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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Behavior of Wolves


In the popular literature, the packs of wolves are represented by social structures with a strict hierarchy, with an alpha male that reaches this position by fighting. This alpha wolf is followed by the beta males, which are only two or three, and then by the omega wolves, which are usually used for pack attacks. This structure is based purely on relationships, not on relatives. The wolves can create those packs without having blood connections. Usually, the omega wolves are the youngest ones, while the Alpha male resists as the leader as long as it is stronger than all the other wolves in the pack. Hierarchy fights are common amongst wolves, and usually, the one that loses is the one that dies.

In wilderness, the packs are more than nuclear families, which are based on social unity. It is about a pair and its babies, but also about other elements. The packs from Northern Europe are not as compact or united as the ones made by African dogs, but they are not as instable as the ones of coyotes. The southern wolves have a social behavior that resembles with the one of Dingo dogs, but they can also live alone.

The average pack has 5-11 animals, 1-2 adults, 3-6 youngsters and 1-3 babies. There are even larger packs that could get to 40 wolves. The packs rarely adopt other wolves. Usually, they kill them. If a wolf is adopted, it is usually a younger one. Adopting a new wolf means weeks of “testing”, with non-lethal attacks, and the “aspirant” needs to prove that it is worthy to be a part of the pack.
During the periods in which the food is abundant, several packs can unite temporarily. The five month-two years old wolves leave the pack to found their own families. The decision to break from the main family depends on the sexual maturity and competence.

Contrary to the general belief, wolves don’t attack people whenever they see them. It is true that they don’t have any fear, but when a man is attacked, it is usually because he is in the territory of the wolf. During long winters, when food is hard to find, the wolves attack isolated houses, looking especially for domestic animals.

It is dangerous to defend against the wolf alone. Well, you will probably not have any other possibility. If you live in such an isolated house, far from other human settlements, you should carry a fire gun. The wolves can be quiet, and their attack is fast and deadly, so you should be careful whenever you get out of the house. They also have a strong sense of smell, so be careful when you sacrifice animals for your food, as the smell of blood might attract them immediately.

Unfortunately, many wolves were killed because of the aversion of people against them, and many species are extinct. In some areas, the wolf is protected species, but it is really hard to convince people to leave them alone, especially with the historical hate of humans on wolves. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Mexican Axolotl


 
Many people agree with me when I am saying that the Axolotl is one of the cutest creatures smiling at us from under water! Well, many people don’t even know what this is, because the small animal is almost extinct, but once you will read something about it, you will get in love with it immediately.

The Axolotl lives only in Mexico. It is a carnivore salamander, with a cylindrical shape, which can reach dimensions of 30 centimeters, approximately. The most remarkable characteristic of this species of salamander is the fact that it looks like a larva, even when it reached maturity.

Today, the Mexican Axolotl can only be found in nature near the lakes around the capital Ciudad de Mexico. The Axolotl got its name from the old Aztecs that used to worship it. According to those, the Aztec god of Death had to hide on the bottom of the lake, when the other gods decided to kill him. He transformed himself into this creature, managing to escape.

I will try to describe this animal, although the best idea is to see the photos. It has short legs, four fingers. Usually, it has a dark color, but in captivity, it is possible to raise exemplars of the white color.

This animal only lives in two Mexican lakes, Xochimilco and Chalco, which are both situated near Mexico City. Those are a part of a complex of five lakes. The Aztecs built Mexico City on those lakes, and this is why their productivity was affected. We can say that the development of the city destroys the natural habitat of many animals, including the Axolotl. Moreover, as Mexico does not have such a good legislation to protect the animals, it is expected for this species to be extinct completely pretty soon.

The lakes are known for their “floating gardens”, which are also called “chinampas”. Those are portions of ground situated between the draining channels, which are cultivated by locals with vegetables and flowers to sell in the market. The Axolotl also lives in those channels, and other portions of lake that are still intact. It is possible for those to adapt in other areas of the world, but it was not tried. In captivity, it is raised as a pet, because it looks absolutely cute. Even if it looks like a larva, it is still popular amongst Mexicans.



Unfortunately, it is also used for laboratory experiments, which is a shame. We don’t agree with using hamsters for experiments, but those are just as good as the Axolotl. In the rhythm of disappearance, we expect for this animal to disappear in less than 20 years, which is a shame, considering that it has been living here for million years.


Some American societies showed interest to protect it, but they always have to fight with the lack of interest of local authorities, and with the indifference of the locals. We need to pull the alarm lever about this species, which is threatened like many others today.

Some cute pics Mexican  Axolotl :




Sunday, February 23, 2014

The mysterious duck-bill?

My passion for duck-bills come from the fact that they are so rare, and because they are so mysterious. It is one of the fascinating animals that can’t ever be discovered completely, and as I always liked difficult tasks, I decided to study it and to share my knowledge to the world.

The duck-bill has some characteristics of reptiles, and I assumed for quite a while that it is actually a weird combination of a bird with a snake. Well, this was my conception while I was a child, but it was easily fought by the first serious lesson about bill-ducks at school. It is true that this animal has something from birds and sakes, but it is not like sticking a duck’s head on a snake’s tail. I still remember the laughter of my biology teacher when I first described a duck-bill!

The duck-bill is more like a mammal than a reptile, with a life span of 10-15 years. It has the size of a cat, but the male is a little longer. The average weight of the duck bill is 2 kilograms for males, while the female can barely reach 1 kilogram.

The fur


The fur is the most important protective barrier for the duck bill. It is covered with hair, with the exception of the legs and beak. The duck bill fur is denser than the one of the polar bear, and a brown color. The fur has two layers, and this allows the duckbill to survive in extremely low temperature. Well, I saw a duckbill at -20 degrees Celsius, and it looked like taking a bath in the sun!

The beak

The beak has a system to detect the electric waves, with tactile receptors. When it is warm, the duckbill likes to say in the water to find food it is able to cover the nose, ears and eyes. Yes, I asked myself the same questions: how it is possible for the duck bill to hunt, as long as it is armored like that? The tactile receptors are perfect for the duckbill to find food in water, even if it is hidden under rocks.


The ears

The ears are placed on the lateral of the head, without external parts. Those are also closed when the animal swims, but the hearing is really smooth, anyway.

The legs

The duckbill has four legs, which can expand in horizontal position from the body, making the animal as agile as a reptile. The front legs have a skin that helps swimming. On dry land, the skin retracts, uncovering the sharp claws which are capable of digging the shores of rivers. Well, the claws are also helpful for arranging the fur, because the duckbill is a clean and tidy animal!

The tail

There is nothing more interesting about a duckbill than the tail. It is used for steering in water, and it also has the role to deposit fat for the long winter. A big tail is a sign of health for the duckbill.

Brown Snake Eagle - Circaetus cinereus



The Brown Snake Eagle is also known after the Latin name of Circaetus cinereus, and it is a part of the Accipitridae family. It is one of the largest eagles in Africa, and the largest snake eagle. It is spread in Southern Africa mainly, but also in other savannah areas.

Adults and juveniles 

The adults and babies are of the same color, but the babies might be of light brown, with some white feathers. However, the majority of them don’t have a single portion of the body covered in white.

Behavior

The Brown Snake Eagle flies quietly and alone, and it rarely screams. Usually, it screams while flying, as a sign of domination. They like to stay on high rocks or pylons for hours. The average life duration is seven years, but they can live up to 10 or even 12 years.

Size and weight

With a length of 70-75 centimeters, and with a wingspan of 165 centimeters, the Brown Snake Eagle is one of the largest African eagles. They weight 1.5-2.5 kilograms at maturity.

Habitat 

The Brown Snake Eagle likes the desert and the arid open spaces, but they also need wooded areas around. However, they only like to hunt around those, not to stay there. They can’t be found in deforested areas.

The Brown Snake Eagle lives especially in Mauritania and Senegal, but also in South Africa. They also migrate North during the rainy season, just to come back during the summer.

Currently, it is estimated that 10 000 – 100 000 Brown Eagles exist in the world. It is not an endangered species, because it does not have many natural enemies, but this could change soon if the feeding habitats are affected by human actions.

Food 

As the name says, the Brown Snake Eagle usually eats snakes and other small reptiles, which can be found in abundance in Africa. They also hunt small mammals and smaller birds. They are not afraid of venomous snakes, because their legs are thick enough to resist to those attacks. However, the cobras can blind the brown eagle with its spit.

They have the same hunting method as other eagles, based on their capacity to see from the heights of the skies. They don’t like to eat while flying, so they will always take their prey on a rock or in a tree, where they can safely eat it.

Reproduction and nesting

A family of brown snake eagles covers a territory of 200 square kilometers. The male proves its worthiness in front of the female by driving and soaring. The female lays eggs once a year. For that, the pair builds a 60-70 centimeters nest, in trees or on high rocks. They also “steal” the nests of other birds, but they put their print on the nest with new leaves and branches. Usually, the female lays one egg. The incubation period is 50 days. The chick needs about 100 days to learn how to fly. The babies are fully independent from their parents a few weeks after fledging.

The Brown Eagles live in protected areas, and they are on the Least Concern List of BirdLife International, meaning that they are not endangered. They are also known as the Brown Harrier Eagle, or as the Ghama in Tsonga language.

The article was written according to the information taken from the following books:

(1) Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

(2) Ian Davidson, Sasol, 2006, Southern African Birds: A Photographic Guide.

( 3)  Ian Sinclair, ‎P. A. R. Hockey, 2005, The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa.

(4) James Ferguson-Lees, ‎David A. Christie, 2001, Raptors of the World.

(5) Helen Roney Sattler , 1989, The Book of Eagles.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Poisoning Snakes: Our Unjustified Fear


From the 3000 species of snakes that we know today, 500 of them are considered poisonous species. Moreover, even the snakes that are considered harmful could have some poisoning substances in their saliva, but they don’t have the right teeth for the venin to be concentrated. This is why it can’t enter the organism of the “victims”

Yes, it is true that snakes can be very dangerous, but I want to convince you through this article that we should not be so afraid of those. We don’t like snakes because they are not the most beautiful animals in the world, but this does not mean that they are not useful. I had the chance to live in an area with many snakes, and even if I learned how to stay away from their poisonous bites, I also learned that snakes are really useful for nature, and beautiful to observe in nature.


The bites of poisonous snakes can be dangerous. Those can paralyze or accelerate the heart beats, and they can also affect the entire circulation of the blood. The water snakes that live in seas also have a venin that attacks the central nervous system.

How should you avoid those? The snakes like to stay on rocks during the sunny days, and usually, they are in a dormant state when they do so. The snakes can rarely be found on the pathways of humans. You can also find those in holes of trees, in bushes, and in underground galleries. The simple method to avoid snakes is to walk only on pathways, and if you see one, you should leave it alone. I did that for quite a while, and I managed not only to stay alive, but also to like those incredible beings.

Another thing you should know is the first help in case of a snake bite. I know it like poetry, as even if you stay away from snakes, you might always suffer an accident. The snakes only attack when they feel danger. Here is my “battle plan” with a snake, a battle plan that you can also follow:

- take the threatening behavior of the snake seriously. Snorting, agitating and lifting the front side of the body is a sign that the snake does not like something, and that something is probably you. I usually go away as far as possible!

- when I am walking around the forest, I walk fast, with decided steps. The snakes can’t hear, but they can feel the vibration of the earth, and the majority of them run if they have the possibility.

- I always have a flash light during the night. The nocturnal snakes are the most dangerous ones, but they also run away when something is not in order. I always check the pathway with the flashlight, as well as the bushes near the road. A snake will definitely run when you put the beam of a flash light directly on it.

- Never touch a snake, even if you assume that it is dead! The closest experience to being bite by a snake was when I thought that I found a dead snake. They have incredible reflexes, and they can bite even hours after dying. Just imagine being bite by a dead snake! The bite is just as deadly, but getting over the dramatic aspect, you can’t refrain from observing the irony in this.


Friday, February 21, 2014

About Horses



What can I write about horses? I would like to tell you all the beautiful stories from the farm where I grew up, where horses were my best friends. I would like to describe you the feeling of running away on a horse on the fields, far away from any human being. Those feelings can’t be described in words, and it would take me days! However, you can always visit a farm to see those beautiful animals, and you might even try to ride one! Yes, I know that you are scared at first, but you will soon discover that the horse is a docile and smart animal, and that he is better than humans in so many ways.

God didn’t allowed horses to talk, so the humans would not be put in difficulty. The horse evolved for the last 60 million years, adapting to the ever changing nature without difficulty, unlike other animals that disappeared from the world. Equus Caballus, as we know it today, appeared one million of years ago. It spread from South America to Asia and Europe. The first humans changed their life entirely when they discovered how to tame the horse.

The horses started to be used in agriculture, transportation and for recreational purposes, becoming a prosperous business also. All the horses have the same body structure, and the same number of chromosomes, 64. It was hard for me to understand the physical and mental capacity of a horse, especially because it is superior to the one of some bigger animals. Today, we believe that we know everything about horses, but in reality, we must study a lot before completely understanding this fascinating animal.

I say that the horse is the best friend of man, but as I told you, I grew up on a farm. Yes, we had dogs, but I liked horses more because they are more…quiet. It is really important to know the horse, how its body functions, how it senses, and the entire vital circle.

The senses of the horse


Eyes are on the lateral of the head, so the horse can see behind by twisting overhead, without turning around. For this reason, we need to approach a horse with care, so it will not be scared. Horses have a sharp hearing, and they are able to reception a large gamma of sounds that are not accessible for the human ear.

A horse communicates by ears. It took me years to understand how my horse can manifest enthusiasm, boredom, fear or aggression, only by moving the ears. There are 22 muscles in the exterior ear of the horse, which allow rotating those with 180 degrees.

The smell is also a strong sense of horses, and it is perfectly developed to breathe while running or in conditions of stress. The horses can detect human fear, and they are sensitive to the smell of blood. The horses are resistant to hits, but really, why would you want to hurt such a beautiful animal? I would never think about hurting my horse in any way, and I strongly recommend you to do the same!

The Golden Eagle



The golden eagle lives in the northern hemisphere. It is a bird considered as the symbol of courage and power because of its size, and because of its capacity to fly. It builds nests in hardly accessible areas, where the immature golden eagle can train for flying without being threatened by humans or other raptors.
Golden Eagle in Flight
The golden eagle can be found anywhere in the Asian area besides France. In Northern America, it lives in the Western USA and Canada. The females reach a length of one meter with a wings spawn of two meters. A characteristic of the gender is the leg feathers.

Golden Eagle Flying
The nests are built on the tops of rocks, but they can also nest in high trees. The nest is big, made of sticks and branches. The nest is used from one year to another, so it can reach a diameter of three meters. The eagle lays 2-3 eggs every year. The food of those birds is composed of mammals, from rats to rabbits and snakes. However, while they raise babies, the eagles prefer to eat smaller birds, because those are perfect for their babies.


Golden Eagle Bird
There are eight species of eagles in the Euro-Asian area. The smallest of them is the Spotted Small Eagle, which lives in the center of Europe and migrates to South Africa during the winter.

Golden Eagle Wallpaper:




Types of Eagles

The Monkey-eating Eagle of the Orinoco

Harpy Eagle
Where do eagles come from?
Why eagle is symbol of America?
Why do eagles scream?
Why do eagles fly so high?
Interesting Facts About Eagles
Why do eagles roll their eggs?
Why do eagles fly into wind turbines?
Why do eagles eat meat?
Why do eagles see so well?
Why does eagle have sharp claws?
When do eagles fight?
Why does the eagle hold arrows?
Why does the eagle represent freedom?
When do eagles attack?
When do eagles mate?
When do eagles strike?
When do eagles forget how to fly?
When do eagles lay eggs?
When do eagles hunt?
When do eagles sleep?
When do eagles migrate?
When do eagles get white feathers?
How eagles hunt?
When do eagles build their nest?
How eagles soar?
How eagles die?
How eagles see?
Are eagles endangered?
How eagles protect themselves?
Are eagles extinct?
Are eagles mammals?
Is eagle vision real?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Mighty Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagles are representative for the American people, living across the entire Northern Continent, from Alaska and Canada to the northern side of Mexico. Almost half of the population lives in Alaska. This is like a fortress of those majestic birds, feeding with dead fish and flesh of bodies.
Bald Eagles

Considering that the population from USA is shrinking, the bald eagles in Alaska remain the only hope for this species to survive. It is one of the endangered species of vultures, and this is why non-governmental organizations started programs to protect those.

bald eagles in Alaska

There are two main species of bald eagles: the Southern one lives in the states of the South and in California, while the Northern one can be found in the Northern States such as Colorado, in Canada and Alaska.

The bald eagle was officially considered an endangered species until 1985 in some states, but a law protecting those species helped their population to grow again. Starting with 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the list of endangered species, although it could get on that list anytime.

Male and Female Bald Eagle

The males and females have a black-brown back, and yellow legs. The juvenile bald eagle is colored in a mix of brown and white. At the age of five, the eagle is considered mature, when the head and tail become white.

juvenile bald eagle
The female bald eagle has greater dimensions than the male. Even the young bald eagle can reach a wing spawn of one meter. The average weight is 6-7 kilograms, but they can weight even more at maturity. The northern species are significantly bigger compared with their southern “relatives”.
The most important characteristic of this species, which makes it distinctive amongst others is the bald eagle head, which is completely white.

young bald eagle
The bald eagle is at the top of the food chain, being vulnerable only to chemical substances of the environment, as it tends to assimilate the toxic substances of the inferior chains. It can light about two kilograms. Generally, they don’t eat domestic animals, but they find alternative methods to eat, such as the flesh of dead animals.

bald eagle head
The eagles don’t have vocal chords. The sound is produced in the sirinix, a bone cavity at the level of the neck. The screams can be considered as a method of consolidating the connection between the male and female, but it can also be a warning for predators.

bald eagle diagram

The eyes of the eagle are as big as the human eye, but it is four times “sharper”. The skeleton weights only 500 grams, being only 5% of the total weight. The feathers weight two times more. The bones of the vulture are empty on the inside. The claws and feathers are made of keratin, being resistant to weather and attacks of other predators.

eyes of the eagle
The lifespan of the bald eagle is 20 years, but a captive eagle in the state of New York lived for 48 years. They don’t sweat, so they need alternative methods to cool, such as sitting lazy in the shadows of trees. However, it is resistant to cold weather also. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Interesting Facts About Eagles

The eagle is the biggest flying bird in the world. It is a symbol of power, on the American flags, but also on the Philippine royal badges. It is popular also in Europe, being used as a representative symbol of the Royal Eastern European Royal Families.



In Eastern Europe, this bird was used as a war symbol. The vulture was put on the flags of the best armies, being considered a frightening appearance.

Today, the eagle is also a symbol of modern armies. The eagle eye is a common name for the most advanced detecting devices, binoculars and surveillance planes.




The eagles can rarely be seen by humans, as they build their nest on high cliffs, which are not accessible for humans. There are some species living in the forests and jungles, and those can be seen on top of trees. We all remember the three funny eagles from the Jungle Book, commenting everything that happens from the shelter of the trees.



The eagle feathers of the American White Eagle are of brown color, excepting the neck, tail and head, which are white. This species can only be met on the American Northern continent, especially in Alaska and Canada. They are perfect flyers and swimmers, eating especially fish and small mammals such as rabbits and even monkeys. However, they prefer flesh of dead animals.

 Their nests are huge, solid, and they are built on top of trees. There are some great documentaries online about eagles in the wild, because this is the best way to study those imposing animals. The female eagle lays two or three eggs every year, at the beginning of April. As they are “family birds” (they choose their partner for life), the nest is rebuilt every year, with new leafs, sticks and branches.

An eagle can live up to 30 years, and it usually changes only two or three nests. This is why the diameter of a nest can reach 1000 kilograms and three meters in diameter.



The eagles have perfect eyes, being able to see the prey from two kilometers distance, from the heights of the sky. They can fly 300 kilometers without stopping, with speeds of 180 kilometers per hour. The eagle has strong claws, growing continuously for the entire life. Because of the strong claws, the eagle can carry preys of 2 kilograms or even more.
 An interesting fact is the “relocation” of eagle families in forested areas. Those eagles change their food from northern lakes fish with dead animals found around the human habitats. The explanation? It seems like the new roads and the increasing number of cars leaded to an increased number of accidents involving animals. As dead animals are more attractive for eagles, those move in the human populated areas. Even so, the number of eagles is decreasing from one year to the other.
The Philippine eagle, just like the American one, is the national bird of its country. However, it is estimated that only 250 mature exemplars still live, and the number decreases because of illegal hunting. It is a strong bird that can live 30-60 years, only in forests, nesting on top of high trees. The basic food is comprised on monkeys, but this eagle is courageous enough to fight for food with other raptors such as pythons. It is interesting that it never attacks domestic animals. It is protected by the Philippine laws, being raised in special places under strict surveillance.



Another “relative” of the raptors from the American forests is the Harpy Eagle, which is also an extinct species. It has black feathers on the back, a while chest, and a black stripe on the neck. It has a threatening aspect, and it is a great hunter, just like the bald eagle. It has shorter wings, because it is adapted to the forest life, allowing it to move faster, and to attack the prey using the element of surprise.



The condors are also a part of the vulture’s family, having an interesting aspect. The population from South America believes that the condor bones can cure diseases, and this is why the species is about to be extinct because of hunting. In 1987, only 27 condors were alive, all in zoos. Today, more than 30 exemplars were born in captivity and released, so their number is growing.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eagles in Symbols - Polish eagle


The Polish Eagle is the symbol of the Polish unification from 1916. It is the symbol of the territories forming the Polish Congress, which unified during the First World War. It was featured on the Polish banknotes a few years later. It was also the symbol of the Polish Army, until it was replaced by another symbol in 1927. However, it remained as a national symbol during the Communist period, being one of the fewest “non-communist” symbols accepted officially. It is currently featured on the buildings and flags of numerous institutions of this country.

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Eagles in Symbols - Silver eagle
Eagles in Symbols - White eagle
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Eagles in Symbols & Names - West coast eagles
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