Animal Kingdom

Meet Alviniconcha strummeri – the spike-haired snail named after a famous punk rocker

The Alviniconcha strummeri sea snail is covered in awesome spikes giving it the telltale appearance (you may need to squint your eyes a bit) of a classic spike-haired punk rocker. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute named it Alviniconcha strummeri after the famous Clash frontman, punk rocker Joe Strummer. “Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon.” These golf ball-sized punk rock snails live thousands of feet underwater, crowded around the mouths of fiery-hot hydrothermal vents. Scientists believe the extreme heat from the thermal vents are what give the snail its typical severely damaged and spiked shell.…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

See the intercontinental path of two birds on their epic migration from Europe to Africa

The guys over at 422 South have done it again providing us a wonderful “data-visualization” of the migratory path of the European honey buzzard.  The European honey buzzard, also known as the pern, migrates every year from Europe to the warmer coasts of Africa where it spends the winter months soaking in the warm sun and sipping on drinks with little umbrellas in them.  The visual above shows the remarkable flight paths of two such honey buzzards, a male and a female, between Fall 2010 and Spring 2011.  Both birds' southward migration took them from the Veluwe forest in the Netherlands to the warmer weather on the African coast (Liberia, Ghana, and Cameroon).  After wintering in Africa, both birds flew back to the Veluwe forest (the…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Scientists photograph and capture rare, odd looking melanocetus (“the Black Seadevil”) deep-sea fish

Researchers with the Monterey Ray Bay Aquarium Research Institute acquired footage of the rare Melanocetus fish, more affectionately known as “the Black Seadevil”. These creepy critters are rarely seen in their natural deep-sea habitat. Scientists who captured the wonderful new footage of the Black Seadevil told reporters that the first thing they thought when the spotted the unusual species was “Aaaaagggghhhhh!!!!” As you can see, the Black Seadevil is very, ah, different looking. The shining spot at the end of the “fishing pole” that protrudes from the fish’s head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses the light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat. The pictures of the Black Seadevil were taken from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1,900…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Here’s what happens to blood when one drop of snake venom is mixed with it

The Daboia, or Russell’s Snake Viper, is found in Asia throughout the Indian subcontinent, much of Southeast Asia, southern China and Taiwan. Not only is it very aggressive, but it is very poisonous. For the lucky few that survive, they may face a lifetime of chronic internal injuries as a result of the venomous bite. Why does the bite of the Russell’s Snake Viper do so much damage to the human body? Because it causes the blood of the victim to coagulate. Do what? Check out the creepy video below which shows what happens to blood when a single drop of snake venom is mixed with it. Here’s what happens when snake venom is mixed with blood Sources: BBC, Wikipedia
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Man vs. beast – armed four-man teams guard Northern White Rhinos in Kenya

After being hunted to near extinction by poachers (who want only their horns), white rhinos now have (for the most part), Man on their side. Above is a Northern White Rhino on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya being guarded by an armed four-man team. The team have developed an extraordinary relationship with the rhinos, leaning on them, scratching them, and displaying tremendous affection towards the endangered animals. The rhinos seem to sense the love and walk willingly with the men throughout the day.
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Giant spider web covers over 4 acres of space in water treatment facility

Before we begin, let’s get this out of the way: AyeeeeEEEEEEeeeeeee!!! Back in 2009, the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put in a call of the most unusual nature when they reported a giant spider web that covered almost 4 acres of their huge indoor water treatment facility. Scientists estimated the giant spider web contained well over 107 million spiders!  See the 4-acre spider web in the picture above. The culprits were orb-weaver spiders that in some cases, filled over 95% of the various sections of the plant. The spider webbing was so heavy, it pulled light fixtures from the ceiling. There are over 10,000 species of orb weaver spiders. In all, they make up about 25% of the planet’s spider population.
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Look, over there, a cute little Bambi deer waitin… OMGITHASFANGS!!! Kashmir “vampire” deer spotted in wild

Prior to last week, it had not been seen in the wild for over sixty years. But now rough-and-tumble Afghanistans have one more scary wild beast to add to their already-impressive list of frightening creatures – a real-life Kashmir musk "vampire" deer with six-inch fangs! Researchers in Afghanistan had not seen a Kashmir musk deer since 1948. But a team of scientists reported last week that they have made five Kashmir musk deer sightings in a secluded range of land in Afghanistan. Included in the coven of wild beasts were a male, two females, and a baby!  Alas, the scientists say the vampire deer is hard to photograph (duh, it’s a vampire) so no pictures of the elusive beasts have been captured yet. The Kashmir…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Street-toughened “steamer duck” has equivalent of brass knuckles – beats snot out of any duck that looks at it wrong

You do not want to run across this duck in a dark alley. The Fuegian steamer duck has the equivalent of brass knuckles on the edges of its wings and with a body built like a feathered tank, can easily beat the snot out of any other bird that looks at it the wrong way. If are unfortunate enough to run across one, avert your gaze – quickly. Keep your head down and make no sudden movements as you quietly sneak away. The heads and necks of steamer ducks are massive, much thicker than normal ducks, and their bodies are equipped with thickened skin for additional armor-like protection. All of this extra protection pushes the steamer duck's weight to a hefty 10 pounds (mallard ducks…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Puppy-sized spider makes horrifying clicking sound when walking and shoots barbed webs into your eyes

Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki’s was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small mammal, such as a possum, raccoon, or a rat. Instead… "When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing.” What he was seeing was a nightmare come to life – the South American Goliath birdeater spider, which has legs about a foot long (the size of a child’s forearm), a body the size of “a large fist”, and weighs about ½ pound. For those trying to form the visual – that’s the size of a small puppy!  In addition, the birdeater spider’s body is…
Tell me more Reeko! »
Animal Kingdom

Countdown to extinction – Suni the white rhino dies. Only six white rhinos remain on the planet.

Calling it a “sorry testament to the greed of the human race”, rangers found the lifeless body of Suni the white rhino in his hut on a Kenyan wildlife conservancy this week. Suni was 34 years old when he died and was one of only seven northern white rhinos left on the planet. That leaves six white rhinos on Earth, only one of which is a male, so sadly, the countdown to extinction has begun. The northern white rhinoceros is also called the “northern square-lipped rhinoceros” .  The northern white rhinoceros is one of two subspecies of white rhinoceros. Poachers hunting the animals for their horns reduced the population to 15 white rhinos by the 1980’s. They are extinct in the wild and only live…
Tell me more Reeko! »