Category Archives: Other Ungulate

Want To Know More? Giraffes


As a response to a query, asking to know more about giraffe’s, here is some information you may not have known…

There are four species of giraffe’s left in the world nowadays – a further seven species are now extinct. The living species are classified as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Classification: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Genus: Giraffa
Species…

(1) Northern Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Kordofan Giraffe
(ii) Nubian Giraffe (Rothschild’s Giraffe included)
(iii) West African Giraffe

Rothschild’s Giraffe

(2) Reticulated Giraffe (aka Somali Giraffe)

Reticulated Giraffe

(3) Southern Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Angolan Giraffe
(ii) Cape Giraffe

Angolan Giraffe

(4) Masai Giraffe
Subspecies:
(i) Kilimanjaro Giraffe
(ii) Thornicroft’s Giraffe

Thornicroft’s Giraffe

Giraffe’s are even-toed ungulates (ungulate being an animal with hooves); as opposed to zebra’s and rhino’s which are odd-toed ungulates. The feet of a giraffe alone span around 30 cm in diameter (that’s roughly the size of a dinner plate)!

Giraffe Foot

Adult males weigh 1,764-4,255 lbs (800-930 kgs), and adult females weigh 1,213-2,601 lbs (550-1,180 kgs). But that doesn’t stop them! They can reach speeds of 35 mph at a gallop (sprint), and keep a steady running pace of 10 mph.

Giraffe’s are the largest mammals on Earth – their legs alone (on average) are around 6 ft in height; as is their neck! A male giraffe will grow (on average) 16-20 ft tall, and females average 15-16 ft tall – that’s taller than the average double-decker bus (in the UK – being 14 ft) – and their tail can be 3 ft long, including the tufty bit!

A calf (baby giraffe) is around 6 ft in height at birth! It also has about a 6 ft drop, as the mother gives birth standing up. The young can stand, walk and run within (approximately) 1 hour of being born; this is advantageous as a prey species, and being a vulnerable newborn, in escaping from predators. Within the first year the young giraffe reaches around 10 ft in height – they are also weaned at one year old; they reach maturity between 3-6 years old.

These tall beasts live for 20-25 years in the wild (up to approximately 28 years old in captivity). As with cattle (and elephants, and whales, etc. etc.) male giraffe’s are known as bulls, females are known as cows, and (as previously mentioned) the babies are known as calves. Each giraffe’s pattern is unique to that individual; just as with human finger prints, zebra and tiger stripes, leopard spots… (you get it)! This can be a helpful way for conservationists to be able to identify the same individual.

Due to the awkwardness that comes with the height, giraffe’s have a difficult time drinking. Their necks will not allow the to reach water standing up; they have to awkwardly bend down or spread their legs out to get close enough to the water to drink.


Giraffe’s are herbivores (meaning they are vegetarian). Giraffe’s are browsers – they casually feed on whatever they fancy. They spend around half their day eating. They have a long, blue/black tongue – which is prehensile (meaning it’s capable of grasping). Their tongue is around 18-20 inches long, and can be used kind of like a super-finger to twist around branches (often thorny branches) to strip them of their leaves, for food. The vegetation and fruits consumed by giraffes is dependant on the availability of food in their location, and in the different seasons.

As with cattle, giraffe’s have a four-chambered stomach; animals (including sheep, deer and others) with this type of digestive system are known as Ruminants. Their digestion is split between the four chambers and regurgitated for “chewing the cud” or “ruminating”. The first chamber is the rumen, the second is the reticulum , the third is the omasum, and the fourth chamber is the abomasum. The rumen is for storage, and to regurgitate the for “chewing the cud” later. The reticulum is where the “chewed cud” goes, and is fermented to make the foodstuffs easier to digest; then regurgitated to “chew the cud” again. The omasum , is where the food goes for the absorption of water. Finally, the rest of the foodstuffs goes to the abomasum, which is like our stomach – where the bulk of the break-down and absorption happens (before going to the intestines).


Giraffe’s inhabit the woodlands, grasslands and savanna’s of Africa, and live in loose herds – meaning the herds do not stay together 24/7. Mainly herds are made up of females and young, or bachelor herds of young males. Older males are often solitary.


Did you know?
Giraffe’s have the same number of vertebrae in their neck as humans (seven)!


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


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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Christmas Camel (Dromedary)


Yes it does seem like an odd title for a post – “hot” and “dry” and “sandy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking of camels; whereas “cold” and “frosty” and “snowy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking about Christmas… however there is logic!

Think of the school nativity play you played a role in (no matter how small) as a child – no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph in the stable, the birth of baby Jesus, and of course the visitors: the shepherds and their sheep, and the three wise men who rode in on their camels!

As Jesus was born in Bethlehem (a town south of Jerusalem), and lived in Nazareth (a city in north Jerusalem) – the camels the wise men rode in on were likely have been dromedary camels as they came from the East (and it took them about two years to get there, so they wouldn’t have actually visited Jesus in the stable).

Camels are even-toed insulated, with a hump or humps. Each hump is a mound of fat – stored up so that the animal does can go travel great distance without stopping to refuel! When the store has been used up the hump(s) will flop and become limp, until the animal has refuelled; the hump(s) will then return to their upright position

The dromedary or Arabian camel (scientifice name: Camelus dromedarius) is the one-humped camel; the smallest of the three remaining camel species. This species is found in the Middle-East and the Horn of Africa; likely the species the wise men travelled on. (The other camel species being the Bactrian.)

Standing between 1.7-2.0m tall and weighing 300-600kg the dromedary has a diet consisting of a range of desert vegetation; including thorny plants, dwarf shrubs, herbs, desert grasses, vines, and trees. They will graze for 8-12 hours each day.

A male camel is known as “bull”, a female is a “cow”, and the young as “a calf” or “calves”. After a 12-15 month gestation period the female will give birth in solitude, usually to a single calf, however on occasion may give birth to twins. The mother will then care for the young for up to two years.

Unfortunately, the dromedary has not naturally existed in the wild for a long time; thought to be around 2000 years. However there are feral camels of this species found, particularly in Australia (where they were introduced around 1840). But with breeding programmes around the world in animal collections, this species is still strong in number [for the time being].


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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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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World Tapir Day


As it is World Tapir Day, I have decided to do a post with a few fact about Tapirs – enjoy!

The Tapir is a large, solitary mammal; with a short, prehensile snout (looks like a mini trunk). Being prehensile, this can be used as a we would a finger/hand – the Tapir uses it to wrap around branches and pull of the tasty leaves and vegetation it feeds on. The Tapir is a herbivore; using this “mini trunk” to help it obtain food, as it will spend a lot of time foraging for food. The Tapir eats twigs/ branches, leaves, shoots, buds, berries/ fruits, and even aquatic plants.

Tapirs live in the jungle and forest regions of South anf Central America, and Southeast Asia. They live within the dense undergrowth on the jungle or forest floor – except for the Mountain Tapir (as the name suggests).

These have all been classified as endangered or threatened species. They are relates to other ungulates, including horses and rhinoceroses. They are however odd-toed ungulates, unlike the horse.

There are four species of Tapir:

  • Brazilian Tapir
  • Mountain Tapir
  • Malayan (or Asian) Tapir
  • Baird’s Tapir

The Baird’s Tapir has cream coloured markings lining the tips of the ears, under the chin, and continuing down to the chest  – making it easy to identify. It inhabits forests of Central and South America.

Baird's Tapir (Open Source Image)
Baird’s Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Malayan Tapir is the largest of the Tapir species. It has a distinctive colouration; being dark grey/ black in colour with a white band around from the midriff to the hind; around the body. The Malayan Tapir inhabited the tropical forests across South East Asia; however, today has a much smaller habitat range (due to habitat loss caused primarily by man). This species is my personal favourite.

Malayan Tapir (Open Source Image)
Malayan Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Mountain Tapir is the smallest of the Tapir species and lives in mountainous regions; unlike the other three species. It can be found in the high forests in the Andes mountains (Colombia, Ecuador and parts north of Peru). This is the furriest species- needing a thicker coat to help keep it warm in the mountains. The Mountain Tapir has the same cream tipped ears as the Baird’s Tapir, however it also has cream markings around the mouth (personally I think it looks like cream coloured lipstick!) making it easy to distinguish.

Mountain Tapir (Open Source Image)
Mountain Tapir (Open Source Image)

The Brazilian Tapir is known to be a great swimmer and the is generally found close to water; in the Amazon Rainforest. The colouration of this species is a light brown; with an even paler colouration running under the body. The Brazilian Tapir also has slightly smaller ears, that sit further to the side (rather than the top) of the head – when compared to the other three species.

Brazilian Tapir (Open Source Image)
Brazilian Tapir (Open Source Image)

Baby Tapirs are usually brown in colour, with spots and stripes on their coats; this helps them blend in to the undergrowth, and helps them to stay hidden from predators – as they cannot run as fast as mum to get away, hiding is the best option for the little ones.

Baby Tapir (Open Source Image)
Baby Tapir (Open Source Image)

Labradoodles and other “designer” cross-breeds


In response to a question asked – this post is going touch on breeding and genetics in the dog world. The question asked was; “are Labradoodles (and other designer cross-breeds) infertile? – like a mule is.”

The short answer is no.

Two Labradoodles can have puppies – the argument these days is whether or not the offspring of two Labradoodles is still a Labradoodle, or just a mongrel… but that’s a different issue altogether!

A Labradoodle is the offspring of a Labrador crossed with a Poodle (miniature, small, or standard).

Labradoodle (open source)
Labradoodle (open source)

A Labradoodle is genetically different, and genetically the same as your little Dachshund, your beautiful Bulldog, and your fluffy Akita. They are also genetically the same, and genetically different to the Wolf and other wild Canid species.

The family Canidae is broken down into the genus Canis – Wolves, dogs and Jackals; and the genus Vulpues – foxes. The Wolf is its own species within this genus – Canis lupus; the domestic dog is its own species – Canis familiaris.
Canis lupus is divided into subspecies, such as; Grey Wolves and Red Wolves.
Canis familiaris has lots of breeds within the species, but these are not scientifically classified as subspecies. Scientifically the Springer Spaniel and the Irish Wolfhound are the same.

Domestic dogs, Wolves, and Jackals all have 39 pairs of chromosomes. If two dogs breed, the offspring has 39 pairs of chromosomes. If two Wolves breed, the offspring has 39 pairs of chromosomes. If a domestic dog and a Wolf breed, the offspring has 39 pairs of chromosomes. This means that the offspring of any mix are all fertile.

A mule is infertile because a donkey has 31 pairs of chromosomes, and a horse has 32 pairs of chromosomes – the offspring of the two does not have an equal amount of chromosomes; there is not enough to for all to be paired. Therefore, the offspring cannot reproduce. The donkey is a different species to the horse, hence the genetic difference.

A Labradoodle is just the same as a mongrel – it’s a dog. Therefore, it can breed and successfully reproduce with other dogs; no matter what breed. As a cute example, see the image below – she is the adorable offspring of a Chocolate Labrador (Dad) and a Labrador x Springer Spaniel (Mum). Just a cute, little, baby dog!

3 Part Lab, 1 Part Springer Spaniel (Cross-breed)
3 Part Lab, 1 Part Springer Spaniel (Cross-breed)

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 contact me through this site or leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
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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.

Did You Know? Reindeer


Reindeer are also known as Caribou.
Svalbard Reindeer
Svalbard Reindeer

Males reindeer are known as bulls. Female reindeer are known as cows. Young reindeer are known as calves. Both male and female reindeer have antlers. These are covered in velvet, which is shed annually.

Reindeer live in the Northern parts of North America including Canada and Alaska. They also live in Europe, Russia and Greenland… and of course, the North Pole with Santa!

Red Deer - Santa's Reindeer
Red Deer                                                     Santa’s Reindeer

Santa’s reindeer look like red deer when drawn – tall and slim; with long, slender antlers, a smooth brown coat, and small black hooves. In reality, reindeer are fairly short and stocky; with large, fairly broad antlers (the bigger the better); and wide, flat, split hooves.
The split hooves makes them a two-toed ungulate (such as sheep and camels, unlike horses).
The coats of reindeer vary from brown to grey/ white, and mixtures in between – usually white underneath.
The larger your antlers, the higher your rank within the group. The higher your rank within the group, means first dibs on important things such as food, shelter, and mates.

Different types of reindeer include the woodland caribou, barren-ground caribou, forest reindeer, river caribou, peary caribou, Svalbard reindeer, porcupine caribou, Arctic reindeer,  and Alaskan reindeer.

Porcupine Caribou
Porcupine Caribou

Rememberance


800px-Poppies_Field_in_Flanders

We remember today, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, all the fallen heroes who gave their lives so that we can enjoy all the freedom and pleasures that we do today! We remember all the heroes who fight today, risking their lives daily.

We remember all the men and women who contributed to the war effort and aided in preserving their country. Amongst all the men and women, let us not forget the animals who were and are involved in wars; giving their lives and risking it all alongside soldiers, doing their bit to help in war-time.