Archive for December, 2008

How do canaries learn to sing?

Canary

Young canaries learn to sing by taking, “Singing Lessons” from older birds.  People keep canaries for their songs, and because they make cheerful pets.

Young canaries are given singing lessons.  People who raise canaries take great care in training them to sing.

The male canary is the best songster.  The young canaries imitate the songs of other birds, so they learn by listening to older birds that sing especially well.  Besides, music is played for them.

Sometimes canaries can even be taught to sing like nightingales by playing those records of nightingale songs.

Canaries are named for the Canary Island, the home of their wild ancestors,  Long ago, when Spanish explorers landed on one of their island homes, they found many wild dogs.

So they named the Island “Canaries,”  which means “isle of Dogs,” and canaries got their name from the Island.  There are still wild canaries on this island.

Wild canaries can sing, but their songs are not nearly as beautiful as those of the tame birds which have been bred for many generations for the quality of their songs. – Dick Rogers

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What is a Marten?

Pole Cat

Marten are slim, weasel-like animals that live in the Northern forests around the world.

Martens are small, weasel-like animals with slender bodies and long, bushy tails.

One of the best-known martens is the American martens, often called the American sable.

The American marten is found only in the denser forests of North America.  It is about the size of the house cat and has soft, golden-brown fur.

Its favorite den is a mosslined hollow, high up in a tree.  But a rock pile or hollow log will often do as well.

This agile animal is an expert tree climber.  It chases squirrels through the treetops, leaping easily from one branch to another.  On the ground, it hunts mice, rabbits and other small animals.

Unfortunately for the little marten it, too, is hunted.  Its rich, lustrous fur is prized for coats, flats, and muffs.

Its chief enemies, besides man, are the horned owl and the lynx.

Because they have become quite rare, martens are protected by law in many of our states. – Dick Rogers

What are aphids?

Aphids

Aphids are tiny soft-bodied insects that such the juices of plants.

During the summer, you may find the stems and leaves of you garden plants crowded with tiny pear-shaped insects called aphids.  Another name for them is “plant lice.”

Aphids are among the most common insect pests of plants.  The aphid lives only to eat.

Its mouth is shaped into a sharp beak with which the insect pierce the plant’s leaf or stem and greedily sucks up the sap.

Aphids multiply so rapidly that hardly a green plant on earth would not be infested by them if the insects weren’t gobbled up in great numbers by such aphid enemies as ladybird beetles and aphid lions.

While aphids are harmful to plans, they are useful to many ants.

Most aphids produce a sweet liquid called honeydew which some ants love to eat.  By gently storing the aphid’s back with its antennae, the ant coaxes the aphid to give off droplets of honeydew, which are lapped up by the ant. Dick Rogers

What is a kinkajou?

Kinkajou

A Kinkajous (pronounced KINK  kuh joo) is a small animal that lives in the forests of Central and South American.

The kinkajou is about the size of a cat and somewhat resembles a monkey.  It has large eyes, soft, woolly, yellowish-brown fur, and a long grasping tail that can be used to hold on to limbs.

The native regard the kinkajou as a kind of monkey, but the paws are paws, not hands, and they are armed with sharp claws, not nails.

Kinkajous spend most of their lives in trees.  They hide in tree during the day and feed at night on fruits, insects, and honey.

When feeding, they call to each other in a shrill scream.  It is so loud that it can be heard nearly a mile away.

A kinkajou litter usually consists of one or two young.  By the time the cubs are seven weeks old they can hang by their tails.

Young kinkajous raised in captivity become very tame and are said to make delightful pets. – Dick Rogers

Why are dalmatians called fire dogs?

Dalmatian

The Dalmatian has been traditionally the pet of firemen, and was once kept as a companion to race alone with the horse-drawn fire engines. 

The Dalmatian is a large, white-spotted dog that looks a pointer.  Dalmatian are popularly known as fire dogs and are often found today as pets of firemen at fire station. 

Another  name for the Dalmatian is the coach dog.  These dogs were once used to run along with horse-drawn coaches to protect them from highwaymen.  At the end of the journey they stood guard over the coach. 

When early-time firemen began  using horses to pull their fire engines, they adopted the Dalmatian as a companion to run along with fire horses. 

Later, when fire engines became motorized, the Dalmatian was still kept as a mascot.  Dalmatian aren’t born with a spots.  Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they are born.  The black or brown spots appear after about three weeks. 

Dalmatian were named for Dalmatia, in Yugoslavia, where they were ones raised as watchdogs. – Dick Rogers

What is a GNU?

Gnu

Gnus are large, ox-like African antelopes.

A gnu (pronounced noo) is a large, ox-like African antelope with high shoulders, a pushy, horse like tail and a long, sad-looking face.  Long, thin legs and a tuft or chin whiskers add to its queer appearance.

There are two kinds of gnus – the silvery-gray brindled gnu and the smaller dark-colored white-tailed gnu.

Brindled gnus are found living on the open grassland of Central Africa.  When frightened, the gnu prances about leaps into the air and kicks its heels, then dashes away with a toss of its head.

Like other antelopes, gnus are fast runner and can run a speed up to 40 miles an hour to escape an enemy.

The white-tailed gnu is nearly extinct.  Once found in vast herds roaming the plains of South Africa, white-tailed gnus today are kept and protected in zoos and in special parks so they won’t disappear from the earth.  Gnus are also known as wildebeests. – Dick Rogers

What does the Sawfish use its saw for?

Sawfish

The sawfish uses its saw like snout mainly to attack other fish to catch its food.

A sawfish looks like a big shark with a long, flat, saw like snout.

The “saw” of an adult sawfish is often 5 feet long, and is armed with sharp feet.  The sawfish uses its saw like snout mainly to catch it’s prey.

To get food, it attacks whole schools of fish, slashing left and right with its fearful weapon as it goes.  It then feasts upon the victims at its leisure.

The sawfish also uses its toothy snout to defend itself against strong enemies.

And the saw can also be used as a shovel for digging up shellfish and other food in the muddy sea bottom.

Because of its wicked snout, the sawfish is one of the most dangerous of all sea fish.  Even very young sawfish are dangerous.

Another interesting fish, also named after its long beak, is the swordfish.  The swordfish used its sword in much the same manner as the sawfish uses it saw. – Dick Rogers