Category Animal World

Where can you find the gorilla?

The gorilla lives in the dense forests of equatorial Africa. It is the largest and most powerful of the ape family. The gorilla is extremely strong but it is a unduly disturbed. But other animals are very much afraid of it: few of them will dare to attack a gorilla because they know they would have the worse of the encounter.

A full-grown gorilla stands nearly 2 metres tall, with a massive body and very muscular arms and legs, and can weigh over 200 kilograms. Its jaws jut out and it has a broad, flattened nose and huge beetling eyebrows.

There are two main kinds of gorilla: the lowland gorilla that lives in the rain forests of western Africa, has a dark grey coat; the mountain gorilla which lives in the eastern regions of Zaire-Uganda borderland at altitudes of more than 3,000 metres, has black fur, Little is known about the ways of these big apes. This is because gorillas are very shy animals and also because they were first found only during the last century.

Gorillas usually live in groups which include both young and old. They build rough dwellings in trees a few metres above the ground. These dwellings look like platforms made of branches and twigs.

Gorillas do not spend all their lives in the trees. During the day they wander about on the ground looking for food. They feed on leaves, roots and fruit which the forest has in plenty. Gorillas walk in a crouching position, but every so often they stand up straight on their long hind legs.


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How does the desert rat live?

Desert rats can be seen during moonlit nights scampering and hopping about the desert sands. These animals, also known as jerboas, come out of their hiding places only after dark in search of food.

But they do not seem to be looking for food as they jump about. Their bodies are about 20 centimeters long and the tail, which ends in a tuft, is some 25 centimeters. The front limbs are extremely short while the hind pair are about six times as long. They are very funny to watch as they hop about on their long hind legs that look like those of kangaroos.

Desert rats live in burrows which they dig with their nails and teeth. They are shy animals and this, together with their agility, makes them difficult to catch. They live quite well in captivity, however, and are extremely clean in their habits. They have a sand coloured coat, as most desert dwelling animals have.


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When the lynx was seen again in Europe?

The lynx is a large, wild, feline animal found in many parts of central Europe. It has unusually large paws, a mottled tawny to cream coat and a black-tipped tail.

The lynx lived in the Alps until half a century ago: the last time this creature is known to have been captured was at the beginning of this century, near Chieri in Piedmont. The animal has not been heard of since.

It is more likely to be the clearance of all trees from the mountains which have caused its disappearance than the fact that it has been hunted down. A deer which had been completely ravaged as if by a lynx, was recently found in a Swiss forest, where there were also impressions in the fresh snow which scientists have identified as tracks typical of his feline creature.

The lynx is now being bred in zoos and then released into the wild to build up its numbers. It usually lives in dense forests where it can find it favorite prey, the roe-buck and the stag.


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Where the horned viper lives?

The horned viper belongs to the reptile family. Dispersed throughout Yugoslavia and some regions of Austria these vipers can also be found in Italy on the eastern Alps. They are easily distinguishable from the usual vipera aspis and vipera berus by a horn, sometimes growing to a length of 5 centimetres, which sprouts out from the tip of the head. The horned viper prefers limestone or very stoney ground, and loves hot climates. It moves rather slowly, particularly during the day, when it sits lazily in the sun, digesting its captured prey which it swallows whole. But, if disturbed, the viper rears up emitting a hissing noise and sinking into the flesh of its enemy two poisonous fangs which are normally kept folded and hidden in a sac in its palate. In this respect, its behaviour is quite similar to that of the other European vipers.


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Where does the boar live?

Boars, the ancient forefathers of the domestic pig, have long been extinct in Britain but they still live in fairly large numbers in marshy, wooland areas in Spain, Austria, Russia and Germany. Some species can also be found in northern Africa and central and northern Asia.

Because of their great strength, speed and ferocity when at bay boars have always been hunted by man. In some parts of Europe and India they are still hunted, usually with the aid of dogs. They have not died out, however, mainly because they are prolific animals, the female producing between five and eight off spring at a time. Boars have sociable natures and live in flocks in dense, wooded areas. They feed on acorns, beechnuts, and chestnuts and occasionally small hard-shelled animals, worms, small birds or mice. They even eat serpents as they are immune to their poison.

In order to get rid of parasites, they wrap themselves in the mud.


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How to look after goldfish?

Goldfish make extremely popular pets. They are not difficult to look after providing you follow a few simple rules.

The first serious threat to a goldfish is when it is taken home from the pet shop. It should be swimming around in quite a lot of water and you should not take it in one of those small plastic bags. If you must use a plastic bag take the goldfish out of it as soon as possible or it may suffocate.

A second danger to goldfish is the tank it swims in. Tap-water contains chlorine which is poisonous to goldfish. This water is also too cold and might kill the pet.

A third danger is feeding which is all too often wrong for goldfish. These fish do not require much food, but what they do eat must be carefully chosen. Never give goldfish breadcrumbs: use the special food sold in shops but be careful to give it only in small quantities. Occasionally you can give goldfish a small amount of finely minced raw meat or the crushed yolks of hard-boiled eggs.

The larger the tank the happier the fish will be. The ideal tank is the aquarium but a large bowl will serve. Do not forget that even a goldfish can become bored and pine away living alone, so you should give it a companion, either male or female. Goldfish were originally natives of eastern Asia but were later introduced into China, Japan, Europe and the United States. They have been known to live for twenty-five years in captivity, but the average life span is usually much shorter.


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What happens when dogs shed their fur?

It is always an awkward time for dogs when they shed their fur. At such a time they should be treated gently and taken for long walks in the fresh air so that they can roll about in the grass and get rid of their loose hair. The dog should also be groomed with a metal comb so that it won’t have to scratch itself too much, and brushed to remove loose hair and burrs. Short-haired breeds require little grooming but the longer the dog’s hair the more it has to be combed. Some breeds have to be clipped regularly to maintain their health and good appearance.

The moulting period, when dogs shed their old hair, usually lasts about two weeks. During this period the dog should be given fatty foods containing butter, cooking fat or bacon fat. An average-sized dog can eat between hundred and 150 grammes of fat a day without being harmed but a safe fat limit is about 15 per cent of the dog’s total daily food intake.


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Why the Indians use Llamas?

The typical beast of burden in the Andes region of South America is the llama. These animals are mostly bred by the Indians for their milk and their thick wool. Usually white, the animals can vary in colour to solid black, with any combination of brown or black spots.

The llama is a stolid and tough animal, able to endure thirst and to exist on a wide variety of vegetation. It is often used to carry loads up steep mountain paths and in places where there are no roads, travelling slowly but safely even in the most difficult and dangerous places. It can carry a load of about 60 kilogrammes for about five days on end without resting. When overloaded or exhausted, however, it lies down, hisses, spits and kicks, refusing to move until relieved of some weight or adequately rested. Only the male llamas are used as beasts of burden. The females are kept in the grazing grounds, and although they do not yield very much milk the Indians put it to a number of uses.


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Which are the pets owned by famous personalities in history?

Pets have always been special to us. A dog is great company, a cat is a precious little bundle, a parrot is a delight, an alligator is a… well, an interesting companion, a bear… probably is unusual! Let’s look at the pets owned by famous personalities in history!

A very important horse

Roman emperor Caligula had a bad reputation for cruelty, but even he had a soft spot for his pet – a horse. So special was

his horse, named Incitatus, that it got to live in a marble shed, drink from a golden bucket, wear a jewelled collar and have gold flakes mixed with its oats! Caligula didn’t stop there – he gave his pet a saddle with a red border. What’s the big deal? It turns out that only the ministers of his court wore a robe with a red border, so Incitatus was promoted as a senior official!

An alligator in the White House

When President Quincy Adams was gifted an alligator by the French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette, he took a quick decision regarding the reptile’s living arrangements: it would live in a bathtub inside the East Room bathroom of the White House. Unsuspecting guests who entered the bathroom were in for a horrifying shock and fainting fits!

Too fond of dogs

Muhammad Mahabat Khan III, an Indian maharaja, loved dogs. Nothing strange because many people love dogs, right? But he loved them so much that he had nearly 800 dogs! Each dog had its own room, complete with a telephone (though how a dog would use it is not clear) and a personal attendant. Marriages between his dogs were grand affairs and he even invited the British viceroy at the time to attend one such event!

A wise friend from the sea

The French poet, Gérard de Nerval, rescued a lobster and adopted it as a pet, fondly naming it Thibault. He would take Thibault for a walk with an elegant blue ribbon as its leash. When people argued that it was crazy to have a lobster, Nerval calmly explained the pluses of having a crustacean as a pet: it was calm, serious, didn’t bark and knew the secrets of the sea.

An artistic pet

Salvador Dali was famous for his unique moustache, his surreal paintings and his bizarre choice of pet – an ocelot. Babou went with him everywhere, proudly flashing its special studded collar. This included a journey on a luxury cruise and even a visit to a restaurant in Manhattan, much to the alarm of other diners.

No dogs allowed? How about a bear!

Lord Byron, the famous poet, was well-known for his eccentricities. When he enrolled in Trinity College in Cambridge, dogs were forbidden as pets on the campus. So Byron kept a tame bear instead! This flummoxed the college authorities, but Byron had a solid defence. For nowhere in the rulebook was it mentioned “no bears allowed”, was it? Apparently, nobody could legally expel the bear and it stayed on while Byron studied there.

A pet-plus messenger

Much before the serial Game of Thrones made ravens cool, the 12th dynasty pharaoh, Amenemhat II, thought ravens were awesome and he had a pet raven he loved dearly. But this was a special raven that also served the pharaoh faithfully as a messenger. It was apparently the swiftest of messengers, well aware of where to deliver its messages and where to pause on its way back. So fond was he of his pet that Amenemhat II had a tomb built for his loyal raven.


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Do animals sweat?

Sweating or perspiration is a natural way for the body to regulate its temperature. Humans have sweat glands in many parts of the body. What about animals? Sweat glands are found in most mammals. But they do not produce large amounts of sweat (exception being horse). For instance, dogs and cats produce small amounts of sweat through their paws. The overall distribution of sweat glands varies among primates – while the rhesus monkey has them on the chest, some macaque species and baboons have them over the entire body. But they do not sweat as much as humans, as their fur serves as the temperature regulator.

Mammals also resort to other methods to regulate body temperature. Pigs and hippopotamuses roll in the mud to cool themselves, while dogs pant.

Have you ever wondered about the secretion on the skin of the hippopotamus? It is not sweat.

Hippos secrete a reddish oily fluid, sometimes called blood sweat, from special glands in their skin. This fluid functions as a skin moisturiser and antibiotic.


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