamarins usually breed once a year from September to March, although it is known for a female golden lion tamarin to have more than one litter per year. After a gestation period of around 4 months, the female golden lion tamarin will give birth to twins. The baby golden lion tamarins are looked after by the mother golden lion tamarin until the baby golden lion tamarins are around 3 months old and are then big enough and strong enough to start looking after themselves. It is known that only 50% of all golden lion tamarin babies are thought to survive their first year of life. Today the golden lion tamarin is an endangered species, a sad side effect of drastic deforestation within the golden lion tamarin's environment. It is thought that only 2% of the golden lion tamarin's forest habitat is still standing meaning that golden lion tamarin troops are being forced closer together. Today, the majority of the wild golden lion tamarins inhabit a reserve made up of swampy forest close to the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro.
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True Wild Life | Binturong | The binturong is also commonly called the Asian bearcat. The binturong is native to the jungles of south-east Asia and is commonly found in countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The binturong is a large carnivorous mammal that has a long bushy tail and hunts small reptiles, birds and mammals. The main part of the modern binturong's diet surprisingly comprises of fruit! The binturong is generally about the size of a large dog and have been known to live to 26 years old in captivity. The binturong population numbers have been severely reduced due to deforestation today.

The binturong is a nocturnal animal and the binturong sleeps on tree branches during the day, then the binturong wakes up to search for food at night. When the binturong has been cornered, the binturong has been known to be vicious, although the binturong does not commonly pose a threat to humans. The binturong is a very vocal animal and the binturong's sounds can travel a long way through the thick jungles. The binturong is known to make chuckling sounds when the binturong seems to be happy and the binturong appears to utter a high-pitched wail if the binturong seems to be annoyed.

 The binturong climbs trees and leaps from branch to branch, with the binturong using its tail and claws to cling on. The binturong does this while searching for food. The binturong is also able to rotate its hind legs backwards so that the binturong's claws still have a grip when climbing down a tree head first. The binturong also uses its tail to communicate as well as climbing, and the binturong does this through the scent gland located under the binturong's tail. The binturong brushes its tail against trees and the binturong howls to announce its presence to other binturongs.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010



True Wild Life | Mayfly | The mayfly is medium-sized insect that is found in a variety of habitats all around the world. The mayfly is one of the most short-lived animals in the world and is most closely related to dragonflies and damselflies. There are 2,500 known species of mayfly generally found close to water, all around the world with over 600 species of mayfly natively found in North America. Mayflies are extremely sensitive to pollution and can therefore only be found close to water that is of a high quality.

Mayflies have long narrow bodies and large wings, with a second set of smaller hind wings behind them (in a similar way to butterflies and moths). This allows the mayfly to have greater agility and power when it is in the air. Adult mayflies tend to be herbivorous only really surviving on algae although there are a number of known mayfly species that prey on other insects. The adult mayfly has a very short lifespan which can be anywhere from to half an hour to a few weeks long.

The adult mayflies have a number of predators out of the water including amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts, small reptiles, birds and even rodents and mammals. However, the aquatic longer-lived mayfly nymphs too have predators including fish and amphibians. The female mayfly can lays thousands of eggs at time which she does so into the water. The mayfly nymph are aquatic and hatch in the water where they can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to transform into an adult mayfly and head into the air.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Purple Emperor

True Wild LIfe | Purple Emperor | The purple emperor is a distinctive species of butterfly, found in woodlands across Europe. The purple emperor is most well known for the bright blue-purple markings of the wings of the male purple emperor butterflies. The purple emperor is most commonly found throughout central Europe and in the warmer, southern regions of the United Kingdom. The purple emperor is found inhabiting ancient forests and deciduous woodlands where the adult purple emperors spend most of their lives hidden high up in the trees. Despite the name, it is only the male purple emperor butterflies that are actually of a purple looking colour. The females purple emperors are much duller in appearance with a generally brown wingspan, a few white markings and a small orange circle on each of it's hind wings (the males are very similar only with the added purple sheen).

Female purple emperors spend most of their lives in the tree canopy coming down only to lay their eggs. Male purple emperor butterflies also spend much of their time in the tree tops, defending their territory from rivals, though they will sometimes descend in order to drink from puddles or feed. Unlike most butterflies, the purple emperor does not feed from flowers but instead on the honeydew secreted by aphids and on dung, urine and animal carcasses, as well as the sap from oak trees. Eggs are laid by the female purple emperors in late summer on the upper side of leaves, which the purple emperor caterpillars hatch out of. The purple emperor caterpillars are green with white and yellow markings and have two large horns, and soon undergo the incredible transformation from young to caterpillar to adult butterfly.

Today, purple emperor butterflies are threatened in their natural habitats from factors including chemical and noise pollution and even complete habitat destruction in the form of deforestation.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Little Penguin

True Wild Life | Little Penguin | The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin in the world, with the average adult little penguin rarely reaching half a meter in height. The little penguin has a number of other common names including the fairy penguin, the little blue penguin and simply just the blue penguin. The little penguin is one of the few species of penguin to be found north of the Antarctic Ocean, as this small species is found inhabiting the rocky coastlines of New Zealand, Tasmania and parts of southern Australia. There have also been reports of the little penguin being found in Chile and in parts of South Africa.

The little penguin is named both for is small size (with the average weight being just over 1kg) and for it's blue coloured feathers. The short feathers of the little penguin are of a blue/grey colour with a large white patch on their underside, which makes these birds very distinctive amongst all penguin species. The little penguin is one of the only species that is under threat from land-based mammalian predators and so have evolved to making their tiny appearance more intimidating. Little penguin spend the whole year together as a colony so that they are able to employ the safety in numbers strategy when there are hungry predators about.

The little penguin is a carnivorous animal, that like all other penguin species, survives on a diet that is only comprised of marine animals. Krill and small crustaceans make up the bulk of the little penguin's diet along with larger organisms including squid and various species of fish. Little penguins are more under threat from land-based animals such as dogs, cats and foxes that have been introduced into their native habitats. However, larger marine animals will also prey on these water-based birds, with fur seals, leopard seals, sharks, humans and killer whales being the main predators of the little penguin.

On average, the little penguin breeds once a year, forming pairs that usually remain faithful to one another. The female little penguin lays two eggs into a self-dug burrow which are incubated by both parents for just over a month, when only one of the eggs will usually hatch. The little penguin chicks are fed and kept warm by their parents and remain with them until the chicks are around three months old. Today, the little penguin populations have been declining with the increasingly threat from non-native carnivores. Little penguins however, are often found on islands that have been declared National Parks where tourists are able to see the little penguin colony in it's natural habitat and are not allowed to take photos.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pygmy Hippopotamus

True Wild Life | Pygmy Hippopotamus | The pygmy hippopotamus is a large, herbivorous mammal natively found in the forests and swamps of western Africa. The pygmy hippopotamus is one of two species of hippopotamus, and is similar in appearance to it's larger cousin. The pygmy hippopotamus is found in the forests and swamps of west Africa. where the pygmy hippopotamus is a solitary and reclusive animal that spends most of the day resting in a wallow, mud or river before emerging at night when the pygmy hippopotamus comes out of the water to graze.

The pygmy hippopotamus is a semi-aquatic animal and so has adapted over time to it's water-based lifestyle. The eyes of the pygmy hippopotamus are situated on the top of it's head so that the pygmy hippopotamus can still watch over it's surroundings when it's body is submerged in the cooling water. The pygmy hippopotamus also has slightly webbed feet, which help the pygmy hippopotamus when it is walking on muddy river bottoms and up slippery banks. The webbed feet of the pygmy hippopotamus surprisingly don't mean that it has a disadvantage on land, as the pygmy hippopotamus is able to reach speeds of 30mph when running on land. The pygmy hippopotamus is a herbivorous animal that eats only plant matter in order to survive. The pygmy hippopotamus eats aquatic plants and grasses along with reeds, leaves and grass on land.

The large size of the pygmy hippopotamus means that it has very few natural predators in the wild. Crocodiles and large wild cats are the most common predators of the pygmy hippopotamus calves, along with humans who have hunted the pygmy hippopotamus and also deforest it's natural habitat. The pygmy hippopotamus breeds all round the year, and females gives birth to a single pygmy hippopotamus calf after a gestation period of around 6 months. Unlike the common hippopotamus that mates and gives birth in the water, the female pygmy hippopotamus gives birth to her calf on land. Today, the pygmy hippopotamus is an endangered species as the pygmy hippopotamus population numbers have been drastically declining primarily as a result of habitat loss caused by deforestation and pollution. Illegal hunting of the pygmy hippopotamus has also led to severe declines in their population numbers.
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Pygmy Marmoset

True Wild Life | Pygmy Marmoset | The pygmy marmoset is a tiny primate that is exclusively found in the jungles of South America. The pygmy marmoset is known to be the smallest known species of monkey in the world. The pygmy marmoset averages at about 15cm tall, with a 20cm long tail behind it. The pygmy marmoset has sharp claws which make the pygmy marmoset excellent at climbing trees and the long tail of the pygmy marmoset gives this little monkey fantastic balance when jumping between tree branches. The low weight of the pygmy marmoset allows the pygmy marmoset to reach the canopy tree tops, a place where many of the larger species of monkey cannot reach. Here the pygmy marmoset eats fruits, berries, insects and small reptiles safely high above any dangerous predators.

The small size of the pygmy marmoset means that it has developed a number of nicknames from locals and tourists alike, such as the pocket monkey and the little lion. The tiny size of this miniature monkey means that the pygmy marmoset if often very difficult to observe in the wild. The pygmy marmoset has been increasingly popular as an exotic pet, but they are very hard to keep. When a baby pygmy marmoset is taken away from the family it can often die quickly due to depression. Baby pygmy marmosets also need feeding every two hours for their first two weeks in the world so they can be very time-consuming pets. Pet pygmy marmosets can take a grave dislike towards their owners and some have been known to bite their owners and throw feces at them, as a form of attack.

After a gestation period of around 4.5 months, the female pygmy marmoset gives birth to one or two babies. The male pygmy marmoset will often carry the babies after birth until they are big enough and strong enough to look after themselves. Pygmy marmosets live in groups which tend to consist of the head male and female pygmy marmosets and their offspring, usually about four litters. There can be more than one male in a pygmy marmoset troop, but the dominant male pygmy marmoset will remain the dominant male of that troop.
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Giant Panda Bear

True Wild Life | Giant Panda Bear | The giant panda bear is native to the mountainous regions of central and southern China. The giant panda would have once inhabited more lowland regions like jungles and grassy plains although the giant panda is now restricted to the higher mountain areas due to increased farming and habitat destruction in the lowlands. The giant panda bear is an omnivore eating a range of things from honey, to fish and small mammals. The giant panda bear's diet consists of roughly 95% bamboo, which the panda bear needs to eat as the bamboo plays a crucial part in the giant panda bear's digestion and water intake.

Today the giant panda bear is considered to be an endangered species with only 1,500 giant pandas thought to be left in the wild. Giant pandas are fairly docile bears as the giant panda rarely comes into contact with people in the wild. However, the giant panda bears have been known to attack humans when confronted particularly when the giant panda bear is kept in captivity. Due to the giant panda bears soft and cuddly appearance, there has been a number of instances in zoos worldwide, where humans think the giant panda bear is cute and therefore enter the giant panda bears enclosure. These instances generally end with the tourists getting a nasty bite from the surprised, and generally sleeping giant panda.

Despite the fact the average adult giant panda bear weighs around 150kg, when a panda bear cub is first born, the giant panda cub only weighs around 100g which is the same weight as a small mouse! The giant panda bear soon grows and generally reaches the full giant panda size within the panda bear cubs first few years. Scientists believe that the giant panda bear populations are today rising, due to increasing awareness of the importance of protecting one of the most beautiful bear species in the world. Some believe that are there could be as many as 3,000 giant panda bear individuals in the wild which is double what they first anticipated, although the giant panda bear is far from being taken off the endangered species list.

In recent years that giant panda bear has become an extremely important icon for China, a country who generally regard the dragon as being its main national emblem. The Chinese people have begun to use the giant panda bear more and more on flags and emblems and are keen to help to promote the conservation of the giant panda bear. As with most bear species, the male giant panda bears are generally much bigger than the female giant panda bears and are thought to be territorial animals. The giant panda bears spend most of their waking life roaming the bamboo forests high in the Chinese mountains, searching for food.
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Giant African Land Snail

True Wild Life | Giant African Land Snail  | The giant African land snail, is the largest species of snail found on land and generally grow to around 20 cm in length. The giant African land snail is native to the forest areas of East Africa but has been introduced into Asia, the Caribbean and a number of islands in both the Pacific and the Indian oceans. The giant African land snail is generally seen as a pest as these snails will eat almost anything vegetarian that they can find and have proven to be quite destructive when around crops and wild flowers. Giant African land snails are also known to carry parasites and are illegal to keep as pets in some countries such as the USA.

The giant African land snail is native to humid, forest areas but can today be found in agricultural areas, coast land, natural forest, planted forests, shrublands, urban areas, and wetlands. The giant African land snail is seen to be highly invasive species and large colonies of land snails can be formed from just one individual. Giant African land snails have both male and female reproductive organs. Although giant African land snails primarily mate with one another, in more isolated regions the giant African land snail is capable of reproducing by itself. Giant African land snail lay around 6 clutches of eggs every year, laying an average of 200 eggs per clutch. Around 90% of snail hatchings survive meaning that a snail free area can quickly become infested.

Giant African land snails are active during the night and spend the daytime hours safely buried underground. Giant African land snails reach their adult size by the time they are 6 months old and although their growth rate slows at this point, giant African land snails never stop growing. Most giant African land snail reach between 5 and 6 years of age but some giant African land snail individuals have been known to be more than 10 years old. During periods of extreme drought, the giant African land snail goes into aestivation (summer sleep). The giant African land snail seals itself inside it's shell to retain water and giant African land snails do this about 3 times a year, depending on the areas in which they inhabit.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Pool Frog

True Wild Life | Pool Frog | The pool frog (also known as the northern pool frog) is a species of medium-sized frog natively found in parts of northern Europe. The pool frog is the rarest amphibian in England and actually is thought to have been extinct in native environment during the 1990s, but re-introduction programmes are now under-way. The northern pool frog is naturally found in Sweden, Norway and on Britain's south-east coast where it inhabits natural ponds found in forested or heathland areas. Much of the pool frog's native habitat has now been bulldozed to create housing estates which led to the sharp decline and extinction of this species on the British Isles.

The pool frog is a medium sized frog that is generally brown or brownish-green in colour with a splattering of dark spots across it's skin. Pool frogs are also easily identified by their sharply pointed heads and by the two, lightly coloured stripes that run down either side of the pool frog's back. Frogs are well known for their webbed feet, and the pool frog is no exception. Pool frogs have webbing (flaps of skin) between their toes which not only assists the pool frog when swimming about in the water but also gives these rare amphibians more grip when climbing about on the slippery banks of the pond. Like other frog species, pool frogs are carnivorous animals, surviving on a diet that consists only of other animals. The pool frog eat a wide variety of invertebrates including insects, worms and spiders which they catch using their long sticky tongue, after having watching their dinner patiently for some time.

Due to their large size and semi-aquatic lifestyle, there are numerous different animals which prey on pool frogs in their natural environment. Birds and small mammals are the most common predators of the pool frog, along with foxes, cats, dogs and even larger birds of prey. Female pool frogs spawn (lay hundreds of eggs) in the warmer spring months, which float on the surface of the water in a sticky clump. When they hatch, the pool frog tadpoles drop into the water where they continue to develop, eventually losing their tails and growing legs enabling them to hop in and out of the water. Today, the pool frog is one of the rarest animals in the UK with the last remaining natural population thought to have disappeared from East Anglia in 1995. Extensive re-introduction programmes are under-way in undisclosed locations across the country to try and bring back one of our rarest predators.
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True Wild Life | Chipmunk | Chipmunks are small squirrel-like rodents that are native to North America, although one species is found in some European countries. Chipmunks eat a wide variety of wildlife like frogs, mushrooms, birds, eggs, plants nuts and seeds. In the autumn, the chipmunks begin to gather their winter food stash, which they store in their burrows to last them until spring.

The most common chipmunks are the red coloured chipmunks with light brown stripes on their back. These are North American chipmunks. Chipmunks are also becoming more popular as pets. There are 25 different species of chipmunk living in the North American forests. The chipmunk is often referred to as a small squirrel due to the obvious similarities between the two mammals. The chipmunk plays a vital within the forest eco-system which the chipmunk inhabits through the dispersing of seeds when the chipmunk eats the fruits and berries that the forest plants produce and the chipmunk chews on the wood of plant stalks and tree trunks which disperses the spores from the plant into the surrounding forest.

Chipmunks construct extensive underground burrows which can be more than 3.5 m in length and these chipmunk burrows often have several well-concealed entrances to keep the chipmunk burrow a secret from unwanted predators. Within the chipmunk burrow the chipmunk sleeping quarters are kept extremely clean as the chipmunks keep nut shells and feces stored in separate refuse tunnels.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Galapagos Tortoise

True Wild Life | Galapagos Tortoise | The Galapagos tortoise (giant Galapagos tortoise) was first documented by Charles Darwin last century when he went on his trip to the Galapagos islands. The Galapagos Tortoise is the biggest species of tortoise in the modern world with some Galapagos tortoises reaching more than 4ft long! The Galapagos tortoise is also one the longest living species of tortoise with a number of Galapagos tortoises getting older than 150!

The Galapagos tortoise, like most other species of tortoise, is a herbivore spending its time grazing on grass and low trees. Today only 10 out of the 12 Galapagos tortoise species still exist on the Pacific islands due to the introduction of goats a few hundred years ago. The domestic goat, stripped the islands of their good foliage meaning that the Galapagos tortoise found it hard to find food. Today the Galapagos tortoise is most well known for their long necks, which make them look slightly like a dinosaur!

The Galapagos tortoise is a very quiet, peaceful and lazy animal with the Galapagos tortoise waking up early in the morning to bask in the sun until the enormous body of the Galapagos tortoise has warmed up. The Galapagos tortoise then spends the rest of its day foraging for food before retiring back to bed in the early hours of the evening where the Galapagos tortoise spends the night in shrub land or submerged in water.

The Galapagos tortoise is a very slow moving animal with the Galapagos tortoise having a top speed of less than 1 mile an hour! During the mating season however, the male Galapagos tortoises have been known to move at a surprising speed with marked individual Galapagos tortoises having been known to travel 13 km in just two days, a phenomenal feet for the sheer size of the Galapagos tortoise.

Like other species of tortoise, the Galapagos tortoise is able to pull its head and legs into its shell to protect itself when the Galapagos tortoise feels under threat from potential predators. The scaly skin on the exposed legs and head of the Galapagos tortoise also acts a layer of armor to protect the Galapagos tortoise from incurring any damage when the Galapagos tortoise is moving around.
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