Tuesday 25 February 2014

Interesting Facts

Giant Panda Facts
In the wild, giant pandas are only found in coniferous and broadleaf forests in some of the most remote mountain ranges of China. Although they once lived in the lower elevations as well, humans have forced them out. They are estimated to be less than 1,900 giant pandas left in the entire world, including the population in zoos, putting them on the endangered species list. Review the list of facts below to learn what their life span is, how they develop, when they reproduce and other interesting facts about giant pandas.

General Giant Panda Facts
  • Their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo (stalks, leaves and shoots). In the wild they will also eat small woodland creatures and different types of grasses. In captivity they are fed some fruits, vegetables, sugar cane, and rice.
  • Giant Pandas have specialized wrist bones that they use as extended thumbs when eating bamboo. They also use their strong jaws and teeth to tear and crush the bamboo before eating.
  • With a body similar to that of a bear, the distinguishing feature of a Giant Panda is that it is black and white in color. Black can be found on the ears, eyes, face, legs and upper body and the rest of the body is white.
  • Giant Pandas are elusive in the wild which makes determining how long they can live very difficult. Captive pandas are known to live as long as 35 years, but scientists feel the lifespan in the wild is shorter.
  • Male pandas can weigh as much as 250 pounds (113 kilograms) while females are never more than 220 pounds (99.8 kilograms).
  • Giant Pandas reach four to six feet long (1.2 to 1.8 meters).
  • When they are not sleeping or resting, Giant Pandas spend most of their time either looking for food or eating. On average, they consume about 30 pounds of bamboo in a day. This provides them with the nutrients they need as well as a considerable amount of their water intake.
  • They are skilled swimmers and like going in the water. They often tend to live in close proximity to streams or other sources of water.
Giant Panda Reproduction Facts
  • A giant Panda is ready to breed between the ages of four and eight and can continue to do so until around age twenty.
  • Ovulation occurs only one time each year, limiting the number of births for each panda to between five and eight during her lifetime.
  • The female usually gives birth to two babies but can only care for one. The baby is looked after by the mother for up to three years.
Giant Panda Baby Facts
  • Newborn Panda babies weigh only 3 to 5 ounces at birth which is approximately 1/900th of the size of their mother. At birth, this makes them one of the smallest mammals on earth in comparison to the mother's size.
  • They are born blind, hairless, pinkish white and completely helpless. It takes a lot of work on the mother's part to keep them alive.
  • AT six to eight weeks old they will open their eyes for the first time and at three months they will begin to move around on their own.
Javan Rhino Facts
The Javan Rhinoceros (Rhino) is one of the most endangered animals in the world. In fact there are probably less than fifty left in the world. On this page of Interesting Animal Facts we will list numerous facts about these animals. You will find information about where they live, how they reached the brink of extinction, and what actions are being taken to protect them.

General Javan Rhino Facts
  • The only remaining Javan Rhinoceros live in Ujung Kulon National Park located in Java Indonesia.
  • Javan Rhinos are about 6 feet high (1.8 meters), 12 feet long (3.7 meters), and weigh 3,500 pounds (1587 Kilograms).
  • Its natural habitat is dense rainforest.
  • The word rhinoceros comes from a combination of the Greek words for nose (rhin) and keras (horn).
  • Javan Rhinos are generally solitary animals and have loosely defined territories.
  • This animal is grey and has folds in its skin. The folds are less pronounced than the African rhinoceros and the Javan rhino also has a smaller head than it's African cousin.
  • Unlike African Rhinos, who have two horns on their nose, the Javan rhino has a single horn.
  • They have bad eyesight but have a keen sense of smell and great hearing.
  • This animal is a herbivore with a diet consisting of plants, twigs, and fruit.
  • The scientific name for the Javan Rhinoceros is Rhinoceros sondaicus.
Facts about the Javan Rhino as an Endangered Animal
  • Out of the thousands of Javan Rhinos that once roamed the rainforest of the earth only a handful are left; perhaps forty or fifty. The exact number is not known because they roam free in the rainforest of the huge Ujung Kulon National Park in Java Indonesia.
  • People kill Rhinos for their horns. The horns are sold on the black market for use as decorations or for medicinal purposes.
  • Poaching and the encroachment of people into their habitats are the main reasons the Javan Rhino is endangered.
  • Their numbers have dropped drastically since the 1700's. At one point there were rewards given out by the government for killing these rhinos who caused sever crop damages.
  • There are several conservation groups, including The World Wildlife Fund and the Defenders of Wildlife, who are trying to prevent these amazing animals from becoming extinct. They are protecting them from poachers, providing the correct food for them, and trying to promote breeding among unrelated members of the species.

Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts
The Leatherback Sea Turtle, who is also called the Lute Turtle, is a reptile that is currently on the U.S. Federal Governments list of endangered animals. This animals habitat is the open ocean, where it lives and breeds. Unique features such as its constant state of activity and its ability to reach greater depths than most other marine animals when diving are what make this turtle so interesting. The facts listed below provide information on topics such as feeding, predators, and reproduction in addition to reasons why the Leatherback Sea Turtle is endangered.

Basic Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts
  • It belongs to the genus Dermochelys and is the only living member left.
  • Although the Leatherback can be found in open oceans throughout the globe, the Atlantic, the western Pacific and the eastern Pacific Oceans are home to three separate population groups.
  • The Leatherbacks are able to maintain high body temperatures, even in cold water, through endothermy, a metabolic process that generates heat.
  • Their diet consists almost entirely of jellyfish and a few other oceanic organisms. They even travel across the Pacific Ocean in search of jellyfish.
  • Human pollution is the major cause of the Leatherback Sea Turtle being an endangered animal. Plastic bags and balloons are left floating in the ocean and the turtles ingest them, mistaking them for Jellyfish. This often leads to death. Egg poaching and entanglement in fishing nets are additional reasons for the decline in this species population.
  • Dives as deep as 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) under water have been documented, making the Leatherback Sea Turtle one of the deepest diving animals in the marine world.
  • The Leatherback Sea Turtle made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being one of the quickest reptiles on record. In the water, it can reach speeds of 35.28 Kilometers per hour (21.92 mph).
  • Females mate every couple of years. Mating takes place in the ocean, but nesting takes place on the shore.
Leatherback Sea Turtle Predator Facts
  • Predators of Leatherback eggs are numerous. Ghost crabs, raccoons, lizards, dogs, coyotes, and mongooses are just some of the land animals that feed on the eggs. Ariel predators include plovers and gulls.
  • The lucky turtles that are able to hatch have another obstacle to overcome. The same predators will try to catch them as they travel from the beaches where they are born, to the ocean.
  • Once in the water, the Leatherback will aggressively defend itself, but still faces predators such as a variety of sharks, large fish, and orcas.
Leatherback Sea Turtle Descriptive Facts
  • The Leatherback Sea Turtle is the largest living turtle. In fact, the largest Leatherback on record is a male who weighed in at 2,019 pounds (916 kg).
  • The Leatherback Sea Turtles body is elongated, in the shape of a teardrop and differs from other sea turtles in that it does not have a bony shell. The upper area of the shell, or carapace, contains a rubbery layer of skin and oily flesh.
  • The front flippers are clawless and enable the turtle to swim quickly through water. Adult flippers can reach over 8 feet long (270 cm).
  • The shell is either black or grey with light colored spots and contains seven distinct ridges that run horizontally along the turtles shell.
  • The Leatherback Sea Turtle has no teeth but instead has downward facing bony spines that tear up the food before it is swallowed.

Bengal Tiger Facts
On this page of Endangered Animal facts we list facts about the beautiful and deadly Bengal Tiger. In the list below you will find information on what has pushed this amazing species to the brink of extinction, where the few remaining species live, and how people are trying to protect it. This information is written for both kids and adults.

General Bengal Tiger Facts
  • Although endangered it is the most numerous of all the tiger subspecies.
  • These animals live in India with much smaller populations in China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, and Nepal. Their natural habitats are forest, tropical rainforests, swamps, and mangroves.
  • This animal is built for hunting. It has many adaptations that aid its hunting including sharp teeth and claws, excellent eye sight, and speed. Orange fur and black stripes serve as great camouflage, blending it into the shadows of the forest and tall grass in which it hides and waits for prey to approach. Its paws have soft pads enabling it to quietly sneak up on prey.
  • This animals scientific name is Panthera tigris tigris.
  • The roar of this huge cat can be heard from up to two miles away.
  • The Bengal Tiger is one of the worlds most famous predators; it feeds on a variety of prey including deer, boars, monkeys, antelope, and birds.
  • A female Bengal Tigers pregnancy last from 3 - 4 months. Litters range from 2 - 4 cubs.
  • Bengal Tiger cubs stay with their mothers for approximately 18 months after birth as they learn survival skills such as hunting.
  • Bengal tigers are generally solitary animals. They mark their territory and have very little tolerance for other Tigers entering their area.
  • This species life expectancy is 8 to 10 years in the wild.
about the Bengal Tiger as an Endangered Species
  • It has been listed as an endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) since 2010.
  • It is estimated that fewer than 2000 Bengal Tigers now live in the wild.
  • Poaching is the biggest immediate threat to their survival. Tigers have been a target of hunters and poachers for many years. They have been targeted for many reasons including their beautiful pelts. In some areas of the world it is believed consuming parts of the tiger will provide you with strength.
  • The survival of this species is not only threatened by poaching but also by a loss of their natural prey and a loss of their natural habitat due to deforestation. This deforestation is increasingly causing these animals to attack domestic animals and sometimes humans. Humans will often kill them to protect themselves and their livestock.
Bengal Tiger Description Facts
  • This tiger has an orange fur coat with black or dark brown stripes.
  • The belly and inward facing part of its legs have white fur.
  • The tail is orange and has black rings.
  • The average length, from nose to tail, of males of this species is 9 - 10 feet (2.7 - 3 meters), with females being slightly smaller.
  • This tigers tail is on average 2.75 - 3.6 feet (.83 - 1.1 meters) long.
  • The average height at the shoulder is 2.9 - 3.6 feet (.88 - 1.1 meters).
  • The average weight of the males is 488 pounds (221.2 kilograms) where as the females average weight is 308 pounds (139.7 kilograms).

African Penguin Facts
The African Penguin, who is found only in Africa, is also known as Jackass Penguin and the Blackfooted Penguin. African Penguins prefer habitats where water temperatures are cold and full of nutrients because most of their time is spent in the waters off shore. They only come onshore when they breed, rest and molt. Unfortunately there are many threats facing the African Penguin. What was at one time a plentiful species is now endangered and moving quickly toward extinction. Below is a list of interesting information and unique characteristics about this bird, including why they have become endangered. Both adults and kids will find these facts informative.

African Penguin Facts - Description and Behavior
  • With a height of about 2 feet (60 centimeters) tall and a weight of no more than 8 lbs (3.6 kg), the African Penguin is considered a medium sized bird.
  • With a white belly, black wings and back, and a black and white face, the most easily identifiable characteristic of this bird is its black and white coloration.
  • Webbed feet, wings that function like flippers, short tails and water-proof feathers help the African Penguin dive to depths of 427 feet (130 meters) below the surface of the water and and swim at speeds of up to 12 miles per hour (20 km/h).
  • The African Penguin can considerably reduce its heart rate, allowing it to hunt underwater for over two minutes before coming up for air.
  • The average life expectancy of an African Penguin in the wild is about 10 years.
  • The African Penguins live in colonies on a total of 24 different islands off of Africa. They can also be found off the coast of Africa between Namibia and Port Elizabeth.
  • Guano is the name for the burrow that the African Penguins build out of their own feces.
African Penguin Facts - Endangered Species
  • Oil spills, commercial fishing, natural predators, less nesting space, and lack of nesting material all contribute to the dramatic decline in the African Penguin population.
  • In the last 30 year, the population of African Penguins has seen a steep decline of approximately 50%.
  • While all of the threats are contribute to this bird being endangered, oil spills and the after effects are the main reasons for its decline.
  • Oil spills not only poison the birds body if swallowed, but the outside of their body becomes virtually useless to them. The oil prevents their feathers from working and ultimately results in hypothermia. If the birds are not cleaned within a few days, they will ultimately die.
  • Commercial fishing has resulted in less fish for the penguins which is their main food source. They prefer to eat anchovies, sardines, mackerel and herrings but will also eat various types of shellfish and squid.
  • The African Penguins eggs are also collected for food which greatly reduces the number of births.
  • Although most of the decline in population is a direct result of human impact, there are environmental factors that contribute as well. The population of sardines and anchovies has naturally shifted to the east, leaving them with less food.
  • So far, the best effort to reverse the damage already done has been to keep marine protected areas off limits to commercial fishing.
  • Removal of the nesting material, guano, for fertilizer has forced the birds to change their nesting habits.

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