Category Archives: Wildlife

Want to know more? Crocodiles


With regard to the ears and hearing of Crocodiles – see my previous post. This post is just a short follow-up, with a bit more crocodile info…

Their nostrils can also close up to seal out the water when submerged. They have a long snout full of teeth! The fourth tooth (working from nose), on the bottom, is visible over the sides of the top lip.

The tongue of a crocodile is quite unusual in the fact it is fixed to the bottom of the mouth; it is immovable.

The double spikes along the length of the body and tail are called the scute. Each spike along the scute has bone…

The pattern of the scales on their head and snout are unique to the individual the same way our fingerprints are individual, or the patterns on a giraffe or leopard (etc)…

They really are (in my opinion) fascinating and magnificent creatures.


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


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Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.

Your cat and the big outdoors


New cat or kitten? Wanting to let them roam the big, wide world outside? Stop and think before you do, to ensure the safest way to introduce your cat to the outdoors.

Kittens Outside

You must note that there are differences in introducing a young kitten and an adult cat to the outdoors.

With an adult cat, keep them indoors 3-6 weeks before letting them venture outdoors; cats have a great ‘homing beacon’ and if you let them out straight away will find their way back to where home was before you brought them home with you. Keeping your cat indoors for minimum of 3 weeks will sort of ‘re-set’ this, so your home becomes theirs and they will then find their way back to you. This also applies with adult cats when you move house – keep them inside until your new location becomes theirs.

With a kitten there is a bit more preparation before letting them outside – this is first for a new kitten! Ensure your kitten is micro-chipped in case they get lost; vaccinated to avoid illness or disease; and neutered at the appropriate age to avoid any unplanned litters!

Work on recall in the home before letting your cat/kitten out – calling them and shaking their favourite bag of treats, or something similar so they know to come back when called.

Cat Collar

If you want to put a collar on your cat/kitten (many people choose to so a bell can be added), ensure you get a collar that can has some sort of [emergency] release so the collar will break if it is stuck on something, and it won’t harm your pet. Bells on collars do reduce the success rate of hunts, however won’t ever completely prevent the occasional successful hunt.

At first it is wise to monitor your cat/kitten on their first adventure outside to ensure they don’t get into too much trouble, and so you’re on hand if they do! You may wish to firstly take your cat/kitten out on a harness and lead to let them get used to the smells and surroundings and layout of your garden in a controlled environment.

Whilst outside, sit and play and explore with your pet to allow them to get used to, and enjoy this new setting. Practise recall in the garden with your pet, being sure to reward, fuss and praise them when they come back when called.


Kitten exploring

Eventually allow your cat/kitten more time outside without you, until they want to venture out on their own.

As cats are nocturnal, they spend the nights active and hunting – to allow your pet outside of an evening/night it is advisable to get a cat flap. With a cat flap, you won’t have a restless cat that has been cooped up all night, and you won’t be disturbed by your pet asking to be let out. The best options are cat flaps that open via magnets (one in the flap and one on the collar of your cat(s)), or that open when registered microchips are within a certain proximity. These kinds of flaps ensure no cats that are not of your household can enter.

For any further advice or any questions on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me via any of the methods below.


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


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Pink Flamingos Day: 29 May 2018

Happy Pink Flamingos Day! (As opposed to Green Flamingos Day 😉 )

Flamingos are large birds with long, stick-like legs and long, slender necks. Flamingos are wading water birds, inhabiting alkaline, saline and/or estuarine lagoons and lakes (usually lacking in vegetation). Flamingos are not a migratory bird; there are six known species, which can be found in a variety of places.

  • Africa:
    – Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
    – Lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)
  • South America:
    – Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus)
    – Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
    – James’ or Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi)
  • Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Galapagos Islands
    – Caribbean flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

A group of Flamingos is called a flock or a colony. Colonies can be made up of 50 or so birds up to colonies with thousands of individuals. Flamingos reach maturity around five years of age, and are monogamous (same mate for life)

Yes, it’s true… flamingos are pink due to the food they eat. They eat insects, invertebrates, small fish, and algae. They stir up food from the mud with their feet, and hold their breath whilst they duck under water to catch a meal.

The algae they eat is full of beta carotene (also in foods such as tomato, carrot, sweet potato causing the colour) which causes the pink colouration, as well as carotenoids in the molluscs and crustaceans they consume. Depending on the levels of the carotene and carotenoids in the foods available in their habitat, will determine the shade and brightness of the Flamingos colouration. Flamingos are born white/grey and turn a pink-colour at around two years old.


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


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National Bird Day: 5th January 2018

National Bird Day is on 5th January every year; it is scheduled for the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The count helps to monitor our nation’s birds; members of the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the three week count.

It is estimated that approximately 12% of the population of all bird species could face extinction within the next century. Many parrot species and songbirds face extinction due to illegal trade (see my post about the Javanese Songbird Trade for some related information), disease, and loss of habitat.

Today, National Bird Day, is to promote care and conservation of birds, as well as to raise awareness about their decline. It also marks the end of the Christmas Bird Count – which monitors wild populations to measure the numbers of individuals.

Many countries have a national bird, and I am going to use a few as examples to show the importance of National Bird Day, and the conservation of birds.

United Kingdom: European Robin 
The population of this bird has increased by 45% since 1970! The current count is 117,000,000-181,000,000 mature adults in Europe alone.

European Robin

United States of America: Bald Eagle
Estimated population of 300k-500k (k = thousand) in the 1700’s; the current population is now 70k in North America, and just 5k in the South. However numbers were as low as only 500 in mid-late 1800’s, so the population has increased again.

Bald Eagle

Italy: Italian Sparrow
The current population is 10-20 million individuals (5-10 million pairs) however have been classified as vulnerable due to their rapid decline at a rate of 54.2% between 2000 and 2015.

Italian Sparrow

Canada: Canada Goose
This species has steadily increased in population  at an estimated rate of 3% between 1998 and 2007. In 2015 the estimated population was 4.2-5.6 million.

Canada Goose

With the information from bird counts, we can take active steps to help conserve species when they need it – to show us the most vulnerable or endangered species, so that we can take steps to avoid their extinction.


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


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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.


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Rare Species: Vaquita

The Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world; a little porpoise, that wasn’t discovered until 1958. Now, almost 60 years on and they are on the brink of extinction. They are often caught in nets in marine protected areas, within Mexico’s Gulf of California, and drown as a result. Sadly, more than half of the population has been lost in the last three years.

The Vaquita is pale grey along its’ sides, dark grey on the dorsal surface (on top), and light grey/ white ventral surface (along the bottom). They have dark rings around the eyes and lips, and a dark thin line from the lips to the pectoral (front, side) fins. Newborns are darker in colour, with pale grey along the dorsal surface and head.

Since the freshwater River Dolphin species, the Baiji, went extinct in 2006 the Vaquita has taken the title of the world’s most endangered cetacean. As of 2016, there is suspected to be less than 30 left in the wild; a drastic drop in numbers since 1997 when there were approximately 600 in the wild.

The poaching of the endangered Totoaba fish, for its’ swim bladder – a Chinese delicacy, using gill-nets (fixed fishing nets) is the main cause of the Vaquita’s declining numbers. Vaquita’s get caught in gill-nets, and drown, as they cannot get free to get to the surface for air.

Gill-nets, though usually put in place for a single species, do not discriminate – many different species get caught, and often die. Whales, dolphins and porpoises all get trapped – some get away with injuries, whilst most die.

Dr. Anna Hall, of the Porpoise Conservation Society, said, There is nothing else we need to worry about other than gill-nets. If we remove the gill-nets, we will likely save the Vaquita.”


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


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Javanese Songbird Trade

Songbirds on the brink of extinction due to being wild caught, and then sold as pets in Java (Indonesia). Markets full of beautiful songbirds bundled into cages. Forests erily quiet as the songbirds that should occupy the trees are being sold in these markets; including protected bird species, being illegally caught and sold. These animals are treated as possessions of status as opposed to being cared for as companions. Songbird species native to Java are headed toward extinction – according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Many species are critically endangered with no signs of improving.

Songbird Market, Java

Despite the efforts of conservationists and breeding programmes, for some species it may be too late. But thankfully, these programmes are still going, still hoping. Maybe some species will recover but the people of Java need to release these birds back into/ stop taking them from the wild, to have them die in cages a stones throw from their natural habitat.

Sumatran laughingthrush

I was made aware of this awful practice by a short segment in between news stories on the BBC – for more information of this on the BBC website please follow this link.


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


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International Rabbit Day: 24 September 2017

Happy International Rabbit Day

Initially classified as Rodents but, in the early 20th Century, re-classified as Lagomorphs; rabbits in the wild exist on every continent except Asia and Antarctica, and domestically world-wide.

A male rabbit is known as a Buck and a female is known as a Doe. Baby rabbits are often mistakenly thought to be known as Bunnies, but a young rabbit is actually known as a Kit or a Kitten.

For more information about rabbits, check out another of my posts, Bunny Basics – http://alisanswers.com/index.php/2014/03/28/bunny-basics/ 

Interesting: Deer, deer!

Actress, Audrey Hepburn had a pet deer named Pippen; artist Frida Kahlo also had a pet deer named Granizo.

Audrey and Pippen

Audrey’s little fawn would lie on the couch with her, and was very docile. She would bottle feed and care for the fawn. Pippen was used on set of the film Green Mansions; where she played a fawn that followed the main character, Rima (played by Audrey), around the jungle in which they both lived. As such, Audrey took the deer home and cared for her – so much so that Pippen would follow Audrey around.

Audrey nicknamed the fawn “IP” and were even photographed shopping (below) and napping (above) together! Unfortunately, after filming, Audrey and Pippen had to say goodbye and part ways.

Frida and Granizo

Frida had an array of animals around her; and it is said that she had a connection with nature. Frida was a Mexican artist, who painted throughout her troubled life; painting often by drawing from her life and pain. Her pets, so it is said, we’re dear to her; her pet deer Granizo is said to have inspired her 1946 painting The Wounded Deer.

Unfortunately there is not much information surrounding Frida’s relationships with her animals – aside from [some of] them being inspiration for pieces of art.


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


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