An autumn nature hike is enriching and relaxing, but keep in mind… you’re not alone!
August and September are two of the most beautiful months to explore the great outdoors. The weather is perfect and nature during this time of year is awesome.
All is calm and serene with insects buzzing, a bird chirping here and there, and maybe a light breeze or the cheerful sounds of a bubbling stream. What could be more enjoyable?
Yet in this seemingly peaceful environment you must be attentive and prepared for any encounters with wildlife. The great outdoors is the home to many creatures, small and large, and you are traversing their native space. Animals are generally shy and reserved, preferring to go about their business and keep to themselves. But sometimes contact is unavoidable, and this includes running into poisonous (venomous) snakes.
Snakes are very remarkable animals. They have adapted to live on the land in the trees, grasslands, and desert areas and they are also found living in water, including the oceans. They eat meat so will prey on insects, birds, small animals and other reptiles, and sometimes even other snakes.
Being cold-blooded animals they are unable to regulate their own body temperatures, so they are most active when it’s warm and less active as it gets cold. Snakes like to come out when it’s sunny, but not scorching. Sensitive to temperatures exceeding 80 degrees, they are most likely to be seen early in the morning, in the evening, and during the nighttime when it’s warm.
Preventing snake bites
A nice thing to know is that snakes only bite if they are provoked or startled. Most snakes do not act aggressive toward humans without provocation and by simply leaving them alone, you should be okay. Despite a sinister reputation, snakes are almost always more scared of you than you are of them. If you spot a rattlesnake or other venomous snake, you should stop, watch it and let it leave before continuing on.
Avoiding snake bites is not difficult as long as you take precautions. Educate yourself about the types of snakes in your area before venturing out, and then stay aware of your surroundings. Wear the appropriate clothing for outdoor activities too, like long pants and hiking shoes. Although these may not stop every bite they can help deflect a bite.
Venomous snakes have modified salivary glands that they use to inject venom. During a bite the snake passes the venom into a duct into their fangs, and then into its prey. However they can regulate whether or not to release venom, and don’t necessarily inject venom with all bites. A bite without venom is known as a “dry Bite” and will occur between 25-50% of the time. This varies with different species; pit-viper bites will be dry about 25% of the time while coral snakes will be dry up to 50% of the time.
Only a small number of people experience snake bites. On average about 7,000 people in the United States report being bitten by venomous snakes each year. As reported by the Rapid City Journal, the curator of reptiles at Reptile Gardens south of Rapid City, snake expert Terry Phillip says that the No. 1 reason people in this country are bitten by venomous snakes is because they were “trying to catch, kill ‘em or tease ‘em.” Further, of those bitten by venomous snakes, 89 percent are men between the ages of 16 and 30 years.
Phillip further states that if bitten by a venomous snake, make wise choices. None of the common field treatment myths are effective, like the cut-and suck method, tourniquets, nor applying ice or alcohol. He says to remain calm and remove jewelry or anything that will restrict movement from the affected limb, and then seek medical emergency treatment immediately. If you get bit call your local poison control center, then the center will call a hospital in advance for treatment.
Poisonous (venomous) snakes in the United States
There are about 25 species of poisonous (venomous) snakes in North America, with at least one or more species found in each of the 50 states. The most notable venomous snakes in North America are comprised of two groups; the Pit Vipers which include Rattlesnakes, Cottonmouth, and Copperhead snakes, and the Coral Snakes.
The Rattlesnakes are probably the best known venomous snakes, and this pit viper is found all across the United States. They are so named for the “rattle” at the tip of their tail, which when sounding, strikes fear into the heart of the intruder. Their primary method of protection is their camouflage rather than the rattle, so you know they are riled if you hear it sizzling.
There are 32 recognized rattlesnake species in the genus Crotalus, all bearing a large pair of fangs. Though none of these snakes are considered aggressive, if threatened they are known to hold their ground. A few familiar species include:
- Western Diamondback Rattlesnake C. atrox
The Western Diamondback, ranging from California to central Arkansas and south into Mexico, has gained much of its notoriety due to being featured in Western Movies.
- Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake C. adamanteus
The Eastern Diamondback is the largest of the rattlesnake species and is the heaviest, though not the longest, venomous species in the United States. It has large range from North Carolina to Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
- Sidewinder C. cerastes
The Sidewinder is a well known snake from the Midwest deserts where is slithers sideways across the sands leaving a zigzag pattern in its wake. It ranges from Utah and Nevada, then south through Arizona and California and into Mexico and down the Baja.
- Timber Rattlesnake C. horridus
The Timber Rattlesnake C. horridus is an abundant snake, and the most populous of rattlesnake in the northeastern United States. It ranges from the northeast south through Florida and into Minnesota and Texas. It is commonly found on wooded hillsides and rocky outcrops.
The Copperhead Agkistrodon contortrix is also a pit viper with 5 recognized subspecies. It is widespread throughout the Eastern and Southeastern United States. It is responsible for most of the bites from venomous snakes, and although the bites are quite painful they rarely life threatening. Still a victim should still get medical attention.
The Coral Snakes comprise a large group of venomous snakes, and they are not restricted to just the Americas. However the New World has the largest number, with 65 recognized species in 3 genera. These snakes are extremely toxic. Their venom is a powerful neurotoxin that requires prompt snake bite treatment. A bite from one of these fellows will shut down your nervous system and stop your heart.
Coral snakes are identified by the colored bands ringing the entire length of their body and a blunt black snout. The bands alternate in red and black, with a thinner yellow in between. They can easily be confused with the harmless King Snake, as their body colors are similar looking, though the King Snake has a red snout. It is the arrangement and size of the colored bands that distinguish the two. A rhyme that can help distinguish them goes like this, “Red touch yellow, kill a fellow (Deadly Coral snake). Red touch black, friend of Jack (Harmless King snake).” Three species encountered in the United States include:
- Eastern Coral Snake Micrurus fulvius
The Eastern Coral Snake typically ranges from North Carolina through Florida and along Mississippi.
- Texas Coral Snake Micrurus tener
The Texas Coral Snake typically ranges in Texas, but is also found in Arkansas and Louisiana.
- Arizona coral Snake Micruroides euryxanthus
The Arizona coral Snake, also known as the Western Coral Snake, typically ranges in Arizona and south to Sinaloa in western Mexico
The Cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus, also called the “water moccasin,” is another species of pit viper with a serious bite that can be fatal. Although this snake’s aggression is somewhat exaggerated, it is a fast fellow and an occasion male can be aggressive and cranky. It has a thick, heavy body that’s brownish or olive/gray in color and a flat topped head. It is known to stand it ground when annoyed and may gape repeatedly, exposing the cotton-looking lining of its mouth, thus its common name. It ranges across the east, Mideast and southeastern United States.
The beauties of autumn season are yours to fully enjoy when you are aware of the venomous snakes in your area and ready if one should cross your path. Fully prepared, your hiking experience will be fun and relaxing!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.”
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- National Aquarium, Baltimore MD
Features the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, with Blacktip Reef Sharks of course!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN
The “Secret Reef” exhibit features 10-foot Sand Tiger Sharks and sleek Sandbar Sharks.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Active and athletic cats:
These are energetic cats such as the Abyssinian, Bengal, Ocicat, and Somali.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- The World Oceans Day website also encourages support through donations or with the purchase of a t-shirt or bracelet commemorating this day.
- 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.
Tracing the tracks of Snow Leopards in the alpine mountains.
Gorgeous and hushed as snowfall, the Snow Leopard is known all over the globe for its beauty and intangible behavior. The white-gray coat with black spots combines perfectly with the rocky mountains of Central and South Asia.
These wild cats love this kind of natural habitat. It offers them good cover to stay out of sight while hunting. Moreover, they are highly adapted to the harsh and arid climate of the mountains.
Some amazing facts about Snow Leopards:
- Like most wild cats, this magnificent mountain cat hunts at night. The most common creatures killed by these cats are wild goats, deer, pikas, markhor, game birds, rodents and hares.
- The Snow Leopard is scientifically dubbed as Uncia uncia.
- They are found at elevations as high as 9800 feet above sea level.
- These are the most mystical among wild cats. They have a stunning coat with black rosettes that helps them in disguise.
- These cats weigh from 30-55 kg, and the length of the tail measures from 80-135cm.
- They are considered excellent jumpers and bear a resemblance to leopards.
- Their paws are large and covered with fur, which protects them from getting injuries.
- The gestation period of a female is about 90 to 110 days.
- They can live up to 18 years, though some have been known to live up to 21 years.
Why Snow Leopards are endangered
This wild cat’s numbers are gradually declining, with its population in the wild estimated at around 6000. According to the International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural resources they are listed as an endangered species.
There are a number of reasons why they are in danger, but humans are the biggest threat to Snow Leopards. They hunt them for fur, pelt and bones. Many people are found wearing coats and hats made from leopard skin, while on the other hand, the Chinese use their bones in medicines. Not only this, humans also cause immense damage to their habitats and food sources.
When there is no or limited prey left in the wild, they are forced to venture out of their designated habit into human settlements where they start killing and eating the farm animals of villagers, such as goats and sheep. In response the local people kill these straying cats to save their stock.
Cites, another respected organization, puts a lot of effort into discovering creatures that could be in trouble. It protects the endangered species and forbids trade of animal species or their body parts.
Saving them from extinction
The Snow Leopard was first listed as an endangered species in the year 1972 and since then its population has been on the decline. The very old and respected Snow Leopard Trust works exclusively to save the endangered cat and its home. Right now the trust focuses its attempts in countries like Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, China and Mongolia. It raises money through fundraising events, donations and by selling products online, and is maintained by the other organizations.
There are many organizations working together to make important contributions to the conservation of the endangered Snow Leopard. Conservation groups in many countries where these wild cats survive are working with the farmers to help improve the situation and minimize the problem of human-snow leopard conflicts. The herders and farmers have been taught how to protect their livestock areas against these creatures.
Where Snow Leopards Live
One can witness these top predators in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Bhutan. The likelihood of encountering one of these wild cats seems like a fancy dream. Spotting it in its high, overwhelming habitat will be a real reward for anyone.
On a tour to India, don’t miss out on visiting the famous Hemis National Park where snow leopards are found. Some of other renowned national parks are Khunjerab National park, Pakistan; Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal; Katun Nature Reserve, Russia and Sarychat- Ertah State Nature Reserve, Kyrgyzstan.
The existence of this elusive animal is significant as it signifies the health of the surroundings and the preservation of the snow leopard cannot be successful without the help and support of the local people. Make an effort to protect the wild cat, “Uncia uncia“, and its habitat. They need your love!
Contributing author Tanmay Sharma is a wildlife admirer and very passionate about wildlife tourism.
Watch out! Love in the animal world is going around… and it’s catching!
Mild symptoms of contagion might just be a smile on your face, but in worst case scenarios you may experience uncontrollable laughing, or even guffawing. And smiles, too, are contagious to other people!
Being an animal lover, however, is perhaps one of the best epidemics imaginable!
Animals and pets are good for your mind, good for your body, and good for your spirit. Studies have shown that keeping pets relieves depression, improves marriages, and kids with pets tend to function better. Caring for a pet also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improves heart function!
Cuddling releases serotonin and oxytocin, which can help improve our moods and fight depression. Smiling makes us look more attractive, feel younger, and adds years to our lives. It also releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, which all together relieve stress and make us feel good.
The animal world is such an important part of human life! A synergy between people and animals has existed for thousands of years and has been crucial to the development of the human species. Throughout history the interconnection with animal life has helped humans learn and adapt, and become the most dominant life force on planet Earth.
So with all this animal love going around, make way for happiness! Embrace the animal world, get the contagion, and have an awesome life!
Kissing a pig!
Little boy kissing a pig at the Redneck Petting Zoo.
“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill
Kissing Fischer’s Lovebirds
“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” – Alfred A. Montapert
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Peter Bekesi
Kissing a camel!
Man kissing a camel near a Sphinx in Cairo.
Everybody knows how to love a dog… but how about a camel? "It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb, because it is dumb to his dull perceptions." – Mark Twain
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy David Dennis
Kissing Prairie dogs
"All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." – Samuel Butler
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Brocken Inaglory
“When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.” – Marc Bekoff
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Daniel Johnson
Loving a best friend!
Chesney is pushing around his new found kitten friend Joey, who was orphaned at just two-weeks old!
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Photo Via dailymail.co.uk
Loving those less fortunate!
German shepherd named Leo is protecting and guiding a young cavalier King Charles spaniel that is almost completely blind.
"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too." – Samuel Butler
German shepherd named Leo is protecting and guiding a young cavalier King Charles spaniel in England that is almost completely blind. Photo Via pawnation.com
Bug up close and personal!
These two are going at it "eye-to-eye"! Some insects can taste with their feet or legs too!
"Only your true friends will tell you when your face is dirty."
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy OakleyOriginals
Kissing a crocodile!
A Malaysian man kissing a crocodile in a zoo.
"Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened." – Anatole France
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Osm agha
Love = hanging out with friends!
Koko is a 35 year-old lowland gorilla who enjoys a heart-warming relationship with kittens.
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” – George Orwell, Animal Farm
Photo via solarnavigator.net
Kissing and snuggling a cat!
"…loving and caring for my beautiful daughter, Devi."
“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog (or cat!) could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Flower.dicicco
Kissing a Seal!
"Angels walk among us, sometimes they are unseen and have wings, and sometimes they pant and lick our faces." Jonathan Brooks
“You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
Kissing a Seal. Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Topory
A Bubble Eye Goldfish sums it all up…
"Animals never worry about Heaven or Hell, neither do I, maybe that’s why we get along." – Charles Bukowski
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy Angie Torres
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
The instinctive bond of One-Horned Rhinos with Kaziranga National Park.
“The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there’s a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.” – David Attenborough
Rhinoceros, commonly known as rhino, is a name used for the uneven-toed ungulate animal that belongs to the family of Rhinocerotidae. The largest of the rhino species is the one-horned rhino. A single glimpse of this majestic wild animal is enough to enthrall a nature aficionado. The exotic one-horned rhinos are the pride of India and were once present in the entire northern part of the Indian subcontinent. However, the rhino population in the country has been depleted because of the continuous poaching.
Interesting Facts About One-Horned Rhinoceros
One-horned rhinos are herbivorous animals that have a thick skin on their body. There are a good number of one horned rhinos in India owing to extremely effective conservation efforts taken by the authorities. Greater one-horned rhinos are creatures who love solitude. They are principally grazers, with their diet almost completely consisting of grasses and leaves, fruits, tree branches, shrubs, and aquatic plants.
This animal has a great sense of hearing and a wonderful sense of smell. Hence, they can find their companions with no trouble. Rhinos go around in the search of food when the climate is a bit cooler and they avoid the heat of the afternoon. They submerge themselves in water when the temperature is high in order to avoid direct exposure to severe heat. The greater one-horned rhinos are expert swimmers and can feed underwater as well.
The one-horned rhinos at Kaziranga National Park are poached extensively for their horn as it is believed that their horn is useful in making medicine. They went to the brink of extinction because of these killings. To prevent them from disappearance, the government of India has employed many conservation projects. Several protected areas are taking essential steps to conserve this amazing wildlife species. Most prominent of them is Kaziranga National Park!
Kaziranga and One-Horned Rhinos
The legacy of India lies not just in its imposing monuments but also in its natural wonders. Kaziranga National Park is a protected area in India that has conserved the wonders and beauty of nature. This park is well known for its commendable and huge wildlife assortment and is a well-respected natural center for varied wildlife species in the country. It is situated on the bank of the huge Brahmaputra River in the districts of Nagaon and Golaghat, Assam. This intriguing protected area is also famous for the conservation of great number of one-horned rhinos. In the year 2012, the population of one horned rhinos in Kaziranga was expected to be 2,329. This park was set up in Assam to save the population of one-horned rhinos from harm.
Almost two-thirds of world’s rhino population resides in the immensely widespread areas of Kaziranga National Park. Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon, also known as Lady Curzon, visited this region in the year 1904 and she later pioneered the conservation work in this park. Kaziranga is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been thriving in the conservation of the animal species. This national park has become an essential element of Assam tourism in modern times, since a large number of wildlife buffs swarms it every year. One-horned rhinos enjoy an ultimate and ideal environment in this park, where there are enormous spans of greenery and glinting water bodies. Several wildlife safaris are carried out all through the tourist seasons to facilitate wildlife lovers in watching the one-horned rhinos up close. These safaris or guided tours are conducted with the help of jeeps or elephants.
Several confines have been positioned to guard this national park from being contaminated or causing any sort of annoyance to its exotic flora and fauna. Loads of wildlife aficionados broaden their support in a number of ways for improving conservation practices for the one-horned rhino and generating more employment prospects. As a result of such actions, the population of one-horned rhinos has improved to a substantial degree over the years. The significant factor that creates a center of attention for visitors the most is the vista of one-horned rhinos that can be seen in a large number of areas in this beautiful wildlife sanctuary.
More info about Kaziranga National Park
How to reach:
- BY ROAD: Kaziranga is located 217 kms east of Guwahati. There is around a 4 hour drive from Guwahati on NH-37, to reach the park. This park is well connected with the cities like Tezpur (80 kms), Jorhat (97 kms) and Dibrugarh (250 kms).
- BY AIR: The nearest airport from Kaziranga is Guwahati (217 kms).
- BY RAIL: Nearest Railhead is in Furkating (80 km) from where a tourist can take any mode of transportation to get to Kaziranga.
Best time to visit:
Kaziranga National Park is open for the wildlife admirers and nature lovers from 1st November to 30th April every year. It is rampaged by the floods during monsoon season. Overfilling of vacationers for the duration of December and January encumbers a private experience. Hence, the months of February and March are the best months to pay a visit to Kaziranga National Park.
Kaziranga is an ideal abode for one-horned rhinos. A visit to this arresting park crowns the minds of wildlife lovers with spellbinding sights of this mammoth creature that one can treasure for a lifetime.
Anshul Srivastava is a wildlife enthusiast, who loves to wander around different wildlife destinations of India. At the same time, he has got a command over writing and thus, he pens down and shares his experience with the world.
“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great things” …John Donne
Elephants! When these giant creatures roam in the wilds, they create a sensation that entrances the one who observes this marvelous scene. These mighty mammals are the largest land animals. They are members of the Elephantidae family of the Proboscidae order. There are basically two recognized species of elephants: The Asian Elephants and African Elephants.
These giant creatures have various unique features that make them distinctive from other wild beings.
A few of the unique features of elephants are:
- Usually female elephants live in herds. The veteran female elephant leads this herd, however, and the male elephants are generally solitary and shift from herd to herd. Each member in the female herd helps each other to find food and care for their young ones. These creatures do not lie down to sleep as their straight legs provide them an adequate amount of support. They can converse with their herd from far away by using sounds that are extremely low, too low for the human ear to recognize.
- Elephants can converse with each other by creating sounds known as "tummy rumbles."
- Elephants in general walk about 4 mph.
- Elephants know how to swim for lengthy distances.
- Elephants spend almost sixteen hours a day eating food.
- Elephants have the biggest brains of all the members of animal kingdom.
- A Fully-grown Indian Elephant can reach a height of more than 8 feet.
- Adult Indian elephants are about 10,000 plus pounds in weight.
- In general, one tusk of an elephant is shorter than the other. This happens because the elephant uses one of its tusks more often for things. It’s the same as for people, being either right or left-handers, the Elephants will also rely upon the tusk they use more frequently.
- Elephants are able to give birth every three to four years. The period of gestation is nearly two years.
- The Babies weigh around 250 pounds when they are born.
- The elephant herd makes a circle around a mother elephant when a baby elephant is born. They generate this circle to guard her from harm. A number of the elephants nudge the baby elephant to support as it’s standing up after birth.
- It is fairly amazing to know that the elephants can catch one anothers trumpeting sounds up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) away.
- Elephants can become suntanned; therefore they shield themselves with sand.
- Elephants get frightened of bees.
- This mammoth creature is the lone mammal, other than the Homo sapiens, to have a chin.
- 17. It is quite clear by their structure that elephants eat a lot. Moreover, they also drink nearly 50 gallons of water every day. These giants can go for around four days without water. It is remarkably fascinating to know that they can dig wells with the help of their tusks if needed.
- The trunk of an elephant can certainly be a lethal weapon. The trunk can pick up something weighing around 450 pounds, perhaps more. Remarkably, the trunk has nearly 150,000 muscles.
- These giants have no natural predators. However, lions at times will prey on weak or young elephants in the wild. The foremost threat to elephants is from human beings through poaching and alterations to their haunt.
- The potential for an elephant to travel a long distance makes them extremely handy in terms of jungle safari. They can walk for miles on their physically powerful feet. For this reason, elephants are extensively used for jungle safaris in India, especially in the national parks. An Elephant safari in a national park is a great way to experience the spellbinding traits of this giant creature.
These giant creatures have many startling, and often concealed, facts about them. A single sight of this mammoth creature is enough to spellbind all!
Contributing author Jessica Frei is a wildlife admirer and nature lover. She loves to explore the wildlife of different countries. She has visited many popular national parks