Archive for February, 2010

How do camels go so long without water?

The amount of time that camels can go without water depends on several factors, such as the temperature and the food it eats.  The camel traveling across the hot desert can go a week or more without a drink.

The camel needs little drinking water because it conserves what water it gets by holding down perspiration and by drawing moisture from its own body tissue.  Camels are famous for their ability to go long periods without drinking water.

Camel

People once thought that the camel stored water in its hump.  The hump contains fat, not water.  A camel lives on this fat when food is scarce in the desert.

Though camels are supposed to be watered everywhere or tour days in the summer, they have been known to hold on much longer, but in cooler weather, it can go without water for several months.

The camel’s secret is that it conserves water, rather than stores it.  A camel needs little water because it gets moisture from its food.  In addition, a camel does not sweat much as other mammals.

When a camel does drink, it can gulp about 25 gallons (95 liters) of water.  Camel can endure without water because their bodies lose water very slowly.

In emergencies, it can take what water it needs directly from its own body tissues, losing as much as a quarter of its body weight.  By making the best of what water it gets, and by strong fat in its hump a camel can travel hundreds of miles across not dry desert with little food and water. – Dick Rogers

Are cats afraid of water?

Cat

Cats are not afraid of water.  They can even swim when they must.  But most cats do not like baths, or being chilled with water.

A cat spends much time grooming itself, using its rough tongue as a washcloth to “bathe” its body.

The tongue can reach almost everywhere except the head and neck.

The cat licks a paw and washes its face and head with a wet pay.  It is soiled with something that only a bath will clean off.

The cat’s all-purpose tongue also serves as a spoon when drinking milk.  It take four or five laps before swallowing.  Its rough surface helps file bits of meat from bones.  All cats are hunters.

Their sharp claws help them catch rats, mice, gophers and other animals.  A hunter that must get close enough to its prey to pounce on it must be spotlessly clean and have no odor to warm its victim. – Dick Rogers

 

How did the white rhinoceros get its name?

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceroses are large animals that have one or two upright horns above the nose.

African species are popularly known as white rhinoceroses and black rhinoceroses, although neither is white nor black, but almost the same gray color.

The name “white” is a corruption of “wyt,” the Afrikaan word for “wide,” referring to the animal’s wide lips.

Among other differences, the white and black rhinoceroses have differently shaped mouths.

More properly called a “square-lipped” rhinoceros, the white rhino is a grazer.  It mows the grass much like a cow,  seizing the grass with its wide lips and tearing it off.

The black rhino is the one most lip which comes to a point and is sometimes called a “hook-lipped” rhinoceros.

Unlike the white, the black rhino is a browser.  It feeds on vegetation by grasping the leaves and twigs with the flexible upper lip. – Dick Rogers

What is a peccary?

Peccary (pronounced PECK a ree) is a wild animal that looks very much like a small, tailless pig covered with thick, bristly hair and it has a piglike snout.

Peccaries live chiefly in the forests of South America and can be found as far north as southern rooting in the ground for much of their food and eating roots, fruits and worms, as well as insects and poisonous snakes.

Peccary

Peccaries avoid people if left alone.  If cornered, they can fiercely defend themselves with their sharp teeth.  With their keen ears and noses they are difficult for the hunter to find.

When disturbed, peccaries give a barklike alarm call and make a rattling sound by chattering their teeth.

Peccaries can give off a strong, evil-smelling, musky odor when excited.  For this reason, they are sometimes called “musk hogs.”

Peccaries are also known by such other names as “wild hogs” or “javelinas” (HAH vuh LEE nah).  Peccaries raised in captivity make gentle and interesting pets. – Dick Rogers

 

How does a fish swim?

Fish

A fish pushes itself through the water by curving its body from side to side and swishing its powerful tail fin.  The other fins help it to keep its balance and help guide it, and for braking.

Most fish have swim bladders filed with air inside their bodies.  The swim bladder acts as a float so that the fish can lie quietly in the water without rising or sinking.

A fish can control its depth in the water in much the same way a submarine varies its depth.

To go down, a fish lets some of the air out of its swim bladder.  To go up, it forces more air into it.

Fish called “darters” have no swim bladders. They have to flap their chest fins to keep afloat in the water.  Nature has shaped the fish so that it scarcely disturb the water as it swims.

Man, seeing  how easily and swiftly fist cut the water, patterned his boats and submarines after a fish’s streamlined body. – Dick Rogers

What are cowbirds?

A cowbird is a kind of slender blackbird with a brown head.  It lays its eggs in the nest of other birds.

Long ago, the cowbird was really a “buffalo” bird.  It got its food by following herds of buffalo and eating the insects that lived on the buffaloes’ backs or that were kicked up by the feet of the grazing animals.

But the cowbirds could not raise a family and follow the buffaloes that were always moving about in search of new grasslands.

So the cowbirds left its eggs in care of a foster bird.

Cowbird

Then it could fly off and follow the buffaloes while the foster bird hatched and raised both the cowbird’s young and her own.

When the buffalo became scarce, the cowbird began following cows.  That, of course, is how the cowbird got its name.

The cowbird lay its eggs in other birds’ nests while the other birds are away.  The foster parents do not seem to realize that they are raising an outside along with their own babies.

They young cowbirds never see their parents.  But, when grown, they behave like cowbirds, and not like the birds that raised them. – Dick Rogers

 

What is a lynx?

Lynxes are wild members of the cat family.

They can easily be distinguished from the other cats by their stumpy tails, long legs, and long tufts of hair on their pointed ears.

Primarily a forest animal, the North American Lynx Lives mainly in the great Canadian forests from Labrador to Alaska.

Lynx

If you live in the United States south of Canada you may know another kind of lynxes better by the name of “bobcat” or “wildcat.”

Bobcats are found running wild in many parts of the United States and Mexico.  They are smaller than their northern cousins and have shorter ear tuffs.  Bobcats get their name from their “bobbed” tails.

In winter, the big feet of the northern lynx serve as snowshoes, allowing it to run swiftly over the snow.

The rabbits on which the lynx preys try to escape notice by lying perfectly still.  They lynx, unable to tell exactly where the rabbit is, emits a piercing howl.

The timid rabbit, startled by the fearful sound cannot help jumping; thereby disclosing its hiding place to the crafty lynx. – Dick Rogers