Category Wildlife

Why walrus have pouch?

The walrus has a pouch on its throat, which inflates with air and props the animal up when it goes to steep in an upright position in the water.

The only natural predators for walruses are polar bears, orcas and humans.

Adult females are generally smaller than males, with an average weight of about 1,900 lbs and an average length of approximately 9 feet.  Calves of both sexes weigh between 100 to 150 pounds and are about 4.5 feet in length.

The scientific name for walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, means “toothwalkers.”

Adult Pacific walrus can eat up 4.2 to 6.2 percent of their total body weight (1760-4000 pounds) each day – that’s between 74 and 250 pounds of food per day!

 

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Why hamster have pouch?

The hamster has an elongated pouch on either side of its head that extend to its shoulders. The animal fills it with food it plants to eat later.

Most of the time, they fill their cheeks with food, but sometimes mother hamsters store their babies in their cheeks for protection. Hamster cheeks contain pouches that resemble small deflated balloons. As food enters, the pouch expands and retractor muscles squeeze the pouch and pull food back. 

Hamsters, like other animals, have two cheeks. Sometimes they stuff both of their cheeks and other times they only stuff one side with food. It is normal for hamsters to carry their food around or back to their beds via their cheeks. They will often continue to eat, even after filling their cheek pouches. Females may even carry or hide their babies in their cheek pouches.

 

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Who are wombats?

Odd-looking, but cuddly

The pudgy and furry wombat is one of the oddest-looking animals on Earth – rather like a pig, bear and koala all rolled into one.

There are three species of wombat: the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), the northern hairy-nosed wombat (Laisorhinus krefftii), and the Southern hairy nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). You will be able to see all three in Australia and Tasmania, usually in forested and mountainous area.

Marsupial

Wombats are marsupials, related to koalas and kangaroos. They usually live up to 15 years in the wild, but can live past 20 and even 30 years in captivity. Rotund, with stubby tails, short ears and tiny eyes, wombats grow to around one metre in length and weigh anything between 20 and 40 kg. their fur is either sandy brown or grayish-black and this helps them blend with the landscape – a way of safeguarding themselves from predators.

Big eaters

These animals are nocturnal and emerge from their burrows to feed at night. Being herbivores, they feed on grasses, herbs, bark, and roots. They spend a lot of time, eating. They have sharp large incisors like rodents which help them gnaw at thick vegetation. Their teeth never stop growing. But they are slow to digest their meal – it takes around 8-14 days for them to fully digest their food. But this helps them adapt to Australia’s arid conditions. Since they derive most of the moisture they require from plants, they don’t need to drink much water either. And interestingly, they are the only creatures in the world to excrete poop that is cube-shaped!

Burrowing away!

They are amazing burrowers and dig lengthy burrow systems with their razor-sharp teeth and claws. Common wombats are shy and solitary and inhabit their own burrows, while the other two species may be more social and live together in large groups in their warren.

Quick sprinters

Wombats may look plump and slow, in fact, their walk is more of a waddle. Despite their podgy bodies and stubby feet, they can run really fast – even up to 40 km/h.

Just communicate

They communicate with one another in various ways – vocalizations, aggressive displays, and markings on logs and branches made by rubbing against them repeatedly. Wombats tend to be more vocal during mating season. When angered, they can make hissing sounds.

Jellybean or joey?

Female wombats give birth to a single young one known as a joey in the spring, after a gestation period of 20-21 days. When the joey is born, it is the size of a jellybean and not completely developed. The joey climbs into it mother’s pouch right after birth to finish developing and stays there for about five to six months. Wombats are weaned after 15 months.

Once pests, now protected

In 1906, the Australian government declared wombats pests and encouraged people to kill them. From 1925 to 1965, some 63,000 wombats skins were redeemed for cash. Fortunately, this practice has stopped. All species of wombats are protected in every state except for Victoria.

Powerful posterior

Startled wombats can charge humans and bowl them over, with the risk of broken bones from the fall, besides wounds from bites and claws. When running away from predators like Tasmanian devils and dingos, wombats rely on their thick rump skin to protect them. Their rear-ends are mostly made up of cartilage, which makes them more resistant to bites and scratches. At the end of a chase, wombats will dive into their burrows and block the entrance with their posterior. They’re also capable of using their powerful backs to crush intruders against the roofs of their burrows.

Wombat facts

  • A group of wombats is known as wisdom, a mob, or a colony.
  • Believe it or not, wombats can jump! Some have been known to jump over metre-high fences.
  • The giant wombat, an ancestor of modern-day wombats, lived during the Ice Age and was the size of a rhinoceros.
  • Since 2005, Wombat Day is observed in Australia on October 22.
  • Wombats have featured in Australian postage stamps and coins and ‘Fatso’, the wombat, was the unofficial mascot of the Sydney 2000 Summer Games.

 

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Dugong, a vulnerable and medium-sized marine mammal, is the flagship species of which marine park, located between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka?

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park is a protected area of India consisting of 21 small islands (islets) and adjacent coral reefs in the Gulf of Mannar in the Indian Ocean. It lies 1 to 10 km away from the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India for 160 km between Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) and Dhanushkodi. It is the core area of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve which includes a 10 km buffer zone around the park, including the populated coastal area. The park has a high diversity of plants and animals in its marine, intertidal and near shore habitats. Public access inside the park is limited to glass-bottom boat rides.

The dugong, a vulnerable marine mammal, is the flagship mammal of the park. It is an important habitat for the cetaceans: Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, finless porpoise, spinner dolphin, common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, melon-headed whale, and dwarf sperm whale. Larger whales include sperm whale, minke whale, Bryde’s whale, sei whale, and critically endangered species including humpback whale, fin whale, and blue whale.

The islands are uninhabited except for Krusadai, Musal and Nallathanni islands where antipoaching sheds are operating. Along the coast near the park there are about 125 villages which support about 100,000 people who are mainly Marakeyars, a local community principally engaged in fishing.

 

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Which is the oldest water bird sanctuary in India?

Vedanthangal is the oldest water bird sanctuary in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil language means ‘hamlet of the hunter’. This area was a favourite hunting spot of the local landlords in the early 18th century. The region attracted a variety of birds because it was dotted with small lakes that acted as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. This was established in 1858 by the order of the Collector of Chengalpattu.

The Vedanthangal Lake Bird Sanctuary features thousands of birds coming from various countries, some of which can be easily identified. Some easily found birds include cormorants, darters, grebes, large egrets, little egrets, moorhens, night herons, paddy birds, painted storks, pintails, pond herons, sandpipers, shovellers, terns, white ibises and many more. The migratory birds include garganeys and teals from Canada; snake birds and glossy ibises from Sri Lanka; grey pelicans from Australia; grey herons and openbilled stork from Bangladesh; painted storks from Siberia; spoonbills from Burma and the spot-billed duck. It is a good tourist spot.

The Vedanthangal lake is situated 122 m above sea level. It supplies water to 250 acres of agricultural land around the area. The west and south sides of the lake are bordered by a long bund, whereas the northern and eastern sides extend to the agricultural lands. Input of water into this lake is through four small canals. Maximum depth of the lake is 5 metres. The area receives an average annual rainfall of 1400 mm, mostly from the north-east monsoon.

 

Picture Credit : Google

Running north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, through six States and two Union Territories, which is one of the world’s eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity?

The Western Ghats or Sahyadri is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, located entirely in India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.

The mountains intercept the rain-bearing westerly monsoon winds, and are consequently an area of high rainfall, particularly on their western side. The dense forests also contribute to the precipitation of the area by acting as a substrate for condensation of moist rising orographic winds from the sea, and releasing much of the moisture back into the air via transpiration, allowing it to later condense and fall again as rain.  The largest city within the mountains is the city of Pune (Poona), in the Desh region on the eastern edge of the range. The Biligirirangan Hills lie at the confluence of the Western and Eastern Ghats.

There are at least 139 mammal species. Of the 16 endemic mammals, 13 are threatened and amongst the 32 threatened species include the critically endangered Malabar large-spotted civet, the endangered lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, Bengal tiger and Indian elephants, the vulnerable Indian leopard, Nilgiri langur and gaur.

 

Picture Credit : Google

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