Good morning and welcome to the weekend!!! Finally, eh? Been one of those weeks that I just wanted to crawl under a rock more than once. But here it is, Saturday morning, and the whole weekend lies ahead. What adventures do you guys have planned for the weekend? I was initially planning to take you all on a fun journey today, but unfortunately, my Tiny Timely Travel machine is on the fritz and I think I am going to have to take it to the shop. When I asked it to take me to Italy yesterday, I ended up in Sri Lanka, and when I was trying to go to Hawaii for a bit of r&r, I found myself in Calcutta. So, instead I found some really cool things that I didn’t know about my favourite topic — animals!!! I think you’ll find these fun and interesting, I guarantee you’ll learn something new!
Who knew that reindeer are the only deer species where both males and females grow antlers? The males shed theirs the beginning of December, the females shed theirs in the spring. Now think about this one for a minute, folks. Reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, toward the end of December. The reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh always have antlers, yet male reindeer shed their antlers the beginning of December. Perhaps all those male names like Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen need to be changed to Susie, Clara, Angela, Cassandra, etc!
Who knew that elephants are one of only a handful of animals that can pass the mirror test — in other words, they can recognize their own reflection (and not think it’s another animal, as dogs and cats usually do)? They tested this by placing a chalk mark on an elephant’s forehead and then showing it a mirror. The elephant investigated the mark on its own forehead, indicating it knew that it was looking at itself. Now, I might argue that part about dogs and cats, for one of our Sig-Seven, Pandora, spends a good part of her day sitting on the vanity in the bathroom and looking at herself in the mirror. She doesn’t attack her reflection, nor does she try to snuggle with it, she just stares at it. But then, all of our Sig-Seven are strange, weird critters.
Who knew that while we have always thought flamingo’s knees bent backward, those are really their ankles? Their knees are actually up by their body, and it bends the same way ours does. Okaaaaaay … I guess I can see it. So I wonder where they keep their hips?
Who knew that big cats are classified as being either roaring or purring cats? Lions and tigers are, obviously, of the roaring variety, while bobcats and lynxes are purrers. The largest of the purring sort is the puma, also known as the mountain lion. Its purr is quite loud and is said to sound much like an idling motorcycle.
Who knew that polar bears’ fur is not white? Yep, you heard me right … their fur is actually transparent and only appears white because it reflects visible light. Now, can you guess what the colour of their skin underneath that transparent fur is? Black! Sometimes you’ll notice a yellowish or greenish tint to their fur. The yellow is a sign of aging, or sometimes dirt, while the green is from the algae that can grow on polar bear fur in unnaturally warm and humid environments such as are found in zoos.While the biggest polar bear ever recorded weighed a whopping 2,209 pounds, when they are born they weigh barely one pound!
Who knew that Kangaroos cannot move their legs independently of each other, they have to move them in sync, but only when they’re on land? When they’re swimming, they can move them separately. Hopping is their most efficient way to move — a walking kangaroo is extremely awkward. They swing both legs forward using their tail as a third leg to prop up while their legs swing.
Who knew that although adult Langur monkeys are silvery-grey in colour, their babies are bright orange? Their fur begins to change to grey starting with its head so that for a short period of time it looks quite strange with only its body a bright orange.
There are three main theories as to why the babies are born such a bright orange:
- The babies are orange so mothers do not lose them when they explore the forest
- Their bright colour helps them blend into their surroundings as predators are often colour blind and mistake orange for green
- The orange colouring of infants makes it obvious there are babies in the troop so other adults should start to share the care for them
I think the first one seems the most likely.
And because I just cannot get enough of adorable polar bear babies …
Okay, friends, that’s all I’ve got for today. I hope you learned something fun today, and that you have an absolutely wonderful weekend, whatever you do!