Frog Luck, Bringing Changes and Abundance to Life

August 20, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Reptiles

More Good Luck FrogsShelby says her Green Tree Frog, Chucky, is a pretty crazy frog!

When a lucky frog comes into your life that’s a sign of transformation, and it may well spark many wonderful changes!

The frog has been a strong good luck symbol in many cultures all around the world, and throughout history.

Just like people, the frog undergoes incredible changes in its journey to adulthood. It first hatches from an egg into a wiggly fish-like tadpole, then it begins growing arms and legs and its tail recedes. With this curious growth cycle, frogs are seen as a lucky symbol of transformation, fertility, and the awakening of one’s creativity. They also represent save travel, abundance, wealth, prosperity, health and friendship.

Frogs as good-luck symbols

I really like frogs, but when you think about what a frog is… it’s a cold blooded amphibian. It lives mostly in a watery or humid environment, though there are some exceptions in toads, and it can lay a many eggs at one time. Great for reproduction! Thus the frog became a symbol for fertility, and safe travel as well. Here’s some of what’s attributed to the frog as a bearer of good fortune:

  1. Good Luck
    In Japan frogs are a symbol of Good Luck, and the Romans believed that to have a frog would bring good luck into the home. The Irish on the other hand, consider the frog as a close relative of the leprechaun, and thus very capable of playing tricks on you.
  2. Fertility
    The Greeks and Romans both associated frogs with fertility and harmony. To the Egyptians the frog is a symbol of life and fertility, as well as rebirth or resurrection. The frog was a creature born of the annual flooding of the Nile, which in turn made the otherwise barren lands fertile. Thus the frog-goddess of Fertility named Heget (meaning frog), came into their culture and mythology. In the Roman culture, the goddess Venus was also often depicted with a frog.
  3. Abundance
    Partly due to the very large number of eggs that a frog will lay, it became a symbol of abundance as well. For many cultures that depend on rain for rich and bountiful crops the frog is a good luck symbol, a sign of prosperous weather to come. In Native American tradition the frog is often seen as a rain maker. In Australia too, the native Aborigines believed frogs brought the thunder and rain to help plants to grow. To the Vietnamese the toad is the “uncle of the Sky”, and an ancient story tells that it will rain whenever toads grind their teeth.
  4. Wealth
    In ancient China the frog represented the lunar yin and the Frog spirit Ch’ing-Wa Sheng was associated with healing and good fortune in business. Tradition has it that the Chinese god of wealth, the immortal Liu Hai, kept a three-legged toad as a pet. It is a symbol for riches and often pictured with a gold coin in its mouth.
  5. Health
    In Native American culture, the frog is seen as a spirit animal or totem that is strongly associated with the water element and its cleansing attributes. This water connection brings emotions and feminine energies, but also cleanses physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  6. Friendship
    In folklore the first frog of spring is said to bring you many friends if it does a “hop toad” jump in your direction.

Frogs as bad-luck symbols

Although frogs and toads are mostly considered lucky, there are a few examples where they represent bad fortune. One of my favorites is the common old wives tale that says handling a toad will result in getting warts. This is believed to have originated from the toad’s bumpy skin making it appear like it has warts on it.

Bad fortune is depicted in folklore regarding the first frog of spring. “If the first frog that you see in the spring is sitting on dry ground, it signifies that during the same year you will shed as many tears as the frog would require to swim away in.” Further, if that frog leaps into the water you’ll have misfortune fortune all year, or if it leaps away from you, you will lose friends. In ancient China, a frog in a well is symbolic of a person lacking in understanding and vision.

Frogs in Culture

Though frogs are often thought of as a symbol of luck, and mostly good luck though sometimes bad, they are also featured prominently in many cultures. They have been found throughout the ages in myths, folklore, and fairytales and they are still found today. In popular culture frogs and toads have many appearances, but the tendency is to depict them as kind, often handsome and charming, but with an underlying mysteriousness.

  1. Children’s stories
    Some popular stories for children include an early fairy tale, “The Frog Prince,” originally featured in Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics and then later translated into English by Edgar TAylor. Then there’s Mr. Toad from Kenneth Graeme’s “The Wind in the Willows” and Tiddalik the frog, a legend in the mythology of Indigenous Australians.
  2. Television and Movies
    In the television and movie world, Kermit the Frog appeared in 1995 and became the most famous of Jim Henson’s Muppets. He became even more famous in 1979 as the star of “The Muppet Movie”. Looney Tunes Michigan J. Frog first appeared in 1955 in “One Froggy Evening”. Wearing a top hat and carrying a cane, he happily sings ragtime and other tunes.
  3. Commercials
    A highly favored advertisement was the 1995 Budweiser commercial for Super Bowl XXIX, which featured three large, deep-voiced bullfrogs. They toads were sitting on rocks in a stream in front of a tavern, making a chorus of “Bud,” “Weis,” and “Er.”
  4. Music
    In the music world there was Jeremiah, a bullfrog, as the star in the song “Joy to the World,” written by Hoyt Axton and released by Three Dog Night in 1979.

So frogs have long influenced people and there’s the good, and just a touch of bad, in the world of frog luck. Beyond the joy of keeping frogs as pets, they could very well bring changes and abundance into your life!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Parrot Cuisine, Food Facts Debunking the Fluff

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Birds

More about Hemingway and Calico MacawsCalico Macaw, Hemingway enjoying a nut! Photo courtesy Linda Poole

Fads and ideas about parrot nutrition and diet have come and gone, but modern avian nutritional research has helped to hone the best parrot cuisine known today!

A healthy parrot is a happy bird. It is interested in life, active and long-lived, but all that is dependent on a well balanced nutritional diet.

The best reward for large parrot owners is a bird that is a joy to be around. A happy parrot looks forward to interacting with you and being part of the family. They love the household routine and many also enjoy learning tricks and talking. Like all of us they love to live a good life, happy and contented with good health and glossy feathers.

Without well balanced nutrition however, a parrot’s good health will gradually decline and it simply will not enjoy a good life. It will gradually become susceptible to disease and illness and its total lifespan will shorten. Even worse, it will start becoming moody and temperamental. It will not want to participate with you or in the family’s activities because it simply won’t feel good or be energized.

It’s absolutely amazing what is found in a parrot’s diet. In the wild parrots will spend about 80% of their time foraging for food items. Although there are some variations from one species to the next, they have a huge variety of natural foods. They are known to eat everything from seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, flowers, nectar, roots, leaf buds and vegetable matter, to grains, palm nuts, corn and other cultivated crops, cultivated fruits, and even insects and their larvae.

Many parrots feed primarily from the tree tops while others feed mostly from lower lying bushes, and some parrots will also forage from the ground. There are many ways to provide optimal nutrition while also accommodating their innate feeding styles, natural behaviors and activities.

As parrots have become more popular as pets, research has made great advances in the knowledge of avian medicine and nutrition. In the early years, most parrots sold as pets were wild imported birds that had to be tamed, and the new owners would by “parrot food” to feed them, which was basically a dried seed diet. But it hasn’t taken long for people to realize that birds need much more, and that those from different areas had different dietary requirements.

Long gone are the days when a companion parrot’s diet was simply made up of a dried seed mix and maybe a nut, carrot, or a piece of fruit thrown in. Today so much more is known about their activities and what they eat in the wild, that it’s almost like a food frenzy going on.

Today parrot owners are having a lot more fun feeding their bird companions. Making cool meals and treats is very rewarding and becoming the norm. Chopping fresh salad combinations, sprouting beans and seeds, and cooking bean mixes all lend themselves to creativity and diversity. People are creating casseroles, grain bakes, homemade bird breads, crackers, cookies and more! Beyond providing a varied and nutritional diet, watching your feathered friend do a tail up dive into the foods you offer is wonderfully satisfying.

Types of parrot foods

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits

The perfect parrot diet is still an unknown, especially since it differs somewhat between species. But today it is recognized that vegetables and fruits make up an essential part of a parrots diet. A variety of vegetables will guarantee a balance of essential nutrients, and both fresh and frozen “human” vegetables can work well. Fruits also provide nutrients, but some are high in sugar with less nutritional value.

Fresh foods do tend to spoil quickly. They also loose nutritional value over the time it takes to be shipped and stored before being offered for sale, so get them a fresh as possible. Try sprouting beans or other legumes. Sprouts are one of the best fresh foods you can offer, because they are living plants so are at the peak of their nutrient value

Parrot Seed Mix

Dried Seed Mixes

Almost every parrot species, whether from the arid Australian grasslands or the humid South American rain forests, will eat naturally occurring seeds. This is probably why in early days it was deemed a “no-brainer” to provide seed as a staple food. But like all foods in a parrot’s diet, there are pros and cons.

Dried seed pros:

  • Seeds are a great source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, omega-3 fats and vitamin E. These are necessary nutrients in a parrot’s diet for healthy eyes, skin and feathers. They also help maintain brain function, nourish red blood cells, and fight inflammation.
  • Parrots love them! Parrots have a natural desire to forage, and seeds help satisfy a gathering and hulling behavior.
  • Foraging and hulling seeds is an involving activity, and can provide emotional satisfaction and comfort for the parrot.

Dried seed Cons:

  • The drawback of a seed only diet is that it is not nutritionally complete. Seeds are missing some crucial vitamins like vitamins A and D3, as they are also lacking in necessary minerals like calcium.
  • A seed diet is just too high in fat for the sedentary lifestyles of large companion parrots. It is fine to include the seed mixes in the diet of smaller birds, like parakeets and cockatiels, because there lifestyle is much more active than the larger parrots.
  • Commercial seed is unregulated and the types of seed used in mixes are often not found in the natural diet of a parrot.
  • The quality of commercial seed mixes is dubious, especially by the time it reaches the consumer. It can dry, brittle, and too old to retain nutritional quality.
  • Commercial seed is often highly fortified with vitamins of unknown quality. They may be synthetically manufactured, have little nutritional value, and mostly not absorbable
  • One of the biggest dietary problems with offering seeds is that Parrots like them so much that they will often ignore other offered foods, which leads to deficiencies
Pelleted Parrot Food

Pelleted Food

With the advances in avian nutrition, and the realization that seed wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, all sorts of interesting foods began to be offered. Many were very good and nutritious, but unfortunately parrots, like children, would eat what they liked and ignore the rest, so they still were not necessarily eating a balanced diet. In response researchers developed a formulated pelleted diet. Although containing most of the basic diet requirements, pellets may not be the total diet solution as they have their own drawbacks.

Pelleted diet pros:

  • Pellets contain more nutrients and have a better balance than a seed diet.
  • Parrots can be picky eaters, and pellets eliminate the deficits that result from a parrot’s desire to pick and choose.
  • There is no spoilage or bacterial growth with dry pellets.
  • They are convenient and easy.

Pelleted diet cons:

  • Pelleted diets don’t take into consideration the different requirements for parrots originating from different countries, so are not a total solution to a well balanced diet for all parrots.
  • The heat processing needed to extrude the pellets destroys many of the vitamins, so nutrients (supplements and manufactured vitamins) have to be added after the extrusion process.
  • Different brands of pelleted parrot foods may differ in quality.
  • Parrots are found to get bored with a pelleted diet, even those with dye added for visual stimulation.

Parrot treats and supplemental foods

  • Pasta, cooked grains and legumes
    Cooked whole wheat or vegetable pasta, all sorts of cooked beans, brown rice, and cooked barley are just some nutritious foods that parrots will enjoy. Cooked millet and quinoa are also great. Beans can even be prepared in advance and kept in the freezer to use later.
  • Nuts
    Nuts are a great source of protein and other nutrients, but also add fat to the diet. They are good for macaws to satisfy their chewing instinct and help prevent boredom. They provide the same entertainment for cockatoos and amazons but due to these types of birds needing a lower fat diet, nuts should be offered more sparingly.
  • Table foods
    Pet birds can be offered left over table foods. In general what is good for us is good for them, but with some exceptions. Stay away from avocado as the skin is toxic. Also avoid chocolate and anything with caffeine in it, like coffee, tea, and soda. Any vegetables, fruits, and berries can be offered. You can offer cooked foods too, as well as non-fatty meats like chicken, turkey, and fish. A once-a-week hardboiled egg is fine too.
  • Healthy parrot snacks
    Parrot snacks include commercial treats available at the pet store for parrots, but also all those wonderful concoctions you can make at home. There are all sorts of parrot recopies shared on the internet and fun to make. Homemade birdie breads, bird cookies, crackers and more, as well as commercial treats are nutritious snacks that parrots will delight in.

The key to a balanced parrot diet is variety. Many experts now believe the nutrients available in seeds can be provided through a more balanced diet with fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains.

It is suggested that dried seeds be offered as a treat a few times a week rather than as a daily staple. Pelleted diets may not be the total solution either, even though they are more nutritionally complete than a seed diet. Pellets can make up to about 50% of the parrots diet, with other foods being types that can be varied every day.

The best approach is to offer fresh nutrients daily and something more that the bird will like enough to eat!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Obese Dog? 7 Tips to Loose the Fat

August 14, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

See all types of dogsPhoto Wiki Commons, courtesy Jonasz

Canine Obesity: Tips to Get Your Dog Fit and Trim!

There is sometimes a fine line between spoiling our much-loved family dog and actually contributing to their health problems if they become obese.

Canine obesity is on the rise, and according to the PDSA, as many as 50% of our nation’s dogs could die early as a result of obesity.

Obese dogs have a much higher likelihood of suffering from related medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, as well as putting an extra strain on their immune system and causing high blood pressure.

7 Tips to for a fit and trim dog:

  1. Warning signs
    The overriding message that needs to be considered here for all dog owners, is that a dog that manages to maintain an ideal body weight will, on average, live 15% longer than an overweight dog, and reduce their odds of suffering from diseases too.

    It can sometimes be difficult for a dog owner to accept or even believe that their canine friend is carrying as much as 20lb more than they should be, and the reason for this is primarily that because we have become rather immune to the sight of an overweight or fat dog, we seem not recognise this rather obvious visual warning sign.

  2. Quick test
    Different breeds have different traits and characteristics and in very general terms you would not expect to see a Greyhound carrying as much weight as a Labrador, but whatever breed of dog you have there is a relatively simple quick test that you could carry out to see if your dog is overweight or even obese.

    Run your hands along the side of your dog’s body all the way from the head to the tail and check if you can feel their ribs. You should be able to just feel the ribs in a dog that is carrying a healthy weight and once you have done this, take a look at your dog from the side.

    Most dogs should be able to achieve a relatively tucked-in profile, but if all you see and feel are some rolls of fat and their side profile is more rotund than sleek and slender, there is a good chance that they are carrying more weight than they should be.

  3. Health check
    If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight then it would be a good idea to make an appointment with your vet and get a professional opinion and advice on their current and ideal body weight, so that you know what you have to do to get your dog back into good shape.

    Once they have assessed their current weight and general health, your vet should be able to advise how many calories should be consumed each day in order to reach an ideal body weight.

  4. Feeding for health
    Dogs can have a tendency to eat when they are bored rather than when they are actually hungry, which is not dissimilar to the way some of us tend to behave, either.

    The best way to tackle their eating routine is to avoid giving them free choice and making food constantly available. Instead, operate portion-control with properly measured portions provided at regular intervals of between two and four times per day. It is important to feed your dog in concurrence with their ideal bodyweight and not their current weight. Feeding them according to their current weight rather than their target weight will result in continued weight gains, so be sure to take this into consideration as part of your efforts to get your do back into shape.

  5. A Diet for the Modern Dog
    We are constantly being informed that processed food that has a high sugar content and contains artificial preservatives and flavourings is bad for us. You should apply the same and caution and logic when it comes to following a diet that meets their needs but heeds our current understanding of what is considered bad food.

    Feeding your dog the right level of nutrients and helping them to overcome or avoid allergies is not as complicated as it may seem. Dogs have the metabolism to cope with raw meat and bacteria which humans do not, but they also have their list of bad foods which are chocolates and raisins or grapes, all of which are highly toxic to their system.

    If you aim to take the same level of dietary care that you would for yourself and introduce healthier and fresh ingredients like lean meat and a selection of fruit and vegetables in their bowl, this will help them to be leaner and fitter. It will also be much more beneficial to their long-term weight and health than relying on processed canned food all the time.

  6. Exercise
    As we all know, diet is one way to get rid of those extra pounds but exercise is just as important if your dog is going to be able to return to their ideal bodyweight as efficiently and healthily as possible.

    Regular walks and exercise are a key part of keeping a dog fit, healthy and happy. There is a growing trend amongst some dog owners to regard a walk with their dog as a bit of a treat on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    Even if a dog has access to a reasonably large garden, they are much more likely to develop sedentary tendencies unless they get the stimulation of regular exercise with their owner. Injury and obesity are definitely risk factors if the exercise is sporadic and features only occasional bursts of running.

    It is also a chance for the owner to enjoy some fresh air and get a bit of healthy exercise, so do try and work a daily walk with your dog into your timetable.

  7. Treatments to consider

    There is also a growing trend in the use of canine hydrotherapy pools for getting overweight dogs back into shape and improving their overall heath profile.

    Hydrotherapy for dogs can be an ideal solution as swimming and exercising in a hydro pool designed for canine use offers the opportunity for non-load bearing exercise, which is particularly helpful for dogs who want to avoid strain being placed on injured or recovering joints and muscles, but need the exercise to control their weight.

    Many dogs derive a great deal of pleasure from their visit to the pool and ball exercises make it a fun activity that many enjoy, especially as even nervous dogs are catered for with flotation devices if they are unsure about the water at first.

Canine obesity is a growing trend, so make sure that your dog does not become another statistic by employing a healthy eating and exercise routine.

Jack Wilkes is a canine hydrotherapist with a passion for all animals. When not seeing patients or walking his own dogs, he enjoys writing about basic pet health concerns and training challenges. Connect with DoggySwim on Facebook or Google+.

18 Choice Shark Week Aquariums

August 11, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Aquariums, Saltwater Fish

Sharks, Denizens of the Deep

Sharks are a fascinating subject to provoke public interest and excitement, and Shark week is one of the most alluring events of the year!

Shark Week initially debuted 27 years ago on the Discovery Channel. Though not stamped with official recognition, this event is once again making its annual stir. First aired on July 17, 1988, this is the longest running cable television programming in history and is broadcast in more than 70 countries.

Featuring sharks as the most feared creatures of the sea, the Discovery Channel series was developed to raise awareness and educate viewers. This week’s annual presentations began yesterday featuring, what else, but the sensational and “deadly” Great White Shark. Additional episodes are scheduled daily through Saturday August 16th. At least one episode will also feature another thrilling behemoth, the Hammerhead Shark.

Sharks do not have an actual day, week, month, or year dedicated to them, at least not yet. In contrast it’s amazing how many dates are designated for all sorts of other creatures. There are International Polar Bear and Tiger Days; World Cat, Elephant, Turtle, and even Mosquito Days; National Dog and Honey Bee Days, and how about a Rabbit awareness week. But thanks to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, these incredible animals are annually brought to the forefront of our attention.

To step up the shark game, many public aquariums are participating this week to feature dozens of different types of shark species. Attractions include everything from live shark aquarium exhibits, expert shows and a variety of presentations, and live touch tanks to overnight adventures sleeping under massive shark aquariums. There are some that feature indoor shark exhibits with photography, art, films and 4-D movies. Some of the aquarium exhibits will feature keepers diving with sharks and some offer shark dives for visitors, some offer behind the scenes tours, and some allow guests to feed the sharks.

Take your shark experience to a more personal, interactive level with a visit to a public aquarium.

Here’s a list of 18 aquariums across the United States that are offering live “Shark Week” experiences, starting with the coastal to interior western hemisphere, then the coastal to interior eastern hemisphere:

  1. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, OR
    Featuring the “Passages of the Deep” exhibit, a series of underwater walkways, the “Open Sea” is the longest tunnel, representing the world’s largest environment. This area is alive with five species of shark including their largest specimen, the Broadnose Sevengill Shark along with Leopard, Soupfin and other sharks.
  2. Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco Bay’s Aquarium features Sevengill Sharks viewed through the “offshore tunnel” and touch pools where you can gently touch Leopard Sharks.
  3. Sea Life Aquarium, Carlsbad, CA
    Featuring the “the Lost City of Atlantis” exhibit, a 200,000 gallon ocean display with a 35-foot-long ocean tunnel, that display features more than 50 sharks including Zebra Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, White Spotted Bamboo Sharks and Port Jackson Sharks.
  4. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, Draper, UT
    This aquarium features 7 different species of sharks including Brown Banded Bamboo Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, and Zebra Sharks.
  5. Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium, Las Vegas, NV
    Features a 1.3 million gallon shipwreck exhibit where visitors experience an almost 360-degree view, teeming with sharks and fish, through an acrylic tunnel. It houses 15 species of sharks including Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Bonnethead Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Zebra Sharks, White Spotted Bamboo Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks and Lemon Sharks.
  6. Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, Riverhead, NY
    This aquarium features a 120,000-gallon “Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit” where you can experience a Shark Dive. They put you inside a cage right in the middle of circling sharks and an array of fish.
  7. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA
    Features the “Water’s Edge Tunnel” where keepers will dive each day during Shark Week with Sand Tiger Sharks while visitors watch from beneath.
  8. Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ
    This aquarium has the largest collection of shark species on the East Coast with 2 awesome exhibits. It features the “Ocean Realm” exhibit with 760,000 gallons of seawater with massive sea turtles, stingrays and a diverse collection of sharks including the Blacknose Shark, Blacktip Shark, Silky Shark, and Zebra Shark (nicknamed “Leopard” Shark due its juvenile stripes). It also has the rare and mysterious Great Hammerhead Shark, the largest of all the Hammerhead species. In fact, this facility is currently the only aquarium in the country to exhibit them!
    The “Shark Realm” exhibit has 550,000-gallons of water with a floor-to-ceiling “Shark Den” viewing window and a 40-foot underwater tunnel with over 25 sharks including Sand Tiger Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Nurse Sharks and more.
  9. National Aquarium, Baltimore MD
    Features the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, with Blacktip Reef Sharks of course!
  10. North Carolina Aquariums
    North Carolina Aquarium, Pine Knoll Shores, NC
    Features 4 species of sharks commonly found native waters including: Sand Tigers, Bonnetheads, Nurse Sharks and Sandbar Sharks.
    North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, NC
    Here you can dive in the 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” exhibit with Sand Tiger, Sandbar and Nurse Sharks.
  11. South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, SC
    This aquarium has an impressive two-story 385,000-gallon “Great Ocean Tank” exhibit with sharks and a 220-pound Loggerhead Sea Turtle. They feature a dive show about sharks and you can take pictures at the aquarium’s shark cage.
  12. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta GA
    You can walk through an acrylic tunnel or stand in front of a gigantic acrylic viewing window of the “Ocean Voyager” exhibit. This is a 6.3 million gallon exhibit with 4 Whale Sharks. These are the largest fish species in the world and this exhibit was specially designed to house these huge sharks.
  13. Ripley’s Aquarium, Myrtle Beach, FL
    Featuring the “Dangerous Reef” exhibit with a moving 340-foot long glide path that winds through an acrylic tunnel where you can see Sandtiger, Sandbar, and Nurse Sharks.
  14. Florida Aquarium, Tampa, FL
    Their largest tank is the “Coral Reef Exhibit” teeming with massive sharks, moray eels, barracuda, a green sea turtle and more. Sharks include the Nurse Shark, Tasselled Wobbegong Shark, Salmon Shark, Thresher Shark, Gulper Shark, Goblin Shark, Bonnethead Shark, Sandtiger Shark, Sandbar Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, and White-spotted Bamboo Shark.
  15. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
    This aquarium features 2 exhibits with sharks. The “Caribbean Reef” exhibit has a small shark or two but it’s the “Wild Reef” that is home to most of their sharks, stingrays and live coral.
  16. Newport Aquarium, Newport, KY
    This aquarium features over 15 species of sharks from oceans around the world, including Sand Tigers, Sand Bars, Black-tips and White-tips.
  17. Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN
    The “Secret Reef” exhibit features 10-foot Sand Tiger Sharks and sleek Sandbar Sharks.
  18. Oklahoma Aquarium, Jenks, OK
    Features the “Ray & Robin Siegfried Families Shark Adventure” where a walk-through tunnel and dome allow you to see the Mammoth Lemon, Sand Tiger and Nurse Sharks, and the biggest Bull Sharks in captivity.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

World Cat Day 2014, a Journey Eons in the Making

August 8, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Animal News, Pet Cats

See all types of catsAnimal-World Celebrates World Cat Day 2014!

A celebration of cats is what, World Cat Day August 8, 2014 is all about.

We humans are simply enamored with cats and have been for thousands of years!

Today we honor our wonderful feline friends with a World Cat Day, yet their recognition spans thousands of years. Around 7000 to 5000 B.C. a few small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements in northern Africa. It was with these small creatures that the process of domestic cat breeds began, resulting in some of the most intriguing types of cats seen today.

People often talk about owning a cat, but in reality I think cats own their humans. I’ve had cats throughout my life. Many were adopted mixed cats and some were breeds, but others simply showed up on my doorstep, fully expecting to come in and make themselves at home. Some cats will hang out with you constantly and even come when you call, while others will simply seem to ignore you, until its feeding time.

Cats of all kinds, whether a breed or not, are simply adorable, sporting many shapes, sizes, colors, and “flavors” of personality. These little felines can be beautiful and exotic with fur that is solid or multi colored, fluffy or smooth. An affectionate feline may sit on your lap or simply enjoy your company. An occasional petting as often it’s perfect reward. Others may be aloof and independent, clumsy or smart (or both!), and even a little sassy or evil.

Although all cats are, well cats, there are definite differences in cat breeds. Each breed has a unique set of qualities. Breeds can range from easy to more difficulty in handling, with personalities ranging from gentle and cuddly to aloof or reserved, and wanting less handling. In body form, they can be slender to cobby or robust, as well as combinations. Cat breeds can also be described by their color coat markings or patterning. When looking at their fur, you would think a long haired cat would shed more than a short haired cat, but that too is breed dependent rather than the length of the fur.

Finding a cat that best suits you, you can start by looking at breeds with the personality and behavior traits that you desire. These breed traits will also carry over in mixed cats.

Here’s a short cat breed guide:

  1. Undemanding Cats:
    These types of cats can be described as quiet “lap cats” include the Birman, Bombay, Chartreux, Havana Brown, Nebelung, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, and Selkirk Rex.
  2. Easy going, friendly cats:
    These are cat breeds that are good with children such as the American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Snowshoe, and Turkish Van.
  3. Active cats, people oriented:
    These cats love attention but can demanding, and include breeds like the American Curl, Balinese, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Javanese, Korat, Siamese, and Singapura.
  4. Active and athletic cats:
    These are energetic cats such as the Abyssinian, Bengal, Ocicat, and Somali.
  5. Grooming Intensive cats:
    These are long haired cats that will shed a lot, such as the Himalayan, Persian, and Turkish Angora.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Amazing Facts About Bengal Tigers

Bengal Tiger, Panthera tigris. See more interesting animalsBengal Tiger Panthera tigris, Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy John and Karen Hollingsworth, Fish & Wildlife Service Licensed under Public Domain

Some startling facts about tigers which will make you awestruck!

A little bit of fright, enough of a thrill, and the heights of imagination – all these work together during your Bengal Tiger sighting trip.

Voted as the world’s favorite animal, this tiger is the most varied cat on earth, and has many unique features and interesting compulsions. Less social, comfort loving and crepuscular, these wild carnivores have always been the center of attraction during all adventurous wildlife tours.

Let’s explore the twisting facts about this exclusive creature which will make you stunned.

  • Night vision of the tiger is approximately six times better than humans,
  • To mark their territories, they scratch trees and use their urine.
  • Unlike other members of the cat family tigers are good swimmers and can go easily inside water for cooling themselves and in the pursuit of prey.
  • A tiger’s brain may weigh over 300g which is believed to be the largest among carnivores after the polar bears.
  • Just like human fingerprints, the stripes on each tiger are unique.
  • For trapping their prey, tigers are often found imitating the sound of other animals. Bears constitute a major part of the tigers’ diet as very often their habitats overlap.
  • There are very small numbers of tigers who develop a taste for human flesh.
  • Tigers’ saliva contains antiseptic elements. That is why they lick their wounds to disinfect them.
  • Tigresses become fertile for only four to five days in the entire year.
  • Tigers can guess the gender, age and reproductive status of other tigers smelling their urine markings.
  • Tigers do not normally roar at other animals. Actually they roar to communicate with far-off tigers. Therefore, a tiger in attacking moded might hiss and fluff instead of roaring.
  • Unless a tiger feels threatened it does not attack humans as prey.
  • Tigers are territorial and love to live solitary lives except when mating. Each tiger has a specific territory and the area of a male overlaps with many other females.
  • Just like the young ones of the domestic cat, tigers are also completely blind for the first week of their life.
  • It takes 30-40 days for a human to die of starvation whereas a tiger will die within two or three weeks.
  • Tigers have a better memory than any other animals including humans. They have a hundred times better memory than dogs and dozens of times better memory than primates.
  • Tigers can run at a speed of approximately 60km/h for short distances.
  • Tigers are conscious about the rights of females and kids. That is why when several tigers assemble around a kill, they wait for the females and kids to eat first. Whereas, it is just the opposite in the case of lions.

A majestic creation of nature, India’s national animal the tiger, was brought to the verge of extinction due to the illegal human interference on their habitat. But the preventive steps taken by the Government of India, especially the Save Tiger Project has shown its colors. Today a total of 3200 tigers are found across the world out of which 1706 tigers are found in India with the highest density of tigers in Bandhavgarh National Park. To make India richer in the number of its tiger population, some popular national parks like Ranthambore, Corbett, Pench, Tadoba, Sundarban and Periyar also contributed significantly.

Anshul Srivastava is a wildlife enthusiast, who loves to wander around different wildlife destinations of India. At the same time, he has gotten a command over writing and thus, he pens down and shares his experience with the world.

Horse Care, Alternative Therapies

June 16, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Horse Care for a healthy equineCaring for horses has come a long way!
World War I poster in the Library of Congress.
Photo Wikimedia Commons, Courtesy chreck, Horst, 1885, Public domain

Alternative Therapies: Good for You, Great for Your Horse!

There is little doubt that alternative therapies are on-trend and what these can do for human health has also opened up a wealth of possibilities and opportunities to provide equine alternative therapies in the form of acupuncture, Rolfing, herbal remedies and homeopathic solutions, amongst an ever-widening range of options.

Here is a look at some of the alternative therapies that you may want to consider for your horse and remember to take proper veterinary advice, especially when you consider that many of these treatments are designed to complement veterinary care rather than replace it entirely.

Acupuncture

The Chinese have been practicing acupuncture on humans and horses for thousands of years and the premise is that by stimulating specific points on the body, you can generate beneficial effects by tapping into the currents of energy that flow through the body pathways that are called meridians.

The conventional Western view of this alternative therapy is that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and causes the release of body chemicals including endorphins, which help to ease pain, improve circulation and promote the reduction of muscle spasms.

It should always be remembered that if your horse is sick or badly injured then your medical priority is to seek veterinary help first and foremost, but treatment using acupuncture may well produce some noticeable improvements in the recovery process and ease the level of pain being felt.

Look to see if there is a noticeable improvement in the horse’s condition after about four sessions of acupuncture and review your position at this point to see whether you want to continue with this particular alternative therapy or look at other options if you are not noticing any benefits.

Rolfing

If you are not familiar with Rolfing, it can also be referred to as structural integration and is in many ways, a fusion of massage and chiropractic methods which is performed by a certified Rolfer and licensed equine massage therapist.

The process involves manual manipulation of soft tissue with the aim of seeking to rebalance the horse’s structure, working with the tissues that pull on bones and joints, which is where the focus is different from a Chiropractic approach.

Rolfing was a method developed for people about 50 years ago and works on the theory that the body compensates for tension and injuries in a way that pulls the natural physical structure out of line, and using various parts of their hand and even their elbows, the Rolfer aims to free the connective tissue and allow the body to align.

You can actually see physical signs of the horse responding to this treatment as they may chew, yawn, shake their head or jiggle around during the session, which are all positive signs of tension release. Between three and five sessions of Rolfing should be sufficient in order to address most issues and if you are unsure, perhaps ask the practitioner whether you can watch a session before booking treatment for your horse.

Alternative medicine

The key to using alternative medicine in addition to things like Natural Horse Supplements is to consider the health of the animal in its entirety rather than focusing attention on one specific area such as an injured limb.

Alternative medicine is a wide-ranging term that describes holistic practices that rely on medications and the use of syringes and will involve treatments using chiropractic methods, acupuncture, herbalism and homeopathy amongst various different modes of treatment.

A common issue with horses is lameness and this condition is a good example of how alternative medicine can be used to help the animal back to a full recovery in a more natural way. There are many different facets of lameness and it can often have a domino effect in triggering other ailments as a result of the original problem causing pain and discomfort. For example, if a horse is found to have arthritis in the hock, this will cause a change in movement that then becomes muscle soreness in the lower back, which in turn can cause the horse to shift its weight unnaturally which will further compound the injuries that they are suffering from.

Many of the horse owners and practitioners who advocate the use of alternative medicine and view a holistic approach to healing in a positive way, also understand and adopt the principle that conventional medicine or alternative medicine could fix the problem eventually on their own, but when the two forces are combined, this makes for a potentially powerful force that can help your horse quickly and efficiently return to full health.

Contributing author Misty Easley is a highly experienced veterinarian. When not treating her patients, she spends her time researching emerging research and trends in the vet medicine.

Red-tailed Catfish, gorgeous and enormous on Animal-World

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Aquariums, Freshwater fish

Red-tailed Catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

The Red-tailed Catfish is unmistakable with its red tail, long whiskers, and monster fish size!

A fascinating fish that’s enormous in size, the Red-tailed Catfish will surely catch your eye… and its awesome good looks will keep you coming back!

In perfect harmony, its bright white sides topped with a dark spotted gray back contrast nicely with its bright red tail. Adding to its charm is a huge mouth with long trailing whiskers. This is probably one of the most outstanding catfish ever seen.

The Redtail Catfish is a predator that silently dwells at the bottom of deep river pools. It is slow moving, but it uses this as a stealth tactic along with a well-developed chemosensory ability, to capture unsuspecting prey. Yet despite its size and huge shovel-like mouth, it is a very peaceful fish in the aquarium. Peaceful that is, if you don’t fit in its mouth! It gets along quite fine with tank-mates that are similar in size and demeanor, just the little guys are at risk.

Despite its good looks it is a huge fish. It will normally reach up to about 4 1/2 feet, but in the wild it is documented at almost 6 feet in length. Its size makes its a favorite game fish, and angler’s love it. But for the aquarist, well it is simply too big for the home aquarium. This monster fish is best enjoyed at a public aquarium unless you can provide a tank of 1000 gallons or more and lots of food for the next 20 years!

Learn more about this outstanding catfish on Animal-World.com. Pictures and information for the Red-tailed Catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, along with it habitat, behaviors, and aquarium care!

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Celebrate World Oceans Day 2014!

Join in celebration of the World Oceans Day 2014 this Sunday, June 8th!

Did you know that 71% of our beautiful earth is covered by ocean? We human land dwelling creatures only live on 29% of the earth while the oceans cover almost 3/4 of the planet. Yet almost 95% of the world’s oceans are still unexplored.

This vast watery world is teeming with life and is vital to the health and well being of the earth. The oceans play a role in many of the earth’s systems including regulating our climate and weather, generating most of the oxygen we breathe, and cleaning the water we drink. They also help feed us and offer a plethora of potential medicines.

See interesting Ocean animalsAnimal-World Celebrates World Oceans Day 2014!

Join us in celebrating the oceans, they are beautiful to behold and provide us with unlimited inspiration. And they also offer us opportunities for a better world. According to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US Department of Commerce, one out of every six jobs in the United states is marine-related.

Here’s a few ways you can participate:

  1. The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network have created a site dedicated to World Oceans Day. They have a list of more than 600 events being held worldwide.
  2. The World Oceans Day website also encourages support through donations or with the purchase of a t-shirt or bracelet commemorating this day.
  3. Better yet, people are encouraged to spread the word by creating a “selfie for the sea!” It’s easy to participate, simply take a photo of your self doing something for the ocean, or making a promise to help the ocean. Then share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites and tag it #WorldOceansDay.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Nano Tank Stocking Guide for Reef, Saltwater and Freshwater Aquariums

Find live fish, plants and corals

Fish Selection Guide for Nano Tanks

10+ general rules for stocking the nano aquarium. For the best success, follow these suggestions when you are selecting fish for the nano aquarium, whether you plan on keeping a freshwater, saltwater, or a mini-reef tank.

Considering the nano tank’s small size, the first and most important rule when stocking your tank, is to avoid overpopulation. This rule refers not only to the number of fish you put in your tank but also the other life forms that are present. These include invertebrates like worms, clams, snails; echinoderms such as a starfish, sea urchin, or sea cucumber; crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and shrimp; other bottom feeders and even corals.

Here are some general rules on stocking your nano tank:

  1. Avoid putting in schooling fish since most species will not allow other fish species in the nano aquarium. There are also fish species that should be housed as the only fish in a nano tank. These include dottybacks, angelfishes, and hawkfishes.
  2. In nano reeftanks smaller than 20 gallons, it is not recommended to add even one Clownfish, not even a small one since it can grow big. Clownfish are territorial and will want to own the entire tank and will chase away and/or bully other fish species in the tank.
  3. Choose fish species that are not jumpers. Fish belong inside the tank and not on your floor. If you do select a “jumper”, make sure to put a tight-fitting cover over your tank to prevent your fish from jumping out.
  4. Know what your fish feeds on. You might end up placing a fish in your nano tank that feed on shrimp, snails, and other tank inhabitants. There are also herbivorous fish that thrive well on a bit of microalgae and broccoli, as well as frozen or flake fish food that contain spirulina. Knowing what their feeding habits are can ensure that you are able to meet their nutritional needs.
  5. Don’t mix fish of different behaviors—aggressive versus smaller and shy ones. The smaller fish species will be outcompeted for food resulting in starvation. Other factors that should also be considered include the adult size and temperament of the fish.
  6. Fish species with similar feeding habits may also cause a problem for each other, as they compete for food.
  7. When buying fish at the local fish store, ask the staff to show you that the fish you are interested in is eating. Find out what type of feed is being given so you can continue the same feeding regimen when you bring the fish home. If the fish is not eating, it is best not to buy it.
  8. When buying fish, observe its overall appearance. Don’t buy fish with a sunken belly since this is an indication that the fish is on a starvation diet. Buy only healthy-looking ones.
  9. For nano reef tanks, avoid buying fish that will nibble or pick at corals. Constant picking may cause injury that can easily get infected, or prevent coral from opening up.
  10. When picking out fish, select based on the display area volume of the tank, not the total tank volume. This is attributed to the fact that the display area of nano tanks holds less water than the total tank since some of the tank water is in the filtration area.
  11. Other equally important factors that you should consider when selecting fish for your nano tank include water quality and habitat selection.

About the author: Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides excellent online aquarium supplies for hobbyists to build their own betta fish tanks,
nano tanks, fish ponds, freshwater shrimp tanks and other DIY aquarium tanks.

Next Page »