Month: January 2017

Rare Species: Hirola

Rare Species: Hirola

The hirola (Beatragus hunteri) is also known as “Hunter’s Antelope” or “Hunter’s Hartebeest”,  and even “four-eyed antelope”.

The hirola is the only surviving species of the  Beatragus genus; a genus of antelope which there used to contain  many different species. If the hirola becomes extinct, it would mean not only the loss of a species, but also of the entire Beatragus genus of antelope. Due to this, the hirola is often referred to as a ‘living fossil’.

The species is so rare, that it is classed as critically endangered on the Endangered Species List. The next step down, is extinct in the wild and after that it’s completely extinct.

The hirola is a medium sized antelope, weighing (approximately) between 68-115 kg. They are a sandy brown colour, with a paler underside. The species has well developed horns in both genders; which are tall and ridged.  As hirola get older their  horns accumulate more ridges, and their coat darkens to a slate grey. The hirola have what’s referred to a white ‘spectacles’ – white rings around the eyes , joined by a line across the head. The white facial markings also surround scent glands under the eyes, which is why the hirola is often called the “four-eyed antelope”.

Adult hirola

Lifespan in the wild is unknown, however the average captive lifespan is ten years. The hirola is now thought to be restricted in distribution to the south-eastern coast of Kenya, south of the Somalian border.

It is estimated that the population size is between 600 and 2,000 individuals in the wild; however the actual number is thought to be closer to 600.
The main threats to the survival of the hirola today include disease, poaching, predation, competition with domestic livestock, habitat loss,  and drought. The species has been legally protected from hunting in Kenya since 1971 and in Somalia since 1977; unfortunately the enforcement of this law is poor and poaching is still a large threat.
In my opinion, we as a species (humans) need to protect what animals that still survive on the earth, before following generations are left with none. The number of animal species on the planet has declined majorly over generations; largely due to our selfishness.

All images are open source, Google images, or my own.

If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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A-Z: Cat Breeds (5)

A-Z: Cat Breeds (5)

Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the fifth, post will cover M-O of cat breeds. In the follow-up posts I will look into cat breeds from P-R, S-V, and W-Z… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow-up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!


Maine Coon

Country of Origin: America (State of Maine)

Lifespan: 12-17 years                  Breed Size: Large

Hair/Fur Length: Long               Colour(s):  Any

Breed History: One of the folk tales tells the story of long-haired cats on the ship of Capatin Charles Coon, departing the ship when docked and mating with the local cats – the long-haired kittens became known as “Coon’s Cats”.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  The sheer size of these domestic cats is quite unique; as well as the lucious long hair.

Maine Coon

Country of Origin: Isle of Man

Lifespan: 8-14 years                Breed Size: Medium

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair or Longhair

Colour(s): Solid, tabby, tortoiseshell and calico. Chocolate/ lavender colours and pointed are not accepted in show, but do exist.

Breed History: This breed matures very slowly, and may not be fully grown until 5 years old. They are thought to have arrived via ship – different stories tell of different ships; Japanese trader, Viking settlers, Spanish armada. What is certain is the tailless cat breed inhabited the Isle, and the island became known for them – hence the cat breed being named after the island.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  The most noticeable is the tail length / lack of tail. This breed also has hind legs higher than their front legs, and are known for their round features.



Norwegian Forest Cat

Country of Origin: Norway

Lifespan: 12-16                                     Breed Size: Large

Hair/Fur Length: Longhair

Colour(s): Almost every colour/pattern except for chocolate/ lavender colours and pointed.

Breed History: This cat is called “Skogkatt” in Norway, which literally translates as “forest cat”. This breed is said to have been the choice pet for Vikings, and it is theorised that  Viking traders brought them with them on their ships, as ratters/mousers. Still used for this purpose on farms nowadays. Like the Manx, this breed also matures slowly and is fully grown at approximately 5 years old.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  The stunning long fur of this cat – it is an insulating, waterproof double coat (designed to withstand harsh temperatures of its country of origin). The  longer, coarse guard hairs cover a dense undercoat. The cat has a frontal ruff, a bushy tail, full britches, and tufted paws – more insulation for living in a country bordering the Arctic.

Norwegian Forest Cat



Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: 12-15                           Breed Size: M

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair

Colour(s): Bred for spots, but also comes in four other patterns: ticked, classic tabby, solid, and pointed.

Breed History: This is a spotted, domestic cat – selectively bred to look like wild cats (named after the Ocelot). When a breeder, Virginia Daly, crossed a seal-point Siamese with a ruddy Abyssinian in 1964 the resulting kittens looked like Abys; when one of this litter was crossed with a Siamese, it resulted in a litter of Aby-pointed Siamese but also one kitten with an ivory-coloured coat, with gold spots. This spotted kitten was named Tonga and  was neutered and sold as a pet. When repeated breeding resulted in more spotted kittens, they were used to found a new breed – the Ocicat.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  Spotted coat; wild look.

Oriental Shorthair

Country of Origin: Britain (man-made breed)

Lifespan: 10-14                              Breed Size: Small/Medium

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair

Colour(s): Solid, shaded, smoke, parti-color, bi-color, tabby, patch-tabby, blotched tabby, pointed, spotted, ticked, mackerel… there are estimated to be over 600 colour/pattern combinations for this breed!

Breed History: This breed came about from selective breeding of the Siamese, to explore colour and pattern possibilities, by crossing the Siamese with other breeds; cross breeding was also to widen the gene pool of the Siamese, due to devastation during World War II. breeders out-bred the Siamese to restore the breed and keep gene diversity, in the 1950’s.

Outstanding Physical Trait:  Orientals come in more colours and patterns than any other breed!

Blotched Tabby                                  Solid, Chocolate

All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.

If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AlisAnswers)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

2016 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

Sadly, the presentation form of Annual Report is unavailable this year. Usually, this is kindly provided by Word Press – with the fireworks, and stats all done for you.

In the absence of this, this year, I have produced my own (if you’re interested)… using last years Word Press provided report for the different sections.


Crunchy Numbers

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 9,723 times in 2016. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take over 8 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was May 2nd with 244 views. The most popular post that day was Curious About Cross-Breeds!.

Posting Patterns

In 2016, there were 11 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 97 posts.

Jan – 2 posts
Feb – 1 post
Mar – 1 post
Apr – 0 posts (personal reasons)
May – 0 posts (personal reasons)
Jun – 2 posts
Jul – 1 post
Aug – 1 post
Sep – 1 post
Oct – 0 Posts
Nov – 0 Posts
Dec – 2 posts
BEST DAY: Friday, with 5 posts total.

Attractions in 2016

Most Popular – Top 5 Posts of 2016

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2016. Your writing has staying power!

Where did they come from?

Top 3 Countries: USA, UK, Canada.


Thanks for staying with me through 2016, despite my lack of posts - it is my aim that 2017 will be better, and filled with more posts for you to enjoy!
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