Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Small Pet - Guinea Pig

As small pets go, guinea pigs -- also known as cavies -- are virtual giants. In fact, each of the 13 guinea pig breeds recognized by the American Cavy Breeders Association can weigh up to 3 pounds or 1,360 grams (that's a lot compared to a parakeet). They come in several colors and patterns, and can have short or long hair.
Life Span: Five to 10 years

Best For: Children of any age; a great "starter" pet

Feeding: Commercial pellets, prairie hay, fresh vegetables and water; daily dose of vitamin C

Housing and Exercise: Guinea pigs need lots of exercise. Pet retailers sell portable enclosures in which your guinea pig can safely explore an indoor or outdoor environment. You can add pipes for your pet to run through or offer hiding places like small boxes. However, resist the urge to add an exercise wheel to its cage. That's because running in a wheel could cause injuries to your guinea pig's back or legs.

Good to know: Guinea pigs are actually from South America (not Guinea) and aren't pigs at all.
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Monday, March 27, 2017

6 Furry Moths You Could Easily Take for a Pet

Acraga Coa Moths ("Jewel Moths")
Commonly misreferred to as Jewel moths, these exemplars have nothing to do with the true jewel moths (Eriocraniidae) that actually have gold on their wings. Rather, the Acraga Coa's caterpillar, popularly known as the Jewel caterpillar has caused this misconception.
Acraga Coa are from the Dalceridae family, found in southern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama, obviously preferring a more tropical climate, so unless you like to live in damp hot conditions - this isn't your kind of pet. The Dalceridae family consists of at least 84 different species, all of their larvae sharing the gooey appearance so they're often called "slug caterpillars".

The amazing semi-translucent caterpillars actually don't have any defence mechanisms, except for their gooeyness. Ants, which usually devour caterpillars, become stuck in the larvae's jelly-like body. So it seems the species repel predators simply by being sticky and uncomfortable to attack. In this sense, "Jewel" caterpillar does seem fitting - look all you want, but don't touch.

Venezuelan Poodle Moth
The Venezuelan Poodle Moth – the hip new thing in the bug world. The little critter has now been compared to everything from a furby, gargoyle to a Pokemon character. But seriously, who wouldn't want to cuddle this sucker, am I right?

In 2009 the species of moths were discovered by Dr. Arthur Anker of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela. Not much is known about the insect - not even its family (Dr. Anker has suggested Artace sp, perhaps A. cribaria), except that it is found in Gran Sabana National Park in Venezuela and it is hella furry.

Rosy Maple Moth
Dryocampa rubicunda, or the Rosy Maple Moth is a species native to North America, their range extending to southern Canada - Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. As their name suggested, these colourful insects feed almost exclusively on maple trees.

The Rosy Maple moth is covered in a coat of dense fuzz which helps them pollinate flowers better. Their colouration vary, but what stay common between them is the bright colouration. Researchers are still pondering on the purpose of their coloration, some believing it warns off predators.

Generally nocturnal, these furry beauties prefer to fly throughout the first third of the night. It is then that the adult females emit pheromones and attract males, which have bushier antennae in order to detect the pheromones. The Rosy Maple moth adults don't eat. Their larvae, called Green-striped Mapleworms, can occasionally become pests in the garden. So even though they are strikingly beautiful, if you do decide to breed and have them as a pet, they might still pose as potential pest problem to be taken care of with a moth control treatment by professionals.

Rosy Maple Moth on a Thumb With One Leg Up as if Waving Goodbye

Tolype Moth
Velleda Lappet Moth, also known as the Large Tolype Moth, is a species of lappet moth that ranges from Nova Scotia to central Florida, west to Texas and north to Ontario. The adult fluffy insects are active from July to September. And by active I don't mean eating, because adults don't eat at all, they rather focus only on reproduction.

The Tolype moth larvae, also known as "tent caterpillars" are active from June to August, when they feed on the leave of broadleaf trees like apple, plum, cherry, apricot and etc. The caterpillars have their own astonishing specific - typically social, colourful, diurnal and hairy on the sides, these insects get their name from their ability to build silk tents in the branches of host trees. Which, of course, can either look very creepy or astonishing depending on your level of insect comfortability.

Pink-Striped Oakworm Moth
Known by entomologists and educated folks as Anisota virginiensis, also known as Pink-Striped Oakworm moth to differentiate it from the simple Oakworm moth. The Pink-Striped beauties are a species of silk moths from the family Saturniidae, found in North America to Canada inhabiting deciduous woodlands and suburbs.

Unlike other species, these moths mate in the morning. The males attract females by buzzing like a bee. Afterwards, it's a very wham-bam type of process, by which I mean rapid. The couple of moths stay together for the rest of the day until the female finds a proper place to lay the eggs - usually under oak leaves.

Sadly, these beautiful moths are occasionally considered a pest of forests, because their larvae defoliate trees. So if you intend to breed or keep one as pet, watch out for accidentally creating a moth infestation.
Flannel Moths

Flannel Moth

Megalopygidae, known to mortals as the Flannel Moths are one of the most interesting, amazing and talked about moth family made up from 11 known species. From caterpillars to hatching as moths, these insect look like tiny fur-balls, hence the nickname of their larvae "puss caterpillars".
However, if we look past their groovy exterior, the puss caterpillars are actually not the cute innocent little fur-balls they seem. Megalopygidae larvae are actually badasses that can cause a painful sting and inflammation which can last for several days, in some cases leading to headache, nausea and shock-like symptoms.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

5 Animals with Incredible Healing Powers

All animals are equipped to take care of themselves in nature, with natural defenses to ensure their survival. Now more than ever, scientists are researching different varieties of animals to see how we humans can learn from their different health mechanisms. While the topic is vast, we have highlighted five creatures which, through scientific research, have been found to possess incredible healing powers that can rehabilitate and treat human illnesses.

HEALING ABILITY: Dogs’ saliva has been found to heal wounds. Moreover, the motion of a dogs’ tongue can aid wounds, as the saliva loosens debris on the surface of a cut.
BACKED BY SCIENCE: Researchers discovered a protein called Nerve Growth Factor in dog’s saliva; wounds treated with NGF heal twice as fast as untreated wounds.
dog licking a little girl's face

A dog's saliva contains healing properties.

HEALING ABILITY: A protein in the venom of a Malayan pit viper can help treat strokes and prevent  blood clots.
BACKED BY SCIENCE: While getting bitten by a venomous snake isn’t ideal, using their venom to treat illnesses has been found effective. A protein called ancrod found in the Malayan pit viper’s venom can dissolve blood clots that cause a stroke for as long as six hours after stroke symptoms begin. The venom is currently being used in Europe to treat patients with deep-vein blood clots, and to prevent problematic clots from forming after certain surgeries and procedures.
Malayan pit viper

The ideal way to come into contact with the Malayan pit viper's venom is through a doctor administered dosage.

HEALING ABILITY: Through their deep purring, cats can mend broken bones.
BACKED BY SCIENCE: Frequencies of 20 to 50 Hertz are helpful in speeding the healing process of bone injuries. Feline purring vibrations, which range from 20 – 140 Hertz, can help heal soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Cute cat

This adorable kit could double as an orthopedist

HEALING ABILITY: Bees are the backbone of our ecosystem, providing humans with multiple food sources. Their pollen is a perfect food, containing almost all of the nutrients required by the human body.
BACKED BY SCIENCE: Pollen is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and bioflavonoids which are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and help in lowering cholesterol. Fresh pollens also contains at least 20 amino acids that build healthy cells.
Bees pollinating a flower

About one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination.

HEALING ABILITY: Household pets have been shown to raise immunities in babies.
BACKED BY SCIENCE: Babies who live with pets during their first six months have significantly lower chances of developing allergies and asthma. Children with pets are also less likely to come down with colds and ear infections during their first year.
a dog, rabbit and kitten

Household pets can build up your child's immunities.
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Up all night: 7 animals that hardly ever sleep

If you are a regular homo sapien you will spend a third of your life tucked up in bed, sound asleep. If you live to the respectable age of 75, then you would have successfully slept through a whopping quarter of a century. Sleep is a state of inactivity when we become less responsive to stimuli. The Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘a condition in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended’.

We now know that, as humans, we go through five distinct stages of sleep—the first of which is light sleep where we can be woken up easily by disturbances, onto the fifth stage called ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ or REM, in which we typically dream. We also know that many mammals and birds undergo changes in the brain while sleeping just like us; reptiles also display some sleep-linked changes. In some species of flies and cockroaches prolonged sleep deprivation can also be fatal. But limited research on animal sleep, coupled with its (at best) ambiguous definition when applied across species, has meant that our information on how exactly different animals snooze is still somewhat lacking.

So just how some animals get by in life with little or no sleep at all remains something of a complete mystery to us. Here are 7 creatures able to stay up all night, nearly every night.

1. Giraffes

With their long towering necks, sleeping isn’t the easiest activity for giraffes. Getting up once they lie down could take precious seconds and make them incredibly vulnerable to predators like lions and crocodiles. These tall mammals have therefore evolved to have very skimpy sleep needs. They take quick naps that last as long as five minutes through the day and all in all manage 30 minutes of sleep a day, topping the list of animals that need the least sleep. Indeed they rest so little, that up until the 1950s, researchers thought they didn’t sleep at all. Sometimes, they’ll will arch their necks and rest their heads on their rumps while sleeping and at other times they might nod off for a lightning quick power-nap whilst standing tall.

2. Dolphins
Have you ever taken a nap while on a swim? It’s an impossible feat for us, yet even for aquatic mammals it’s a challenge to swim and sleep at the same time. So dolphins have evolved a kind of sleep called ‘unihemispheric’ or one-sided sleep where they literally are half asleep. They shut down one hemisphere of their brains and the opposite eye (which the hemisphere controls) at a time, while the other hemisphere and an eye remain watchful. This way they stay on their guard in case of predators, are able to come up to the surface to take breaths while getting some rest. Sometimes dolphins swim while they are asleep, at other times they float at water looking like logs and this kind of sleeping is calling logging. Other marine mammals such as whales, orcas and porpoises also practice ‘unihemispheric’ sleep where they can remain asleep and awake at the same time.

3. Elephants

While they are gargantuan, their sleep needs are disproportionate to their vast sizes. Elephants are poor sleepers and need just as little as three to four hours of fragmented sleep throughout the day. Instead of spending time getting their forty winks, these gigantic animals utilise most of their time foraging and feeding. They spend up to 18 hours feeding to get 200-600 pounds of food a day necessary for their bodies. When they do sleep, they do it standing as they are, leaning on trees or termite mounds, or sometimes, lying down on their sides. When they sleep lying down on their sides, it’s never more than 30 minutes so as to keep their own body weight from crushing their internal organs.

4. Bullfrogs

Bullfrogs are thought to be animals that can survive without sleeping for months at a time. While they shut their eyes and go on to rest, they remain alert during these periods. According to research even while resting these huge amphibians were awake enough to respond to painful stimuli and show respiratory changes. They only time they do go into ‘deep sleep’ it is to hibernate to survive freezing winters.

5. Alpine swifts

Alpine swifts take their travel very seriously. So seriously in fact that when they travel from Switzerland to West Africa they are in flight continuously for 200 days, six months straight. They never stop on treetops or land for any ‘rest’ at all. Research shows that there are periods of slowdowns when the birds do not flap as much. But it is still unclear what kind of sleep they get up in air inflight.

6. Walruses
Walruses are talented sleepers who can break into snoozes just about anywhere and in any position—they can sleep floating in water, at the bottom of the sea, standing, leaning or lying down on land.  They fill themselves with air in parts of their bodies called pharyngeal pouches and stay bobbing in water sleeping without drowning. Sometimes, they’ll hang on to ice sheets with their teeth while in water and continue to sleep. But these blubbery sleep-loving mammals also have the ability to stay up for a very long time without complete sleep. Scientists say that walruses can swim and stay awake continuously for 84 hours. They probably rest as much to have energy for these intense periods of non-stop activity.

7. Orca calves
While most infants of many species sleep a lot more and more deeply than adults, killer whale calves and baby dolphins are exceptions. They will spend the first few months of their lives wide awake with absolutely no sleep. Even when adults catch some sleep, young orcas will continue swimming around. This could be to stay safe from predators, but an important reason is that these aquatic infants need to keep their bodies warm with constant activity until they grow older and grow some blubber.
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Thursday, March 23, 2017

7 animals you can only find in Russia

Russia contains numerous rare and unusual critters, endemic animals whose natural habitat is limited to areas within the country's interior. To see them, you might need to embark on a journey to some of Russia’s more remote regions. However, you will be rewarded not only with the beauty of forests and lakes, but perhaps also with the opportunity to touch the silky fur of these wondrous creatures.

1. Russian desman

Millions of years ago, when mammoths had not yet emerged on this planet, the desman was already here. The Russian desman seems to embody antiquity in a sense. Their limited eyesight makes it similar to a mole, while the shape of its tail and its lifestyle recall an Australian native – the platypus.

Today this unusual semiaquatic mammal inhabits the basins of the Don, Volga and Ural rivers. A desman’s fur remains dry even underwater because of the oily musk secreted by its glands. It was the strong aromatic properties of its musk and its unique fur that put the desman on the brink of extinction a few centuries ago, but now this animal is under protection.

2. Fresh water seals of Lake Baikal and Lake Ladoga

The only mammals to inhabit Lake Baikal and Lake Ladoga are its seals. The most charming residents of these freshwater lakes have become their unofficial symbols. The Baikal seal and the Ladoga ringed seal are certain to win any tourist's affection. These animals have whirlpool eyes that look straight into your soul, cute fluffy pups and a curious nature. Lake Baikal even features a sealarium where these clever creatures show off their graceful movements.

Seals are referred to in many ancient Russian stories and legends. The peoples of Chukotka have a tale about a great mother seal that gave birth to every living creature on earth.

3. Putorana snow sheep
The impenetrable Putorana Plateau is one of Russia's wildest and least accessible areas: you have to take a boat or fly in to get there. This land is home to the endemic Putorana snow sheep. If getting to the plateau is challenging in itself, seeing its highland inhabitant also requires a fair amount of luck. Brutal and graceful at the same time, this animal with its thick winding horns and cautious manners grazes among steep rocks at an altitude of 1,700 meters.

It is impossible to know why the Putorana sheep chose this morose plateau, where it is forced to survive under harsh conditions, surrounded by ubiquitous dangers. Probably, these timid creatures enjoy the remoteness and the lack of disturbances.

4. Ross's gull

It’s hard to believe, but this frail-looking bird can be found in the austere environments of the Russian Arctic, Eastern Siberia and the northern and cold Indigirka, Kolyma and Anadyr rivers. The Ross's gull was once food for the Eskimos, but now the hunting of this strikingly beautiful bird is prohibited. Its plumage combines the snow-white of the surrounding ice with pale pink feathers, which seem to have absorbed the shades of polar dawns and northern lights. These frost lovers spend their winters in the north by the Arctic Ocean, instead of heading south with other birds.

5. Amur lemming
This rare mammal resembles a guinea pig or an oversize hamster with mottled fur. They inhabit the taiga of Eastern Siberia and Kamchatka. To see an Amur lemming, you might have to spend hours wandering across mossy moors and marshes: These rodents dig deep holes resembling labyrinths in the soft moss. A lemming's daily ration exceeds its own weight, but an active lifestyle helps them stay fit.

6. Siberian crane
The Siberian crane is majestic with snow-white plumage and a long red beak. These rare birds can be spotted in Yakutia and near Yamal in Western Siberia. Khanty, an indigenous people of Western Siberia, worship the crane as a sacred bird. These careful cranes prefer to avoid humans and warn their fellow birds with a long shriek, so you can only see them perform their impressive ritual movements from a safe distance.

The Siberian crane is included on the Red List as a critically endangered species. In 2012, President Vladimir Putin participated in The Flight of Hope, an action aimed at promoting the protection of this species. Accompanied by young cranes, the Russian president flew alongside them on a motorized hang glider.

7. Barguzin sable
Lake Baikal's eastern shores are covered with thick taiga, where you can encounter a nimble critter with fluffy coffee-colored fur – the Barguzin sable. The species, named for the Barguzin River, is very curious and not afraid of humans. Lucky tourists might get close enough to pet a sable and hear it purr, just like a cat. Because of its fine fur with silvery undertones, the Barguzin sable is highly valued and nicknamed the "king of wild furs" or "soft gold."
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

5 animals that are almost immortal (and one that actually is)

The typical lifecycle of animals is familiar to us all. We’re born, we reach sexual maturity, we grow old and—eventually—we die. Old age, or ‘senescence’, is the gradual accumulation of cellular degradation and happens to all humans. The older we get, the more likely we are to die.

Yet there are some animals for whom this does not apply; animals that do not have any measurable decline in survival as they age, nor do they display any reduction in reproductive capability. This lack of the symptoms of ageing is called ‘negligible senescence’ and applies to many different species throughout the animal kingdom, including these five.

1. Aldabra giant tortoise Geochelone gigantea
As its name suggests, the Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest tortoises in the world. Very slow growing animals, the species does not reach sexual maturity until over 30-years-old. One individual named Adwaita died aged 255 years at the Alipore Zoological Gardens in Kolkata, India. Carbon dating of his shell revealed that he had been born around 1750.

2. Rougheye rockfish Sebastes aleutianus
Probably the longest-lived marine fish on Earth, the Rougheye rockfish certainly lives up to its Latin name—Sebastes comes from Sebastos, which is Greek for ‘magnificent’. They evade predators by hiding in caves and crevices on the seafloor, but one individual couldn’t evade fishermen off the coast of Alaska. However, it made history as it was subsequently discovered to be 205-years-old.

3. Red sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus
There is great variation in age among sea urchins – some are short-lived, surviving for four years, some live up to 50 years, but some are extremely long-lived. With the ability to regenerate damaged appendages and reproduce throughout their lifespan, some of the largest specimens of Red sea urchins can live to be up to 200-years-old. This was discovered by scientists using tagging studies in the field to monitor individuals, as well as radiocarbon analysis.

4. Ocean quahog clam Arctica islandica
An edible species, the Ocean quahog clam is harvested from the Northern Atlantic Ocean for food. They are easy to age thanks to growth rings on their shells and their age is impressive. One individual made it into the Guinness Book of World Records when it died in 2006. It was found to be 507-years-old, confirmed by carbon dating, making it the world’s oldest living animal.

5. Naked mole rat Heterocephalus glaber
The maximum lifespan of the Naked mole rat is over 30 years – while not sounding remarkable, it is when compared to other rodents, as it lives about nine times longer than similarly sized mice. It is the longest living rodent in the world. Breeding females are fertile until death and, unlike every other mammalian species, their mortality risk does not accelerate with age. As they are much more closely related to us than any other negligibly senescent organism, understanding how this evolved may improve our understanding of ageing in humans, or even help us to achieve negligible senescence ourselves.

6. Hydras
There is one animal that could be called immortal. Strictly speaking, no animal is truly immortal as all can be killed by accidents, predator attacks, disease or adverse environmental factors. Yet some animals don’t seem to age at all, and have a stable or decreasing rate of mortality as they grow older. These animals are said to be ‘biologically immortal’. The hydra are one such animal. Tiny, simple freshwater animals, hydras reproduce asexually by growing clones of themselves and can regenerate – if cut apart, each piece develops into a new hydra. Their cells continually divide, but do not undergo senescence. For obvious reasons, they too are becoming a model for research into ageing.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

5 Animals Who Love Yoga As Much As You Do

“Any time I practice yoga, my dog, Nahla, tries to join in. She loves to jump on the mat to stretch.” —Jeremy Huckins Portland, Oregon

“When my wife, daughter, and I saw this turtle, we thought it was a sculpture. But after a few minutes, it moved and then resumed its Upward Turtle Pose.” —Al Dorner, Yorktown, Virginia

“We were delighted to see this penguin in Cape Town, South Africa, join us and mimic our poses.” —Rachel Bates and Helen Leher, Boynton Beach, Florida

“I’ve created a yoga and meditation space in my home that’s filled with things I love, including my white betta fish, Whisper. It seems that Whisper also enjoys doing some morning asana.” —Tammie Jones, Redding, California

“I saw this Cat-Cow combination during a trip to Woodstock, Vermont. When you practice yoga regularly, you may start to see yoga reminders in unusual places.” —Sarah Deutsch, Arlington, Virginia

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top 5 insects you should be eating

Cape Town – Scientists have long argued the virtues of eating insects as an alternative source of nutrition. Not only are insects cheap, they are filled with proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

There are close to 2000 different edible insects in the world according to a report on IFL science.

Here is a list of the top 5 insects we should eat.


These insects are filled with protein. 77% of its entire body is entirely made up of protein.

Known as chapulines in Latin America, they mainly eat beans, corn and other legumes.

Grasshoppers in Mexico are usually eaten with tortillas and avocado.

Palm grubs

Know as natural energy bars, palm bugs are weevils and are eaten in South Asia and the Americas, specifically in Paraguay.

These bugs are filled with unsaturated fatty acids. The body consists of 69% pure fat.

They can be cooked in their own fat or eaten raw.

Mopane worms

Mopane worms are a great source of iron. They have between 31 to 77mg of iron per 100g.

Found predominantly in Southern Africa, these insects are very good for increasing iron levels for people who have vitamin deficiencies.

Meal worms

Nutritionally meal worms could be compared to beef. In European countries, companies have started growing meal worms in order to be used as bird food.

But they are just as good for humans.

In the Netherlands companies are now rearing meal worms for human consumption.

Black soldier flies maggots

A Black soldier fly contains 42% protein and 35% fat.

These insects are mostly used in animal feed. They are particularly used in the poultry, trout and swine industry.

In China they are especially delicious when deep fried or dried.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

5 Terrifyingly Huge Spiders

These massive spiders can’t be dispatched by a shoe or rolled-up newspaper and are sure to give you nightmares—even if you're not an arachnophobe.

1. Poecilotheria rajaei

This recently announced new species of tarantula, found in Northern Sri Lanka, has a leg span of 8 inches—that's roughly the size of your face! It’s part of an arboreal group called tiger spiders, which are indigenous to India and Sri Lanka. A dead male specimen of P. rajaei—which was distinguished from other tiger spiders by the markings on its legs and abdomen—was first presented to scientists in October 2009 by a local villager; a survey of the area revealed enough females and juveniles that scientists are confident they've found a new species. “They are quite rare,” Ranil Nanayakkara, co-founder of Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research, told Wired. “They prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation the number have dwindled and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings.” P. rajaei was named after a police officer who helped scientists navigate the area where it was found.

2. Theraphosa blondi

Though Theraphosa blondi is called the Goliath Bird-eating spider, it doesn’t actually eat birds. Reportedly, it got its name when an explorer saw it eating a hummingbird, but like other tarantulas, its diet consists mainly of insects, frogs, and rodents. But we’ll forgive you if you’re not comforted by that fact. After all, this spider can have a leg span nearly a foot across—the size of a dinner plate—and weigh up to 6 ounces, making it the largest spider in the world by mass. Its fangs, up to an inch long, can break human skin. (Though venomous, its poison won't bring down a human.) Native to South America, the spider makes noise by rubbing the bristles on its legs together; the sound can be heard up to 15 feet away.

3. Heteropoda maxima

Yet another reason to avoid dark caverns: Discovered in a cave Laos in 2011, the Giant Huntsman spider has a leg span of 12 inches. It’s just one of over 1000 species of Huntsman spider. These speedy arachnids can chase down their prey with ease and have legs that extend forward, like a crab’s.

4. Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

These arachnids, of the genus Nephila, have a fearsome relative: the largest fossilized spider ever found is an ancestor. Females of this family of spiders, which are found around the world, can have leg spans up to 6 inches (the males are smaller). Though these Orb-Weavers typically eat large insects, some individuals in Australia have been snapped eating snakes and birds that got caught in their strong, 5-foot-diameter webs.
5. Phoneutria nigriventer

Sure, Phoneutria nigriventer's nearly 6-inch leg span is scary—but there's something else about this spider that makes it even more terrifying: Its venom, a neurotoxin that can be fatal to humans. In fact, along with P. fera, this spider is the most toxic on Earth (thankfully, a good antivenom exists). Native to Central and South America, P. nigriventer is also called the Brazilian Wandering Spider, for its tendency to roam the forest at night, and the banana spider, both because it hides in banana plants during the day and sometimes stows away in shipments of the fruit. When threatened, the spider lifts its front two pairs of legs and sways side to side, like so:
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

5 Animals Humans Need For Survival

Every life on Earth is worth protecting, but there are a few that need some extra attention — we may not be able to live without them! 

1. Honeybees
Bees provide the world with something far more important than delicious honey: they provide pollination — which is what makes most of the plant life on Earth grow. It allows plants, flowers, trees and fruits to exist which, in turn, feeds both other animals and humans. Unfortunately, human interaction with nature has caused the bee population across the world to decrease by an estimated 250 billion bees.
2. Bats

Nowadays, when people think of bats they immediately equate them with vampires. But only one species of bat a ctually drinks blood, so there’s really no need to fear them. In fact, bats have a positive influence on life on the planet. Bats comprise one in every five mammals in the wild, and are one of the largest consumers of insects on Earth. That basically means that they keep the creepy crawlers from taking over! So when you lay your head down to sleep tonight, you can thank your friendly neighborhood bats for making sure you won’t wake up next to a spider in your bed.

3. Plankton

It’s a common misconception that plankton are only plants, but the term actually refers to any tiny living organism underneath the water that is virtually incapable of moving on its own. Why are plankton important? Because they’re the reason we can all breathe. Through photosynthesis and some healthy appetites, both phytoplankton and zooplankton play an important role in converting energy into oxygen and distributing it around the world. Take a deep breath and say thank you, because plankton are responsible for half of the Earth’s oxygen!

4. Primates

Our closest cousins in the animal kingdom are also some of the most vital animals on the planet. They may be our closet link when it comes to understanding human history, but their true worth lies in the ecological role they play in the world. In tropical and sub-tropical climates, primates are what is known as a keystone species. They essentially act as the forests’ gardeners, by dispersing seeds and pollen through their daily habits such as eating and — uh — defecating. Why is this important? Because tropical rainforests actually influence global rainfall patterns, so the trees that primates help grow actually work to sustain life on Earth.

5. Butterflies

Aside from looking absolutely beautiful and helping spread pollen through their wings, butterflies help predict climate change. Studies have indicated that European butterflies have steadily been moving north, and a large part of this is due to a change in temperature. Butterflies prefer milder climates and studies have shown that they are emerging earlier and navigating north sooner than normal. They provide a way for scientists to study the effects of climate change and provide great insights on how to prevent it.
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