Monday, 18 October 2010


I'm a terrible blogger!! i haven't written anything in 3 months!!!!
well i have just started University and things have been a bit manic. i've also not found anything good to blog about. however now i have a whole department full of ecological researchers to inspire me into posting fascinating and intellectual posts.
but in the mean time here is a nice picture of a proboscis monkey from my borneo trip!!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

We've got greater crested newts!!

Today we manage to confirm what I suspected: we have greater crested newts in our pond!! They live alongside smooth newts, common frogs and a very large common domestic carp (named Kenny).
They are the least common of the 3 species of newt found in Britain and are one of the 3 amphibians covered by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. They are also covered by the schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which basically means it is illegal to:
  • Harm them in any way, intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Keep live or dead specimens.
  • Destroy or obstruct access to sites they use for breeding or living in.
  • Or disturb them whilst they are occupying a structure.
In other words the landlord can't ever fill that pond in!!

Greater crested newts are quite easy to identify if you get close enough to have a look. They have a very distinct jagged dorsal crest that no other british species has as well as a very wide and crested tail. They have dark spots which become smaller as they get older and silvery or white spots along the head and body. They have a very clearly orange or yellow belly with dark sots on. we're fairly sure ours in a young male as it is a lot smaller then some of the other greater crested newts that are in the pond, which are probably female. As well as the fact that he has large spots on him, which will appear smaller as he gets older.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Mimic Octopus.

I found this creature totally by accident when browsing Listverse but I thought it was so brilliant I had to share it with you. Just watch the video!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

April fool animals.

In the spirit of April fools day I thought I do a post about animals that you’d think were made up but are 100% real!!

The first and most obvious is the duckbill platypus!! They are one of the 5 monotremes species, which means they are a mammal that leys eggs instead of giving birth to live young! They are also venomous; males have a spur on their hind leg, which injects venom that causes immense pain to humans!! Their appearance is described as being duck-billed, beaver tailed and otter footed. When they were first discovered they completely confused scientists. It is the only animal of the family ornithorhynchidae but there have been some fossils found that belong to the family, so in other words they’re not related to any other living animal!! The platypus can be found on the Australian 20 cent coil and they are the emblem of New South Wales!

The next one you might have heard of: the cookie cutter shark. No I’m not joking that’s really its name although it can also be called the cigar shark. They are related to dogfish shark and are found worldwide in warm ocean waters. It’s named the “cookie cutter” shark because of their strange feeding habits where they will gouge a circular hole out of large animals like a cookie cutter does out of dough. They’ve been known to take chunks out of squid, marine mammals, humans and even submarines. Their dark colouring appears to mimic the outline of a smaller fish while the rest of the body blends into the surroundings, so when a predator approaches they attach themselves to the side of the animal using their suction cup like lips and uses their ban-saw like teeth to take a bite out of them. Although they are no particularly dangerous to humans there are cases of human attacks, imagine looking down and finding a hole in your leg!!!

The next animal I have mentioned before as I’ve seen them in the wid. I’m talking about the proboscis monkey, indigenous to the island of Borneo. I’m mainly mentioning these because of their very funny noses. The males have a large droopy nose while the females have a small upturned nose.

My next mention goes to the star-nosed mole. If you ask me it’s face looks like their an upturned spider or a lot of very small worms has been stuck to it. They live in wetland areas of North America and like European moles, they eat small insects, worms and molluscs (snails and stuff). They are active day and night, all year round. They live in shallow tunnels just below the surface of the ground. There is very little known about their behaviour. Unlike normal moles they have long tails and scaled feet. They use the strange tentacles on the end of their nose to identify food by touch.

The final animal on my list I thought they were fake when someone first told me about them. Marine iguanas, they sound very fake don’t they? They are one of the unique animals found on the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin described them beautifully:

“The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3 ft), disgusting clumsy Lizards. They are as black as the porous rocks over which they crawl & seek their prey from the Sea. I call them 'imps of darkness'. They assuredly well become the land they inhabit.”

I’m mainly mentioning marine iguanas because they prompted a long runny joke amongst some of my friends while we were in Borneo. They made up an animal called the ‘land jellyfish’ in order to scare one of the girls on the trip with us. She stopped believing they were real when people started talking about ‘arboreal jellyfish’.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


I thought I should write something moral, so today I’m writing about the horrible statistics of tigers. As we all know they are on the endangered species list due to habitat destruction and poaching!!

But did you know in the last survey in India in 2007 there were only 1,400 animal remaining (that’s less than pandas!!).

Did you also know that there were at one point 8 different sub-species of tigers but now there are only 5? 3 species have become extinct in the 20th century thanks to humans.

Did you also know that there are more tigers in private captivity (as in people own them and not including zoos) than there are tigers in the wild? It’s estimated there are around 12,000 in the USA and 4,000 in Texas alone. Is that not disgusting? People keep these majestic animals in their back gardens while there are hardly any left in the wild!!! I think it’s truly sick that people feel the need to have such a beautiful animal just to make a statement about their own income and status!!

Just a little bit about tigers!!

Tigers are solitary creatures that live throughout Asia. They like to live in areas with good cover, a water source and lots of prey, so this tends to be around the edge of forests. They can grow to over 6 feet in length, 2-3 feet of which is their tail. They give birth to 2-3 cubs after a gestation period of about 16 weeks. The female then rears the cubs alone. The female can then mate again within 5 months, they are able to mate all year round but tend to between November and April. They can live up to 10 years in the wild and females are sexually mature at about 3 years old.

Another statistic for you; a genuine tiger skin coat will cost around about $10,000!! That’s also disgusting!!! I’m very fond of the quote (I’m not sure who said it):

“fur is worn by beautiful animals and ugly people”.

Oh and just one more thing, if you want to help you can adopt a tiger though the WWF who protect their habitat and stop poaching, Here!

chameleon video!!

I've found a great video for all of you. It's of a chameleon eating but it also has it in slow motion. Not only that but you can see their eyes moving beautifully and you get a great look at the feet!!

Friday, 26 March 2010


As I was talking about camouflage in my last post, my mother suggested I write something in the same vein! So today I’m talking about chameleons and the first thing I’m going to do is disband a common misconception:

Chameleons do not change colour to blend into their surroundings!!!!

That is a complete rumour, they change colour depending on their emotions. For example I know from personal experience that when they turn very dark green/black it means they’re pissed off and you better stop annoying them!!

Chameleons can come in a wide variety of sizes, anywhere from 3.3cm to 68.5cm. they all tend to have head or facial ornamentation (like horns, ridges or spikes), which are normally more prominent on males of the species. Chameleons are what is called didactyl, meaning on each of their feet their toes are fussed together to make the foot appear like a set of tongs, it appear that 2 toes on the outside of the foot are fused and 3 toes on the inside. This means they can grip very tightly to even very thin branches.

Their top and bottom eyelids are joined together with just a tiny little hole only big enough for their pupil to see through. They can control their eyes separately allowing them to look in 2 different directions at once. They can also swivel their eyes around to look in pretty much any direction. Unlike most reptiles they have very good eyesight.

Chameleons are notorious for having especially long tongues (sometimes longer than their body). They can extend their tongue so fast the human eye cannot see it and I hits they prey in a 30 thousandths of a second. Their tongue actually contains a bone at the base of the tongue to give it instant momentum. The end of the tongue is a club like shape covered in mucus, which forms something like a suction cup, the chameleon then quickly withdraws it into their mouth.