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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Water-Flying Penguin

Posted by WishbonE at 10:27 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Penguins are birds with black and white feathers and a funny waddle, and the only kind of bird that is unable to fly. enguins often are referred to as "flippered flyers" due to their effortless movement through the water and their possible evolution from gull-like birds. Its believed that 40-50 million years ago, while Antarctica breaking away form Gondwanaland, penguins also were separating to form their own species. Originally, indigenous to warmer climates, penguins adapted to the cold as Antarctica made its move southward. There are 17 species of penguins some of which are found as far north as the equator. Penguins are categorized into three families: brush-tail, crested, and king/emperor penguins. Of the 17 species only six are found in Antarctica (Adélies, Chinstraps, Emperors, Gentoos, Macaronis, and Rockhoppers). Penguin ancestry beyond Waimanu remains unknown and not well-resolved by molecular or morphological analyses. What seems clear is that penguins belong to a clade of Neoaves (living birds except paleognaths and fowl) which comprises what is sometimes called "higher waterbirds" to distinguish them from the more ancient waterfowl. This group contains such birds as storks, rails, and the seabirds, with the possible exception of the Charadriiformes.

The word Penguin is thought by some to derive from the Welsh words pen (head) and gwyn (white), applied to the Great Auk which had white spots in front of its eyes (although its head was black); or from an island off Newfoundland known as Pengwyn, due to its having a large white rock. (In the latter case, the name may also have come from Breton.) This theory is supported by the fact that penguins look remarkably like Great Auks in general shape.

Part of Penguins adaptation to the cold snowy weather includes oily, unwettable feathers which cover the outer layers of penguins. Underneath is a layer of soft down feathers and under that a thick layer of fat. This keeps the penguins so warm they will actually fluff their feather to released trapped heat in order to cool down. In addition to their fine attire, penguins are well known for their swimming abilities. Using their flippers for propulsion and their feet as a rudder, penguins can swim in excess of 12 mph (20 kph). Through the use of air sacs to protect their lungs, penguins can stay under water for 15 to 20 minutes and dive as deep as 275 feet (900 meters). Penguins spend as much as 75% of their time underwater, searching for food in the ocean. When they are in the water, they dive and flap their wings. It looks just like they are flying! Penguins are shaped like a torpedo. Their body is built for the most efficient swimming with their average speed in the water being about 15 miles per hour.

Although very near-sighted on land, penguins posses exceptional vision in the water. Their eyes, like the many sea animals, are attuned to the colors of the sea--green, blue-green, and violet. They need this excellent vision to avoid leopard seals and killer whales, which are their primary predators in the ocean. On land their arch enemy are skuas (large birds) which snatch penguins chicks from nests. In the water, penguins typically feed on krill and fish. The dietary habits of penguins are relatively easy to monitor. Krill eating penguins excrete pink quano, while those eating fish leave behind white guano. The yolks of penguins eggs often are red denoting the consumption of krill. All penguins are countershaded for camouflage – that is, they have a white underside and a dark (mostly black) upperside. A predator looking up from below (such as an orca or a leopard seal) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surface. The dark plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

About House Flies

Posted by WishbonE at 11:07 PM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

About House Flies

One of the most common domestic insect, the housefly (Musca domestica) the most common of all flies fluttering in homes, and indeed one of the most widely distributed insects; it is often considered a pest that can carry serious diseases. It has been suggested that this fly came originally from Africa but nowadays it has followed us to all parts of the earth. In Northern Europe it probably didn't become established until man started keeping domestic animals indoors during the winter, a practice that didn't start until about the beginning of the Iron Age, c. 400 B.C.

The housefly has a complete metamorphosis with distinct egg, larva or maggot, pupal and adult stages. The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage under manure piles or in other protected locations. Warm summer conditions are generally optimum for the development of the house fly, and it can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days, and as many as 10 to 12 generations may occur in one summer. Each female fly can lay up to 500 eggs in several batches of about 75 to 150 eggs, each over a three to four day period. The number of eggs produced is a function of female size, which is principally a result of larval nutrition. The mature larva is 3 to 9 mm long, typical creamy whitish in color, cylindrical but tapering toward the head. The head contains one pair of dark hooks. The pupae are dark brown and 8 mm long. The pupal stage is passed in a pupal case formed from the last larval skin which varies in color from yellow, red, brown, to black as the pupa ages. The emerging fly escapes from the pupal case through the use of an alternately swelling and shrinking sac, called the ptilinum, on the front of its head which it uses like a pneumatic hammer. The house fly is 6 to 7 mm long, with the female usually larger than the male. The eyes are reddish and the mouth parts are sponging. The thorax bears four narrow black stripes and there is a sharp upward bend in the fourth longitudinal wing vein. The abdomen is gray or yellowish with dark midline and irregular dark markings on the sides. The underside of the male is yellowish. The sexes can be readily separated by noting the space between the eyes, which in females is almost twice as broad as in males.

Flies multiply at an enormous rate; it takes roughly two weeks from the time a female hatches until she is able to lay eggs of her own. Favourite breeding sites are horse and cow dung, exposed human feces, rotting garbage and carrion. In more developed countries, modern sewage systems, refuse removal, and general cleanliness have had a marked effect in controlling the insect's numbers. The potential reproductive capacity of flies is tremendous, but fortunately can never be realized. It has been stated that a pair of flies beginning operations in April may be progenitors, if all were to live, of 191,010,000,000,000,000,000, flies by August.

House flies visit dung, carrion, and offal of all kinds and naturally they pick up bacteria and viruses. They therefore act as carriers of diseases and are wholly undesirable from a hygienic viewpoint. More than 100 pathogens associated with the house fly may cause disease in humans and animals, including typhoid, cholera, bacillary dysentery, tuberculosis, anthrax ophthalmia and infantile diarrhea, as well as parasitic worms. Pathogenic organisms are picked up by flies from garbage, sewage and other sources of filth, and then transferred on their mouthparts and other body parts, through their vomitus, faeces and contaminated external body parts to human and animal food. In addition they can be intensely irritating when they occur in great swarms, settling on man and beast alike.

Besides being a nuisance, it is a prime carrier of disease. Its entire body swarms with millions of bacteria. Typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis, and poliomyelitis are only a few of the illnesses for which it is a carrier. General cleanliness have had a marked effect in controlling the insect's numbers. Good sanitation is the basic step in any fly management program. Food and materials on which the flies can lay eggs must be removed, destroyed as a breeding medium, or isolated from the egg-laying adult. Fly traps may be useful in some fly control programs if enough traps are used, if they are placed correctly, and if they are used both indoors and outdoors. House flies are attracted to white surfaces and to baits that give off odors. Indoors, ultraviolet light traps collect the flies inside an inverted cone or kill them with an electrocuting grid. With the increasing incidence of insecticide resistant house fly populations, rising costs of insecticides and a growing public concern about actual or potential problems associated with insecticides, interest in alternative house fly control strategies has increased. When the house fly is a mayor pest in commercial egg production facilities, the control of this insect is by the application of adulticides, or larvicides to directly or indirectly suppress adult densities. Residual wall sprays can be applied where the flies congregate. Resistance to permethrin develops more rapidly in fly populations from farms on a continuous permethrin regime than in farms in which permethrin and diclorvos have been alternated.

Albatross: amazing gliding animal

Posted by WishbonE at 1:13 AM

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

  • An albatross can sleep while flying.
  • An albatross can glide for up to six days in mid-air without beating it's wings, and that it can take a nap while doing so,
  • Wide-winged and long-lived, albatrosses are rarely seen on land, preferring to stay out on the ocean except to mate and raise their young.
  • One Laysan albatross, tracked by biologists at Wake Forest University, flew more than 24,843 miles in flights across the North Pacific to find food for its chick in just 90 days — a flight distance equivalent to circling the globe.
  • Albatross can live up to 80 years.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae

Contrary to popular belief, albatrosses do not sleep while flying. They sleep on the ocean surface.
Albatrosses are efficient long-distance flyers. Rather than flapping their wings to provide lift as most birds do, they glide on air currents. For every meter they drop while gliding, they can travel forward 22 meters. When their wings are fully extended, they are locked into place by a tendon so that the albatross does not have to expend energy keeping its wings outstretched.
Albatrosses feed primarily on squid or schooling fish, but are familiar to mariners because they sometimes follow ships in hopes of dining on handouts or garbage.

The albatrosses are a group of large to very large birds; they are the largest of the procellariiformes. The bill is large, strong and sharp-edged, the upper mandible terminating in a large hook. This bill is composed of several horny plates, and along the sides are the two "tubes", long nostrils that give the order its former name. The tubes of all albatrosses are along the sides of the bill, unlike the rest of the Procellariiformes where the tubes run along the top of the bill.
These feathered giants have the longest wingspan of any bird—up to 11 feet (3.4 meters)! The wandering albatross is the biggest of some two dozen different species. Albatrosses use their formidable wingspans to ride the ocean winds and sometimes to glide for hours without rest or even a flap of their wings. They also float on the sea's surface, though the position makes them vulnerable to aquatic predators. Albatrosses drink salt water, as do some other sea birds.

About Green Sea Turtles

Posted by WishbonE at 1:39 AM

Friday, November 21, 2008

About Green Sea Turtles

The largest of all hard-shelled sea turtles, Green turtle , Myda turtle or Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), belong to Chenolian family which means it has four legs and a tough shell made of two parts which join at the sides. Chelonians also have strong horny mouths with no teeth. They are called green turtles because of the color of the flesh. There are three types of Chelonians - tortoises that live on land, terrapins that live in fresh water, and marine turtles that live in the sea. They are all members of the Class of Reptiles (Reptilia). The Green sea turtle's legs are shaped like flippers. Their heads are lizard-like, with a hooked beak and toothless jaw. Adult Green sea turtles may grow up to 99 cm long and weigh 180 kg.

Green sea turtles live in tropical waters all over the world. The only time they emerge from the water is when they are nesting. The only time males are not at sea is when they were first born. C. m. agassizii are sometimes found with seals and albatrosses basking on the beach. When it is time to mate they migrate from several hundred to over a thousand miles across the ocean to where they hatched. Female green turtles use the same beaches to nest as their mothers and grandmothers.

Males and females mature between 10 and 24 years. The breeding season depends on the latitude. Internal fertilization takes place when the male and female copulate. This is the only time there is vocalization. Like many species, there is male competition. One male may try to bite another male who is copulating with a female. Mating occurs underwater or on the surface about one kilometer from the shore. Nesting occurs every three to six years. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she leaves the water, crawls onto the sand and starts digging for hour and hours until her flippers will not allow her to dig deeper. She then lays 100 to 200 eggs. This group of eggs is called a clutch. She covers them with sand to protect them from the sun, heat, and predators. Pacific green turtles lay fewer eggs than Atlantic green turtles. The gestation period is 40 to 72 days, depending on the location.

Baby turtles use their egg tooth when they hatch to break the shell of the egg. Females lay so many eggs because the chance for their survival is very low. As soon as they get to the sea, they start to drift off. They spend a few years floating at sea eating plankton at the surface. During this time, their shell is soft and they are very subject to predation by fish. After a few years of eating plankton, they move to shallow waters to feed on sea grasses.To avoid predation, they dive and swim away. Young green turtles that have just hatched are the most vulnerable. They may get eaten from the time they hatch, crossing the sand on their way to the ocean, and during the first couple of years at sea. Predators in the sand include ghost crabs, ants, snakes, gulls, opossums, rats, and vultures. There are many more in the water such as sharks, dolphin fish, kingfish, needlefish, and bottle-nosed dolphins.

Green turtles are mostly herbivorous. They spend most of their time feeding on algae in the sea and the grass that grow in shallow waters. As juveniles, they eat plants and other organisms such as: jellyfish, crabs, sponges, snails, and worms. As adults, they are strictly herbivorous. Green turtles are mostly herbivorous. They spend most of their time feeding on algae in the sea and the grass that grow in shallow waters. As juveniles, they eat plants and other organisms such as: jellyfish, crabs, sponges, snails, and worms. As adults, they are strictly herbivorous. Green turtles are an endangered species because they have so many predators--including humans. Even though a female can lay over 200 eggs in on clutch, some will not hatch, and many will be eaten. Even if they do hatch, they get eaten on their way to the water, and in the water. So only a few will survive if any. If the they do survive, they can live to be over 100 years old. Sometimes eggs are laid on a public beach. When this happens conservationists come and move them to a safer place. In the United States, green turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Green Sea Turtles (locally known as Pawikan) found sanctuaries in many wildlife conservations in the Philippines and continuously conserving and protecting this amazing animal.

About Ostrich / Struthio camelus

Posted by WishbonE at 1:15 AM

Friday, November 14, 2008

About Ostrich

Ostrich Profile:
Type: Bird
Diet: Omnivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 30 to 40 years
Size: 7 to 9 ft (2.1 to 2.7 m)
Weight: 220 to 350 lbs (100 to 160 kg)
Group name: Herd
Did you know? The ostrich has the largest eye of any land animal. Its eye measures almost two inches (five centimeters) across.

The world's largest living bird, Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a flightless bird and roam African savanna and desert lands and get most of their water from the plants they eat, they also eat insects, roots, seeds, lizards, or other creatures available in their sometimes harsh habitat. Ostriches ar nomadic groups which contain between five and 50 birds. When threatened, the Ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can cause injury and death with a kick from its powerful legs, each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.

Ostriches usually weigh from 93 to 130 kg (200 to 285 lb), although some male ostriches have been recorded with weights of up to 155 kg (340 lb). The feathers of adult males are mostly black, with white at the ends of the wings and in the tail. Females and young males are greyish-brown and white. The head and neck of both male and female Ostriches is nearly bare, but has a thin layer of down. They have excellent eyesight and acute hearing are the ostrich's most important senses. Like a giraffe the ostrich is an important sentinel for many African grazing mammals such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes and gazelles.

Ostriches live in small herds that typically contain less than a dozen birds. Alpha males maintain these herds, and mate with the group's dominant hen. The male sometimes mates with others in the group, and wandering males may also mate with lesser hens. All of the group's hens place their eggs in the dominant hen's nest—though her own are given the prominent center place. The dominant hen and male take turns incubating the giant eggs, each one of which weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs. Ostriches are polygamous. The eggs are almost spherical in shape, about 6 inches long and equivalent in volume to about 20 hens' eggs. Such a clutch laid on open ground presents a significant meal to a jackal, the dominant predator. Only about half of the ostrich eggs that are laid hatch out. he completed clutch is incubated by the male at night and the dominant female during the day. The reason for this is that at night the dark feathers of the male ostrich makes detection by predators more difficult. Likewise, during the day the female's lighter brown feathers blend in with the surrounding grassland colors. Shortly before the eggs hatch, the chicks will start calling from inside the shell, so the parents will know them by their calls once they are hatched. The young hatch after 45 days. The chicks run about within minutes of hatching. The parents keep close watch over the chicks constantly. They will leading them to food (seeds and vegetation), water and they will provide shade for them. Even with the protection of the parents only about 1 chick in 10 will survive its first year of life. The chick becomes independent at the age of 1 year.

About Bee Hummingbird - World's Smallest Bird

Posted by WishbonE at 12:57 AM

Friday, November 7, 2008

About Bee Hummingbird - World's Smallest Bird

The male Bee Hummingbird is the smallest known bird in the world. The female, pictured here, is slightly larger. Male bee hummingbirds (mellisuga helenae), which live in Cuba, weigh 0.056 ounces and are 2.75 inches in length. Its body is about the size of a large bee. The bill and tail account for half of this length.

Like all hummingbirds, Bee Hummingbird is a swift, strong flier. hey also spend a higher percentage of their lives flying than any other species. It also can hover over one spot like a helicopter. The bee hummingbird beats its wings an estimated 80 times per second - so fast that the wings look like a blur to human eyes. hey have specially adapted flight muscles, which make up 22 to 34 percent of their total body weight. Mellisuga helenae (and other hummingbirds) are also equipped with a large keel and tapered wings, which aid in flying. As is common among other hummingbirds, their shoulder joints allow their wings to rotate 180 degrees and their small feet and legs can only be used for perching.

The brilliant, iridescent colors of the bee hummingbird's feathers make the bird seem like a tiny jewel. But the iridescence isn't always noticeable. It depends on the angle at which a person looks at the bird. The bird's slender, pointed bill is designed for probing deep into flowers. The bee hummingbird feeds mainly on nectar. With a tongue shaped like a long tube,the bird sucks up nectar-and an occassional insect or spiders - just as if it were using a drinking straw. In the process of feeding,the bird picks up pollen on it's bill and head. When it flies from flower to flower, it transfers the pollen. In this way, it plays an important role in plant reproduction.

Using bits of cobwebs, bark, and lichen, the female bee hummingbird builds a cup-shaped nest that is only about 1 inch in diameter. She lines the nest with soft plant fibers. In this nest she lays her eggs, which are smaller than coffee beans. She alone incubates the eggs and raises the young.

About Coyotes / Canis Latrans / Prairie Wolf

Posted by WishbonE at 12:05 AM

Thursday, October 30, 2008

About Coyotes

The Coyote (Canis latrans), also known as the prairie wolf, is a small species of wolf indigenous to North America. The coyote's name originates from the Aztec word "coyotl", which means "barking dog". It is a name which describes the species well, as it is highly vocal. Coyotes are well-known as among the most adaptable mammals in North America.

Coyotes are most widely distributed of all the continent's canids, ranging from far northern Alaska to Nicaragua. Virtually the only parts of North America is does not inhabit are those which are covered with ice year round. The coyote evolved as a creature of the western grasslands. However, it has massively expanded its distribution in recent times since Grey and Red wolves, it primary competitors for habitat, have been eliminated throughout most of its range. Coyotes are omnivorous, eating plants, animals, and carrion. They were likely more of a daytime hunter in the past, but has now become far more nocturnal because of human activity. They eat primarily small mammals, such as eastern cottontail rabbits, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, and white-footed mice. They occasionally eat birds, snakes, large insects and other large invertebrates. They prefer fresh meat, but they consume large amounts of carrion. Part of what makes coyotes so successful at living in so many different places is the fact that they will eat almost anything, including human trash and household pets in suburban areas. Plants eaten include leaves of balsam fir and white cedar, sasparilla, strawberry, and apple. Fruits and vegetables are a significant part of the diet of coyotes in the fall and winter months.

Coat pattern of Coyotes varies and largely depends on the surrounding habitat. Coyotes from arid zones are rather brownish yellow, whilst those occurring in the northern latitudes tend to be darker. Also, the size of a coyote is greatly influenced by the environment in which it lives. Individuals from the hot, dry deserts of the far southwest only average about 25 lb (11.5 kg), but those in the northern forests can weigh up to 75 lb (34 kg). Coyotes are capable of running at speeds up to 65 km/hr and they can jump distances of up to 4 m.

Socially, coyotes live in a variety of arrangements. Some live alone, others in mated pairs, and others in packs, which may consist of one mated pair, their new young, and offspring from the previous season that have not yet left their parents. Packs are an advantage when preying on larger mammals such as deer, or defending food resources, territory, and themselves. Coyotes have been known to live a maximum of ten years in the wild and 18 years in captivity. Coyotes use auditory, visual, olfactory and tactile signals to communicate. They are the most vocal of all North American wild mammals, using 3 distinct calls (squeak, distress call and howl call) which consist of a quick series of yelps, followed by a falsetto howl. Howling may act to announce where territories are to other packs. Coyotes also howl when two or more members of a pack re-unite and to announce to each other their location. Their sight is less developed and is used primarily to note movement. They have acute hearing and sense of smell. They use stumps, posts, bushes or rocks as "scent posts" on which they urinate and defecate, possibly to mark territory. Coyotes are very good swimmers but poor climbers.

Coyotes serves as hosts for a number of diseases, including rabies. They are considered a threat to poultry, livestock, and crops. Coyotes may also compete with hunters for deer, rabbits, and other game species. Coyotes help to control some agricultural pests, such as rodents. Coyote pelts are also still collected and sold in some areas. On their conservation status, Coyotes are common and widespread because of their extraordinary adaptability.

About Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex

Posted by WishbonE at 1:19 AM

Friday, October 17, 2008

About Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex

One of the biggest predator and largest meat-eating dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus rex. It's name Tyrannosaurus meaning was "tyrant lizard" along with rex means "king". Fossil evidence shows that Tyrannosaurus was about 40 feet (12 meters) long and about 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6 meters) tall. Its strong thighs and long, powerful tail helped it move quickly, and its massive 5-foot-long (1.5-meter-long) skull could bore into prey. Everything about this ferocious predator, from its thick, heavy skull to its 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) jaw, was designed for maximum bone-crushing action.

Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 85 million to 65 million years ago. They lived in a humid, semi-tropical environment, in open forests with nearby rivers and in coastal forested swamps. The seasons were mild. Tyrannosaurus rex was a fierce predator that walked on two powerful legs. This meat-eater had a huge head with large, pointed, replaceable teeth and well-developed jaw muscles. It had tiny arms, each with two fingers. Each bird-like foot had three large toes, all equipped with claws (plus a little dewclaw on a tiny, vestigial fourth toe). T. rex had a slim, stiff, pointed tail that provided balance and allowed quick turns while running. T. rex's neck was short and muscular. Its body was solidly built but its bones were hollow. Fossilized specimens of T. rex's rough, scaly skin have been found. It was bumpy, like an alligator's skin, and has been described as a "lightly pebbled skin."

T. rex had large visual lobes in its brain that processed visual information. T. rex also had depth perception (since both eyes faced forwards on the front of its skull, and not placed on the sides), but it was not the only dinosaur that had depth perception. In general, predators (hunters) ofter have depth perception to help them hunt their prey. Animals that are hunted (like the plant-eating dinosaurs) usually have eyes located on the sides of their head (having no depth perception); this lets them see predators approaching from both sides. T. rex's brain had a very large area in the brain for processing odors. Tyrannosaurus had a stiff, pointed tail (like other Tetanurans [meaning "stiff tail"]). The tail was used as a counterbalance for its enormous head, for agility and for making quick turns.

About Hornbills / Bucerotidae

Posted by WishbonE at 1:48 AM

Friday, October 10, 2008

About Hornbills / Bucerotidae

Hornbills (family Bucerotidae) are very distinctive birds, characterized by a long, down-curved bill, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. The Bucerotidae include some 57 living species, about 10 of them endemic to the southern part of Africa. Their distribution ranges from Africa south of the Sahara through tropical Asia to the Philippines and Solomon Islands. Most are arboreal birds of dense forest, but the large ground-hornbills (Bucorvus), as their name implies, are terrestrial birds of open savanna. There are 54 species of Hornbills in the world. They comprise the order Bucerotiformes which is sub-divided into 2 families and 9 genera. Hornbills are strictly 'old world' birds meaning their range extends from Africa across India and Asia to Papua New Guinea. They do not occur in the Americas where a similar ecological niche of medium sized species is filled by Toucans. Hornbills come in a large range of sizes from the small Dwarf Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus camurus) weighing in at 111 grams to the Great Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) standing nearly 3 ft tall and weighing 4190 grams. Hornbills occupy a wide variety of habitat from the Namib Desert to the lushest S. E. Asian tropical rainforest. They have been known to mankind for a long time and feature in many ancient customs and myths. Also, the distinctive features given to their skulls by their large beaks and casques has resulted in these skulls being used in ceremonial head gear.

In ancient Rome they were known as Rhinoceros birds.
Hornbills are the only birds in which the first two vertebrae (the axis and atlas) are fused together. They are also the only bird with a two-lobed kidney - all other birds having a three-lobed kidney. 38-165 cm; bill very large, curved, sculptured, often with casque; bare skin of eye and throat brightly colored; "eyelashes;" wings strong; tail long; legs short; feet broad-soled, syndactyl;

Hornbills are omnivorous with a range of diets from almost wholly carnivorous to almost wholly frugivorous (fruit eating). The large Southern Ground Hornbill is almost entirely carnivorous, feeding on lizards, frogs and small mammals as well as other birds. The much smaller Monteiro's Hornbill (Tockus monteiri) is also virtually entirely carnivorous feeding extensively on insects. At the other end of this continuum, and of more average size are a number of species including the Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and the Narcondam Wreathed Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) which are predominantly frugivorous. Interestingly, all the savannah and steppe species are carnivorous whilst all the frugivorous species are forest dwellers. However, a number of Tockus species are forest dwellers yet primarily carnivorous (insectivorous). Hornbills eat a variety of food, from animals to fruits and seeds. They are omnivorous, eating both meat and fruit in their meals.

People hunt hornbills for food and as a treatment for ailments. The birds play an important role in the customs and traditions of local people. Their feathers, heads, and casques are valued. They are often adopted as local mascots or state birds.


Posted by WishbonE at 2:27 AM

Friday, September 26, 2008

Zebras are best known for their distinctive black and white stripes and have unique patterns to each individual. The most common species found in Africa that belongs to the Equidae family which is related to the horse. The three species of zebras are the Plains Zebra, the Mountain Zebra and the Grevy’s Zebra.

The Plains zebras are the most common species that can be found in Africa. They are less numerous than before because of human activities such as hunting for its hide and meat. Unlike other ungulates, Plains zebra does not require short grass to graze on. It can eat wide variety of grass preferring young, fresh growth where available, and also browses on leaves and shoots from time to time. The Plains zebra are highly social and forms into groups. Bachelor males either live alone or form a group with other bachelors until they are ready to start their own harem.

Grevy’s Zebra are also known as the imperial Zebra, is the largest. They differ from other two species. Grévy's zebra feed mostly on grasses but they will also eat fruit, shrubs and bark. The Grévy's zebra was the first zebra to be discovered by the Europeans and was used by the ancient Romans in circuses. Later, it was largely forgotten about in the Western world until the seventeenth century. The stripes of Grevy’s zebra are narrow and closer together unlike other zebras. This makes them easier to make a good escape and hide from predators. Adult males spend their time mostly alone in territories.

Mountain zebras lived in dry, stony, mountainous and hilly habitats. Their diet consists of tufted grass, bark, leaves, buds, fruit and roots. They often dig for ground water. They are mostly found in South-western Angola, Namibia and South Africa. Like Plains zebras, mountain zebras do not aggregate into groups. They usually form small family consisting of stallion, several mares and offspring. Bachelor males live in separate groups and attempt to abduct young mares and are opposed by the stallion.

Zebras communicate with each other with high pitched carks and whinnying. Their ears signify their moods. When they are calm, tense or in friendly mood, their ears are usually erect. When it is frightened, its ears are pushed forward. When angry, the ears are pulled backward. When surveying an area for predators, zebras will stand in an alert posture; with ears erect, head held high, and staring. When tense they will also snort.

Zebras are hunted mainly for their skin. There are also attempts in domesticating of this species, however, these attempts failed because of their unpredictable nature and the tendency to panic under stress.

About Flying Fish / Exocoetidae

Posted by WishbonE at 2:02 AM

About Flying Fish / Exocoetidae

Flyingfishes or Exocoetidae are aptly named for their habit of emerging quickly from the water and gliding for long distances. The term Exocoetidae comes from the Greek εξω-κοιτο?? (exo-koitos, "lying down outside" or "sleeping under the stars") and refers to the common occurrence of stranded flying fish lying in boats. The constellation Volans ("flying fish") also refers to this animal. This marine fish family comprising about 50 species grouped in 7 to 9 genera. Flying fish are found in all the major oceans, mainly in warm tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins, which are unusually large, and enable the fish to take short gliding flights through air, above the surface of the water, in order to escape predators.

Flying fish can be seen jumping out of warm ocean waters worldwide. Their streamlined torpedo shape helps them gather enough underwater speed to break the surface, and their large, wing-like pectoral fins get them airborne. Some flying fish shed their pectoral fins every 20 to 40 days. In some species the pelvic fins are also unusually large, so the fish appears to have four wings. Most species reach a maximum length of 30 cm, though a few may be as long as 45 cm. Their eyes are relatively larger than those of other fish as well as flatter which improves visual acuity in the air. Flying fish live close to the water surface and feed on plankton.

The process of taking flight, or gliding, begins by gaining great velocity underwater, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) per hour. Angling upward, the four-winged flying fish breaks the surface and begins to taxi by rapidly beating its tail while it is still beneath the surface. It then takes to the air, sometimes reaching heights over 4 feet (1.2 meters) and gliding long distances, up to 655 feet (200 meters). Once it nears the surface again, it can flap its tail and taxi without fully returning to the water. Capable of continuing its flight in such a manner, flying fish have been recorded stretching out their flights with consecutive glides spanning distances up to 1,312 feet (400 meters). In May 2008, a Japanese television crew (NHK) filmed a flying fish off the coast of Yakushima Island, Japan. The creature spent 45 seconds in flight. This is thought to be one of the longest recorded flights by a specimen of that family. The fish was able to stay aloft by occasionally beating the surface of the water with its caudal fin. The previous record was 42 seconds.

Historically the country of Barbados was nicknamed as "The land of the Flying fish." The once abundant flying fish migrated between the warm coral-filled Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island of Barbados and the plankton-rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. In Barbados, the flying fish is depicted on coins, as sculptures in fountains, in artwork, or even as part of the official logo of the Barbados Tourism Authority which features a Flying fish in flight. Additionally, the Barbadian coat of Arms features a Pelican and Dolphin on either side of the shield, but the dolphin resembles a flying fish. Just after the completion of the Deep Water Habour in Bridgetown, Barbados saw an increase of international ships, linking the island to the world. As a result the overall health of the coral reefs surrounding Barbados suffered due to ship-based pollution. Additionally, over-fishing by Barbadians has meant the species of flying fish have slowly retreated closer to the Orinico River delta no longer returning around Barbados in large numbers. Today the flying fish only annually migrate as far north as the island of Tobago, around 120 nautical miles southwest of Barbados. Despite the move, Flying fish have remained a coveted delicacy in Barbados. In recent times the flying fish have also been gaining in culinary popularity in other islands, adding fuel to several Caribbean-maritime disputes.

About LionFish

Posted by WishbonE at 1:54 AM

Friday, September 19, 2008

About LionFish / Turkey Fish / Dragon Fish / Scorpion Fish

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they've found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white. The largest of lionfish can grow to about 15 inches (0.4 meters) in length, but the average is closer to 1 foot (0.3 meters) or generally reaches about 30-35cm.
Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, "Don't touch!"

Lionfish are popular in some parts of the world as food, but are far more prized in the aquarium trade. Their population numbers are healthy and their distribution is growing, causing some concerned in the United States, where some feel the success of this non-indigenous species presents human and environmental dangers. The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal. Lionfish have venomous spines that are deadly to their prey, but usually not to humans (though the venom is used purely for defense, not attack). If a human is envenomed, that person will experience severe pain and possible headaches and vomiting. A common treatment is soaking the afflicted area in hot water, as very few hospitals carry specific treatments.

Lionfish are voracious predators. When hunting, they corner prey using their large fins and then use their quick reflexes to swallow the prey whole. In captivity, lionfish can be trained to eat frozen brine shrimp, mysis, and krill.

The Lions

Posted by WishbonE at 1:54 AM

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lions or Panthera Leo are carnivorous mammal that belongs to the family Felidae. They are mostly distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. Lion is the second largest feline after the tiger. Traditionally 12 sub-species of lion were recognized. The differences between these subspecies mainly are mane, size, location and distribution. Today, only eight subspecies are recognized and there is a small range of hybrids with lions mating with tigers, jaguars or leopards to create unique creatures.

Lions are the only members of the cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism—that is, males and females look distinctly different, as a consequence of the specialized roles that each play in the pride. Visually, the male is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. The manes reflects the masculinity and health of male lions. The darker and thicker their mane, the healthier they are. Female lions or lioness are the prime hunters and work together to prey. They lack the thick mane which would impede the ability to camouflage when stalking a prey. White lion is not a subspecies rather a special morph with genetic condition called leucism. Their condition is called leucism meaning they only have pigmentation loss in the skin and fur that causes

Lion spend much of their time resting for about 20hours a day. Burst of activity follow through night till dawn when most of hunting and stalking takes place. They have the devised system f living in groups call the pride which is based around related females. The males associated with a pride tend to stay on the fringes, patrolling their territory. The pride approximately consisting of 15 individuals, they only leave the pride when challenged by other males, forced to leave or killed.

Lions have been known to breed with tigers to create unique creatures; however this is only done in the zoos and now discouraged due to the emphasis on conserving the species and subspecies. The head of the male lion is one of the most widely recognized animal symbols in human culture. It has been depicted extensively in literature, in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.

About Bats / Chiroptera

Posted by WishbonE at 2:18 AM

Thursday, September 11, 2008

About Bats

Bats are special, they are the only mammals just like us (bats are warm blooded, nurse their babies with milk and they have fur) but are capable to fly. Several mammals like flying squirrels glide but cannot stay in the air for long like bats can, flying squirrels jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite unlike bats who flap their wings and fly like a bird. Though sometimes called "flying rodents", "flying mice," or even mistaken for insects and birds, bats are not, in fact, any of these things. Bats belong to the order of Chiroptera, the word Chiroptera comes from the Greek words cheir "hand" and pteron "wing," as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand with a membrane (patagium) between the fingers that also stretches between hand and body. Bats are about over 900 species living in the world and making up over 20% of all mammals. About 70 percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, with a few species being carnivorous. Bats are present throughout most of the world.

Bats perform a vital ecological role by pollinating some flowers, and also have an important role in seed dispersal; indeed, many tropical plants are entirely dependent on bats. This role explains environmental concerns when a bat is introduced in a new setting. Bats range in size from the Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat measuring 29–33 millimetres (1.14–1.30 in) in length and 2 grams (0.07 oz) in mass), to the Giant golden-crowned flying fox with a wing span of at least 1.5 m or 5 ft and weighs approximately 1.2 kg or 3 lbs. Bat wings are made of two thin layers of skin stretched over the bat's arm and fingers. Bats have a thumb and four fingers, just like people. The bat's fingers are very long compared to its body. If we had fingers like a bat, they would be longer than our legs! When bats fly, they don't just flap up and down. If you watch them closely, it almost looks like they're pulling themselves through the air -- the movement is similar to the butterfly stroke in swimming. Bats use their wings for more than just flying. They can wrap their wings around insects or fruit to hold it while eating.

Bats are classified between two sub orders, the Megachiroptera (Megabats) and the Microchiroptera (Microbats/echolocating bats). Megabats eat fruit, nectar or pollen while microbats eat insects, blood (small quantities of the blood of animals), small mammals, and fish. While megabats have a well-developed visual cortex and show good visual acuity, microbats rely on echolocation for navigation and finding prey. Although some of these bats are pests to people who own orchards, they play an important roll in nature. The fruit bats spread the seeds of the fruit they eat -- they are responsible for scattering up to 95% of the seeds needed for new trees in tropical rain forests. There are also a number of bats who eat insects, fish, frogs and small animals. Meat eating bats fly out at night (they are "nocturnal") to hunt for their food when many of the other predators are fast asleep. Vampire bats prey mainly on cows, horses and other large mammals. They make a shallow wound with their razor-sharp teeth then they lick up the blood. Each bat only drinks about an ounce of blood each night.

Bats feed at night (they are "nocturnal") and spend the day sleeping in caves or in tree tops, hang upside down from their roosts to sleep. The place where a bat sleeps is called its "roost". Although some bats roost in groups of only one or two, for the most part bats are very sociable animals. They usually sleep together in huge groups. The largest bat colony in the world is in Bracken Cave, Texas. During the summer, this cave is home to as many as 20 MILLION Mexican free-tailed bats.

The Crocodiles

Posted by WishbonE at 2:07 AM

Friday, September 5, 2008

Crocodiles are the world’s largest aquatic reptile that lives throughout America, Africa, Australia and Asia. They are cold blooded animals and have a body temperature that is similar to their surrounding. Crocodiles have streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. They stuck their feet at their sides while swimming which also makes them faster by decreasing water resistance.

The distinctive features of crocodiles are long jaws, protective amour, streamlined body and long tail, which make them perfectly suited to aquatic and predatory lifestyle. Crocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water. The palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis that bypasses the mouth. The nostrils are closed during submergence.

Saltwater crocodiles are found in warm climate from India and Sri Lanka to South-East Asia and Australia. They have a broader jaw line and snout and larger than the fresh water crocodiles. Fresh water crocodiles have narrow snout and straight jaw line. One of the huge captive specimens of salt water crocodile named Gomek. Gomek was captured in Papua New Guinea and sold to St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida, USA. It has been observed that crocodiles may possess a form of homing instinct. Three rogue saltwater crocodiles were relocated 400 kilometers by helicopter in northern Australia but had returned to their original locations within three weeks, based on data obtained from tracking devices attached to the reptiles.

Their webbed feet are advantage in shallow water where the animals sometimes move around by walking. Even out of water, crocodiles are very fast over short distances. They have powerful jaws that are capable of biting down with immense force. They have the tendency to retain indigestible objects in their stomach.

Crocodiles are protected in many parts of the world, but they also are farmed commercially. The skin of the saltwater crocodile, especially from the belly surfaces, is the most prized of all crocodile skins for fashion leather. Their skin is tanned and used to make leather goods such as shoes and handbags, whilst crocodile meat is also considered a delicacy.

About Jellyfish

Posted by WishbonE at 1:35 AM

Friday, August 29, 2008

About Jellyfish

Mysterious and intimidating marine creature with no bone, no brain, no heart... the Jellyfish. Jellyfish are not fish at all. They are invertebrates, relatives of corals and sea anemones. Their class name comes from the Greek name 'skyphos', which means a drinking cup. A jelly has no head, brain, heart, eyes, nor ears. It has no bones, either. But that's no problem! To capture prey for food, jellies have a net of tentacles that contain poisonous, stinging cells. Instead of a brain, jellyfish possess an elementary nervous system, or nerve net, which consists of receptors capable of detecting light, odor and other stimuli and coordinating appropriate responses. When the tentacles brush against prey, thousands of tiny stinging cells explode, launching barbed stingers and poison into the victim. To some, jellyfish may appear to have no apparent value, but they are, in fact, a very important part of the marine food web. Jellyfish are carnivorous, feeding mostly on a variety of zooplankton, comb jellies and occasionally other jellyfish. Larger species, however, are capable of capturing and devouring large crustaceans and other marine organisms. Jellyfish are themselves preyed upon by spadefish, sunfish, sea turtles and other marine organisms. Some species including the mushroom and cannonball jellyfish, are even considered a delicacy by humans. Pickled or semi-dried mushroom jellyfish are consumed in large quantities in Asia, where they constitute a multi-million dollar part of the seafood business.

Jellyfish look like blobs when washed up on the beach. But in the water jellies are graceful. They range in size from about 1 inch (2 1/2 centimeters) to 200 feet (61 meters) long. They have been drifting through the world's oceans for more than 650 million years. Jellyfish are members of the phylum Cnidaria, a structurally simple marine group of both fixed and mobile animals: sea anemones, sea whips, corals and hydroids are polyps that grow attached to rocks or other hard surfaces; jellyfish and colonial siphonophores like the Portuguese man-of-war are mobile. Inherent to both types of life histories is their radial symmetry (body parts radiating from a central axis). This symmetry allows jellyfish to detect and respond to food or danger from any direction. Jellyfish come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Most are semi-transparent or glassy and bell-shaped, measuring less than an inch to over a foot across the bell, although some may reach 7 feet in diameter. The tentacles of some jellyfish can reach lengths greater than 100 feet. Regardless of their size or shape, most jellyfish are very fragile, often containing less than 5% solid organic matter.

Jellyfish swim by contracting and expanding their bodies. They do not have scales or shells. They "swim" by the action of comblike paddles, composed of rows of fused cilia, that beat in sequence to propel the comb jelly through the water. Locomotion for true jellies is less dynamic. As planktonic animals, they have only limited control over movement, so their mobility is partly a matter of passive drifting on waves and currents. However, they can regulate vertical movement to some extent, employing a kind of jet propulsion. The tissue on the underside of the umbrella contracts, pushing water out of the hollow bell in one direction to propel the jelly in the opposite direction. Because jellyfish are sensitive to light, this vertical movement can be important. Some jellyfish, like the sea wasp, descend to deeper waters during the bright sun of the midday and surface during early morning, late afternoon and evenings. Despite this ability to move vertically, jellyfish largely depend upon ocean currents, tides and wind for horizontal movement. Jellyfish have a defense mechanism of oral arms or tentacles which are covered with organelles called nematocysts. These nematocysts are paired with a capsule which contains a coiled filament that stings. The filament unwinds and launches into the target, thereby injecting toxins upon contact by foreign bodies.

Jellyfish lifespans typically range from a few hours (in the case of some very small hydromedusae) to several months. The life span and maximum size of each species is unique. One unusual species is reported to live as long as 30 years and another species, Turritopsis dohrnii as T. nutricula, is said to be effectively immortal because of its ability to transform between medusa and polyp, thereby escaping death. Most of the large coastal jellyfish live about 2 to 6 months, during which they grow from a millimeter or two to many centimeters in diameter. They feed continuously and grow to adult size fairly rapidly. After reaching adult size (which varies by species), jellyfish spawn daily if there is enough food in the ecosystem. In most jellyfish species, spawning is controlled by light, so the entire population spawns at about the same time of day, often at either dusk or dawn.

The Chimp

Posted by WishbonE at 7:51 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chimpanzees, along with gorillas, orangutans and humans belong to hominidae family. These intelligent primates are closely related to humans and lived in variety of environment in Western and Central Africa. Chimpanzee can live up to 40 years in wild but they can live about 60 years in captivity.

A full grown chimpanzee can measure up to 4 feet in height and can weigh up to 110 pounds. Male chimpanzees are usually bigger and heavier than the female. They have very long arms; in fact their arms are longer than their legs and have a short body. Similar to human, chimpanzee have also sense of smell, hearing, touch, sight and taste.

Chimpanzees are omnivores, they eat plants and meat. They forage for food in the forests during the day, eating leaves, fruit, seeds, tree bark, plant bulbs, tender plant shoots, and flowers. They also eat termites, ants, and small animal. They are very intelligent makes use of tools especially those in the wild, to acquire food and to scare away intruders. They can also easily learn complex task.

Chimpanzees have a complex system of communication. They have cries that warn other chimps of danger in the area; their danger call can be heard through the forest for about 2 miles. When there is an abundance of food, chimps bark loudly to call the others in their group to a feast. Chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans show laughter-like vocalizations in response to physical contact, such as wrestling, play chasing, or tickling. They use many gestures such as holding hands, hugs or kiss.

The 20th century saw a new age of scientific research into chimpanzee behavior. Before 1960, almost nothing was known about chimpanzee behavior in their natural habitat. In July of that year, Jane Goodall set out to Tanzania's Gombe National Park to observe the behavior of the chimpanzees. Her discovery that chimpanzees made and used tools was groundbreaking, as humans were previously believed to be the only species to do so. Chimpanzees used in biomedical research tend to be used repeatedly over decades, rather than used and killed as with most laboratory animals.

About Ducks

Posted by WishbonE at 2:25 AM

Friday, August 22, 2008

About Ducks

Did you know that a duck's quack doesn't echo? Nobody knows why.
Ducks are birds, they are aquatic birds and members of the Anatidae family, closely related to geese and swans. They are also called "waterfowls" because they are normally found in places with water like ponds, streams and rivers. They are related to geese and swans. The duck is the smallest of them all. Ducks also have shorter necks and wings and a stout body.

Ducks have webbed feet, designed for swimming. Their webbed feet act like paddles for the ducks. The overall bodyplan of ducks is elongated and broad, and the ducks are also relatively long-necked, albeit not as long-necked as the geese and swans. The body shape of diving ducks varies somewhat from this in being more rounded. The bill is usually broad and contains serrated lamellae] which are particularly well defined in the filter-feeding species. In the case of some fishing species the bill is long and strongly serrated. The scaled legs are strong and well developed, and generally set far back on the body, more so in the highly aquatic species. The wings are very strong and are generally short and pointed, and the flight of ducks requires fast continuous strokes, requiring in turn strong wing muscles. Another special thing that the duck has is its water-proof feathers. There is a special gland that produces oil near the duck's tail which spreads and covers the outer coat of the duck's feathers, making it water-proof. Beneath the water-proof coat are fluffy and soft feathers to keep the duck warm.

Ducks are found in wetlands, marshes, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans. This is because ducks love the water. Some species of ducks migrate or travel longs distances every year to breed. Usually they travel to warmer areas or where the water does not freeze so that they can rest and raise their young. The distance may be thousands of miles away. Ducks are found everywhere in the world except the Antartica which is too cold for them. Domesticated ducks, excepting Muscovies, are all descended from Mallards. Ducks were first domesticated by Chinese many hundreds of years ago. Most farm ducks belong to a species called Pekin.

for a mate or partner in winter. The males will attract the females with their colorful plumage or feathers. The females will then lead the males to their breeding gDucks keep clean by preening themselves. They do this by putting their heads in funny positions and putting their beaks into their body. They preen themselves very often. Ducks usually lookround in spring. The breeding ground will usually be the place where she was hatched. The female builds her nest with grass or reeds or even in a hole in a tree. The male will guard their territory by chasing away other couples. Once the female lays 5-12 eggs, she will start to sit on her eggs to keep it warm so that they can hatch into ducklings. The males on the other hand, will be with the other males. The eggs will hatch within 28 days normally, except for the Muscovy which takes about 35 days to hatch. The mother duck will keep her brood of ducklings together to protect them from predators. Animals like the racoon, turtles, hawks, large fish and snakes will eat the ducklings. Ducklings are able to fly within 5-8 weeks. Their feathers develop really fast. When the young are ready to fly, all the ducks will gather in flocks on large lakes, marshes or the ocean to migrate to their wintering home. When the ducks fly, they usually do so in a "V-shaped" or a long line. The production of eggs are affected by daylight. When there is more daylight, the ducks will lay more eggs. In the months of July to December when daylight is short, they slow down their production of eggs. Sometimes, they stop laying eggs completely during these months. To prevent this from happening, farmers use artificial lighting so that the ducks have about 17 hours of light a day to produce eggs efficiently.

Ducks like other animals are useful to human beings. They provide us with eggs and meat to eat. Some ducks provide us with feathers are used for stuffing quilts and pillows. The feathers are usually from the Eider duck. Thus, the name "eiderdown" for stuffed quilts. The females pluck their feathers from her breast to line her nest. Their feathers are harvested in Iceland where they are found everywhere along the coast. They feed on mussels, sea snails, crabs, shrimps, barnacles, catch fish, dig for snails and eat other small crustaceans and some sea-weeds.

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