Category Archives: Amphibians

Ugly mug: aquatics!


Not everything in the animal kingdom is an lovely songbird with beautiful wings or a cute crustacean bobbing along the ocean floor or a fuzzy little kitten on your lap or adorable snakey nuzzling your neck (you get my point)… some creatures are just unpleasant!

Here are a three examples of the weird and wonderful, but not necessarily cute, beasties in the animal kingdom… starting with the world of water!

1) Blobfish

Usually found in lists of animals not winning any beauty awards! This poor fella has a rep for having an ugly mug – living in the murky deep off the coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, this fish grows up to 12″ and has a low-density, giving it the jelly/blob look which actually aids in in bobbing along in the high-pressured deep.

However, as you can see fron the inage above, they’re a lot less vlob-like underwater! Unlike most fish species, the Blobfish doesn’t have a swimbladder to keep it afloat but rather their blobby structure and the pressure of the deep work together to keep them floating. The Blobfish isn’t very active, and pretty much just waits for food to pass by.

This little guy was actually voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013! Out of water (see image below) – you can see why it won that title!

2) Axolotl

I know (personally) a few people think the Axolotl is quite cute but I have never seen the appeal so they have made my little list of ugly aquatic animals. The Axolotl only lives in the lakes of Xochimilco, Mexico (and in various homes/ tanks around the world) and is the top predator in its’ habitat.

Axolotls can grow up to a foot in length, however usually only reach half a foot. This ugly little salamander has the ability of regrowth – it can regrow a limb if lost! Despite this fascinating ability the Axolotl is critically endangered and on the decline.

Colouration is usually mottled brown or black; however white, albino and piebald variations do occur – but usually in captive environments. I personally think the albino and white colouration’s are uglier than the other variations, as they give the appearance of being almost translucent! They have a dorsal fin running from the neck to the tip of the tail, and external gills with a feathered appearance – this is unusual in salamanders; as such the Axolotl is considered to be aesthetically neonatal, as it stays in larval form throughout its’ life.

3) Goblin Shark

This is a shark of many names; the scientific name being Mitsukurina owstoni named after Kakichi Mitsukuri and Alan Owston – the two people who discovered this unusual shark species. It is mainly found off the bays of Japan, however can also be found off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, USA (California and Florida), Brazil, Portugal, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. in Japan the Goblin Shark is known as tenguzame (Tengu being a long-nosed mythical demon creature, and zame meaning ‘same’). Along those lines, it i known as Gnome or Demon Shark in Portugal; in USA it is known as Goblin or Elfin Shark.

This amazing and ugly looking shark has nail like teeth, set in a flexible jaw under a long, protruding, pointy nose. The see the unusual bite action of the Goblin Shark watch this amazing YouTube video – the jaws spring forward out of the mouth in a pincer-like grab (protrusive jaws)… showing that’s looks aren’t everything! The Goblin Shark is pinky in appearance due to the blood vessels being close to the surface of the skin, and can grow to over 10ft in length.

The last Goblin Shark sighting was in 2000 – before that the last sighting is said to have been in the early 1970’s. As such, there are few photographs of this ugly mug!


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…
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New Discoveries: Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog


A new discovery in December 2014, as well as almost 80 years ago! Ecologist Carl Kauffeld claimed this little species existed, back in 1937; however, at the time, received no scientific recognition for it. The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog – Rana Kauffeldi was named to honour the man who originally discovered this species.

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (open source: Wikipedia)
Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (open source: Wikipedia)

The colourations of this little frog range from light greens to greys, with darks spots and stripes. The colouration of an individual can lighten/ darken according to seasons; so as to blend in better with the undergrowth, to avoid detection by predators. The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog lives in the damp ground, where there is vegetation/ plants for cover; as well as near/ in shallow waters. The shallow waters are also the site for breeding.

With this new (or old) discovery, the total of Leopard Frog species is now 19. Northern and Southern Leopard Frogs, however is distinctly different genetically. This is what makes this a new species; its’ genetic diversity from other, similar species. However, this new species also has a unique trait, that contributes to its’ individualism; the sound it makes sounds more like a cough than a croak.

2014 welcomed this little frog species as a (new) recognised species.

National Visit the Zoo Day


In tribute to all the species kept in zoos and safari parks, enjoy some pictures of species that are wild, unusual, rarely seen (outside of zoos/ safari parks), and protected species/ last of their species.

Not everyone agrees with zoos or safari parks – there can certainly be improvements made; but on the other hand, we all enjoy visiting the zoo or safari park and taking in the exquisite and diverse animal species.

Picking a Pet


There is plenty to consider when you think about getting a pet… I doubt I will cover anything but I hope to get across some of the main things in this post. So I’ll just dive right in…

What kind of pet is right for you?
Species, breed, age, lifespan, lifestyle requirements, environment – these are all important factors to consider when thinking about a pet.
– what sort of pet would fit in with your lifestyle?
– is your home suitable for the pet you want?
– what type of pet is your home suitable for?
– do you have time to give the pet the attention and care it needs?

Chilean Rose

Think about what pet you want. Think about whether or not you can commit. Can you commit to…
–  walking a dog daily, often multiple times daily?
–  ensuring a cat is exercised daily?
–  cleaning the glass, substrate, decor and filter of a fish tank?
–  cleaning a rodent cage multiple times a week?
–  the lifespan of the pet you desire?
If you cannot commit, either choose a different species or consider waiting until you are in a positions to commit fully to the pet you desire. If you do not have the time or the space for the kind of pet you want; then you may need to look into either waiting, or consider a different species/ breed.

Horses

There are many things to consider before adding a pet into your family.

Consider your finances – can you afford the pet you want? – Not just the one off payment for the pet and accessories; but the regular payments towards food, healthcare, replacement bedding, etc.

Space – Where will the pet live? Does it require specialised housing? Will it have free run of your home/ garden? Is your home suitable for the pet you want? Does this pet require large housing building/ buying? Do you know what housing type is best for the species you want?
Consider the positioning of any specialised housing – not near busy thoroughfares, or in direct sunlight/ under bright lights,  anywhere too dark, too cold, too hot, etc. Does the housing need to be outside? Do you have enough outside space to accommodate the animal?

Socialisation – Do yo need to buy more than one due to the animal being of a social species? Does the animal need socialising outside of the home? What is the best way to socialise the species?

There are many things to consider! So do some research, ask a professional (nb. not every person who works in a pet store, etc. is a professional!), check out a few different individuals of the species you want, and be as prepared as possible before diving in to pet ownership!

 


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information or advice regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
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Pet Travel Safety


People don’t think about safety during travel with regards to there pets, as much as they should; especially with dogs in cars. Travelling with our pets is something we almost all do at some point – even if it’s just a trip to the vets.

Safety is important when travelling – smaller pets ought to be in a safe, secure pet carrier; suitable for the size of your pet. Someone ought to securely hold the small pets in the carrier, or the carrier ought to be secured in your vehicle; so that the carrier does not move about too much or tip over.

Hamster in carrier

Larger animals can be in larger pet carriers and crates/ cages, and secured in your vehicle. This can be a carrier that is mobile, or fitted in your vehicle.

Dog in crate
Dog in crate

Alternatives for larger pets, such as dogs and cats, are pet seat belts. These consist of harnesses and some way to fasten them into the seat belt buckle; some plug straight into the buckle plug, others have a loop in which the seatbelt goes through and plugs in as normal.

Dog Car Harness (loop)
Dog Car Harness (loop)

What is important to remember is that it’s not just your pet you put at risk by leaving them loose during travel. They could be a distraction and cause an accident without meaning to, and they are a weight that can be thrown into a person or out a window/windscreen if you get into a crash. Now my little Bedlington, in the image above, is 17″ to the shoulder and weighs upwards of 10kg – if he was lose in my car and there was an accident, 10kg slamming into a person could kill them; 10kg shooting out the window/windscreen could kill your pet too…

It is one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is seeing pets loose in a vehicle – the danger for the pet and people is greater than we tend to give credit to.

World Animal Day


4th October 2014 – World Animal Day

Also known as International Animal Day or World Animal Lover Day. World Animal Day is a day for remembering all animals; by the people who love and respect them.

So enjoy the following animal images…

Common Behavioural Problems: Introduction


What is a behavioural problem?
(a) A natural behaviour that is undesirable to the owner, but very desirable to the animal.
(b) A natural behaviour that us undesirable to both owner and animal.
(c) An abnormal behaviour exhibited (and often done in repetition) that suggests the animal has an inability to cope with something in its environment (known as Stereotypical Behaviour).

Common Behavioural Problems:
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.)
– Coprophagia (eating faeces – not abnormal for certain species)
– Aggression
– Excessive Vocalisation
– Scratching/ biting/ kicking/ rearing/ bucking
– Anxiety
– Tail Chasing
– Feather Plucking/ Fur Pulling
– Chewing (things that they are not meant to chew)
– Hyper-excitability
– Excessive Grooming
– Wind Sucking/ Cribbing

Stereotypical Behaviours:
– Pacing
– Weaving/ Swaying
– Head Bobbing
– Circling
– Neck Twisting
– Bar Biting
– Rocking
– Self-Mutilation
– Vomiting (and then eating it, and vomiting again)
– Coprophilia (playing with faeces)
– Coprophaga (repeated)

How can behavioural problems be approached?
(1) Educating the owner
(2) Modifying the environment
(3) Modifying the animal


I will be doing some follow up posts on some of these behavioural problems, and some ways to tackle them. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
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. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
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Did you know? The 5 Freedoms


Short one this week. As much as we love our pets, not all animals have it as good as our little sweetie’s. Some have it very bad which sucks. It’s lovely to read rescue adoption stories and see animals get a second chance at happiness (they needn’t need a second chance, they should be loved right the first time).

The UK has the best animal welfare laws in the world, but even our laws do very little to help animals that really need it, without hard evidence. There are the 5 Freedom’s that were originally written by farmers for livestock, but have since been applied to domestic animals too. I have also realised that not many people have actually heard of the 5 Freedom’s – so this is merely an informative post to share what the 5 Freedom’s are and what they mean.

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – fresh water readily available at all times, and a diet to maintain a healthy vigour

2. Freedom from discomfort – providing a suitable environment, including shelter and a comfortable area to rest

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space and proper facilities, and the company of the animal’s own kind (suitable socialisation)

5. Freedom from fear and distress – ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

I firmly believe in providing animals with the highest standard of care and good welfare that is possible. These are a good starting point.

Daisy Dog & myself
Daisy Dog & myself

Sleep Time!


I have been thinking about sleep this week, and how with longer days and more sunlight during summer, often we rise earlier and stay up later. This is because of serotonin released in your brain (the waking hormone) caused by sunlight (you can counter this with heavy curtains that block out most light). Melatonin is the hormone that causes sleep. Obviously these hormones work differently depending on what species you are, and whether you are diurnal, nocturnal or a crepuscular species.

Anyway – with all that technical nonsense floating around my brain I decided to share some random things about animals and sleep, with a few pictures for your enjoyment too!


Fish and snake need darkness to help them sleep due to not having eyelids – snakes may bury in substrate but fish do not, so remember to turn off tank lights

Some species of snails can sleep for as long as 3 years!

Elephants sleep only 3 and a half hours per day, usually standing

Horses and cows cannot dream unless they sleep lying down

Giraffes need less than 2 hours of sleep per day, often getting no more than half an hour of sleep daily – broken into several intervals of between 5-10 minutes – they sleep the least of of all mammals

Giraffe
Giraffe

When dogs sleep on their back, with their paws up, they are in a deep sleep

The little brown bat sleeps up to 12-20 hours a day

Cats (big & small) need a minimum of 12 hours sleep per day, on average sleep for 14 hours daily

Sharks must keep moving whilst they sleep, often covering great distances

Birds have a locking system to stabilize them whilst they sleep, perched

Kookaburra
Kookaburra

Dolphins and ducks can half sleep – where only half their brain is asleep at a time, the other half stays awake!

Flamingo’s also sleep half their brain at a time, whilst on one leg

Walruses can go up to 3 days without sleep, but when they do sleep they get on average of 14 hours (just like cats!) daily

Koala’s sleep approximately 18 hours daily

Sloth’s sleep 15-18 hours daily (not as much as you may have thought)

sloth
Sloth

Bats sleep (and rest) hanging upside-down as their wings are not strong enough to take off from standing – they need to drop into flight

The green tree-frog turns a tan colour during sleep

Prey species tend to sleep little and often in safe (often high) places, or stood up – whereas predator species sleep for long periods and where they like


I hope that you found that interesting – if you want any more information or have any questions, about anything animal related, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Smallest Species – Bird, Reptile, Amphibian


Bee Hummingbird – the smallest bird in the world
  • Approximately 5-6 cm in length (from tip of bill to end of tail)
  • This species weighs approximately 1.6-2.6 g
  • Males are smaller than females, on average being 5.5 cm in length and 1.6 g in weight
  • Females are the larger of the species, on average being 6.2 cm in length and 2.6 g in weight
  • Mainly found in Cuba
  • Their wings can beat up to 200 times per second
  • They will visit an average of 1,500 flowers daily
  • These tiny birds must eat half their total body mass (and drink eight times their total body mass) every day to support their high metabolism
  • A solitary species, exceptions made only during breeding times
Jaragua Sphaero a.k.a. Dwarf Gecko – the smallest reptile in the world
  • This little gecko is only 0.6-0.8 inches in length; averaging a length of 0.63 inches
  • It weighs just 0.00455 of an ounce!
  • This species lives in the Caribbean; many in the protected Jaragua National Park
  • This is a very endangered species – threatened with extinction!
  • It is a terrestrial species, spending most of the day on the floor hiding in undergrowth
  • They do, however, spend their nights sleeping off the ground (hopefully away from predators!)
  • The Virgin Islands dwarf gecko is a very similar size measuring an average size of 0.71 inches in length
  • These 2 lizards are the smallest of the 23,000 species in the group Amniotes (all reptiles, birds and mammals)
Paedophryne amauensis (frog) – the smallest amphibian in the world
  • Also the smallest of all vertebrates
  • Has no common name, only the scientific name
  • From Papua New Guinea; lives amongst leaf litter in rainforests
  • Average size is 0.27 inches in length
  • The males are smaller than the females when fully grown
  • Discovered in 2009; officially announced in 2012
  • Discovered by Christopher Austin
  • They fill a small species specific, ecological niche
  • They can jump 30 times longer than their body size