Category Nature Science & Wildlife

What’s a frilled lizard?

A type of reptile found in Australia and New Guinea, the frilled lizards or “frillnecks,” are members of the dragon family

Remember Dilophosaurus? That dinosaur in the first Jurassic Park movie which would unfurl its extendible neck frill and spit venom when intimidated?

Well, in reality, there is no evidence that the dinosaur had the neck frill. But meet Australian frilled lizard, the closest you will ever get to watching something as bizarre as the Dilophosaurus’ defence strategy.

Any time the frilled lizard feels threatened, it puts on the greatest show in the wild. It is also perhaps the most dramatic sight you will ever witness in the animal kingdom.

When the lizard feels intimidated, the first response is to scare the other creature away. So it will stand on its hind legs, open its mouth wide, and hiss. But this is not all. A bright-red neck frill, a pleated skin flap around its head, would unfurl as it strikes the intimidating pose, giving the creature a very grotesque appearance. This is a potential gimmick to scare off the opponent. (When unopened, the scaly neck frill lies as a cape over the shoulders of the lizard.)

If this stunt fails, and the attacker doesn’t flinch, the lizard has another trick up its sleeve. It will quickly turn, and bolt, running on its hind legs, its yellow mouth wide open, legs flailing, and will not stop until it ambles up a tree for safety.

The frilled lizards or “frillnecks,” are members of the dragon family. It is a type of reptile found in Australia and New Guinea. its size and color may vary from region to region. This creature spends a large part of its life on the trees. It is seen to descend to feed on lizards, small mammals, and ants.

These lizards can be classified into three different genetic groups. The main predators include birds of prey, larger lizards, snakes, and so on. The lizard lives in the tropical and warm temperate forests and savanna woodlands of northern Australia.

The eggs are laid in underground nests and hatchlings are independent, able to hunt as they emerge and adept at using the neck frill. The color of the frill of the lizard varies and is a result of carotenoids, which it acquires from the insect diet.

Picture: Credit Google

What do we know about spectral bats?

The closest relative of the big-eared woolly bat, the spectral bat is a large, carnivorous leaf-nosed bat. It is usually found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Known as the great false vampire bat or Linnaeus’s false vampire bat, the spectral bat is in fact the largest carnivorous bat. It has a robust skull and teeth which makes it easy for it to deliver a powerful bite to kill its prey.

What it feeds on depends on the availability of prey. It usually feeds on birds, rodents, and other species of bat. It also eats some insects like beetles. The caloric needs of a spectral bat are high and it has to feed often.

The overall population of the spectral bat is decreasing. In 2018, it was declared ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN.

Picture Credit : Google

What are the characteristics of the big-eared woolly bat?

Big-eared woolly bats are very large predatory bats with diverse feeding habits. They are known to eat geckos and even fruit. They are primarily carnivorous and insectivorous, though.

Big-eared woolly bats can take preys that weigh around 70 grams, but they usually consume smaller ones. They feed primarily on small arthropods and small vertebrates, including beetles, moths, small mammals, birds and even other bat species. But they usually do not consume the catch until they have returned to their roost in their heads-down position.

These bats usually fly slowly, partially because of their large size; their body mass typically ranges from 75 to 96 grams. Big-eared woolly bats live in colonies that are usually small. Even if they live in ground, their colonies are usually small. A typical colony consists of up to seven bats, usually a male-female adult pair and their offspring.

Picture Credit : Google

What do we know about burrowing owls?

Burrowing owls are small owls with long legs and short tails. They have round heads and do not have ear tufts. They are found throughout the open landscapes of North and South America. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, though they tend to avoid the midday heat.

Burrowing owls hunt close to the ground catching insects and small animals. They spend most of their time on the ground or on low perches such as fence posts. They usually put animal dung around their burrows. This attracts dung beetles which these birds feed on.

These birds are opportunistic predators who hunt by swooping down from their perches and surprising the prey. They also capture prey by hovering over open areas or by running along the ground to chase the prey down. They usually feed on large invertebrates, small mammals, and other birds.

Picture Credit : Google

What is the diet of the great horned owl?

A large owl found in the Americas, the great horned owl is known by many names like tiger owl and hoot owl. It is an efficient night time hunter that strikes from above, and uses its powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than itself.

Great horned owls have large, thick bodies with two prominent feathered tufts on the head. Their wings are broad and rounded. They are nocturnal birds with a distinct call; it is a deep, stuttering series of four to five hoots.

Great horned owls have a great appetite; they feed on a variety of prey that includes raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, domestic birds, falcons, and other owls. In fact, they feed on any animal they can easily catch. These birds have an incredible digestive system. They swallow their prey whole and later throw up pellets composed of bone, fur, and the other unwanted parts of their meal.

Picture Credit : Google

Why is the Eurasian eagle-owl a prominent predator?

As the name suggests, the Eurasian eagle-owl is found in much of Eurasia and is one of the largest species of owls. Females are slightly larger than males; they grow to a total length of 75 cm and can attain a wingspan of 188 cm.

Though they occupy a range of habitats, Eurasian eagle-owls usually prefer mountain regions, coniferous forests and other relatively remote places. These birds can live up to twenty years in the wild.

Eurasian eagle-owls are nocturnal. They are active at nights and spend their days resting and roosting. Though they prey on a variety of small animals, they are rarely preyed on. If they spend too much time on the ground, they will be at the risk of falling prey to animals like foxes. Their powerful feet and strong wings make them effective predators.

Picture Credit : Google

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