Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brown Bear

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a species of bear distributed throughout the Northern hemisphere. Weighing up to 130–700 kg (290-1,500 pounds), the larger races of brown bear tie with the Polar bear as the largest extant land carnivores. The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), the Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), and the Mexican brown bear are North American subspecies of the brown bear. However, DNA analysis has recently revealed that the identified subspecies of brown bears, both Eurasian and North American, are genetically quite homogeneous, and that their genetic phylogeography does not correspond to their traditional taxonomy.
Brown Bears have furry coats in shades of blonde, brown, black, or a combination of those colors. The longer outer guard hairs of the brown bear are often tipped with white or silver, giving a "grizzled" appearance. They have a very short, stubby tail, just like all bears in the world. Brown bears have a large hump of muscle over their shoulders, which give strength to the forelimbs for digging. Bears are very powerful; even if considered pound for pound, a large specimen can break a neck or spine of a fully grown buffalo with a single blow. Forearms end in massive paws with very powerful claws up to 15 cm (5.9 inches) in length. Their heads are large and round with a concave facial profile. The normal range of physical dimensions for a brown bear is a head-and-body length of 1.7 to 2.8 m (5.6 to 9.2 feet) and a shoulder height 90 to 150 cm (35 to 59 inches), although the abnormally large specimens exceed these measurements. The smallest subspecies is the European brown bear, with mature females weighing as little as 90 kg (200 lb). The largest subspecies of the brown bear are the Kodiak bear and the bears from coastal Russia and Alaska. It is not unusual for large male Kodiak Bears to stand over 3 m (10 feet) while on their hind legs and to weigh about 680 kg (1,500 lb). Bears raised in zoos are often heavier than wild bears because of regular (sometimes excessive) feeding and limited movement. In zoos, bears may weigh up to 900 kilograms (2000 pounds), like the well-known "Goliath" from New Jersey's Space Farms Zoo and Museum. According to the Great Bear Almanac, one of the well known books about bears, the largest Kodiak bear weighed close to 2400 pounds.
In spite of their size, some have been clocked at speeds in excess of 56 km/h (35 mph). Along with their strength and deceptive speed, brown bears are legendary for their stamina. They are capable of running at full speed for miles at a time without stopping....(more on
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Sunday, August 26, 2007


A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae. In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, the Red Kangaroo, the Antilopine Kangaroo, and the Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroo of the Macropus genus.
The word kangaroo derives from the Guugu Yimidhirr word gangurru, referring to a grey kangaroo.The name was first recorded as "Kangooroo or Kanguru" on 4 August 1770, by Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook on the banks of the Endeavour River at the site of modern Cooktown, when HM Bark Endeavour was beached for almost seven weeks to repair damage sustained on the Great Barrier Reef.
A common legend about the kangaroo's English name is that it came from the Aboriginal words for "I don't understand you." According to this legend, Captain James Cook and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks were exploring Australia when they happened upon the animal. They asked a nearby local what the creatures were called. The local responded "Kangaroo", meaning "I don't understand you", which Cook took to be the name of the creature.
Europeans have long regarded Kangaroos as strange animals. Early explorers described them as creatures that had heads like deer (without antlers), stood upright like men, and hopped like frogs. Combined with the two-headed appearance of a mother kangaroo, this led many back home to dismiss them as travellers' tales for quite some time.
Kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. The comfortable hopping speed for Red Kangaroo is about 20–25 km/h (13–16 mph), but speeds of up to 70 km/h (44 mph) can be attained, over short distances, while it can sustain a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) for nearly two kilometres. This fast and energy-efficient method of travel has evolved because of the need to regularly cover large distances in search of food and water, rather than the need to escape predators.
Because of its long feet, it cannot walk normally. To move at slow speeds, it uses its tail to form a tripod with its two forelimbs. It then raises its hind feet forward, in a form of locomotion called "crawl-walking."
The average life expectancy of a kangaroo is about 4–6 years, with some living until they are about 23.... (more on
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Humpback Whale

The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 metres (40–50 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb). The Humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching and slapping the water. Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the song is not yet clear, although it appears to have a role in mating.
Found in oceans and seas around the world, Humpback Whales typically migrate up to 25,000 kilometres each year. Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or sub-tropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter. During the winter, Humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves. The species' diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the spectacular bubble net fishing technique.
Like other large whales, the Humpback was a target for the whaling industry, and its population fell by an estimated 90% before a whaling moratorium was introduced in 1966. Stocks of the species have since partially recovered, however entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution are ongoing concerns. Current estimates for the abundance of Humpback Whales range from about 30,000 to 60,000, approximately one third of pre-whaling levels. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, Humpbacks are now sought out by whale-watchers, particularly off parts of Australia and the United States.... (more on
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is the largest and arguably best known species in the toucan family. It is found in semi-open habitats throughout a large part of central and eastern South America. It is a common attraction in zoos.
The Toco Toucan eats mainly fruit (e.g. figs and Passiflora edulis) using its bill to pluck them from trees, but also insects, and nestlings and eggs of birds. Has been known to capture and eat small adult birds in captivity. The long bill is useful for reaching things that otherwise would be out-of-reach. It is also used to skin fruit and scare off predators. It is typically seen in pairs or small family-groups. In flight it alternates between a burst of rapid flaps with the relatively short, rounded wings and gliding. Nesting is seasonal, but timing differ between regions. The nest is typically placed high in a tree and consists of a cavity; at least part of which is excavated by the parent birds themselves. It has also been recorded nesting in holes in earth-bank and terrestrial termite-nest. Their reproduction cycle is annual. The female usually lays two to four eggs a few days after mating. The eggs are incubated by both sexes and hatch after 17-18 days. These birds are very protective of themselves and of their babies.
The Toco Toucans can become pets if taken from the nest and hand reared as babies. Their requirements are specific but basic, and must be strictly adhered to. Requirements include items such as spacious cages to move about because of their active nature, and toys in their cage to provide mental stimulation. They have an almost exclusive frugivorous (fruit) diet; with that diet comes a sensitivity to hemochromatosis (iron storage disease) which can make them difficult for the novice keeper to maintain. When provided with these things they make wonderful affectionate pets and can be quite hardy in a captive environment. The record for captive longevity is 26 years.... (more on
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Monday, August 20, 2007

Giant Panda

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Chinese Hanyu Pinyin: Dàxióngmāo) is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central-western and southwestern China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though belonging to the order Carnivora, the panda has a diet which is 99% bamboo. Pandas may eat other foods such as honey, eggs, fish and yams.
The Giant Panda is an endangered animal; an estimated 2,000 pandas live in the wild and over 180 were reported to live in captivity by August 2006 in mainland China (another source by the end of 2006 put the figure for China at 221, with twenty pandas living outside of China. Reports show that the numbers of wild panda are on the rise.
The Giant Panda has a black-and-white coat. Adults measure around 1.5 m long and around 75 cm tall at the shoulder. Males can weigh up to 115 kg (253 pounds). Females are generally smaller than males, and can occasionally weigh up to 100 kg (220 pounds). Giant Pandas live in mountainous regions, such as Sichuan, Gansu, Shaanxi, and Tibet. While the Chinese dragon has been historically a national emblem for China, since the latter half of the 20th century the Giant Panda has also become a national emblem for China. Its image appears on a large number of modern Chinese commemorative silver, gold, and platinum coins....(more on
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Sunday, August 19, 2007


A raccoon (or racoon) is any one of three species of nocturnal mammal which constitute the genus Procyon of the Procyonidae family. The most widespread species, the Common Raccoon, is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are considerably lesser-known. Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of the raccoon are the ringtails and cacomistles.
Although there is some variation depending on the species in question, raccoons range from 20-40 inches (51-102 cm) in length (including the tail) and weigh between 10 and 35 lbs (4.5-16 Kg). The raccoon's tail ranges from 8 to 16 inches (20-40 cm) in length. Male raccoons are generally larger than females. A baby raccoon is called a kit.
Raccoons can live up to 16 years in the wild, though most do not make it through their second year. A raccoon that survives past its youth will live an average of 5 years. Primary causes of mortality include humans (hunting, trapping, cars) and malnutrition.
Raccoons are unusual, for their thumbs (though not opposable) enable them to open many closed containers (such as garbage cans and doors). They are omnivores with a reputation for being clever and mischievous; their intelligence and dexterity equip them to survive in a wide range of environments and are one of the few medium-to-large-sized animals that have enlarged its range since human encroachment began (another is the coyote). Raccoon hindfeet are plantigrade similar to a human's. Raccoons are sometimes considered vermin or a nuisance, and are common in campgrounds of North America, especially in the Midwest.
Many people are surprised when a creature that they usually think of as cute or cuddly raids their campsite at night and makes odd growls and fights viciously over scraps of food left out by campers.... (more on
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Friday, August 17, 2007

Alpine Marmot

The Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota) is a species of marmot found in mountainous areas of central and southern Europe. Alpine Marmots live at heights between 800 and 3,200 metres, in the Alps, Tatras, the Pyrenees and Mount Baldo by the Riva del Garda, Italy. They were reintroduced with success in the Pyrenees in 1948, where the Alpine Marmot had disappeared at end of the Pleistocene epoch. They are excellent diggers, able to penetrate soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with, and spend up to nine months per year in hibernation. An adult Alpine Marmot may weigh between 4 and 8 kg and reach between 42–54 cm in length (not including the tail, which measures between 13–16 cm on average). This makes the Alpine Marmot the largest squirrel species....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Privacy Policy

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