Category Biology

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 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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How edible birds’ nests are gathered?

The birds’ nests which the Chinese use as an ingredient to make their famous birds’ nest soup are built by a swift belonging to the group of birds known as Collocalia. This bird closely resembles the swallows of Europe.

These swifts are great flies. They make their home on steep cliffs that rise out of the sea in the islands of eastern Asia. The birds build their nests among these rocks and two or three times a year the nests are gathered to be sold in Chinese markets.

The work of gathering these nests is quite dangerous because very steep cliffs have to be scaled to reach them. Once a colony of nests has been reached they can be removed quite easily. The shelf-like nests are made of the saliva of the birds, which goes hard rapidly. It is this saliva, softened by soaking and then cooking that is used in making the delicious soups.


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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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Why reindeer migrate?

In spring the Lapps leave behind the woodlands of the south where they spend the winter and set out for the pastures in the northern mountains. The Lapps move in small family groups, leading their herd of reindeer along established tracks which usually follow the courses of river. The rivers are still frozen and the Lapps us them as safe roads for their sledges, laden with provisions. The reindeer are used to following the same route and move along slowly, feeding as they travel.

Half-way through the journey, when spring breaks, the Lapps pitch their tents for a period lasting several weeks. It is at this time that the baby reindeer are born and the tribe has to wait until they are able to walk by themselves. The young reindeer do not take long to learn how to trot about and the herd moves on once more. The destination is the far north where the tundra, the ‘cold desert’ of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, ends and the Arctic Ocean begins. The reindeer herd spends the short summer on the grassy shores and on the islets along the coast before travelling south once more.

Lapps consume large quantities of reindeer milk and use it to make delicious cheese. When the icy north wind blows and the family is gathered together in the tent the mother prepares a hot drink by dissolving chunks of reindeer cheese in hot water. This drink provides a great deal of energy and warmth.

Lapps have hunted reindeer since the earliest times and have kept small numbers, but breeding them in large herds is comparatively recent.


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