Remain Insane

Ramblings of an animal loving, people hating, game enthusing, book nerd :D

15 Useless Animal Facts Pt. 2 :D December 29, 2012

Everyone loves weird/gross/interesting animal facts on a Saturday evening, so here is Part 2 of my list of completely useless animal facts! ūüėÄ

1)¬†Frogs are unable to vomit. Being a reflex to get rid of possibly harmful toxins we have ingested, obviously lacking this mechanism means that if frogs eat something harmful they’ll kick the bucket right? Wrong! Rather than vomiting and bringing all its food back up in that revolting manner, the frog instead throws up its ENTIRE STOMACH, empties the contents of it, and then swallows its stomach back down! Neat huh? ūüėõ

2) Despite the huge difference in length, giraffes and humans have the same number of bones in their neck: seven.

3)¬†Dolphins can’t¬†sleep.¬†For humans, breathing is an unconcious¬†mechanism as we live in the medium that we also happen to breathe, oxygen. For dolphins, living underwater but also needing O2 means that a dolphin is a conscious breather as it has to monitor its O2 intake and regularly come up for air. If a dolphin was to fully drift off into a peaceful slumber like we do it would drown! To solve this problem, a dolphin will take small naps with only one half of its brain at a time while the other half is still awake!

4)¬†Baby Koala’s are not born with the ability to digest eucalyptus leaves. Obviously with eucalyptus being the only thing on the menu for a koala, this presents a bit of¬†a problem! To help the babies digestive system develop the enzymes to overcome the toxins in eucalyptus, the mother feeds her baby a substance called pap…… which is er, well, pre-digested leaves….. yes she feeds her baby her faeces. As a result of this, the baby is able to eat eucalyptus when it is older, but is only able to eat the same types of eucalyptus as its mother did, as its immune system was only able to adapt to the pre-digested leaves it was exposed to in the mum’s poop!

5)¬†A female ferret needs mate after she has gone into heat or she will literally die (because of a hormone imbalance)! While this is legit for the ferret, I wouldn’t put it past some humans to try and see if this excuse works with their partners: ‘Honey, if we don’t have sex right this moment I’m going to die!’ ūüėČ

6) Kangaroo’s can’t fart. The methane that their body produces is converted into an energy source that their body reuses! I wish I could say the same about my cat! ūüėõ

7)¬†Ever wondered how once a bee¬†has found a flower suddenly every other bee in the whole neighbourhood is suddenly at that flower too? When a bee finds something that will be of significance to the hive (new home/food source), it returns to its hive and it…… wait for it……. it dances! But this just isn’t any interpretive dance, this little bee’s ‘waggle dance’ is telling all the other bees EXACTLY where the food source is, from the direction and distance¬†it is in relation to the hive right down to the angle it is at in relation to the sun!! And even when the bee is doing this dance for hours, he changes his dance (its direction and the amount of wiggles he does per cycle)¬†in relation to the¬†sun’s movements so he is still telling the other bees exactly where the item is even though it is a different time of day!

8)¬†Ask anyone and they will tell you that a goldfish only has a memory span of three seconds. Common knowledge right?¬†But is it correct?¬†A 15 year old¬†Australian school boy decided to test this theory by placing a beacon¬†in the water when he was going to feed the goldfish, would wait 30 seconds and then sprinkle the food around the beacon. After 3 weeks, with a beginning time (at one week) of 1 minute to recognise the beacon and a finishing time (at three weeks) of less than 5 seconds after the beacon was placed into the water, the goldfish showed they now had established the food connection to the beacon. The boy¬†then¬†removed the beacon from the feeding process and fed the fish normally for the next week. When reintroduced 7 days later, the fish immediately recognised the beacon and reached it in 4.4 seconds, showing that they remembered it and could retain the information! Turns out goldfish aren’t as dumb as we think they are, and when you think about it are certainly smarter than some humans! ūüėČ

9) In 1740, a cow was found guilty of witchcraft and publicly executed! On another note all our ancestors were obviously also crack addicts ūüėõ

10)¬†You think human’s are evolved? Try this on for size: there is a monkey species where the baby pulls itself out of the womb!!¬†That’s¬†right, none of that horrible pushing and straining that seems characteristic of childbirth, the mother just gives the first initial heave and the baby does the rest of the work! Now THAT is evolution!

11) A dog was the king of Norway for three years! After the King’s son was killed by his subjects, angry, the King¬†gave the people of Norway a choice, to be ruled by his slave or his dog, and they chose the dog! You know a person is a pretty shitty option when a dog beats him in politics! ūüėõ

12) Sand Tiger Sharks are fighting for life from the moment they come into existence, literally! While the mother produces many eggs, she can only give birth to one pup, so once the embryo starts developing it has to begin killing off its brother and sisters while still in the womb in order to survive! Talk about a violent start to life!

13)¬†Never underestimate how dangerous a Rattle Snake can be….. even when its dead!! The instinct to strike at close movement is so hard-wired into a Rattle Snakes muscle reflexes that even with a dead brain an hour after its death it is¬†still capable¬†of killing you!

14) The penalty for killing a cat in ancient Egypt was death!

15) And once again on a more personal note, an animal story that occurred¬†a little closer to home! Karta¬†is an orangutan at Adelaide Zoo, whose enclosure (which I spend way too much time at when I am at the zoo :D) is surrounded by hotwires¬†and high walls. To keepers, Karta¬†never seemed to pay much attention to these things, so it was to their great surprise one day when she jumped ship and got out of her enclosure!! Orangutans are extremely intelligent and are perfectly capable of working through problems, which is just what Karta¬†had been doing in the days leading to her escape. She had previously poked the hotwire¬†with a stick, but on the day of her escape, the smart little cookie twisted the stick through all of the wires causing them to touch one another and short circuited the whole system! Once she had done this, Karta¬†then started ripping up plants and placing them up against the wall to make herself a ladder to get out! And after all that effort, Karta hopped over the wall, saw freedom wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and climbed back into her enclosure! After her little adventure the keepers decided they better have a better look into their animal security systems haha ūüėČ

Until next time lovelies ūüôā

 

Australia – What they didn’t show you in the adverts July 13, 2012

Welcome friends, to Australia! Please take a seat as we give you a brief walk-through of our wonderful country and the sights you will be seeing during your stay! The Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, The Great Ocean Road . . . . . . no doubt these are the things you have been shown in the lovely pretty brochures of our country, but we will not be discussing these things today, oh no, we will be talking about the wildlife! While Kangaroos and Koalas are of course some of our native icons, there are many more . . . . . . interesting beasties that you will no doubt encounter at some point in your wild adventures! So please sit back, relax (paper bags can be located on your left in case of hyperventilation) and enjoy the side-show on the poisonous and dangerous, oh, I mean, the wonderful and fascinating creatures of Australia!

The Little Things

Here in the land down under, we have a range of creepy crawlies roaming completely free throughout our terrain (and houses) for your own personal viewing pleasure! There are thousands of these things all over Australia, so no doubt you will be lucky enough to get up close and personal with some of the following, neat huh?!

The Red-Back Spider

Easily identifiable by the red stripe on its back, the Red-Back Spider is considered one of Australia’s most dangerous¬†spiders! It¬†has¬†a neurotoxic venom that, if injected into a human through a bite, causes severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle spasms for up to 24 hours!

The White-Tailed Spider

Also containing a nifty venom, if this guy bites you, you are most likely to experience nausea, swelling, and receive a whopping big skin lesion, ulcer or blister that could lead to wide-spread skin loss, as the poison in its bite can rapidly kill skin cells!

The Funnel Web Spider

The Funnel Web Spider is one of the three most poisonous spiders in the world! Its acidic venom can cause muscle spasms, elevated heartbeat and respiratory distress, and can kill a person within 15 minutes!

The Huntsman Spider

Ranging from a 20 cent piece to the size of a man’s hand, this whopper is found EVERYWHERE. And when I say everywhere, I mean there is probably about 100 in this room right now, those little buggers just love to get right into all of our buildings and even snuggle up to you while you sleep!

The Bird-Eating Spider

Located in the warmer regions of Queensland, they are recognised as Australia’s largest spider. While their venom does not pose a lethal outcome (at least for humans anyway), these spiders have ridiculously long fangs to match their ridiculously large body, with their chompers sometimes growing up to 9cm!

The Scaley

Like snakes? Wonderful, we have plenty! Australia happens to be the very proud owner of some of the world’s most poisonous reptiles! We also happen to own a very large reptile species that is¬†a direct descendant of the dinosaurs and is completely capable of successfully hunting man!

The Inland Taipan

Ladies and gentleman,¬†I present to you, the most venomous snake in the world!¬†It can kill an adult human in 45 minutes, and one bite contains enough poison to kill 100 people, or 250, 000 mice! Shy but highly intelligent, they are mostly found in our deserts, so watch your step, we don’t want you stepping on our world record holder!

Eastern Brown Snake 

While it is not much to look at, the Eastern Brown Snake of Aus currently holds second place in the world’s most venomous snakes! From the horrified looks on your faces, I can reassure you dear visitors that fortunately these magnificent beasts are found all around our country, so it is complete guarantee that you shall get that close encounter you so dearly desire! Lucky you!

The Saltwater Crocodile

Growing up to 8 metres in length, able to propel themselves¬†half of their own body length out of the water, with a deadly death roll and a snap pressure of¬†15 tonne in its jaws (aka, what it would feel like if you got hit by a truck), the Saltwater Crocodile is one of the world’s most dangerous predators. After thousands of years of hard work, evolution has perfected the crocodile and his hunting abilities, with one of the most admirable aspects being able to find patterns in their chosen preys behaviour to maximise their hunting. Planning on taking a dip in our rivers or ocean? Just make sure you play nice and share, crocs are not only found in rivers, but on beaches all across the top of Australia, happy swimming!

The Sea Dwellers

While crocs can be found in both river and ocean, we certainly can’t let them take centre stage for our sea creatures! Nothing says: ‘I visited Australia!’ like an encounter with and a scar¬†from one of these guys!

Box Jellyfish

We have another record holder folks! Classed as one of the most poisonous animals in the world, the Box Jellyfish is usually mostly transparent, so it’ll sting you before you even know it! Each of its tentacles contain 500, 000 cnidocytes (harpoon-like spikes), each of which can be used to pump venom into its unsuspecting prey…… that is a lot of poisonous spikes!

Blue Ringed Octopus

While only quite small, this little guys poison is strong enough to kill humans. Even better, there is no existing antivenom available to with-hold the poison which is 10, 000 times more toxic than cyanide! You have to rely on your own body to fight it off, lets hope you have a healthy immune system!

Stone Fish

Watch where you step! This fish, known as the most poisonous of its kind, often looks like a mere rock or piece of coral, allowing us unsuspecting humans to step on one of its 13 venomous spikes!

The Great White Shark

While Bondi Beach may look inviting, this is what awaits unsuspecting surfers under the surface! Seeing this large predatory fish with 300 serrated teeth travelling towards you at 24km an hour might seem quite scary, but I swear he is just smiling and wants to give you a grand welcome to his territory!

The slightly fabricated Beasties

While many will try to tell you that these beasts are merely local Australian myths, you never EVER want to underestimate these crafty creatures that are shrouded by an air of mystery!

Bunyip

Found to be lurking in swamps, billabongs, riverbeds and waterholes, the word Bunyip¬†literally translates to ‘devil’. Believed to be an evil spirit working his magic at night, the Bunyip¬†likes to prey on lone¬†campers near the Murray River, often leaving no trace of the unfortunate souls it devours.

Drop Bears

For those seeking an animal with a bit more oomph than¬†wussy¬†and¬†fluffy creatures, look no further than the Drop Bear! A new evolutionary strain of the cute and leaf-eating Koala, this unusually large, vicious and carnivorous animal likes to attack its prey by dropping on their heads from above! If you are a little frightened of these vicious Koala’s, never fear, a fork in your hair and a little Vegemite behind your ear completely deters the creatures from targeting you ūüėČ

So there you have it my lovely visitors! I’ll take it by the shocked looks on your faces you are in complete awe of our creatures and can’t wait to leave the de-brief to begin to come face to face with each and every single one! Now I will just open the door to let you out . . . . . .what’s wrong?¬†What are you all waiting for?! Get out there and explore our wonderful country! No sir, you can not get back on the plane, it is currently under maintenance¬†for the next week, aren’t you lucky you are completely stranded in such a lovely place! Ma’am please, sobbing is really not necessary. You are surrounded by so many¬†interesting animals, why not go and enjoy it! And if you haven’t been to Australia yet to bask in our wildlife: Where the bloody hell are ya?! ūüėČ