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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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Cichlid Fish

Posted by WishbonE at 12:57 AM

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cichlids are fishes belonging to family Cichlidae. Many cichlids, particularly the tilapias, are important food fishes. Some of the most known cichlid species are Angelfish, Oscar, Jack Dempsey and Discus are highly valued in the aquarium trade. The Family Cichlidae is both large and diverse. The different cichlid species have developed in order to fit their own specific niches and different cichlid species can therefore vary significantly when it comes to size, temperament, feeding habits, preferred water quality, etcetera. The smallest cichlids such as Apistogramma cichlids, grows no longer than 3 centimeters, while the largest cichlids, such as Boulengerochromis cichlids, can exceed one meter. The body shapes of the cichlid species include everything from very compressed bodies to extremely elongated ones. Aquarists commonly divide the popular aquarium species into three main groups: American cichlids, African cichlids and Asian cichlids.

Cichlids are members of a group of perciform fish known as the Labroidei alongside the wrasses Labridae, damselfish Pomacentridae, and surfperches Embiotocidae.This very large grouping shares a single key trait: the fusion of the lower pharyngeal bones into a single tooth-bearing structure.

Cichlids are commonly fresh-water fish and are less commonly found in brackish and salt water habitats, although some species can tolerate brackish water. Cichlids are also diverse in term of diet. Some of them are primarily herbivores feeding on plants, algae and small animals that are only a small part of their diet. Other cichlids, these includes generalist that catches small animals including fishes and insect larvae.

All cichlid species show some parental care for both eggs and larvae and even extends until several weeks and months. Parental substrate brooding cichlids assist in finding food resources for their fry. Communal parental care can also be observed in number of cichlids where multiple monogamous pairs care for a mixed school of young.

Although cichlids are mostly small and medium-sized fishes, a substantial number of species are notable as food and game fishes. Cichlids have become increasingly popular as aquarium fish. Cichlids are ideally suited as aquarium fish as many are small to medium-sized, easy to feed with a range of prepared fish foods, breed readily, and practice brood care, in captivity.

About Giraffe

Posted by WishbonE at 1:30 AM

Thursday, June 26, 2008

About Giraffe

Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest of all land-living animal species, and the largest ruminant. They are fascinating animals roam the open grasslands in small groups of about half a dozen. The giraffe is related to deer and cattle, but is placed in a separate family, the Giraffidae, consisting only of the giraffe and its closest relative, the okapi. Giraffes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Giraffidae. Giraffes can inhabit savannas, grasslands, or open woodlands. They prefer areas enriched with acacia growth. They drink large quantities of water and, as a result, they can spend long periods of time in dry, arid areas. Instead of drinking, giraffes stay hydrated by the moisture from leaves. When searching for more food they will venture into areas with denser foliage.

A giraffe's legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet (1.8 meters). These long legs allow giraffes to run as fast as 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour over short distances and cruise comfortably at 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour over longer distances. The legs are also long and end in large hooves; the body is relatively short. The short horns are covered with skin and hair. Giraffes have large, sandy to chestnut, angular spots closely spaced on a lighter background. Males can be 4.8 to 5.5 metres (16 to 18 feet) tall and weigh up to 1,700 kilograms (3,800 pounds). The record-sized bull, shot in Kenya in 1934, was 5.87 m (19.2 ft) tall and weighed approximately 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Females are generally slightly shorter, and weigh less than the males do.

Giraffes have small "horns" or knobs on top of their heads that grow to be about five inches long. These knobs are used to protect the head in fights. The prominent horns are formed from ossified cartilage and are called ossicones. The appearance of horns is a reliable method of identifying the sex of giraffes, with the females displaying tufts of hair on the top of the horns, where as males' horns tend to be bald on top — an effect of necking in combat. Males sometimes develop calcium deposits which form bumps on their skull as they age, which can give the appearance of up to three further horns.

Giraffes use their height to good advantage and browse on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach (acacias are a favorite). Even the giraffe's tongue is long! The 21-inch (53-centimeter) tongue helps them pluck tasty morsels from branches. Giraffes eat most of the time and, like cows, regurgitate food and chew it as cud. A giraffe eats hundreds of pounds of leaves each week and must travel miles to find enough food. The giraffe's height also helps it to keep a sharp lookout for predators across the wide expanse of the African savanna. The giraffe's stature can be a disadvantage as well—it is difficult and dangerous for a giraffe to drink at a water hole. To do so they must spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position that makes them vulnerable to predators like Africa's big cats. Giraffes only need to drink once every several days; they get most of their water from the luscious plants they eat.

Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young endure a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth. Giraffe gestation lasts between 14 and 15 months, after which a single calf is born. Newborn giraffes are about 1.8 m (6 ft) tall. Within a few hours of being born, calves can run around and are indistinguishable from a week-old calf; however, for the first two weeks, they spend most of their time lying down, guarded by the mother. The young can fall prey to lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs. It has been speculated that their characteristic spotted pattern provides a certain degree of camouflage. Only 25 to 50% of giraffe calves reach adulthood; the life expectancy is between 20 and 25 years in the wild and 28 years in captivity.

Giraffes are hunted for their meat, coat and tails. The tail is prized for good luck bracelets, fly whisks and string for sewing beads. The coat is used for shield coverings. Habitat destruction and fragmentation are also threats to giraffe populations.

The Burmese Python

Posted by WishbonE at 6:30 PM

Thursday, June 19, 2008

burmese pythonThe Burmese Python (Python molurus) belongs to the class reptilia of kingdom animalia. It belongs to the family Boiidae (subfamily Pythoninae) and is distributed across Asia from Pakistan to Indonesia and South China, with two distinct subspecies. P. m. molurus is the Indian python (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) while P. m. bivittatus is the Burmese python (Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and South China). It is one of the biggest and largest snakes in the world, growing up to 7 meters (20 feet) and weighing up to 91 kilograms (200pounds). It continues to grow throughout life at a great length due to large number of its vertebrae. Burmese Pythons are light-coloured snake with dark-brown blotches bordered in black down the back.

python snake Burmese Pythons are mainly nocturnal rainforest dwellers. They frequent forests near water bodies, swamps, marshes and grasslands. It can move easily in the trees, on the ground, and in water, and is a nocturnal hunter. They spend majority of their time hidden underbrush. In the northern parts of its range it may brumate for some months during the cold season in a hollow tree, a hole in the riverbank or under rocks. Brumation is biologically distinct from hibernation. While the behavior has similar benefits, specifically to endure the winter without moving, it also involves preparation of both male and female reproductive organs for the upcoming breeding season. It has special heat receptors to locate warm prey. Female Burmese Python lays clutches which average 12–36 eggs in the early spring, March or April. She will remain with the eggs until they hatch, wrapping around them and twitching her muscles in such a way as to raise the ambient temperature around the eggs by several degrees. Once the hatchlings use their egg tooth to cut their way out of their eggs, there is no further maternal care. The newly hatched will often remain inside their egg until they are ready to complete their first shedding of skin, after which they hunt for their first meal.

Like other boiids, the Burmese python kills by constriction and suffocation, coiling around the prey and slowly tightening the coils further each time the victim breathes out. It does not crush. The snake uses its sharp backward-pointing teeth to seize its prey, and then wraps its body around the prey and contracting its muscle and killing its prey. Prey animals include a wide range of taxa from small mammals to deer and even leopards.

Burmese Python are now also sold as pet. It is made popular due to their attractive color and easy-going nature. This species has a reputation for docility; they are very powerful animals, capable of inflicting severe bites or even killing a keeper by constriction. They also consume large amounts of food, and due to their size, require large, often custom-built, secure enclosures, which can be very expensive. As a result some are released to the wild by pet owners.


About Pigs

Posted by WishbonE at 12:50 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pigs / Hogs / Swine

Pigs, also called hogs or swine, are ungulates which have been domesticated as sources of food, leather, and similar products since ancient times. More recently, they have been involved in biomedical research and treatments, especially for their eyes and hearts, which closely resemble those of humans. The adult female is called a sow. The adult male is called a boar. A baby is called a piglet.Pigs vary in color from brown, black, white, to pinkish. Some wild pigs have large tusks, overgrown teeth used for fighting and digging for food.
Diet: Pigs are omnivores (eating plants and meat). They eat a variety of plants and small animals (like worms and snakes).
Classification: Class Mammalia, Order Artiodactyla (even-toed hoofed mammals), Family Suidae (8 species of pigs).

Pigs are very adaptable animals that eat many different foods and live in a variety of environments. Pigs were domesticated (tamed from wild animals) thousands of years ago. They are farmed for their meat and hides (leather). There are still many wild pigs, like the wild boar, the warthog, and the bushpig. Pigs are found on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. 6 million years ago, the first pigs lived in Europe and perhaps other places in the world. They were tamed 8,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Pigs were brought to North America on ships in the 1500’s from Spain and England by colonists and explorers. In the United States until the mid 1940’s, pigs were classified by percentage of fat into lard-type (more fat) and bacon-type (less fat). When shortenings and petroleum products replaced lard, farmers began raising only meat hogs.
A pig has a snout for a nose, small eyes, and a small tail, which may be curly, kinked, or straight. It has a thick body, short legs, and coarse hair. There are four toes on each foot, with the two large middle toes used for walking.

Pigs are omnivores, which means that they consume both plants and animals. Pigs will scavenge and have been known to eat any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, tree bark, rotting carcasses, garbage, and even other pigs. In the wild, they are foraging animals, primarily eating leaves and grasses, roots, fruits and flowers.
For most of us, the thought of pigs conjure images of dirty, greedy animals living in their own waste. We couldn't be more wrong! Pigs don't perspire, and so wallow in mud to keep themselves cool. They are naturally very clean animals and, if given the choice, they prefer to cool themselves down in fresh water. When in a natural environment, pigs build communal nests and toilet areas away from their sleeping area.
Pigs develop highly complex social structures and form strong bonds with other members of their group. At the age of around 3 weeks, piglets begin to play with other piglets, and for the majority of weeks thereafter will interact more with each other than with other members of their herd. It is during this time of play and interaction that strong bonds are formed, often lasting the duration of their lives.
Most of a pig's day is spent foraging and eating. The end of their snout contains has many tactile receptors as the human hand, and is a highly specialised and sensitive tool. This, along with their exceptional sense of smell, enables pigs to locate and uncover tasty treats such as seeds, roots, and truffles. Unlike dogs or humans, pigs never dangerously overeat-even when given access to unlimited food.

Pigs are affectionate, protective, playful, intelligent and social animals who suffer tremendously within intensive farming systems.
In the movie "Babe", the piglet was played by over 30 different piglets they outgrew the part so quickly during the production of the film. They’re fat, fabulous and fictional. But they’re famous! Pigs in movies and television have been popular entertainment ever since cartoon character Porky Pig first stuttered “Th-th-that’s all folks!”
Arguably, one of the most popular pigs (at least in her mind), is Muppets diva Miss Piggy, the perennial girlfriend of Kermit, the Frog.

A Taiwanese scientists were able to genetically modify a litter of pigs with jellyfish DNA so that they would fluoresce green and glow in the dark. Though the visual results are striking enough to justify the experiment, the true reasoning behind the experiment is to show that stem cells can be tagged with the same fluorescent molecules allowing their growth and development to be easily observed and studied.
Regardless of what you feed a pig it must have water to survive. The importance of the pig's access to water cannot be over stressed because pigs don't sweat like humans do so the only way they can get rid of their salt is through their urine. If the pig does not get enough water passed through the kidneys then it can die from salt poisoning. Over the years I've used many types of water feeder but recently I've found that a controlled feeder dish is a great way to get water to the pig without wasting it due to the pig tipping the water dish over.
Pigs are susceptible to bronchitis, parasites and pneumonia so they right injections. They have small lungs in relation to body size; for this reason, bronchitis or pneumonia can kill a pig quickly.
Pigs can be aggressive and pig-induced injuries are relatively common in areas where pigs are reared or where they form part of the wild or feral fauna.

Smarter than Dogs? Pigs are remarkably intelligent creatures thought by many to be smarter than dogs. They can be trained to respond to simple voice commands, and are easily toilet trained. Studies have revealed that pigs have a long memory and are able to focus on specific tasks even better than some primates. Research conducted at Bristol University found that pigs are cleverly competitive with other members of their herd, and to avoid confrontation will wait until nobody is looking to sneak away hidden food. "This sort of behaviour suggests that pigs can compete with each other in quite complex and 'cerebral' ways," says Dr Mendl of Bristol University.

Pigs as pets
Pigs are extremely smart animals and having one as a house pet requires some preparation. Pig proofing the house as one would for a toddler is a must. Due to their rooting behaviour during their young and adolescent years, books, newspapers and loose materials will often find their way in front of the pigs' nose to create a bedding area.
Pot-bellied pigs are frequently kept as exotic pets in the United States and other Western nations. They are intelligent and easy to train to perform tricks for a food reward. Many pig owners walk their pets on leashes using a harness. Pigs can use a large modified litter box or modified mortar box just like a cat with no formal training, but if one has a yard, they are more easily trained to going outside than most dogs.
Unfortunately, pigs do not like to be held or "cuddled," like dogs, cats or other domesticated predators, like ferrets. These animals are carried and otherwise "handled" as young in their mothers' mouths. In contrast, the wild ancestors of pot-bellied pigs were prey of much larger animals, and not mouthed by their mothers. Therefore, attempts by humans at lifting or hugging are always interpreted by the pig as hostile and result in struggling and squealing. The one time pigs, by instinct, will welcome close contact is to huddle while sleeping, an instinct which conserves body heat and provides protection. So apart from contact by snouting, human owners usually have to settle for acceptance of affectionate contact when the animals sleep. This quirk makes pot-bellied pigs less than ideal pets for children, who usually insist on showing their affection through hugging and handling.

Lovebirds / Agapornis

Posted by WishbonE at 12:24 AM

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lovebirds / Genus Agapornis

Lovebird is the commonly used name for the genus, Agapornis (from the Greek agape, for love, and ornis, for Bird), and can refer to any of the nine species of the genus. They are a very social and affectionate parrot. The name Lovebird stems from these birds' bright, caring personalities. The lovebird is a small stocky parrot between 5.1-6.7 inches (13-17 cm). They have a large bill and a tail that is either round or square. Their average life span is between 10-12 years with some living even longer. The oldest recorded lovebird lived 17 years, and we have had one person state that their lovebird has lived for 25 years.

The different species of lovebird are identifiable by their colors and markings. They vary greatly in their coloring, and each species can be viewed for their unique combinations. Younger birds are duller in color and they have black in their beaks. The young birds coloring intensifies as they reach maturity. Regardless of the species, mature lovebirds are gorgeous parrots!

These petite 'pocket parrots' are very intriguing! Though lovebirds are not going to learn a lot of tricks or necessarily want to have a lot of handling, they are very flamboyant, very social with both their keepers and their mate, and are wonderful birds to observe and enjoy.

Lovebirds are very suited to captivity. Not only do they have a good disposition, these charming, brilliantly colored little pets are very hardy and easy to care for. They can also provide you with a successful breeding experience.
Their voice apparatus allows a wide range of articulations, including the imitation of the human voice. Although they are not known to be great talkers; and most never learn to talk at all. Eight of the nine lovebird species come from Africa, the remaining one from Madagascar.
Lovebirds are very vocal birds, making loud, high-pitched noises. Some make noise all day, especially during the first morning hours.

Lovebirds have the fun personality of parrots while being manageable due to their small size. They are true clowns, playing for hours at a time. They love hanging from their toys, riding on your shoulder and playing with your necklaces.
Lovebirds have the potential to make great pets for those who have the patience and time required of any parrot species. Because of their inclination to bond, they can form great long-term relationships with people. Lovebirds are healthier and more energetic than some other parrot species.
Provided with space, toys, and love, lovebirds can become cherished companions. They love to snuggle and often preen their favorite people. An important tip for lovebird owners is to regulate the amount of time spent with them. If you devote hours per day to your lovebird for several weeks because it's new and exciting and then cannot for some reason you can end up with a very temperamental lovebird on your hands.

Lovebirds require a variety of food, such as pellets, fruits, and vegetables. As a regular food, pellets are recommended, as the millet food generally sold in pet stores has too much fat in it and is not a significant source of nutrition. Pellets specially made for birds provide a well-balanced diet. Fresh greens are also extremely beneficial if not essential.

Lovebirds, like all birds, are very adapt at concealing their illness. This is a self-preservation mechanism, as the sick and the weak are the ones predators will focus on. By the time your lovebird looks ill, you can assume that your pet is seriously sick and is likely to deterioriate quickly unless appropriate treatment is provided.
By observing your lovebird daily you will learn its normal behavior and you will be able to notice anything out of the ordinary. Below is a list of things to look out for as possible indicators of disease / illness; and a vet may need to be consulted.

Lovebirds love making nd courtship begins when the male feeds the female. Then mating will happen which may be lengthy and repeated several times a day for several days. The male climbs onto the females back, often holding on to her flight feathers for a good grip.

Male lovebirds have no external sex organs, but they do have two testes. In the breeding season, the male's testes grow hundreds of times bigger. The female bird's ovaries also grow larger.
The male keeps sperm in their cloaca (the exit hole for most body fluids) and gives it to the female by pressing their cloaca together. This is how the eggs are fertilized.
Next the nest area is selected and nest materials are brought to it. The female can become very protective of this area. Eggs can be laid as early as 3 to 5 days after mating.

Lovebirds are also very active, and love to chew things. When they are let out of their cage, it is wise to watch them carefully and protect any furniture, electrical wiring or anything else that they could possibly chew on. Also they are known to learn how to open their cages and get out on their own and roam about then go back into their cages.
Lovebirds are all of the genus Agapornis and can produce offspring with other lovebirds within the same genus. The cross-species hybrids are often sterile. It is recommended to only place birds of the same species together, or of the same sex, for the sake of the potentially faulted hybrid offspring.

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