Archive for April, 2009

Why do bats fly at night?

Bat

Some birds and many animals, including bats, are adapted for living mostly at night.  Why  are some animals more active at certain times of the night or day?

The answer to this question is usually found in the kind of food the animal likes to eat.

Most bats are insect eaters.  During the day, bats sleep hanging from the ceilings of caves or buildings.

At sunset the bats leave their daytime shelter for a nighttime of hunting insects, which they catch while flying.

Bats have a built-in “radar system” that enables them to chase insects through thick forests on the darkest night without bumping into anything.

While flying, a bat makes a twittering sound that is so high-pitched that a human cannot hear it.

The sound bounce off objects and echo back to the bat’s keen ears.  Bu listening to the echoes, the bat can locate a flying insects and dodge objects in its path on its food seeking travels. – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

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What is a sting ray?

Sting Ray

Sting rays are flat, diamond-shaped fish having long ship like tails armed with poisonous stingers.

Sting rays live  in warm, shallow coastal waters and often lie of the bottom buried in the sand with only their eyes and breathing holes showing.

When swimming, the sting ray looks much like a bat flapping through the water.

The sting ray’s  stinger is really a sharp, bony spine near the base of its tail.

Many bathers have stepped sting ray whips its long tail about and the sharp spine is driven into the victim’s flesh, inflicting a painful wound.

The spine is barbed to that a victim cannot easily yank it loose after being stabbed.

Sting rays love on a diet of crabs, lobsters and other creatures of the bottom of the sea.  They crush their prey with their powerful grinder teeth.

Another name for the sting ray is “stingaree.” – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

What is a conch?

Conch

A conch is a kind of large sea snail with a heavy spiral shell.  The conch (pronounced KONK or KONCH)  is a large sea snail that is especially common along the coasts of Florida and the West Indies.

The spiral shell of an adult conch is sometimes a foot long and may weigh as much as five pounds.

When a person holds a conch shell to his ear he hears a roar like the roar of the sea.

The conch has a strange way of moving about, it has a big claw on his body which it hooks in the sandy bottom, raises its shell up high, and topples forward.  It can also move in a series of leaps to escape an enemy.

Conch shells have many uses.  The beautiful pearly pink timing of conch shells is used to make buttons and for carving cameos.

The shell of conchs known as Triton’s trumpets are sometimes made into horns and the conch’s meaty body is used to make delicious chowders and salads.

The name “conch” comes from a Greek word meaning “shell”. – Dick Rogers

How do flying squirrels fly?

Flying-squirrel

Squirrels don’t have wings, but the flying squirrel seems to fly, though not like a bird.  It just glides from tree to tree in search of food.

The flying squirrel has folds of skin between its front and back feet.

When it leaps into space from a high limb, the flying squirrel spreads its feet wide.

The parachute-like folds of skin connecting its feet stretch out and convert the flying squirrel into a tiny living glider.  It can glide a downward angle as far as 125 feet.

Twisting and banking with the aid of its bushy tail, the flying squirrel guides itself to the trunk of another tree.

The flight ends as the squirrel lands upright on the tree to climb again for the next gliding leap.

Flying squirrels can be found living in the forests of North America, Asia and Europe.

During the day they sleep in nests hidden in tree hollows.  They come out at night to hunt for berries, insects, and nuts.  – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

How did the pack rat get its name?

Pack Rat

A wood rat is popularly called “pack rat”  because of its habit of stealing and “packing off” shiny objects, such as buttons, bottle tops or other bright objects with which to decorate its nest.

Sometimes the rat will trade a pebble or something equally useless it is carrying for a more attractive ring or coin.  For this reason it is also called a “trade rat.”

The wood rat is native to the Western world.  It looks much like the common house rat, but its tall is furry, instead of naked and scaly.  Unlike most rats, the wood rat does not live in sewers and garbage dumps.

It makes its home mostly in wooded country and on rocky hillside and builds its nest in a large heap of twigs.

Its home may tower three to four feet high and resemble a badly-made beaver lodge.  The pack rat goes out only at night to look for berries and other plant food, or any nice, shiny object it can “pack off” to its nest. – Dick Rogers

Why does the dachshund have a long body?

Dachshund

The droopy-eared dachshund (pronounced  DAHKS hoont) is so long and low that it is often jokingly called a sausage dog—half-a-dog high and two dogs long.

The dachshund’s low-slung shape was developed long ago in German for “badger hound.”  Tracking badgers and then wiggling into their dens to draw them out was its business.

A long body and short, sturdy legs, with feet well suited for digging, made the dachshund ideal for this job.  Smaller-sized dachshunds were used for digging rabbits out of their burrows.  The original dachshund from Germany was smooth-haired.

Today, you can see dachshunds with long, silky hair and rough-coated, wire-haired dachshunds, as well as the tiny miniature dachshunds.  The dachshund’s loving nature and shrewd intelligence has made them hang and alert dog a popular pet. – Dick Rogers