Posts tagged ‘Swamps’

What is the difference between a cougar and a mountain lion?

Couger

The American mountain lion once ranged over much of North and South America, and was given many names.

Mountains lion, cougar, puma, catamount, panther, or painter.  If you have heard of one of these animals, then you know them all, for these are just some of the many names for the same animal – the mountain lion.

The tawny-colored mountain lion once roamed from the forests of Canada to the southern tip of South America.  It lived in mountains, deserts, forests, swamps, and prairies.

In South America, it is called a puma.  “Cougar” comes from the way French-speaking people pronounced the Indian word for mountain lion.

Catamount comes from an old New England expression, “cat-a-mountain.”  And “painter” comes from the way some people pronounced panther.

Mountain Lion

The mountain lion’s “roar” is a wild and tarrying scream.  Mountain lions also “talk” to each other with soft whistle calls.

Because it sometimes kills livestock, many people regard the big cat as an enemy to be destroyed.

In the United States today, the few remaining mountain lions are found only in the wildest areas of the West and in the dense Florida Everglades. – Dick Rogers

How did the alligator get its name?

Alligator

The word “alligator” comes from the early Spanish name “El Lagarto.” Meaning “The Lizard.”

Alligator are large reftiles related to the crocodile.  They resemble lizards in their shape.

The early Spanish explorers, mistaking the reptile for a large lizard called it “el lagarto,” meaning “the lizard.”  The name changed in time to our modern word “alligator.’

The American alligator lives in the swamps, rivers and lakes of the southeastern United States.

The great body, covered with an armor of thick, leathery scales, may grow to be 12 feet or longer and weigh more than 400 pounds.  The huge powerful tail serves to drive the animal through the water.

Alligators are meat eaters.  They eat fish, shakes and turtles, and any other small animal they can catch.  They will even attack dogs or deer that come to the water’s edge to drink.

But unless frightened, even the largest alligator will usually leave people alone. – Dick Rogers

 

What is the largest snake in the world?

Perhaps the largest in the world is the giant anaconda, which lives in tropical South America.  It may grow to be nearly 30 feet long and weigh over 250 pounds.

This giant snake, also called a “water boa,”  lives in swamps and rivers.  It has olive-green skin, often with many black rings or spots.

Anaconda

The anaconda is not poisonous.  It kills small animals for food by constriction.  That is, it squeezes its prey to death by winding its powerful coils tightly around the victim.

It does not have to squeeze hard enough to break the victim’s bones, it squeezes just enough to stop the victim’s breathing.

The anaconda then swallows its prey whole, without chewing.  It can swallow animals much larger than its head because its jaw is hinged so it can be stretched far apart.

The anaconda does not need to eat very often.  It may take several days to digest a large meal. – Dick Rogers

What is a leech?

Leech

Some swamps and ponds contain leeches, worms that can cling to fishes, animals and ever to persons.  Leeches may grow from ½-inch to 4 or more inches long.

Like many worms, they have soft, flat bodies divided into segments.  On the leech’s head is a sucker like mouth equipped with three saw-shaped teeth.  A second sucker is located at the hind end of the leech.

The leech attaches itself to the host by means of its suckers.  Then, with the mouth sucker, it sucks up the blood through three little holes which it makes in the skin with its sharp teeth.

In a single meal a leech may eat three times its own weight in blood.  One meal may fast several months.

Not all leeches suck blood.  Some feed instead on worms and other small animals that live in the water.  During medieval times bloodsucking leeches were used by physicians to draw blood from patients in attempts to cure them. – Dick Rogers