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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 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.

About Peregrine Falcon

Posted by WishbonE at 1:43 AM

Friday, August 15, 2008

About Peregrine Falcon

Falco Peregrinus - The large crow-sized falcon Peregrine Falcon is a powerful and fast-flying hunter of the sky. Peregrine Falcon hunts medium-sized birds such as doves, waterfowl, songbirds and pigeons, dropping down on them from high above in a spectacular stoop. Virtually exterminated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century, restoration efforts have made it a regular, if still uncommon sight in many large cities. Peregrine Falcon has one of the longest migrations of any North American bird. Tundra-nesting falcons winter in South America, and may move 25,000 km (15,500 mi) in a year. Maps of the migration of individual falcons determined by satellite telemetry can be seen at Environment Canada. The Peregrine Falcon is cosmopolitan, meaning that the species is found around the world, from the Arctic to the South America. The subspecies found in the Eastern United States is anatum, and referred to as the American Peregrine Falcon.

The scientific name Falco peregrinus, means "wandering falcon" in Latin ( falcon means hook-shaped (falcate) and may refer to the beak or claws). Indeed, the species' common name refers to its wide-ranging flights in most European languages. The Latin term for falcon, falco, is related to falx, the Latin word meaning sickle, in reference to the silhouette of the falcon's long, pointed wings in flight. People have trained falcons for hunting for over a thousand years, and the Peregrine Falcon was always one of the most prized birds. Efforts to breed the Peregrine in captivity and reestablish populations depleted during the DDT years were greatly assisted by the existence of methods of handling captive falcons developed by falconers. The Peregrine Falcon is a very fast flier, averaging 40-55 km/h (25-34 mph) in traveling flight, and reaching speeds up to 112 km/h (69 mph) in direct pursuit of prey. During its spectacular hunting stoop from heights of over 1 km (0.62 mi), the peregrine may reach speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) as it drops toward its prey. Many falconers prefer to use the Peregrine Falcon because of its spectacular high speed dives. The male bird is referred to as a tiercel and the female as a falcon.

Peregrine nest ledges are usually on cliffs or sometimes tall buildings and large bridges. The male and female falcon remain paired for life, and renew their bond with courtship activity during late winter and early spring. Their courtship is marked by special flight patterns, and by the male bringing the female food. The female peregrine lays her eggs at two-to-three day intervals, until her clutch has three to five eggs, with four the typical number. She shares the duties of incubation with her mate for approximately 31 days. The eyasses, or baby falcons, hatch after spending about two days "pipping" the shells with the sharp egg tooth on their beaks. At hatching, eyasses weigh approximately 1 ½ ounces, are covered in a fluffy white down, and grow rapidly. Their down is replaced by feathers in three to five weeks and they are essentially full grown at six weeks of age. Mortality in the first year of life is very high. Those few peregrines that survive to old age may reach 12 to 15 years. Most peregrines become sexually mature at two or three years of age. Occasionally egg-laying and territorial behavior may occur earlier. An adult peregrine can reach a speed of over 200 miles per hour in a vertical dive called a stoop; in level flight they average about 60 miles per hour.

Many Peregrine Falcons have settled in large cities, including London, Ontario, Derby, Brisbane and Cologne, and all across the U.S., where they nest on cathedrals, skyscraper window ledges, and the towers of suspension bridges. At least 18 pairs nested in New York City proper in 2005. Over 250 falcons have been released through the Virginia program. In the UK, there has been a recovery of populations since the crash of the 1960s. This has been greatly assisted by conservation and protection work led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Peregrines now breed in many mountainous and coastal areas, especially in the west and north, and nest in some urban areas, capitalizing on the urban pigeon populations for food.

Superb Fairy-Wren

Posted by WishbonE at 1:35 AM

Thursday, August 7, 2008

About Superb Fairy-Wren

The Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus), also known as Superb Blue-wren or colloquially as Blue wren, is a common and familiar passerine bird of the Maluridae family. Sedentary and territorial, it is found across south-eastern Australia. Superb Fairy-wrens are found south of the Tropic of Capricorn through eastern Australia and Tasmania to the south-eastern corner of South Australia. In this range they are seen in most habitat types where suitable dense cover and low shrubs occur. They are common in urban parks and gardens, and can be seen in small social groups. These groups normally consist of one male and several females and young birds.
Superb Fairy-wres grows to a length of 160mm. Superb Fairy-wrens feed on insects and other small arthropods. These are caught mostly on the ground, but may also be taken from low bushes. Males colors black and blue head brown body with dark tail. Females: brown with slight orange/red patch around eye. Breeding mainly from September to January (all year round in northern climes), the female makes a small grass ball nest, almost always in a dense bush. After the nest is built, the female lays 3 - 4 eggs, and once incubated, both parents and non-mated males may feed the nestlings for 10 -14 days until they fledge. This "co-operative breeding" benefits all members of the group.

At the end of the breeding season the α male Superb Fairy-wrens retain their black and blue colours, while other males either don't have the adult plumage yet or loose it through the winter. In the process of moulting, the blue/black feathers are replaced by more greyish ones. In 2007 the breeding season started in July, at which point the males could be seen in their full splendor.
Superb Wrens thrive in environments created by human land use, and are often found in pastures, fields, and gardens. Preferring areas of mixed grassland for foraging, and shrubby cover for nesting and protection, almost all activity like feeding and nest building occurs less than 2 metres off the ground. These small insectivorous birds usually live in social groups of between 6 -12 individuals, normally consisting of a breeding pair, and non-breeding males or females. Social groups are sedentary in a single territory, where they will remain all year round.

About Lemurs

Posted by WishbonE at 3:03 AM

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lemur is a kind of primate, which means they are related to apes and humans. They make up of infraorder Lemuriformes. They are members of group of primates known as prosimians, or primitive primates. There are approximately 32 different types of lemurs in existence today, all of which are endemic to Madagascar; a single island country of the southeast coast of Africa. The term "lemur" is derived from the Latin word lemures, meaning "spirits of the night" or "ghosts".

Most of lemurs have long, pointy noses, which contribute to their excellent sense of smell. The lemurs were safe from competition on Madagascar and differentiated into a number of species. These range in size from th
e tiny 30 gram (1 oz) Pygmy Mouse Lemur to the 10 kilogram (22 lb) Indri. The larger species, some of which weighed up to 240 kg, have all become extinct since humans settled on Madagascar, and since the early 20th century the largest lemurs reach about 10 kilograms (22 lbs). Lemurs are generally omnivores, eating a variety of leaves, flowers and fruits, although they will occasionally eat insects or smaller animals.

Lemurs are found naturally only on the island of Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands, including the Comoros Island. Except for the Indri, all lemurs have long tails that they use for communication with each other and balance when leaping between trees. They have opposable thumbs and long toes adapted for gripping tree branches. Lemurs have nails rather than claws on all digits except the second toe of each hind foot, which has a "toilet claw" for grooming. Most lemurs spend their time in trees and bushes except the ring-tailed lemurs, which spends most of its time on the ground. These primates have scent glands on their bottoms and on their feet that leave odors on surfaces they cross.

Most lemurs are listed as endangered or threatened species. Many species have gone extinct in the last centuries, mainly due to habitat destruction such as deforestation and hunting. Some of these extinct lemurs were ground dwelling while others lived in the trees and moved very much like sloth. Generally, those species now extinct were among the largest and most slow moving of all lemurs.

About Bald Eagle

Posted by WishbonE at 12:55 AM

About Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America that is most recognizable as the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle gets both its common and scientific names from the distinctive appearance of the adult's head. Bald in the English name is derived from the word piebald, and refers to the white head and tail feathers and their contrast with the darker body. The scientific name is derived from Haliaeetus, New Latin for "sea eagle" (from the Ancient Greek haliaetos), and leucocephalus, Latinized Ancient Greek for "white head. The Bald Eagle is the only eagle species living strictly in North America. They inhabits areas near large bodies of water where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees in which to nest and roost. Bald Eagles are monogamous and remain faithful to their mate until death. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting. Before European settlers first sailed to America's shores, bald eagles may have numbered half a million. They existed along the Atlantic from Labrador to the tip of south Florida, and along the Pacific from Baja California to Alaska. They inhabited every large river and concentration of lakes within North America.

Males and females are identical in plumage coloration, however females display reverse sexual dimorphism and are 25 percent larger than males. Body length ranges from 71 to 96 cm (28–38 in). Adult females have a wingspan of up to 2.44 m (88 in), while adult males may be as small as 1.68 m (66 in). Adult females weigh approximately 5.8 kg (12.8 lb), males weigh 4.1 kg (9 lb). The Bald Eagle can have a wing span of up to eight feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Females lay one to three eggs annually in the spring time, and the incubation period is approximately 35 days. The average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest living to be about 30. In captivity, they often live somewhat longer. In one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years. As with size, the average lifespan of an eagle population appears to be influenced by its location.

The Bald Eagle prefers habitats near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, and other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish. Studies have shown a preference for bodies of water with a circumference greater than 11 km (7 miles), and lakes with an area greater than 10 km² (3.8 square miles) are optimal for breeding bald eagles. By the 1930s, people became aware of the diminishing bald eagle population, and in 1940 the Bald Eagle Act was passed. This reduced the harassment by humans, and eagle populations began to recover. Bald eagles were officially declared an endangered species in 1967 in all areas of the United States south of the 40th parallel, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973. imageThe Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon. This landmark legislation is regarded as one of the most comprehensive and important wildlife conservation laws in the world.

Causes of Bald Eagle death from fatal gun shot wounds by careless and ignorant recreational hunters, three pellets can kill an eagle. Collisions with vehicles and lead poisoning from eating wounded deer, ducks, and other game which eluded the hunter and later died. Starvation where the food is scarce also add to their death cause. The electrocution from taking off and landing on power poles when their large wings bridge two wires, resulting in fatal burns or heart failure.

One of the world's biggest wildlife restoration efforts was beginning to take hold for Bald Eagles. By protecting habitats, banning the use of DDT and other pesticides, and rearing young eagles by hand and then releasing them into the wild, Americans helped their national symbol retake the skies. Today, thanks to efforts like these, there are an estimated 12,000 eagles -- and more than 2,000 nesting pairs -- in the lower 48 states. The recovery was so pronounced, in fact, that in 1994, government officials downgraded the eagle from endangered to threatened. The Bald Eagle is still far from secure. Dozens are still shot every year, and hundreds more lost to collisions with power lines and poisoning. Still, the recovery of the American Bald Eagle has shown people around the world that they need not stand idly by and watch these magnificent birds make a final flight into the sunset.

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