Thursday, April 30, 2009

Running on Water

The basilisk, also known as the “Jesus Christ Lizard,” acquired its nickname because of its ability to run on top of water. When the Jesus Christ Lizard tries to escape from a predator, it gains enough momentum to frolic across water for a brief distance — usually about 10 to 20 meters. Its large hind feet with flaps of skin between each toe are similar to the webbing on a frog, which allows for the lizard to increase the area of the surface on the water that supports its weight.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dumbo Under the Sea

The Dumbo Octopus lives in the sea at about 7,000 meters below sea level. It gets its name because of its two ear-like fins that are placed at the top of its head. These fins help the Dumbo Octopus swim away from prey faster than any normal octopus.

Bonus Fact: The Dumbo Octopus tends to swallow its prey (usually worms and crustaceans) whole, unlike others of its kind.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Need for Whiskers

Cats try to fit in weird spaces. That's why they use their whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Jungle Store Reaches the Late Night Show

As most of you know, Jimmy Fallon has taken over Conan O’ Brien’s late night spot with the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. And although the show is new, Fallon has already revealed his liking towards the Jungle Store’s pincher grabber toys. They can be seen in this Cell Phone Shootout skit from the April 14 show. Check it out below, and remember to look for the pinchers in future skits!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eyes in the Back of a Frog's Head

When a frog swallows food, its eyes close and go to the back of its head. The eyeballs actually work to apply pressure that pushes the frog's meal down its throat!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eyesight Done Right

Camels have three eyelids on each eye to protect sand and other debris from flying into their eyes. A camel’s eyelids, including the third one, come with a second tier of eyelashes to protect them from these harsh conditions in the desert. Although the third eyelid is translucent — and therefore you can’t see it — it’s definitely there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Nose of a Different Color

The star-nosed mole has an unusual snout with 11 pairs of pink appendages that form its nose. More than 100,000 nerve fibers run from its nose to its brain, which is six times the amount that connects a human’s hand to its brain. It is the fastest-eating mammal, taking as few as 120 milliseconds to identify and consume its food. It can also smell underwater by exhaling air bubbles onto objects and then inhaling the bubbles to get the smell back through the nose. This ever-so-interesting animal is found in wet lowland areas in eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blobflish Floats On By

The blobfish is one of the strangest looking creatures alive. It lives in the deep seas off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. They live so deep, in fact, that the water pressure there is several dozens of times higher than at sea level. Their skin is a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water to allow them to remain buoyant. This gives them the ability to float above the sea floor without exerting energy on swimming. Although the blobfish lacks muscle, it gets food by eating whatever floats in front of it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Angora Fur Ball Makes Wool

An angora rabbit is one of the oldest domesticated rabbits because of its long, soft hair, which gives it a huge fur ball appearance. It first became popular with French royalty in the 1700s. Today, they are mostly bred for their angora wool, which can be removed by shearing, combing or plucking the hair. In order to keep the hair soft, angora rabbits must be brushed every day, or at least every other day.

Interesting Fact: An angora rabbit’s hair can yield 100 yards per ounce of angora wool.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hear Lions Roar

Lions are the laziest of the big cats. They sleep for 16 to 20 hours each day, using the rest of their time to protect their pride (or their family) and hunt for food. They communicate through roaring, which can be heard up to five miles away. Whenever they hunt, they hunt together to increase their success rate, usually being successful 50 percent of the time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Obamas Get Their First Puppy

A Portugese water dog named Bo graced the White House with its presence this weekend. Ever since the President announced that he’d be getting his daughters their first dog this year, animal lovers everywhere have been guessing what kind. This black and white puppy was a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy (from Massachusetts) because he knew the first family needed a dog that’s good for kids with allergies, which Malia has. After a couple of “meetings” with the dog, the family has decided to keep it, and it officially moves in on Tuesday. Although many animal rights activists are disappointed that they didn’t get a rescue dog, the Obamas will be donating money to the D.C. Humane Society. To read more about the First Dog, visit the Washington Post.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crocs Get New Teeth

Crocodiles can grow new teeth to replace their old ones if their teeth get knocked out or fall out naturally. No wonder why they don't need dentists!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A New Dog Exercise

Get out an extra mat because your favorite pet can now join yoga class! Doga has recently become a popular means of exercise because it allows you to do yoga with your dog. Depending on how large your dog is, you can incorporate it into your workout by using it as a weight or just using it as a prop to help you stretch better. Of course, the class — which includes massage and meditation for the dog — is also good for your pet. For more information about doga, check out this article from The New York Times.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mice Save the Day

Did you know that a mouse’s testicles can produce stem cells similar to embryonic stem cells in humans? Embryonic stem cells are cells that can grow into any type of cell found in the body, which can create new tissue and cure various ailments. While more research needs to be done, this means that — at least for men — mice could possibly provide a limitless supply of fresh stem cells customized to a man’s individual genetic makeup. While the ethical debate over stem cell research continues, this new discovery could be a more widely accepted approach, compared to the more controversial one of using human embryos. So, maybe we should put our brooms away and let these mice stay awhile!

For more information, visit National Geographic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lion in the Trees

The lion-tailed macaque is part of the Cercopithecidae family, which includes 81 different monkey species. The macaque has lion-like features; one of which being its tail, which is one-third to one-half the length of its body.

Bonus fact: Because the lion-tailed macaque lives in trees, its source of water comes from moisture found on the trees’ leaves.

Monday, April 6, 2009

50 New Species

Approximately 50 new species were discovered in Papua New Guinea during a 2008 Conservation International expedition. This tree frog species of the Nyctimystes genus is one of them. They exhibit a unique adaptation to their environment in the clear mountain river. The female frogs lay their eggs underneath river stones, and when the tadpoles hatch, they have mouths that can suction onto the river’s slippery rocks. To read more about these new species, visit National Geographic.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Whole Lot of Food

Elephants eat about 350 pounds of vegetation each day. They require 18 to 26 gallons of water daily; however, some drink about three times that. A male elephant alone can drink up to 55 gallons of water in less than five minutes. Because they require such a large amount of consumption, elephants spend 16 to 18 hours (about 80 percent) of their day feeding.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sloths Get a Grip

The sloth is the slowest mammal in the world; so slow that green algae grows on its fur undisturbed. The algae gives the sloth a greenish tint, allowing it to camouflage with the trees in the Central and South American rainforests. All sloths live in trees and can hang from branches with a powerful grip aided by their claws. In fact, because they have such a strong hold on these limbs, sloths have been known to remain hanging from branches even after death.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mite Makes a Mate

The Histiostoma murchiei, a female mite, creates her male partner from scratch because she has the ability to lay eggs that don’t need to be fertilized. When her sons turn into adults after three or four days, she mates with them. But, the sons die quickly after.