Category Plants & Animals

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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Where you can find forests full of beech trees?

In parts of western Asia and all Europe as far as southern England, beech trees can be found growing in gardens and large avenues.

There are many different kinds of beech including the dark-leaved copper beech and the weeping beech, often to be seen in parks.

The best beeches are found in chalky soil some of them reaching from about 30 to 45 metres high. Many were first planted in the eighteenth century on huge estates.

The timber of the beech is heavy and hard and is extremely useful as firewood. It also has many other uses and is especially noted for making fine furniture and all sorts of different wooden articles.


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Where you can find the land of the tulips?

The tulip is undoubtedly one of the best known and most popular flowers in the world. Its vivid colours and the simple lines make it a small masterpiece, much prized in both gardens and homes.

The ancient origin of the tulip is unknown, but we have much information on its introduction into Europe. It was the TURKS who brought this flower to the West some 400 years ago. The name tulip means ‘turban’ which the flower is thought to resemble.

There is probably no other flower which has been given such an enthusiastic welcome or spread so quickly throughout Europe. Within the space of a few years, the craze for tulips grew into ‘Tulipomania’, reaching its height in Holland.

Certain rare varieties fetched astronomical prices: by 1610 some tulip bulbs were worth as much as an ale-house or a mill. One bulb was paid for with a new carriage, complete with two horses, another was exchanged for 12 acres of land. Materials and lace were decorated with designs of tulips. This craze lasted for almost half a century.


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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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Where you can find the corkoak tree?

Cork, a material used mainly for bottle-stoppers, insulation and floor coverings, is produced from a special type of evergreen oak tree which grows, sometimes wild, in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean.

The cork-oak has a thick, dark foliage, formed from noded branches, covered with tough, oval leaves which are small and slightly jagged.

Its thick tall trunk is completely wrapped in an outer bark of cork which is covered with find brown grooves. The tree is first tripped of its cork, which will be rather hard and knobby, when it is about sixteen years old. It is then stripped again every nine to ten years, depending on its location, and each time it will produce a good, light cork just over three centimeters thick.

After about 150 years, these trees cease to produce good quality cork and they are then felled.


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How you can find the land of the sunflower?

Sunflower with their round golden heads are grown in gardens where their beauty can be admired, and in field where they are planted for their seeds.

In Europe the largest habitat of the sunflower is in the Ukraine, where the black soil is rich in nutritive substances which are ideal for this type of cultivation.

Immense expanses of golden head, whose diameters sometimes reach 30 centimetres, and of stalks growing to a height of 4 metres, cover kilometre after kilometre of fertile plain, providing a spectacle which is at once vivid and imposing.

A native of North America, the sunflower leaves can be used as fodder for animals, the flowers provide a yellow dye and oil suitable for industrial use and for foodstuffs is extracted from its seeds. It is no coincidence and other oil producing plants are scarce.


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Describe the way bamboo wood is used?

In the countries where bamboo grows this wood is used in an incredible number of ways as it is cheap and plentiful. Bamboo stems are used to build bridges, houses, boats, irrigation pipes and receptacies of all kinds. One of the best known uses of bamboo in its flexible state is in fishing rods.  This wood is also used to make garden furniture because it is light and strong and stands up to the weather. The shoots of the bamboo are also delicious to eat.
Bamboo belongs to the graminaceous family of plants, which means it is a sort of glass. It has a rhizome, or root part, which grows from year to year and produces new stalks. Sometimes these stalks are enormous, growing to more than 30 metres high.

The stalks are hollow and jointed, with knots from which branches grow. These branches become covered in leaves and the bamboo resembles a tree. Most bamboos flower very rarely and are thornless, but a few kinds have sharp spines.


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Do you know how snake’s poison works?

The real master of venom is snakes. Man has come to know them even since he first appeared on the earth and has learned to hate and fear them; it is a hatred and fear that takes in all slithering crawling creatures, even if they are quite harmless.

The instinct that makes us shun these animals is a wise one for in many parts of the world there are a large number of dangerous and venomous snakes. Their venom varies from species to species and acts in many different ways; some can act on the blood, making it thicken or go thinner. Usually the effect of snake venom is rapid and leads to partial or total paralysis of the body. Death is usually caused by asphyxia.

In snakes the venom is a kind of salvia which often runs through special fangs that have a hollow passage in them. There are some snakes which do not have venom fangs but their bite is still poisonous. The only poisonous snake in Europe is the viper, also known as the adder, of which there are many varieties.

Snakes are very considerably in size, from the small Syrian thread snake to the tropical pythons which can grow to a length of 10 meters.


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What is the eating style of ant-eater?

The body of the ant-eater is covered in long hair that prevents ants from reaching its skin. For this reason it has no cause to fear insect bites when it tears the homes of ants apart with its strong claws.

The ant-eater makes its meal by shooting out its long, sticky, worm-like tongue and scooping up the ants that swarm all over the ground after their home has been destroyed. It has highly developed salivary glands which secrete the sticky substance that coats its tongue and traps the insects.


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