Friday, October 31, 2008

Freakish Animal Facts

For Halloween, I thought I'd share with you some freakish animal facts for your entertainment.

  • The ears of a cricket are located on the front legs, just below the knee.
  • The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
  • The sex organ on a male spider is located at the end of one of its legs.
  • Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.
  • Some frogs are able to be frozen and then thawed, and continue living.
  • A cockroach can survive for about a week without its head before dying of starvation.
How's that for freaky?! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quick Animal Fact: Giant Squid

A giant squid's eyes are the largest of any animal, having a diameter of 15 inches.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ladybug

Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops.

Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. By the end of its three-to-six-week life, a ladybug may eat some 5,000 aphids.Ladybugs are also called lady beetles or, in Europe, ladybird beetles.

There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.

Ladybugs appear as half-spheres, tiny, spotted, round or oval-shaped domes. They have short legs and antennae.Their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste. Their coloring is likely a reminder to any animals that have tried to eat their kind before: "I taste awful." A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.
Shop online for ladybug-themed items at The Jungle Store.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Unlikely Relatives: Whales & Hippos

Did you know that the hippo's closest relative is the whale? The two mammals share a common ancestor that lived about 60 million years ago.

This ancestor evolved into two groups of animals: early cetaceans, which became whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and a group of unusual land animals.

The only surviving descendent of these land animals is the hippo, making its distant cousin the whale its closest surviving relative!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Zebrafish Have Rhythm!

A new study shows zebrafish have rhythm, and it may be a survival mechanism. After being taught a "rhythm" using flashes of light, the larvae "remembered" the beat pattern for 20 seconds after the flashes ceased. This finding suggests that the fish possess a sort of mental metronome that can help them evade predators.

With each light "beat", the baby zebrafish wiggled their tails and experienced activity in their brains that possess visual information, the optic septum. When the researchers turned the lights off, the fish continued to wag their rears and show signs of brain activity in time with the rhythm.

Dragonfly larvae are the chief predators of zebrafish babies. By learning the dragonflies' rhythm, zebrafish may anticipate their enemies' next moves and act to escape the attacks.

From National Geographic News

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caterpillars Build Silk Alarm Systems

According to a news story written by Matt Kaplan for National Geographic News, scientists just discovered that metalmark moth caterpillars can build their own versions of home security systems out of silk. Previously, only spiders were thought to be able to detect tremors in their webs caused by foreign objects. The study could shed light on the evolution of animals that use silk to detect intruders.

Metalmark moth caterpillars are known for building protective shelters made out of silk on the leaves where they dwell. The larvae chew small holes beneath the shelters to escape when danger nears.

The research will appear next month in the journal Animal Behaviour. For more information on this study, visit National Geographic News.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Out-Of-Place Penguins Get Flown From Brazil to South Atlantic

Almost 400 penguins that had mysteriously washed up on Brazil's beaches were transported south on an air force jet Saturday. The International Fund for Animal Welfare said that the penguin release was the largest ever in South America. Experts hope a small group of older penguins released along with the young ones will help guide them south to the Patagonia.

Magellanic penguins breed in large colonies in southern Argentina and Chile and migrate north as far as southwest Brazil between March and September.

Environmentalists say it is not known why the penguins were stranded so far north, but some suggest the birds could have been carried beyond their usual range by a flow of warm water.

source:USA Today

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fun Hummingbird Facts

* Hummingbird’s consume half of their weight in food daily.

* Hummingbirds are found only in North America and South America.

* Hummingbirds travel at an average 25 miles per hour, with wingbeats of anywhere from 10-15 per second in the Giant Hummingbird, up to 80 per minute by the Amethyst Woodstar.

* A hummingbird can starve to death in as little as two hours, if still active.

* Hummingbirds are so small, that an insect, the Praying Mantis is its natural enemy.

* It's the only bird that can hover, and fly backwards as well as straight up or down.

* Hummingbirds can't walk.

Need facts about another animal? Visit The Jungle Store's Animal Facts Page! If you still can't find what you're looking for, email with your questions.