Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anderson's Crocodile Newt

True Wild Life | Anderson's Crocodile Newt | The Anderson's Crocodile Newt  is a species of salamander in the Salamandridae family. It is found in Japan and Taiwan. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, swamps, and freshwater marshes. It is threatened by habitat loss. The Anderson's Crocodile Newt gets its name from its bumpy ribs.

The Anderson's Crocodile Newt looks the same today as long, long ago. Their nickname is "the living fossil". They've survived through time but the forests and woods are vanishing, and they're in trouble. They love munching on bugs and beetles, and worms for a snack.

It is an amazing creature because all through time, it hasn't changed a bit. Nicknamed "the living fossil", he's the link to all ancient animals. It received its name from his bumpy ribs. His ribs are his charm and his cool dinosaur look.

The Anderson's Crocodile Newt, a super survivor of time, is facing extinction. People are building roads and resorts on top of the Anderson's Crocodile Newt's home; the forest and woods, and now it is homeless. If the Anderson's Crocodile Newt falls into a roadside ditch, it won't be able get out and it will die! Anderson's Crocodile Newt hasn't changed through time because there was never a problem with the forest and woods. It can't survive with all of this sudden change.
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Volcano Rabbit

True Wild Life | Volcano Rabbit | The Volcano Rabbit also known as teporingo or zacatuche (Romerolagus diazi) is a small rabbit that resides in the mountains of Mexico. Volcano Rabbits are the second smallest rabbit in the world, only the pygmy rabbit is smaller.

The Volcano Rabbit lives at a high altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level. Grasslands have expanded into the highlands, making it difficult for the rabbit to find food and make their nest holes. Although the Volcano rabbits are not found outside of Mexico there are a handful of isolated populations away from the slopes of the volcanoes but these are very few and far between. The four volcano slopes where these unique rabbits reside are the Tlaloc, El Pelado, Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl volcano slopes. 

Volcano Rabbits make their nests deep in the grass. Not only do they eat the grass, but they also use it to hide from their enemies. Volcano Rabbits feed on zacaton grasses, herbs and the bark of alder trees. During the rainy season they will also eat corn and oats.

Volcano Rabbits breed throughout the year with a peak during the warm summer. After a gestation period of 38 - 40 days, they will give birth to 1 - 3 young. At birth the youngsters are covered in fur but their eyes are closed. They are weaned after approximately 20 days and they reach sexual maturity at 4 months old.

Another problem is that the Volcano Rabbits live on an active volcano. If this volcano were to erupt, it would wipe out their small population. So, zoos and preservation centers are working quickly to breed more Volcano Rabbits.
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Amami Rabbit

True Wild Life | Amami Rabbit | The Amami Rabbit  or Amamino kuro usagi, also known as the Ryukyu Rabbit, is a primitive dark-furred rabbit which is only found in Amami ƌshima and Toku-no-Shima in Japan. The dark-furred Amami Rabbit is known as a living fossil. Its characteristics are identical to rabbits who lived five million years ago. With its small ears and dark eyes the Amami Rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi) contrasts greatly with its more familiar fluffy, white relatives, and yet it's the Amami's distinctive features that make this rabbit so important to the study of the animal world. The Amami Rabbit has remained essentially unchanged since the Miocene Epoch of the Neogene Period, or approximately five million years. It is believed that its ancestors diverged from other leporids, or rabbits and hares, approximately 20 million years ago.

The Amami Rabbit has thick, wooly, dark brown fur that takes on a reddish shade on its underbelly as it ages. It has small ears and small eyes and short legs, but a large, stocky body. It also has a longer face, or snout, than most rabbits. Amami Rabbits do not have tails. They do, however, have long, curved, inch-long nails.

Baby Rabbits are called kits, kittens, or bunnies. Some sources say the Amami Rabbit only has one kit at a time, and other sources say they have two to three, but it is agreed that they generally have two litters each year. The mother builds a den lined with plant materials and tufts of fur then seals the top with the same material so it looks like the rest of the forest floor. Like other rabbits, the mother leaves her offspring to hunt and only returns every other night in an effort to keep predators from locating her den. She can even feed the kit without completely uncovering the den. She unseals the den when the kit is between four and seven weeks old and the baby rabbit joins its mother on the evening hunt for food.

The Amami Rabbit eats grass, fresh branches, and nuts. The Amami Rabbit raises its offspring in rabbit holes. Except at times when the mother feeds milk to her offspring, she will cover the rabbit hole with dirt to conceal it. Isn't that clever!

The reason why the Amami Rabbit retains its primitive form is because this form best suits them for life on the island. But as more people came to the island, the environment started to change. People continued to cut down trees, wiping out sources of food and refuge for the Amami Rabbit. Amami Rabbits are also frequently attacked by mongooses, which were originally brought to the island to exterminate the Habu, a venoemous snake. Today, the Amami Rabbit is on the brink of extinction.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Brazilian Tapir

True Wild Life | Brazilian Tapir | The South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), or Brazilian Tapir (from the Tupi tapi'ira) or Lowland Tapir or (in Portuguese) Anta, is one of four species in the tapir family, along with the Mountain Tapir, the Malayan Tapir, and Baird's Tapir. It is the second largest land mammal in South America, after Baird's Tapir. The Brazilian Tapir (also known as the South American Tapir) is known to be a fantastic swimmer and the Brazilian Tapir is generally found close to water in the Amazon Rainforest.

It is dark brown in color, paler in the face, and has a low, erect crest running from the crown down the back of the neck. The round, dark ears have distinctive white edges. The South American Tapir can be found near water in the Amazon Rainforest and River Basin in South America, east of the Andes. Its range stretches from Venezuela, Colombia, and Guianas in the north to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, in the south, to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador in the West.

It is an herbivore. Using its mobile snout, this tapir feeds on leaves, buds, shoots, and small branches that it tears from trees, fruit, grasses, and aquatic plants.

The social life of the South American tapir is unknown. In the San Diego zoo, the captive group forms a structured herd, with dominant and subordinate animals of both sexes. The dominant male and female make what is called the 'sliding squeal', less than a second in duration. On hearing this sound the others make a 'fluctuating squeal', which is longer and quavers rather than merely decreasing in pitch. This is also uttered when a dominant individual approaches, apparently as an appeasement call and as a sign of pain or fear. Tapirs also utter a challenging snort, and a click made with the tongue and palate, perhaps as a species identification.
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Mountain Tapir

True Wild Life | Mountain Tapir | The Mountain Tapir or Woolly Tapir  is the smallest of the four species of tapir and is the only one to live outside of tropical rainforests in the wild. It is most easily distinguished from other tapirs by its thick woolly coat and white lips. Their wooly coat is dark brown in colour and they have pale coloured cheeks and throat. Their ears are large and are coloured white on the rims, they have small eyes and a large proboscis.

The Mountain Tapir lives, as the name implies, high in the mountains. But their numbers have diminished because farmers have extended the grasslands for domesticated livestock into the mountains. Mountain Tapirs are found in the forests and grasslands of the Andes at altitudes over 2,000 m (6,560 ft). They are active at night and spend their days resting among thick vegetation.

Tapirs are herbivores, and eat a wide range of plants, including leaves, grasses, and bromeliads. In the wild, particularly common foods include lupins, Gynoxys, ferns, and umbrella plants. It also seeks out natural salt licks to satisfy its need for essential minerals.

The Mountain Tapir is nocturnal, moving during daybreak and nightfall. In the afternoon, they hide in the bushes.

The Mountain Tapir has always been prey to food and game hunting. And now, there are plans to begin mining their mountains for minerals, further destroying the homes of Mountain Tapirs. Because Mountain Tapirs continue to vanish even today, increased measures must be taken to expand the protected area. Otherwise, they will become extinct in the very near future.
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Baird's Tapir

True Wild Life | Baird's Tapir | Baird’s Tapir is a species of tapir that is native to Central America and northern South America. Baird’s Tapir is named for the American naturalist Spencer Fullerton Baird who traveled to Mexico in 1843 and observed the animals. However, the species was first documented by another American naturalist, W. T. White. Tapir is the largest land mammal in Central America.

The Baird's Tapir can be identified by the fact that this species of tapir has a cream coloured marking on it's face. The skin of the Baird's Tapir commands a very high price. Leather hunting and deforestation has caused their numbers to drop by less than half. Baird’s Tapir may be active at all hours, but is primarily nocturnal. It forages for leaves and fallen fruit, using well-worn tapir paths which zig-zag through the thick undergrowth of the forest. The animal usually stays close to water and enjoys swimming and wading  on especially hot days, individuals will rest in a watering hole for hours with only their heads above water.

It generally leads a solitary life, though feeding groups are not uncommon and individuals, especially those of different ages (young with their mothers, juveniles with adults) are often observed together. The animals communicate with one another through shrill whistles and squeaks. Baby Tapirs spend a long time in their mother's stomach, and are born only one offspring at a time. Their slow birth rate makes it difficult for their numbers to recover once it declines.

The Baird's Tapir is losing its home as people cut down the trees in the forests where it lives. Deforestation changes the shape of ponds and swamps, rendering water bodies that were once safe unsafe. On top of that, the increase in grasslands near their habitat has infected some Baird's Tapir with a contagious diseases carried by domesticated horses. The number of Baird's Tapir is said to have diminished to less than half over the last 30 years.

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Malayan Tapir

True Wild Life | Malayan Tapir | The Malayan Tapir, also called the Asian Tapir, is the largest of the four species of tapir and the only one native to Asia. The Malayan Tapir is the largest of the tapir species and has a distinctive white band across it's body. The Malayan Tapir once roamed the tropical forests across South East Asia but the Malayan Tapir today has a much smaller range primarily due to habitat loss.

The Malayan Tapirs are primarily solitary creatures, marking out large tracts of land as their territory, though these areas usually overlap with those of other individuals. Tapirs mark out their territories by spraying urine on plants, and they often follow distinct paths which they have bulldozed through the undergrowth.

The Malayan tapir eat grass and nuts, water plants, and fruits. They put food in their mouths using their noses, just like an elephant. Exclusively a vegetarian, the animal forages for the tender shoots and leaves of more than 115 species of plants (around 30 are particularly preferred), moving slowly through the forest and pausing often to eat and note the scents left behind by other tapirs in the area.

The Malayan Tapirs have black and white sections like the Giant Panda. You'd think it would make them stand out, but tigers and other predators have a hard time finding them. Malayan Tapirs go out at night, so predators can only see the white parts of them. Predators can't see their shape. They look relaxed, but can run away very quickly if in trouble. If they see a predator, they quickly hide under water.

The Malayan Tapirs are skilled swimmers that live in forests where there is water. The forests are disappearing. Living in small numbers in small forests, it's hard to find food. They're also have trouble on finding mates. Their numbers are becoming smaller. Out of all tapirs, Malayan Tapirs are the closest to extinction.
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