The Smiling Turtle

This little critter has been scientifically renamed more times than a confused schizophrenic and at first sight looks to have more in common with an alligator than a turtle. Mata Mata actually means ‘kill, kill’ in Spanish, which is concerning for those of you who keep them as pets. These guys are not a vegetarian’s favorite as they are serious carnivores; they turn their pointy nose up at anything green unless it croaks.

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Is it a Kangaroo? A Hare? A Deer?

Nope, it’s the world’s fourth largest rodent. Everyone seemed so confused they decided to give it three different names, the Patagonian Cavy, Patagonian Mara or Patagonian Hare. I’m going to stick with Mara here. The only constant seems to be that it is from the Pampas region in Southern and Central Argentina.

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Marsupial Mole

The Marsupial Mole is actually not a mole but a curious little marsupial creature, only about 15 centimetres long. The characteristic of a marsupial is that the female of the species has a pouch to carry its young in. The Marsupial Mole is from the red deserts of Western and South Western Australia where it spends its time burrowing around in the dry flat riverbeds and dunes. The local aboriginals call it Itjaritjari.

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Our Little Big Planet

I am hesitating to write this simply because it has everything and nothing to do with what I want this weblog to be. A place where people who care for animals in any shape or form can come to get information or amuse themselves with the wonderful animal facts and videos. Not a place where politics and protest will influence what I put on the site, yet it seems this can’t be avoided. As unqualified as the politicians and their advisors seem to be, it is they who will shape the life or death of our world’s species, including us humans. For this reason I want to dedicate a little article to the Copenhagen Summit currently taking place. Time is running out, fast.

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Frogs

Every once in a while I will highlight a group of animals that are extremely interesting but are often overlooked because they are not as ‘popular’ as say, crocodiles, bears, sharks, elephants or tigers. So far I have given a brief insight into the facts and figures of dolphins and bears, but I would like to also focus on some of the more unusual animals we don’t know so much about and look at their behaviour too. For this episode I want to look at our amphibian friends, the Frogs.

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10 facts about… Panda Bears

1. Even though Pandas are actually omnivores, in the same family as the Polar Bear and the Grizzly Bear, they hardly eat any meat, in fact about 99% of their diet is vegetarian. They can eat up to 30kg of bamboo per day and spend most of the day eating. Bamboo is low in essential nutrients and pandas only digest about 20% of what they consume, which is why they eat so much.

2. Pandas may appear to be very friendly and cute but, like Grizzly bears, they are actually one of the more aggressive bear species when provoked. They are very territorial animals. Most aggressive encounters occur during the mating season.

3. Unlike other bears Pandas are mainly nocturnal creatures; because of this their eyes have pupils which are vertical slits that are similar to a cat’s eyes to help them see much better in the dark. All other bears have round eyes.

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