Feral Cats Kill More Than Half A Billion Birds A Year. Photo: Stavrolos
Feral Pets And Livestock Take A Terrible Toll On Wild Creatures And Wildlife Habitats
A feral animal is a pet or farm animal that lives in the wild after having escaped or been released. For just a few examples, in America there are millions of feral cats and pigs, and tens of thousands of feral horses and burros.
Feral animals are almost always highly destructive to wildlife and the places where wild animals live because they do not have a natural place in those environments and among those animals. For instance, feral and free-roaming cats are able to kill hundreds of millions of North American birds each year because the birds did not evolve in an environment that included cats. Our birds evolved natural defenses to protect themselves and their young against native predators such as hawks, owls, raccoons, and snakes—but never against cats. [click to continue…]
When Is A Whale Not A Whale?
Really? The Killer Dolphin?
Orcas certainly look like whales to us. After all, they grow to a length of 30 feet. But scientists have classified them as being in the same family—Delphinidae—as the 31 other species of ocean-dwelling dolphins, most of which are so much smaller than orcas that orcas would gladly eat them if they had a chance.
Although the orca’s huge size seems un-dolphinlike to us, its curved dorsal fin and pyramid-shaped teeth identify it as a true member of the dolphin family. Orcas also travel in large family groups, which is a behavioral characteristic that distinguishes dolphins from other, less gregarious, kinds of cetaceans such as propoises and baleen whales. [click to continue…]
A Red Deer Browses on Tall Ferns. Photo: Kevin Law
Some Plant Eaters Graze, Others Browse—And Some Do Both. What’s The Difference?
Aanimals with hooves, such as deer, antelope, sheep, goats, horses, and cattle have different strategies for feeding themselves. Some, such as horses and cattle, are grazers, which means they eat grass. In fact, the word “graze” is derived from the word “grass.”
Other animals, including most members of the deer family, are browsers. This means that they eat a variety of plant material including leaves, tree bark, and the tips of branches. When people see deer eating shrubs in their backyards, those deer are browsing on the shrubs.
Grazing works well for plant-eaters that live and feed in open areas where grass is plentiful. But grass is scarce in forests and swamps, and that’s where browsers have an advantage. However, most browsing animals will do some grazing when they are in a meadow, and many grazers will sample vegetation other than grass when they are moving through a woodland. Nonetheless, grazers and browsers usually have different types of teeth to help them bite and chew the foods they eat most often. [click to continue…]
Are These Creatures Dolphins, Or Porpoises?
A Dolphin And A Porpoise Are Similar—But Also Different. Here’s How To Tell Them Apart
The names “dolphin” and “porpoise” are often used interchangeably. And no wonder: to human eyes these two sea creatures look and act very much alike. However, there are some major differences in both appearance and behavior. In addition, they belong to two distinct families of Cetaceans—the scientific order that includes dolphins, whales, and porpoises. Within the Cetacean order, the six species of porpoise are part of the Phocoenidae family, while the 32 oceanic dolphin species are Delphinidae. [click to continue…]
The Hammerhead Is One Of The 10 Most Dangerous Sharks. Photo: Rodtico21
A List And Map Of Every Reported Attack By Sharks Against Humans In The Last 500 Years!
The idea of getting attacked by a shark is frightening to most of us who live near the ocean. However, shark attacks are actually very rare occurrences—and fatal shark attacks are even rarer still.
In addition, only a few species of shark have been known to bite people with any frequency. Elsewhere on All About Wildlife, you’ll find a list of The 10 Most Dangerous Sharks.
According to the National Shark Attack Files, 2,665 attacks by sharks on people have been reported since 1580. Of those attacks, fewer than 500 have proven fatal. [click to continue…]
Yes, Concern Is Called For. But Some Moose Populations Are Increasing. Photo: USF&W
Or At Least, Not Yet. Despite Media Hysteria, Populations Remain Healthy In Many Places.
The moose, more than any other mammal aside from the musk ox, looks like something the glaciers forgot to take with them when they retreated North at the end of the last Ice Age. And in fact, this largest member of the deer family dwells most comfortably in some of the coldest, snowiest zones of North America, Europe, and Asia.
Recent, sharp declines in a number of North American moose populations have triggered a flurry of alarming media reports implying that global climate change is pushing the species toward catastrophe. For instance, an October 14, 2013 article in The New York Times opens with the words, “Across North America — in places as far-flung as Montana and British Columbia, New Hampshire and Minnesota — moose populations are in steep decline. And no one is sure why.” [click to continue…]
Critically Endangered Species: The Western Lowland Gorilla. Photo:Jack Hynes
Our Ten Most Endangered Animals For 2014
We’ve made just one change to All About Wildlife’s Top 10 List of Endangered Species for 2014. Our updated Ten Most Endangered Animals list is now available for your viewing.
As with any Top 10 list, in order to add something to it, something had to be taken away. In this case we have placed the lowland gorilla on our auxiliary list with its close cousin, the mountain gorilla—which the lowland gorilla itself replaced on our Top Ten list several years ago. Moving into the Number 6 position on our Top Ten Most Endangered Species List is the saola, a hoofed rainforest animal so seldom seen it’s been called the “Asian unicorn.” [click to continue…]