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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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13 Facts About Animals' Brains That Will Make You Say,

13 Facts About Animals' Brains That Will Make You Say, "IDK How To Feel About This" 0

13 Facts About Animals' Brains That Will Make You Say, "IDK How To Feel About This"

  1. Squids have doughnut-shaped brains.

(Note: this photo is not of a giant squid. Pictures of giant squids in their natural habitat are hard to come by! Please accept this cute photo of a regular squid instead.)Soo giant squids have brains the shape of doughnuts. Not only that, but their esophagus runs directly through the hole in their brain. Because of this, squids have to bite their food into small pieces so the meal can fit through the esophagus. If the food is too big, it can scrape against their brain and cause damage. :(

Soo giant squids have brains the shape of doughnuts. Not only that, but their esophagus runs directly through the hole in their brain. Because of this, squids have to bite their food into small pieces so the meal can fit through the esophagus. If the food is too big, it can scrape against their brain and cause damage. :(

  1. Leeches have 32 brains.

A leech's internal structure is divided into 32 separate segments, and each of these segments has its own brain. In addition to that, every leech has nine pairs of testes — but that's another post for another day.

A leech's internal structure is divided into 32 separate segments, and each of these segments has its own brain. In addition to that, every leech has nine pairs of testes — but that's another post for another day.

  1. Sea squirts (I know — just, why?) eat their own brains.

The life of a sea squirt is as follows: it comes into this world as an egg that quickly turns into a tadpole-looking thing. It has one eye, a spinal cord, a tail, and a primitive brain that helps it move around. Once it finds its forever home (ocean floor, rock, boat), it attaches itself to said home. It then proceeds to eat its own brain, absorbing its tadpole-like body, and eventually turning into this creature.

The life of a sea squirt is as follows: it comes into this world as an egg that quickly turns into a tadpole-looking thing. It has one eye, a spinal cord, a tail, and a primitive brain that helps it move around. Once it finds its forever home (ocean floor, rock, boat), it attaches itself to said home. It then proceeds to eat its own brain, absorbing its tadpole-like body, and eventually turning into this creature.

  1. An ostrich's brain is smaller than its eyeball.

So, one ostrich eyeball is the size of a billiard ball (around two inches in diameter). Now imagine two of those in an ostrich's head. Its eyeballs are so large that there is only a little room for its brain. So because science is science and evolution is weird, an ostrich's brain is smaller than its eyes — which makes sense considering it runs in circles to "escape" from predators.

So, one ostrich eyeball is the size of a billiard ball (around two inches in diameter). Now imagine two of those in an ostrich's head. Its eyeballs are so large that there is only a little room for its brain. So because science is science and evolution is weird, an ostrich's brain is smaller than its eyes — which makes sense considering it runs in circles to "escape" from predators.

  1. Starfish don't have a centralized brain.

The starfish's anatomy is super fascinating. Starfish use sea water (instead of blood) to pump nutrients throughout their bodies. And its central nervous system is distributed throughout its legs (or arms, who am I to say?), so it technically doesn't have a localized brain.

The starfish's anatomy is super fascinating. Starfish use sea water (instead of blood) to pump nutrients throughout their bodies. And its central nervous system is distributed throughout its legs (or arms, who am I to say?), so it technically doesn't have a localized brain.

  1. Male and female stickleback fish have different size brains.

Male stickleback fish have bigger brains than their female counterparts. WOMP. Scientists don't know exactly why this is, one theory is that because the male is responsible for impressing the lady fish, building the nest, and taking care of the eggs, they have developed bigger brains. (The female is only responsible for laying eggs and inspecting the male's nest. Listen, I don't know. I'm not a scientist so don't come at me with this.)

Male stickleback fish have bigger brains than their female counterparts. WOMP. Scientists don't know exactly why this is, one theory is that because the male is responsible for impressing the lady fish, building the nest, and taking care of the eggs, they have developed bigger brains. (The female is only responsible for laying eggs and inspecting the male's nest. Listen, I don't know. I'm not a scientist so don't come at me with this.)

  1. A sperm whale has the biggest brain of any mammal — but compared to its body size, its brain is actually teeny tiny.

Even though a sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal, its brain is not exceptionally big compared to its massive body size. An average sperm whale's brain weighs 17 pounds. For comparison, a human's brain weighs around three pounds, or about two percent of its body weight. A sperm whale can reach up to 45 tons (90,000 pounds!) so their brain only accounts for 0.00019 percent of their body weight.

Even though a sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal, its brain is not exceptionally big compared to its massive body size. An average sperm whale's brain weighs 17 pounds. For comparison, a human's brain weighs around three pounds, or about two percent of its body weight. A sperm whale can reach up to 45 tons (90,000 pounds!) so their brain only accounts for 0.00019 percent of their body weight.

  1. A spider's brain is so big that it spills into its legs.

A spider's brain is so gigantic that its head doesn't have room for it. All of that extra brain actually spills over into the spider's legs…as if spiders weren't terrifying enough. Scientists believe that this might explain arachnids’ amazing ability to spin webs.P.S. If you want an actual picture of a spider, you creep, Google it. I wanted to spare everyone the sight of an actual spider.

A spider's brain is so gigantic that its head doesn't have room for it. All of that extra brain actually spills over into the spider's legs…as if spiders weren't terrifying enough. Scientists believe that this might explain arachnids’ amazing ability to spin webs.

P.S. If you want an actual picture of a spider, you creep, Google it. I wanted to spare everyone the sight of an actual spider.

  1. A killer whale shuts down half of its brain when sleeping.

Whales use half of their brains for sleeping and the other half for breathing. The part of the brain that controls breathing stays awake while the other half catches some z's. Not only that, but the whale keeps one eye open (on the side of the brain that's awake) and the other closed while sleeping. It's called unihemispheric sleep, and dolphins, beluga whales, and sea lions do it, too!

Whales use half of their brains for sleeping and the other half for breathing. The part of the brain that controls breathing stays awake while the other half catches some z's. Not only that, but the whale keeps one eye open (on the side of the brain that's awake) and the other closed while sleeping. It's called unihemispheric sleep, and dolphins, beluga whales, and sea lions do it, too!

  1. Woodpeckers have a super-strength skull to prevent brain injuries.

Just take a moment to picture a woodpecker slamming its face into a tree over and over and over. Well, because it does this as a way of life, it has a unique spongey skull and neck muscles that protect the brain from the repetitive impact. In addition to that, a woodpecker has a third eyelid to ensure its eyeballs literally don't pop out of its head.

Just take a moment to picture a woodpecker slamming its face into a tree over and over and over. Well, because it does this as a way of life, it has a unique spongey skull and neck muscles that protect the brain from the repetitive impact. In addition to that, a woodpecker has a third eyelid to ensure its eyeballs literally don't pop out of its head.

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FOUR LEOPARDS FOUND IN REMOTE VALLEY IN PAKISTAN

FOUR LEOPARDS FOUND IN REMOTE VALLEY IN PAKISTAN 0

The Snow Leopard Trust has found four cats in Pakistan! Now they need to find ways to protect them.

In May and June of this year, the Snow Leopard trust team was able to photograph snow leopards at 19 different sites in Misgar Valley. Misgar Valley is the most northern point of Pakistan, before reaching China. Known for it’s remoteness and unpredictable weather of floods, mudslides and snow, the area is a very difficult place to for the team to work.

After extensively evaluating the coat patterns, the team was able to identify at least four cats.

The team took community surveys and found generally negative attitudes towards snow leopards among local herders, mostly due to livestock depletion. Now comes the challenge of working with the community, addressing negative attitudes. The families seem interested in their livestock insurance program, started by Indianapolis Prize 2014 Nominee Charu Mishra.

To the Trust, there are three pillars to conservation:

  • livestock insurance programs
  • livestock‐free wildlife reserves
  • environmental education

These initiatives will restore wild lands, increase wild prey abundance, reduce persecution of threatened predators, catalyze greater use of the habitat by the endangered snow leopard, and raise conservation awareness.

The Snow Leopard Trust, based in Seattle Washington, is a world leader in conservation of the endangered snow leopard.

14 UNUSUAL FACTS ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS

14 UNUSUAL FACTS ABOUT HUMMINGBIRDS 0

Here at Little Critterz, we are fascinated by hummingbirds. I bet that most people enjoy hummingbirds, love keeping feeders in their backyard, and probably don’t know more about them than that can fly incredibly fast. But hummingbirds are even more remarkable than their speed.

But did you know this about these birds?

  1. The average lifespan of a hummingbird is about 4 years. In one instance, a female hummingbird lived over 12 years.
  2. Common hummingbirds wing beats 50-200 times per second, on average.
  3. It’s a common misconception that the sugar-water in the feeder should be red. It shouldn’t. Do not put any dye into the mixture. The red and yellow coloring on the feeder itself is what attracts the hummingbird.
  4. Hummingbirds are able to hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern.
  5. They are an endangered species.
  6.  Hummingbirds are only found in the Western Hemisphere.
  7. Habitat loss and climate change are the biggest threats to hummingbirds.
  8. They are the smallest bird in the world.
  9. They can flash or hide their colors when they want.
  10. A hummingbird’s brain is 4.2% of it’s body weight, the largest in the bird kingdom.
  11. They can hear better and see farther than humans.
  12. Hummingbirds do not use their beaks to drink nectar like a straw, they lap up the liquid using their tongue.
  13. They can weigh between 2-20 grams. A penny weighs 2.5 grams.
  14. They can dive at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.