Posts tagged ‘Africa’

What Is A Coelacanth?

Coecalanth

Coecalanth

A coelacanth (pronounced SEE, luh kanth) is a large rare fish from deep in the oceans around Africa.

What makes the coelacanth so unusual is that it is perhaps the world’s most primitive bony fish. It was once thought to have been extinct. But in 1938, a living coelacanth was caught by a fisherman off the east coast of Africa.

Almost unchanged since its origin, this strange-looking fish was bright blue in color. It was five feet long and weighed 125 pounds. It had leglike fins, probably used for crawling about in the sea, and its head was covered with thick scales.

If the fisherman had found a living dinosaur, he would not have attracted more attention in the scientific world.

Scientists  knew the coelacanth only from fossils and had assumed that the prehistoric fish had died out 60-million years ago!

Since the discovery of a live coelacanth, several more of these “living fossils” have been found.Dick Rogers

How did the box turtle get its name?

Box Turtle

                    Box Turtle

The box turtle (a North American land turtle) was so named because it has a hinged bottom shell that allows the shell to be closed into a tight box.  If something frightens the turtle, it pulls its head, legs and tail into the shell and clamps the hinge shut.

This way, very few enemies can get at it.  Box turtles are fond of wild strawberries.  Sometimes they eat so much that they can’t fit all the way back into their shells to avoid enemies.  Box turtles also stuff themselves with mushrooms, insects, earthworms, and almost any other food they can find.–Dick Rogers

Is there a dog that can’t bark?

Tikoy

The breed of dog called the “basenji” (buh SEN jee) does not bark at all.  It is small, with perky ears and the habits of washing itself like a cat.  It is commonly known as the “barkless dog.”  The basenji can make noises, however.  It can snarl, growl, and whine, and when excited, it makes a kind of yodeling sound.

Because it isn’t a noisy dog, the basenji is popular as a house pet.  Basenjis originated in Africa as hunting dogs, where their keen sense of smell, intelligence and silence were useful for tracking prey.  You’ll never catch a basenji “barking up the wrong tree!” – Dick Rogers

Why do we say the stork brings new babies?

The familiar legend that the stork brings new babies arises from the fact that the stork takes loving care of its own young.

When a new baby is born, people sometimes like to say they have had “a visit from the stork.”

The familiar legend that the stork brings new babies from heaven arises from the fact that storks are devoted parents.  They take loving care of their own young.

The only member of the stork family living in North America is the wood ibis, or wood stork, that lives in marshes along the southern coasts of the United States.

Stork

White storks live throughout Europe and Africa.  They are large, white birds with long, red legs and long necks.  They have no voice except for an occasional hiss.

They “speak” to one another by noisily rattling their long, red bills.

These are the storks that like to build large twig nests of chimneys and rooftops.

Many Dutch and German families build stork nests on rooftops and chimneys to attract storks.

A house that storks nest on is considered a lucky house.  Each spring, the birds often return to the same nests to raise their young. – Dick Rogers

What is a lungfish?

Lungfish

Did you ever hear of a fish that could live our of water?  The lungfish can.

As one would guess by its name, the lungfish has a lung, as well as gills, that enables it to live out of the water.  Lungfish live in Africa, South America, and Australia.

The African lungfish is probably the best know it is also called a mudfish.  The African lungfish ahs an eel-shaped body that may grow to be over a foot long.

It lives in swamps and muddy rivers of Africa.  In the summer the streams in which the lungfish lives may dry up for months at a time.

As the dry season nears, the lungfish burrows deep in the mud.  It can spend the whole summer in its cocoon of hardened mud beneath the dried-up stream bed, getting air through a small hole and living on fat stored in its own body.

When  the wet season comes, the water softens the hard mud cocoon and the lugnfish swims about again.

Did you ever hear of a fish that could live our of water?  The lungfish can.

As one would guess by its name, the lungfish has a lung, as well as gills, that enables it to live out of the water.  Lungfish live in Africa, South America, and Australia.

The African lungfish is probably the best know it is also called a mudfish.  The African lungfish ahs an eel-shaped body that may grow to be over a foot long.

It lives in swamps and muddy rivers of Africa.  In the summer the streams in which the lungfish lives may dry up for months at a time.

As the dry season nears, the lungfish burrows deep in the mud.  It can spend the whole summer in its cocoon of hardened mud beneath the dried-up stream bed, getting air through a small hole and living on fat stored in its own body.

When  the wet season comes, the water softens the hard mud cocoon and the lugnfish swims about again. – Dick Rogers

Do hyenas really laugh?

A hyena is a large wild, doglike animal that lives in Africa and Asia.

Hyenas known as spotted hyenas are sometimes called “laughing hyenas” because they make sounds that resemble hysterical human laughter.

Hyena

But the hyena is not really laughing.  The laughing hyena usually makes it weird, laughing howl only when it is frightened or excited.

Hyena have the reputation of being cowardly animals because they prefer to eat meat already killed by other animals.

They often follow lions and eat the leftovers of the larger animals’ meals.  They even eat the leftover bones, crushing them with their strong teeth and powerful jaws.

Hyenas are not particular about what they eat.  They are mostly scavengers and will eat any “garbage”  they happen upon.

For this reason, they are useful as animal “garbage collectors”  and help keep the ground. – Dick Rogers

What is a mongoose?

Mongoose

Mongoose are weasel like creatures found in India, Africa and some other countries.

Only little larger than house cats, mongooses are famous as snake killers, especially of cobras.

In “Rikki-tikki-tavi” Rudyard Kipling tells the story of a little mongoose that kills a king cobra, on of the most poisonous snakes in the world.

Actually, the mongoose only attacks a cobra when it is hungry.  When it gets within striking range, the mongoose bristles out its fur and makes feint, leaping forward and away to provoke the snake into striking.

The mongoose is not immune to the cobra’s poison.  It simply depends on its speed to dodge the cobra’s deadly fangs.

Then, with perfect timing, the mongoose pounces on the snake before it has a chance to strike again and cracks its head with a powerful bite.  Mongoose also catches rats, mice, and other small animals.  – Dick Rogers