Pycnopodia: The largest starfish is also the fastest. Without her, the ocean is doomed to enslavement by sea urchins
Who lives at the bottom of the ocean? Children will answer this simple-minded question very unequivocally and loudly, and biologists will list the animals until evening. However, there is a bottom dweller, who is recognized by both those, and those - a starfish. But today we will talk about the most titled type of these animals - the sunflower star, or pycnopodia.
Why the most titled? Well, firstly, because sunflower stars are the largest among their relatives. The creeping "flower" can fatten up to a meter in diameter. With such a size, five branches, as in standard stars, are clearly not enough. At least, the starfish itself decided so, increasing their number by 3-4 times!
But that's it, turn the starfish upside down and see hundreds of thousands of micro-legs! Such a number of walking and grasping accessories gives the animal a second title - the title of the fastest starfish. Pycnopodia "rush" at a speed of one meter per minute! Not impressive? And if I say that her relatives have an average acceleration of about 5 times less?
Do you still doubt the speed abilities of our heroine? Well, okay. The main thing is that the pycnopodia itself does not need high speeds for happiness - the predator's prey can barely crawl, if at all, so that it does not have problems in catching up.
You can find "sunflower fields" on the picturesque reliefs of the northern Pacific Ocean. There are underwater forests of algae rich in various living creatures. In the hunt for its inhabitants, the beast has honed its skills to the level of a serial killer.
She easily catches up with sea urchins, hermit crabs and weakened fish. By the way, in reality, the friendship of SpongeBob and Patrick would last exactly as long as the pycnopodia would crawl to a sea sponge. Their stars gnaw with the same pleasure as everyone else.
Neither scales, nor chitinous shells, nor even needles will save from the invasion of a starfish! The star swallows its prey whole, leaving bare skeletons after its meal. And if the food turns out to be too large, then the pycnopodia will release its stomach and begin to digest lunch just like that!
And if the pycnopodia loves to gut the bottom dwellers, then it does not excite it very much to love its relatives. Looking for a partner? Raising children? To hell with all this, the hunt does not wait! Stars of different sexes simply throw eggs and sperm into the water, hoping that they will somehow intersect themselves. If a miracle occurs, a small and not at all star-shaped larva is formed, which will turn into the likeness of parents only under the influence of the pheromones of an adult star.
With this level of carelessness in reproducing their own kind, extinction was only a matter of time. But now there is every chance that pycnopodia will finally disappear. And the sapiens are not even to blame. Sea stars were sharply knocked down by an incomprehensible infection 6 years ago, and they massively gave up - only some small populations remained. Without a bottom super-predator, unbelted sea urchins have bred to such an extent that they have eaten algae forests almost completely clean.
Scientists are trying to breed pycnodia in captivity and release them to their old habitats, but so far the population of giant Patrick is still hanging by a thread, alas.
Despite the fact that foxes do not live with humans, they do not need special introduction. Thanks to folklore, children already at an early age get acquainted with a small animal, which compensates for weakness with cunning, but does not miss its own, if it is possible to offend a weaker one. Of course, it is worth separating the image of the fox, formed in our imagination under the influence of children's fairy tales and cartoons, from the real lifestyle of the fox.
As one of the most famous researchers, Charles Roberts, wrote, it is always difficult for a person describing the habits of highly organized animals to resist endowing them with some human traits. The notorious fox's cunning in real life appears only when the animal leaves the chase. At this time, the fox very skillfully winds around, confusing tracks, and can disguise itself in an instant, disappearing from sight.
On the hunt, foxes are quite straightforward. They operate according to the scheme “detection of prey - lightning attack - end of the hunt”. On average, foxes range in size from half a meter to a meter in length. The tail, which is approximately two-thirds of the body length, is counted separately. The maximum weight of foxes is 10 - 11 kg, while it is subject to significant seasonal fluctuations. Foxes are by no means exclusively forest dwellers. Rather, even, they can be conditionally attributed to the inhabitants of the forest-steppe and woodlands - it is in these natural zones that fox food lives and grows.
Geographically, foxes are found almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, with the exception of extreme climates. In the Southern Hemisphere, foxes live only in Australia, where humans have successfully introduced them. However, the success of fox breeding in Australia is relative - they were turned on, desperate to cope with rabbits, but foxes, finding themselves on the smallest continent, preferred to hunt smaller fauna. The rabbits, to the desperation of the farmers, successfully continued to breed. Bemorepanda presents you some interesting facts.
1. Despite their small size, foxes are rarely hunted by larger animals. Of course, a wolf, bear, lynx or wolverine will not refuse the opportunity to catch a gaping fox. However, such a chance appears very rarely - foxes are attentive and fast. Purposefully, they practically do not hunt adult foxes. Young animals are in great danger. Even birds of prey hunt on it, not without success.
Taking into account the human factor - and the hunters, if possible, knock out foxes by the thousands - the average life span of a fox does not exceed three years. At the same time, foxes do not die at all because of the exhaustion of the body's resources - in captivity, cases were recorded when foxes lived for 20 - 25 years.
2. Foxes are practically not afraid of humans, so they are well studied and take root in captivity, allowing people to breed new subspecies. People living in rural areas naturally do not like foxes - red-haired beauties often destroy birds and small livestock. However, zoologists argue that the damage from foxes is often exaggerated.
3. English "Fox Hunting" fun did not come about because the villagers lacked entertainment. England is so densely populated that the last wolf was killed at the beginning of the 16th century. The disappearance of wolves has led to an unprecedented breeding of foxes, who have lost their last natural enemy. The consequences for the farmers were clear. Angry peasants began to organize massive fox hunts. They managed to kill some animals, but the noise raised by the crowd of “hunters” was more important.
The first mention of such a hunt dates back to 1534. The technology turned out to be more than successful - by 1600, specially bred dogs were required to hunt foxes. At the same time, economic processes were going on in England, which led to the deprivation of the peasants of free non-agricultural land, and fox hunting became the property of the nobility. It turned into a whole ritual with lush ladies' toilets, old-fashioned hunter's costumes, etc. At the beginning of the 21st century, after a short debate, the British Parliament banned fox hunting with the help of a pack of more than 3 dogs. One vote in the House of Commons was enough to abolish the age-old tradition.
4. There is a hunt for foxes without the death of these animals. This is still the unofficial name for sports radio direction-finding competitions. The role of foxes is performed by constantly working transmitters hidden in rough terrain. Athletes are armed with receivers. Their task is to find all transmitters in the shortest possible time (usually there are 5 of them). Fox hunting competitions were very popular during the Cold War.
The essence of the competition is very close to counterintelligence work to identify and eliminate intelligence channels of communication. Therefore, state structures, primarily the military and counterintelligence, supported the athletes in every possible way. The end of the Cold War and the rapid development of information technology devalued "fox hunting", and now only enthusiasts are engaged in this sport.
5. The caution and quickness of foxes forced hunters to invent several methods of hunting these animals. The fox is lured with a bait. The carcass of an animal or a large piece of meat is left in a well-shot place, and the hunters hide nearby. The fox is lured with decoys, and in recent years, two-module electronic decoys have gained popularity.
In them, the control path is in the hands of the hunter, and the luring sounds are emitted by an external loudspeaker. This design allows you to take the fox to a place convenient for shooting. Large companies of hunters practice hunting with a salary, with flags. Hunting dogs are used, both hounds and greyhounds, chasing foxes in the field (greyhounds also strangle fugitives themselves) and burrowing dogs, driving the fox out of the hole.
6. Despite the fact that fox hunting is popular wherever these animals are found, even the most successful hungry hunter will not be able to feast on fox meat in Russia. The fox is a very active predator, so there is practically no fat in the fox meat. This makes it extremely tough, fox meat is much tougher than the meat of other predators.
The refreshed carcass emits a very unpleasant odor, which is weakened, but does not completely disappear even after 12 hours of soaking in vinegar and salt. Finally, the rodents that make up the fox's diet are packed with parasites. Foxes have developed a very powerful immunity that humans do not have. Therefore, the meat must be subjected to long heat treatment. When boiling, the unpleasant odor reappears, so the only way to cook fox is stewing with a lot of seasonings and spices. The Scandinavians, striking everyone with their surstroemming - pickled herring - distinguished themselves here too. In Sweden and Denmark, foxes are raised for meat on special farms and even some of the products are exported. At retail, fox meat costs about 15 euros per kilogram.
7. Around the middle of the 20th century, foxes began to be bred and domesticated as pets. On a scientific basis, Dmitry Belyaev's group in Novosibirsk worked on this. A careful selection of the most intelligent and affectionate individuals gave results only after many years. D. Belyaev became an academician, a nice monument was erected to him and one of his pupils in the Novosibirsk town - the scientist and the fox sit on a bench, stretching out their hands to each other. But even many years of efforts did not lead to the development of a new breed. Scientists who continue to work on improving the behavioral qualities of foxes refer to their pets as “population” only. That is, it is just a large group of individuals living in a limited area.
8. Unscrupulous “breeders” of foxes have long managed to instill in cheating buyers the idea that a fox is the same dog, only a cat. In a sense, the animal is very loyal to the owner and, at the same time, cleanly and independently. And if the animal does not behave the way the owner wants, then this is the owner's problem. Only with the development of mass communications did the hapless fox breeders manage to share with the world the delights of keeping a fox as a pet. The character of the fox does not depend on the place of purchase, whether it is a special nursery, a reseller, or even the side of the road on which a potential pet was hit by a car.
Regardless of whether you got a rather extravagant pet for free, or you paid 10 or 80 thousand rubles for it, it will have extremely unpleasant behavioral features. He will shit anywhere; gnaw and dig wherever possible; make noise at night and stink around the clock. It is the smell that is the most serious negative property of the fox. It can be somehow accustomed to the tray (the contents of which will have to be changed at least twice a day), but the fox will never get rid of the habit of secreting the secret of the paranoid glands, which is unpleasant and painful in the eyes, with any strong emotion from love to fear. Therefore, keeping a fox pet is best in a spacious enclosure in a private house, but not in an apartment. But in any case, you need to take care of rubber gloves and strong detergents in commercial quantities.
9. Foxes adapt to almost any environment. There is little animal food - foxes easily switch to vegetable food, without suffering from this at all. It gets colder - we grow, to the delight of hunters, a thick undercoat. It gets warmer - the undercoat falls out, and the fox looks like a sick puppy. Even the color of foxes' fur depends solely on the environmental conditions.
If there are many predators in the habitat, foxes dig deep holes with branched passages and a dozen, or even more, exits. Such holes in area can reach 70 square meters. m. There are relatively few predators - and the hole will be short and shallow, and two or three emergency exits will be enough. In cold regions, the main entrance of the burrow faces south, in warm and hot regions - to the north, and in deserts and steppes - to where the winds blow less often.
10. "Fox hole" for some reason is called a type of residential buildings, similar to a hole, except for the location of the entrance on the slope. Modern "fox holes", projects of which are proposed by many construction companies, may not go deep into the ground at all - they are just structures, the walls of which are heaped with earth. Human "fox holes" have both advantages and disadvantages, but they have nothing to do with foxes, except for the name.
11. The tightening of hunting rules and environmental legislation everywhere leads to the fact that foxes are gradually approaching human habitation. It is much easier to find food near people than in the wild, than foxes enjoy and enjoy. On the territory of the countries of the former USSR, by and large, only residents of villages and small settlements located near forests suffer from them. It is impossible to fight thieves who destroy small animals. The law expressly prohibits shooting within populated areas only at rabid animals. To do this, you need to confirm the disease, which cannot be done without killing the fox - a vicious circle.
In Europe, foxes are firmly established in the largest cities. According to estimates of epidemiologists, about 10,000 foxes live in London. 86% of the townspeople have a positive attitude to the red-haired robbers who fight with dogs and cats, gut garbage bags, and shit wherever they have to. Humans, it turns out, feel guilty about animals that have been bullied for hundreds of years. In Birmingham, foxes became such a disaster that a special team had to be created to capture them.
The team did a great job, catching a hundred animals. They were taken to the nearest forest and released - it is inhumane to kill. The foxes returned back to the city (and it's good if they didn't bring friends and girlfriends with them) and continued their dirty deeds. The careless attitude of the townspeople towards foxes is surprising - foxes endure the most terrible infections, including rabies.
12. The sea fox is a stingray of a sizeable size (up to 1.2 meters in length). It lives off the coast of Europe, including the Black and Azov Seas, and along the entire Atlantic coast of Africa. Fox sharks can also be found in the water column. These are three species of predators, ranging in size from 3 to 6 meters. In theory, fox sharks are considered shy and not dangerous to humans. Flying foxes also belong to foxes solely by name. These are the largest fruit bats in the world, until recently they were combined with bats. The body of a flying fox reaches a length of 40 cm, and a wingspan of one and a half meters.
13. The English word “fox” - “fox” has nothing to do with the familiar phrase “Fox is the 20th century film company”. “Fox” in this case is the surname of an enterprising Hungarian whose name was either Wilhelm Fuchs, or even Vilmos Fried. Having arrived in the USA, the Hungarian changed his name for the sake of euphony and founded a film company. In 1930, the company was taken away from him during a hostile takeover. Fox - Fuchs - Freed fought but lost. From him the film company remained, as the song says, only the name.
14. "Desert Fox" - German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who in 1940-1943 successfully commanded German troops in North Africa. However, Rommel did not use any special cunning in the command. Like all successful German military leaders of World War II, he knew how to concentrate forces on a narrow sector of the front and break through enemy defenses. When there was nothing to concentrate, "Desert Fox" abandoned troops in Africa and went to Hitler to ask for reinforcements.
15. “Fox's tail and a wolf's mouth” - this is how some jokingly and some shaking with fear called the policy of General Mikhail Loris-Melikov in Russia at the end of the 19th century. Under Emperor Alexander II, Loris-Melikov, who became famous in the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, was simultaneously the Minister of Internal Affairs and the head of the gendarme corps. The authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at that time included practically all domestic politics, from the basic sectors of the economy to the care of the weak and orphans.
In this post, Loris-Melikov had a "fox's tail" - he advocated the weakening of laws, the growth of public initiative, etc. Having moved to the office of the chief of the gendarmes, the general used the "wolf's mouth", not letting the revolutionaries go (in his understanding) ... The fox tail involuntarily outplayed the wolf's mouth - on March 1, 1881, Emperor Alexander II was killed, and one of the captured terrorists said that their leader had been arrested before the assassination attempt, but Loris-Melikov's charges did not receive any evidence from him about the impending assassination attempt.
16. Foxes are firmly included in the mythology of dozens of peoples, and their influence on a person can be exactly the opposite, regardless of the place of residence of the peoples. Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese compete in the degree of fear experienced by foxes. The transformation of an animal into a seductive woman with the subsequent torture of the victim through pleasures is not yet the most terrible outcome that lies in wait for a Far Eastern man. Kitsune (in Japanese "fox") spread the life of those to whom they came in the form of a beauty, to smithereens - they ruin merchants or drive rulers into disgrace. It is difficult to imagine what they did in medieval Japan with the men to whom Kitsune appeared in the form of a handsome young guy.
At the same time, in India, the North American Indians and a number of European peoples, the fox symbolizes prosperity, good luck or wealth. Christians already at an early stage identified the fox as Satan's accomplices - beautiful, wagging its tail, and even wool the color of hellfire. Nevertheless, some peoples, including the Slavic, have retained a negative but complacent attitude towards the fox. “We know, the fox, about your miracles”, “And the fox is cunning, and they sell its skin”, “The fox takes care of, the cat curls up to it” - these proverbs clearly indicate that people have long imagined the nature of the red predator.
17. Employee of the Voronezh Zoo Tatiana Sapelnikova told a very interesting case. Zoo workers had to determine the concentration of small animals such as mice in one of the forest areas. During a routine procedure, zoo workers set traps for mice. However, the work of scientists was greatly hampered by the foxes living in the district. For several years, zoologists set up identical traps, and the number of mice caught in them determined the size of the population.
However, over time, the tracks showed that someone was reducing the number of mice trapped in the trap by carefully removing them and eating them nearby. Zoologists realized that the fox is no longer guided by mice, but by the smell of people setting traps. After a short game of "catch me" they managed to lure the fox - the zoologists originally nicknamed him Ginger - into a kind of aviary. The fox was absolutely not worried about bondage. When the scientists managed to carry out the necessary experiment with mice, Ryzhik was released. He did not run far, and even two chanterelles appeared nearby. They themselves did not figure out how to find the mice and take them out of the traps, but they unmistakably appreciated the extraordinary abilities of the future groom.
Mighty hippos, they are hippos, only seem to be such clumsy bumpkins. These massive animals have a quick temper and are very dangerous, especially if someone has the imprudence to disturb them. On the other hand, hippos do not harm anyone - they only protect themselves and their territory, which is steadily shrinking due to the expansion of human civilization.
The common hippopotamus is an artiodactyl animal that belongs to the hippopotamus family. Hippopotamuses prefer to live near freshwater reservoirs, where they spend most of their time, only occasionally leaving the water to feed. Hippos are also often called hippos, which means "river horse" in Greek. The name is very accurate, given the craving of hippos for water and the impressive dimensions of these animals.
Hippopotamuses are one of the largest land animals. The mass of an adult male often exceeds three tons; some sources claim that there were also four-ton giants. Until about ten, the group of males and females does not differ much, but males begin to gain weight much faster in adulthood. In the wild, the life expectancy of a hippopotamus rarely exceeds 40 years, and in captivity, animals can live up to 60 years with proper care.
Interesting facts about Hippos
1. In the African country of Sudan, hippos are considered evil creatures, so the locals fear them and bypass them.
2. There are pygmy hippos worldwide, which are 12-15 times inferior to their full-sized counterparts.
3. True, they still weigh about two hundred kilograms.
4. Hippos have stronger teeth than any other living creature on Earth.
5. Once upon a time, pygmy hippos were found on the Mediterranean islands, particularly in Cyprus, but they died out there long ago (see 33 interesting facts about Cyprus).
6. Hippo meat is entirely edible. Moreover, paleontologists have established that the ancestors of modern humans hunted them for meat several million years ago.
7. Although hippopotamuses spend most of their lives in the water, they only eat vegetation that grows on land but does not eat aquatic plants.
8. An enraged hippopotamus can develop tremendous speed, so even a professional athlete will not be able to escape from it.
9. The only living creature in the world that poses a threat to an adult hippo is a person.
10. The skin of hippopotamuses is unique in that it secretes a particular enzyme that helps to disinfect wounds. An excellent natural mechanism, considering that hippos often fight and inflict more or less severe injuries on each other.
11. A newborn baby hippo weighs an average of about 50 kg.
12. Hippos often ravage the fields in the countryside. In ancient Egypt, they, and not locusts, were considered the scourge of the areas.
13. In the stomach of an adult hippopotamus, up to 200 kg of digestible food can be simultaneously located.
14. The female hippo cannot become pregnant for 15-18 months after the cub's birth.
15. Some tribes in Africa make dentures from hippopotamus teeth.
16. Although hippos are fiercely protective of their offspring, they can quickly kill other people's cubs.
17. The skin of an adult hippopotamus weighs up to 500 kg, up to one-eighth of the mass of its entire body.
18. Hippos can sweat, and their sweat is reddish-pink.
19. The pupils of these animals are unique in that they are T-shaped.
20. In Africa, hippos kill more people than crocodiles.
21. even though hippos constantly eat when possible, if necessary, they can go without food for 15-20 days.
22. Hunting for hippos is officially banned in all countries, but some African tribes, leading a lifestyle close to the primitive, continue to hunt them.
23. The skin of these animals reaches 3.5-4 cm in thickness.
24. In well-fed hippos, the stomach sags so much that it can touch the ground when walking.
25. Their life expectancy can reach approximately 50 years.
26. Hippos, on occasion, do not mind eating a gaping antelope or even a crocodile.
27. Their skin is more challenging than that of any other animal. It is even more challenging than elephants.
28. An adult hippopotamus eats 50-60 kg of food per day.
29. Hippos can develop a running speed of up to 30 kilometers per hour. Accurate, from such efforts, they quickly fizzle out.
30. Older individuals often starve to death after their teeth have been completely worn down and they can no longer grind plant foods.
31. Hippos grow throughout their lives.
32. Hippos usually wait out the heat of the day in the water and go out to graze on land at night.
33. Often, during the night, they walk more than 10 kilometers in search of food.
34. Usually, females of these animals give birth to cubs on land, but sometimes they do it in the water. Why is it unknown?
35. If an adult hippopotamus opens its mouth, the distance from its upper to lower jaw can reach one and a half meters.
36. Hippos have relatively poor eyesight but excellent hearing. And in the water, they hear no worse than on land.
37. Hippos live only in freshwater.
38. If necessary, hippos can hold their breath for up to five minutes while diving underwater.
39. Even adults and large crocodiles avoid attacking hippos.
40. An adult hippopotamus can weigh over 4 tons.
41. From the point of view of zoology, the closest relatives of these animals are whales.
42. Some African tribes treat the skin of hippopotamuses in such a way that it is used for polishing diamonds. But this is a long process that takes up to five or six years.
43. Currently, you can meet a wild hippopotamus only in Africa, and in recent decades their numbers have been declining. Biologists estimate that the total number of animals does not exceed 150,000, a quarter of them live in Zambia. But on the territory of South Africa, wild hippos completely disappeared several decades ago; they can only be found in the national park.
44. The main enemy of hippos is the man. Among the animals, few dare to attack this giant. Sometimes lions and crocodiles decide on this. But, even these ferocious predators do not always manage to defeat the hippopotamus, which in appearance seems lazy and clumsy. Crocodiles attack hippos in the water and lions on land.
45. A hippo's mouth can open almost 180 degrees, and its scope in adult animals reaches one and a half meters. The strength of the jaws of a hippopotamus is such that it can bite the spine of an adult crocodile.
46. With such a vast mass, the animal needs up to 50 kg—of feed per day. The main diet of the hippopotamus consists of grass. But, hippos can also eat the meat of other animals.
47. In zoos, hippos began to appear in the middle of the 19th century. The first animal was delivered to the London Zoo on May 25, 1850. The townspeople's delight knew no bounds, up to ten thousand people a day came to see such a miracle. Now hippos successfully breed in captivity, but keeping these animals is not cheap.
48. Since ancient times, people have hunted hippos for meat, skins, and bones. The heart, especially a young animal, is tasty and tastes like veal.
49. a healthy skin, up to four centimeters thick, was often used by warriors for sheathing shields, and the bone is used to make souvenirs. Given the sharp decline in the number of animals, the trade-in hippopotamus bones are limited by hard quotas.
50. When a hippopotamus goes to land, his body quickly dehydrates; therefore, in search of food, they prefer to go out at night when the heat subsides. In search of food, the hippopotamus can overcome up to ten kilometers, and with the onset of heat, they again plunge into the reservoir. Despite their impressive mass, hippos can reach speeds of up to thirty kilometers per hour over short distances.
51. For people, hippos are very dangerous. They often settle near sown fields, and in a short time, they can destroy a significant part of the crops since these animals have an excellent appetite. At this time, hippos are aggressive and can attack people passing by. In the water, animals sometimes attack passing boats. Most often, females do this, fearing for their cubs. In South Luangwa Park, located in Zambia, more than 100 people become victims of hippopotamus attacks yearly.
52. Most hippos prefer not to leave their native waters. Therefore, they suffer significantly during a drought, when the water level drops rapidly. But among these animals, there are lovers of travel. For example, in three years, a female named Hubert, from 1928 to 1931, decided on a desperate step - she covered 1,600 kilometers in southern Africa. She was shot dead by the hunters, who were then sentenced to a $25 fine.
People became closely acquainted with koalas only 200 years ago. Still, during this time, the cute eared creature managed to become the most famous Australian animal, eclipsing even the kangaroo and one of the most famous animals worldwide. Everyone, at least once, was touched by this creature that looked like a tiny bear cub with cute ears and a curious look.
What are some interesting facts about koalas?
In nature, koalas live only in Australia, and in zoos, where they take root well, they are real stars not only because of their appearance but also because of their elegant and, at the same time, leisurely manner of moving. If there are koalas in the zoo, you can predict with a high degree of probability that the most significant number of visitors, tiny ones, will be near their enclosure. The appearance of koalas is deceptive: an angry animal in a rage can attack a person. Let's try to state a few more facts about these fascinating animals.
15. Europeans first met koalas in 1798.
One of the employees of the governor of the colony of New South Wales, John Price, reported that in the Blue Mountains (they are located in the extreme southeast of Australia) an animal similar to a wombat lives. Still, it does not live in holes but on trees. After four years, the koala remains were discovered, and in July 1803, the Sydney Gazette printed a description of a recently caught live specimen. Surprisingly, koalas were not seen by members of the expedition of James Cook in 1770. Cook's voyages were extensive, but the solitary lifestyle of koalas prevented them from making a discovery.
14. Koalas are not bears, although they are very similar.
Not only does the appearance of a funny animal contributes to the confusion. The first British settlers in Australia called the animal "Koala bear" - "Koala Bear." For former convicts and people from the lower classes of British society at the end of the 18th century, it was difficult to expect ordinary literacy, let alone biological. Yes, and scientists reached an agreement on the belonging of the koala to the class of marsupials only at the beginning of the next century. Of course, in everyday life, the combination “Koala Bear” will be understandable to most people.
13. Koala is a particular species in terms of biological classification.
The closest relatives of the inhabitants of the eucalyptus forests are wombats, but they are both in terms of lifestyle and biologically very distant from the koala.
12. Except for nature reserves and zoos, koalas live only in Australia and only on its east coast and adjacent islands.
The example of the koala clearly shows that the negative experience of settling animal species on the continent does not teach Australians at all. Having burned themselves on ostriches, rabbits, and even cats in the 20th century, they enthusiastically undertook to resettle koalas. Not only restored the deforested population of these marsupials in the state of South Australia. The koalas have been relocated to the Yanchep National Park and several islands off the northeast coast of the country. The geography of the settlement of koalas has expanded to 1,000,000 km2, but one can only hope that the slowness and good nature of koalas will help avoid the following environmental problems. Although on Kangaroo Island, where koalas were forcibly brought, their number reached 30,000, which exceeded the food supply. The proposal to shoot 2/3 of the population was rejected as damaging the country's image.
11. The maximum body length is 85 cm, the maximum weight is 55 kg.
The cost differs depending on the habitat - its color varies from silver in the north to dark brown in the south. This gradation suggests that two different subspecies live in the north and south, but this assumption has not yet been proven.
10. The diet of koalas is unique.
Not only does it consist exclusively of plant foods. Vegetation is slowly and poorly digested, forcing the animal to devote most of the day to feeding. The diet of koalas consists only of eucalyptus leaves, which are poisonous to all other animals. They contain terpene and phenolic compounds, and young shoots are also rich in hydrocyanic acid. It is surprising how koalas absorb such a hellish mixture of tens of kilograms (500 g - 1 kg per day) without harming their health. After genetic research, it turned out that in the genome of these animals, there are particular genes responsible for the breakdown of poisons. The same studies showed that the tongue of koalas has unique taste buds that allow you to instantly assess the moisture content of a eucalyptus leaf - a fundamental property of its absorption. In fact, by lightly licking the leaf, the koala already knows if it is edible. And yet, even with such unique abilities, the koala spends at least 20 hours a day on food and the subsequent digestion of food in a dream.
9. The fact that a koala sleeps a lot and can sit on the same tree for days does not mean that the motor abilities of this animal are limited.
Koalas just have almost nowhere to rush. In nature, Dingoes are their enemies, but for an attack, the marsupial needs to get out into the open, and the dog gets close - a koala can quickly accelerate up to 50 km / h at short distances. During the mating season, males can arrange a bloody duel in which they will demonstrate sharpness and speed of reaction; in this case, it is better not to fall under the arm, or rather, under the long sharp claws. Also, koalas are very clever at jumping from tree to tree and even know how to swim. Their ability to climb trunks and branches and even hang on one paw for a long time has long been the hallmark of these cute animals.
8. Koala parasites are much more dangerous than external enemies.
Many young male koalas die in fights with more experienced individuals or due to falls from trees (and they happen - a large amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull is often explained by the need to soften the concussion from a fall from a height). Many koalas suffer from pathogens that cause conjunctivitis, cystitis, sinusitis, and other diseases. Even with a slight long-term decrease in temperature, koalas can get pneumonia caused by a runny nose. Koalas even have their analog of AIDS, the Koala Immunodeficiency Virus.
7. The brain's weight is only 0.2% of the total weight of koalas.
Excavations, and the current size of their skulls, show that the brains of the ancestors of these animals were much larger. However, with the simplification of the diet and the disappearance of enemies, its size became excessive. Now about half of the internal volume of the koala's skull is occupied by cerebrospinal fluid.
6. Koalas breed at about the same pace as they live.
Sexual maturity occurs in the third year of their life, lasting only 12-13 years. At the same time, females mate once every 1 - 2 years, exceptionally rarely bearing two cubs, usually one. Males call them with sharp-smelling secretions of glands and characteristic cries. Pregnancy lasts a little more than a month; the cub is born very small (weighing a little more than 5 grams) and sits in the mother's bag for the first six months. He also does not come off his mother for the next six months but already outside the bag, clinging to the fur. At the age of one year, babies finally become independent. At the same time, females look for their territory, and males can live with their mothers for a couple more years.
5. Male koalas have unique vocal cords that allow them to make loud sounds of different tones.
Like humans, the voice develops with age. Young males, frightened or injured, make cries similar to the cries of human babies. The call of a mature male has a lower timbre and is more informative. Scientists believe that the screams of a koala can frighten competitors and attract females. Moreover, the tone of the cry contains information (often exaggerated) about the size of the individual.
4. Koalas survived their genocide.
At the beginning of the 20th century, they were shot by the millions; the beautiful thick fur was so valued. Hunting was banned in 1927, but the population never recovered. Later, several koala parks and even a particular hospital were organized in Australia. However, due to climate fluctuations, human deforestation, and wildfires, the koala population is constantly declining.
3. Private ownership of koalas is illegal worldwide, although there may be some kind of underground trade - the forbidden fruit is always sweet.
But to see these marsupials, it is not necessary to fly to Australia - there are koalas in many zoos around the world. They live longer in captivity than in the wild with proper nutrition and care and can live up to 20 years. At the same time, despite their low level of intelligence, they show a touching affection for the staff, having fun or being capricious like small children.
2. By the end of the 20th century, the koala surpassed the kangaroo as the animal symbol of Australia.
In 1975, a survey conducted among tourists entering the continent from Europe and Japan showed that 75% of the guests would first like to see koalas. The income from visits to parks and reserves with koalas was then estimated at $ 1 billion. The image of the koala is widely used in the advertising industry, show business, and logos around the world. Koalas are characters in many films, television shows, cartoons, and computer games.
1. Australia has an exceptional Wildlife Rescue Service.
From time to time, its employees have to rescue animals in dangerous or incidental situations. On July 19, 2018, the service crew went to the electrical substation "Happy Valley" of SA Power Networks in South Australia. The koala was stuck in an aluminum fence that he could have crawled under. Rescuers quickly released the animal, which behaved remarkably calmly. This calmness was explained simply - the unlucky marsupial had already dealt with people. On his paw was a tag saying that the koala had already been rescued once after being hit by a car.
Which animal is lazier, a koala or a panda?
The sloth shares the first place among the laziest creatures with the koala. The time of wakefulness of this marsupial animal does not exceed two hours a day, while their sleep can last from eighteen to twenty-two hours. During it, a koala can pick eucalyptus leaves from trees and eat while half asleep.
Panda belongs to the bear family. But its main difference is that it does not fall into hibernation, but it can sleep up to fifteen hours a day. This huge animal, the rest of the time, is engaged in the extraction and eating of food. Since all representatives are in enclosures due to the threat of extinction of the species, they do not have to get food on their own, so the wakefulness time has decreased significantly.
So, of course, a koala is much lazier than a panda.