The hairy frogfish lives in tropical and subtropical waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It hunts shallow, sandy areas by disguising itself as a weed-covered rock. As you will see from the video, the hairy frogfish is a voracious predator capable of swallowing prey as large as itself.
Baby Gorilla Gets Tough
Adult male mountain gorillas drum their chests with their open hands in order to make a popping noise that resounds through the forest. This drumroll warns other male gorillas to stay off their territory and away from their families. Young gorillas also drum in an attempt to show how tough they are. In this video, a baby mountain gorilla in Rwanda fails hilariously when he tries to prove himself to a group of tourists. There are fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild.
World's Weirdest Creature?
Nto only are naked mole rats naked, but even though they are mammals, their family structure more closely resembles that of bees, ants, wasps, and other social insects. All the mole rats living in each underground mole rat colony serve the needs of their giant mole rat queen—who, like a queen bee or a queen ant does all the reproducing and is therefore the mother of all her subjects. Naked mole rats are native to the grasslands of East Africa.
Honeybees: Bugs That Give Directions
We all know that insects can't talk. However, some species can communicate nonetheless. Ants for instance lay down a trail of chemical markers called pheromones to tell other members of their colony where to find a food source. Because bees fly to and from their food, a chemical trail is not an option for them. Instead, honeybees are able to give their hive mates precise directions to a distant patch of flowers using an amazing form of dance. In this video, scientists tell us exactly how the bees accomplishing this incredible feat of nonverbal communication.
Ooctopi are widely know to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. They can learn such relatively complex tasks as undoing latches and opening jars—and they are infamous for their ability to escape from tanks and other enclosures. But the recently discovered mimic octopus of the South Pacific adds a strange, new twist to octopus intelligence with its ability to disguise itself as any number of other sea creatures in order to scare off would-be predators.
Baby Kangaroos: Born Twice
A baby kangaroo first leaves its mother's body while it is still an embryo. It doesn't even have fully developed hind legs at this stage. The hairless, jellybean-sized creature makes its way to its mother's pouch, where it develops into a real kangaroo—and the first time it jumps from the pouch is almost like a second birth.
Deadly Aim With A Stream Of Water
The archer fish, which is native to southern Asia, Polynesia, and Australia, employs one of the world's most unique methods of hunting. The fish knocks bugs off of overhanging vegetation by blasting them with a powerful stream of water from its mouth. Once the insect falls into the water it's helpless, and the archer fish can eat it at its leisure. These amazing fish can spit water up to two meters (six feet), and they almost always hit their mark.
Ants That Make Slaves Of Other Ants
It's one of the weirdest things that happens in nature: One species of ant making slaves of another. The slave-makers are known as Polyergus ants, and they are native to North America. Periodically, Polyergus will raid the colonies of another species, where they use an array of deceptive chemical signals to overcome the other ants. They then carry eggs of the conquered species back to their own colony, where they they raise them and put them to work. One of the most interesting aspects of this slaving behavior is that, not only does the Polyegus queen participate in the raid, but she is key to its success. The queens of all other species of ants never leave the nest. . . .
Deep Sea Angler Fish: DON'T Go Into The Light!
Deep sea anglerfish live so far down in the ocean that there is very little light in their environment. Creatures at that depth are drawn to any illumination, and the anglerfish takes advantage of that fact by using its natural headlamp to attract prey. But that's not the weirdest thing about the anglerfish: Wait till you see how they mate!
Blood Lust And The Vampire Bat
Vampires are real—but they're only as big as your thumb. In Central and South America, vampire bats emerge at night to sneak up on mammals such as cattle, shave a little skin off of them while they sleep, and drink their blood. In fact, vampire bats at the only mammal species that subsists entirely on a blood diet. Although few vampire victims die of blood loss, some do get rabies from these furry parasites.
The "Good" Earthworm?
We tend to think of earthworms as being beneficial. However, most species that we now find in our yards and gardens are not native to America—they were brought here from Europe and Asia. This means that, not only have they displaced many American worm species, but they are capable of doing actual harm to some American ecosystems.
Read more about Alien Earthworms.
Outdoor Cats Pose a Major Environmental Threat
Habitat loss is clearly the main threat facing native birds in North America and elsewhere. In fact, some migrant species face shrinking habitat at both ends of their range: In North America, where they breed during the spring and summer, and it Central and South America, where they spend their winters.
But, among other problems birds must contend with, the problem of predatory house cats is also a serious one. According to estimates from some conservationists, in North America alone feral felines and pet cats that are allowed to roam outdoors kill around half a billion birds each year.
Read the entire article here.
Koalas Struggle To Survive As A Species
Australian wildlife researchers recently made a disturbing discovery: Their population estimates for the number of wild koalas were more than 20 percent higher than the number of the koalas that actually remain in the country's forests. Revised estimates now put the population of Australia's emblematic animal at no higher than 80,000, and perhaps fewer than 50,000. The main cause is habitat loss, but other problems include run-ins with automobiles and dogs, as well as apparent global-warming-induced changes in the koala's main food source.
Read more about koalas here.
One Third Of All Amphibian Species Are In Danger Of Extinction
Amphibians—including frogs and salamanders—are among the most imperiled species on the planet, according to conservationists. In fact, some scientists say that as many as a third of all amphibian species are in danger of going extinct. Along with many of the same environmental problems faced by other types of animals, amphibians are also threatened by a fast-spreading and fatal fungal disease.
More about the amphibian crisis here.
Don't Accessorize Your Life With Wildlife
With the possible exception of a few very common tropical fish species, it is almost never a good idea to turn a wild animal into a pet. Not only do wild animals simply belong in their own habitat, but collection for the pet trade is pushing many vulnerable species onto top 10 endangered species lists and closer to the brink of extinction in the wild.
In response to concerns by conservation organizations, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is currently considering giving Endangered Species Act protection to a number of non-US tropical bird species in order to prevent them from being imported into the country.
Read our full article about endangered species and the pet trade.
Climate Change Hits Arctic Species, Including Polar Bears and Walruses
Global climate change is affecting the Arctic and Antarctic more dramatically and more quickly than any other parts of the earth. In the case of the Arctic, in recent years there has been less ice in the oceans at the top of the world—and the change is bringing hardship to some of the species that depend on ice for their survival. Polar bears, for instance, hunt seals on the ocean ice; when ice is scarce, the bears find it difficult to find food. Walruses, for their part, raise their young on ice. They also travel on the ice, allowing it to carry them to constantly fresh foraging grounds. US wildlife officials are currently looking a ways of helping species that are suffering due to climatic changes in their once-frozen environment. Read more about global climate change and polar bears as well as more about how Pacific walruses are affected by global warming.