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Incredible Big-Eared Animals!

Incredible Big-Eared Animals! 0

There are so many unique features animals can possess. Bright colors, sharp talons, lightning speed, and night vision! Today, we’re looking at some of the cutest critterz with the largest set of ears! For these animals, bigger ears don’t just mean better hearing, but they also help regulate body temperature and keep pesky bugs at bay. Here are some of the wonderful creatures we found!

Serval

Fennec Fox

Caracal

African Elephant

California Leaf-Nosed Bat

Long Eared Jerboa

Bush Babies

 

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Coolest Cold Weather Critterz!

Coolest Cold Weather Critterz! 0

There are so many interesting creatures that live in snowy and chilly areas. With the holidays all a buzz, we thought we would share some of our favorites with you!

Narwhal

First off, we have the majestic Narwhal. This amazing under-water mammal lives in the far north and has a single long tusk that grows from its head just like a unicorn! This whale is actually the original unicorn, as people tried to pass off their tusks as unicorn horns.

Arctic Woolly Bear Moth

This small moth lives at the edge of what is possible. As a caterpillar, it lives a stop-go life taking around seven years to build up enough resources to finally pupate into the adult moth. They live a short adult life spending most of their lives actually frozen just thawing out for a short time in the summer to lay eggs and then die. Over its lifetime, they will freeze and thaw seven times.

Wolverine

The wolverine is the largest member of the mustelidae, the weasels, it is stocky, muscular and looks more like a small bear though is the size of a medium dog. It has a reputation for toughness and strength beyond its size being prepared to tackle prey much larger than itself (and tbh they're a bit fed up with the whole x-men thing now).

Musk Ox

Previously widespread across the arctic but wiped out in many places by over-hunting. Musk oxen live in the tundra regions of the high artic, they are grazing animals, more closely related to sheep and goats than to oxen. They survive in some of the harshest places in the arctic, they have a number of anatomical, behavioral and physiological adaptations that allow them to do this successfully.

Caribou/Reindeer

Reindeer have a relationship with humans going back thousands of years. As a hardy large herbivore they have been herded for food and to provide the muscle for transport by circumpolar peoples of the north.Mainly an animal of the far north, most of the 15 subspecies live their lives above the northern tree line in the Arctic tundra, they are also found on many arctic islands.

Arctic Fox

This icy-coated fox can survive at temperatures as low as -58F by burrowing into the ground or snow. Their round body, short muzzle and small ears reduce body surface area and consequently exposure to extreme cold.Arctic foxes have white fur that helps them camouflage in the ice and snow. Their fur changes color to brown or gray in summer to help them blend in with their surroundings.

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5 COMIC BOOK SUPERPOWERS THAT REALLY EXIST IN ANIMALS

5 COMIC BOOK SUPERPOWERS THAT REALLY EXIST IN ANIMALS 1

In the superhero lexicon, these "sounds" usually mean our hero is winning his or her epic battle with the villain of the day. The world will soon be restored to order; peace will prevail a little longer. So WHOOSH! On to the next page to learn more about the superheroes who protect their own little corner of the animal kingdom. Which animal powers would you channel?

#1 Echolocation

In the superhero world, Matt Murdock, who was blinded by radioactive waste as a child, developed a superhuman ability to sense using sound waves and became the superhero Daredevil. This gives Daredevil a 360-degree field of "vision," allowing him to precisely locate objects or people in all directions, an obvious advantage over normal vision.

Bats, despite being nocturnal animals, cannot see in the dark. Instead they have evolved a similar ability known as use echolocation to navigate and locate prey at night. The bat emits a very high frequency sound and listens for the echo that bounces off objects.

#2 Heat sensing

Pit vipers, as well as some pythons and boas, can sense the body heat of their prey from several feet away. Small pit organs on the snakes' faces detect infrared radiation, allowing them to create a thermal profile of, say, a nearby mouse.

Nerves connect the pit organs to the brain's somatosensory system, which processes the sense of touch, suggesting that the snakes literally feel the heat. In 2010, scientists identified the heat-sensing receptor molecule. The human version of this receptor is thought to be responsible for the mild burn that comes with swigging carbonated drinks, as well as the stronger burn of wasabi.

 

#3 Magnetic Sense

The X-Men's arch-villian Magneto can sense and manipulate magnetic fields with his mind. And some animals have a similar magnetic sense known as "magnetoreception" that they use to navigate and orient themselves. For example, homing pigeons are able to navigate back to their home lofts when visual cues are missing but can't do so when magnets are nearby. This suggests that they may use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate.

Although we don't understand exactly how they do this, pigeons have been found to possess a substance called magnetite in their beaks, which becomes magnetized when exposed to magnetic fields. So they may be following their nose, so to speak.

#4 Indestructibility

Tardigrade, aka Water Bear (Tardigrada)

These tiny, adorable creatures grow to be only a millimeter long but may be the hardiest organism on the planet (or perhaps any planet). Tardigrades are virtually indestructible. They are polyextremophiles, meaning they thrive in multiple kinds of extreme environments.

Among the things they are known to survive: Freezing temperatures as low as -200 C (-328 F), scorching temperatures up to 150 C (302 F), outer space, no food or water for over a century (or only a decade if you are a spoilsport scientist), ionizing radiation up to 570,000 roentgens (a dose of just 500 roentgens would kill you), solar radiation, gamma radiation, ultraviolet radiation, high salinity and lack of oxygen.

How can a creature so tough be so cute and cuddly looking at the same time? It hardly seems fair.

 

#5 Invisibility

n reality, the yellow thing in the photo above is a cuttlefish doing its best to impersonate an aquarium plant. Shapeshifting masters of camouflage, cuttlefish can rapidly blend in with the scenery to avoid predators. They can disguise themselves to look like just about anything aquatic, assuming a vast array of postures and colors -- the latter being the result of pigment-containing sacs in their skin. A cuttlefish can control the size of the sac, called a chromatophore, and change color accordingly.

The end result is a spooky feat of invisibility that's much more successful than James Bond's car.

 

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5 Reindeer Facts to Share This Winter

5 Reindeer Facts to Share This Winter 0

Beyond their sled-pulling capabilities and discrimination towards those with red noses, what do you really know about reindeer?

  1. Reindeer and caribou are the same thing.

Historically, the European/Asian reindeer and American Caribou were considered to be different species, but they are actually one and the same. There are two major groups of reindeer, the tundra and the woodland, which are divided according to the type of region the animal lives in, not their global location. The animals are further divided into subspecies, ranging from nine to thirteen depending on who is doing the classification. At least one subspecies, the Arctic Reindeer, is already extinct. (The reindeer/caribou thing could technically get more complicated in the future—check out this Discovery News article for more details.)

  1. They go by many names, all of which seem appropriate.

Reindeer comes from the Old Norse word “hreinin,” which means “horned animal.” Caribou is based on the French word for “snow shoveler,” in reference to the animal’s habit of digging through the snow for food. In many Eastern European languages, the root word for the creature is “po?aw,” which comes from an Iranian word meaning “cattle.” This makes sense given that the animals were semi-domesticated in these areas and used for meat, fur, milk and transportation.

  1. Santa’s reindeer are most likely the R.t. platyrhynchus subspecies from the Svalbard islands off of Norway.

We know that because Clement C. Moore’s poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” which first introduced the world to Santa’s reindeer, describes them as tiny. The only reindeer that could really be considered tiny are the Svalbard subspecies (above), which weigh about half as much as the average reindeer species and are at least a foot shorter in length—that definitely proves useful when landing on roofs.

Strangely, you’ll almost never see these guys in depictions of Santa, as live-action films usually use full-sized reindeer and animations usually draw the creatures as a cross between a regular deer and a reindeer.

  1. It’s not always easy to tell the sex of a reindeer.

In most deer species, only the male grows antlers, but that’s not true for most reindeer. Although the females in certain populations do not have antlers, many do. During certain times of year, you can still tell the sex of a reindeer by checking for antlers. That’s because males lose their antlers in winter or spring, but females shed theirs in the summer. The females are significantly smaller than the males, but you may get thrown if you come across a particularly large female or a small male.

 Santa’s reindeer may or may not be female.

Since reindeer shed their antlers at different points of the year based on their sex and age, we know that Santa’s reindeer probably aren't older males, because older male reindeer lose their antlers in December and Christmas reindeer are always depicted with their antlers. That means Santa’s sled either has to be pulled by young reindeer, constantly replaced as they start to age, or Santa’s reindeer are female. Do you want to imagine a rotating crop of sleigh pullers or an all-female lineup? It’s up to you.

 Check out our animal collection and take advantage of our 15% off Deal for Christmas. Use Code XMASCRITTERZ at Checkout. www.littlecritterz.com

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Animals in the Story of Christmas

Animals in the Story of Christmas 0

Animals play a prominent role a Christmas, regardless of whether or not religious beliefs are behind it. The story of Rudolph is but one example of an animal that has become an icon of the season.

The truth is that there are many animals are central to the story of Christmas and reindeer especially are the consummate Christmas animal.

As with all things Christmas we turn back to ancient history to find out why this is so.

According to Viking lore, the northern Germans and Scandinavians celebrated Yule, a pagan religious festival heralding the arrival of the winter solstice from mid-December to early January. During this time, many believed that Odin, disguised in a long blue-hooded cloak, would travel to earth on his eight-legged horse, to observe homesteaders gathered around the campfires to see how content the people were and for those in need of food, he left his gifts of bread and disappeared.

As traditions grew over time, the children of these lands would anticipate the arrival of gift-bearing Odin and would fill their boots with straw, carrots or sugar and place them near the fireplace so that the horse could come down to eat during his midnight rides. Odin would then reward these kind children by replacing the food with gifts and candy treats inside the boots.

The connection of animals to Christmas have long focused on children. In fact, animals have been used in teaching the story of Christ’s birth to children for nearly 1000 years.

This comes from the legendary tales of St. Francis of Assissi, who obtained permission from Pope Honorious III to set up a manager with hay and two live animals in a cave in a village in Italy. From that stage he preached to the villagers about the Babe of Bethlehem, engaging adult and children alike with his visual sermon.

The idea of telling the Christmas story in this fashion married well with a popular practice of the time known as mystery or miracle plays. Since the Bible was largely available only in Latin at the time, priests had to do more to get the stories of the Bible out there in the common language of the people. So the little nativity scene St. Francis put together caught on as a trend and for the centuries since the Nativity has been depicted in scenes large and small ever since, in places all over the world.

Animals have always had a central part in telling that story.

Brian Stokes Mitchell singing and portraying the Friendly Beasts of the nativity highlights precisely how animals have long been associated with the Christmas story. He sings of the donkey, the cow, the sheep and the dove in telling the story.

Interestingly, the story in scripture mentions none of these. Other elements of a traditional nativity scene are also absent from scripture. The New Testament gives a brief accounting of the Magi but if you read closely you know that the Magi were not present at the birth of Christ, but came much much later when the Christchild was more than two years old. And whether or not they came by camel is another fact more born of folklore than of scripture.

Folklore also gives the animals a part to play each Christmas, with the tale in some ancient European traditions that animals are blessed with the gift of speech every Christmas eve, able in their own way to articulate praise to God and the Baby of Bethlehem.

There are other animals associated with Christmas. Famously, Clement Clark Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas talks of eight tiny reindeer and that “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, a phrase that would launch a million Christmas ornament designs more than 100 years later.

The Christmas Spider, a bona fide insect of Christmas, is a celebrated tradition in Germany. The folk tale is told of a family working together in their small home to clean for Christmas Eve day and they cleaned it from top to bottom. All the spiders living in the house ventured to the attic to escape the broom and later that evening after all had gone to bed the spiders rejoiced that they had one ideal spot where they could spin their webs left in the house – the Christmas tree.

This they did and with abandon they spun webs all over the tree, so much so that when Santa came he was presented with a dilemma – did he remove the webs from the tree for the family or did he save the webs and Christmas for the spiders in the process? Santa fixed everything by turning the spider webs into shimmering silver strands that brilliantly decorated the tree, thrilling the family and saving the spiders.

It is from this Germanic folk tale that the tradition of tinsel is explained.

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12 Shocking Shark Facts

12 Shocking Shark Facts 0

12 Shocking Shark Facts

Sharks are friends, not violent killers.

  1. In its lifetime, a shark can have up to 30,000 teeth. They are continuously being replaced and shifted within the mouth.
  2. Whale sharks can live to be 100 years old.
  3. Sharks are colorblind.
  4. Sharks have been in existence for over 400 million years.
  5. Sharks have no bones in their bodies. They are made of a rubbery tissue called cartilage.
  6. There are 440 different species of sharks.
  7. Sharks have a sense called electrosense, which is the ability to sense electric signals. This gives them an advantage when searching for prey.
  8. Sharks are hypersensitive to pressure changes in the water. They can notice the slightest changes via specialized cells with tiny hairs in them.
  9. Great white sharks can weigh up to 5,000 pounds.
  10. Whale sharks are approximately the size of a school bus.
  11. Tiger sharks, aka the "garbage cans" of the sea, will literally eat anything, which makes them particularly dangerous to humans.
  12. Sharks can store food in their stomachs for months.

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