If you can’t look at a gerenuk and laugh, I question your humanity. Their name meands “giraffe-necked” in the Somali language. They’re antelopes, but they have giraffe proportions, but they stand up on their hind legs to feed like a human. They have identity issues, I guess.
They are from Eastern Africa, found in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya to northeastern Tanzania. Unlike other antelope species, they do not graze but browse on prickly bushes and trees such as acacias. They favor tender leaves and shoots but will also eat fruit, buds, flowers, and herbaceous plants. They do not need to drink water, getting sufficient moisture from the plants they eat. This allows them to live in drier habitats. They do not live in herds but instead travel in small groups of 2-6 females and a single male. They are most active during the day, mostly around dawn and dusk. They communicate through whistles, bleats, and a buzzing sound when alarmed. Young gerenuk fawns are not able to keep up with the group and will spend the first 2-3 weeks of its life hidden in the bush while its mother feeds. The mother returns to feed the fawn and to clean it to help remove its scent, making it more difficult for predators to find it.(x)(x)
These mice belong to the family Lemniscomys, whose members are known as striped grass mice, African striped mice, or zebra mice. There are 11 recognized species, all of which are found in sub-Saharan Africa but one, the Barbary striped grass mouse (L. barbarus). They are generally found in grassy habitats and are mostly diurnal, but they are very adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, particularly where their ranges overlap. They are very short-lived and average only a year in the wild, and feed on plants and some insects.(x)(x)
This kingfisher is a river kingfisher found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, perching amongst reeds or other aquatic vegetation alongside slow-moving water or ponds. They fish from a perch near the water, diving when they spot prey. They will hit larger prey against their perch to stun it so it can be easily handled. They build tunnels in sandy banks in which to lay their eggs; they do not build a traditional nest in these tunnels, but surround the eggs with fish bones and pellets. Both parents defend the nest.(x)(x)
Also known as the Slender-billed Shearwater, Yolla, Moonbird or Muttonbird. They are the most common seabird in Australia. They breed on islands off of southeastern Australia and on Tasmania, where chicks are commercially harvested for food and oil. Shearwater nests are built at the end of a burrow in the sand. When not breeding the shearwaters spend most of their time on the open ocean, diving as deep as 60 feet for fish, crustaceans and squid and roosting on sea cliffs to rest. They are sometimes found foraging alongside whales and dolphins.(x)(x)
Silver gulls are the most common gull in Australia and are often simply known as seagulls there. They can be found inland as well as on the coasts. Silver gull nests are saucer-shaped and constructed of seaweed, roots and plant stems, built on the ground in low vegetation on islets, rocks, salt-piles, jetties, and sometimes old boats. Parents share incubation duties, and after hatching the chicks are independent after about six weeks. The juveniles have brown patterning on their plumage as camouflage to hide them from predators.
Gulls are chiefly scavengers and will follow fishing boats to feed on the offal of gutted fish. They will sometimes dive for live fish, and will also eat marine worms and young birds, including those of its own kind. Gulls can drink both salt and fresh water and eliminate excess salt through a pair of glands located above the eyes.(x)(x)
Good evolutionary defense mechanisms: Running very fast. Hiding really well. Being full of poison. Having wicked spikes.
Questionable evolutionary defense mechanisms: … whatever this is.
It’s like something out of pikmin!
This squeaky fella is a Namaqua Rain Frog (Breviceps namaquensis), found in subtropical and tropical shrubland and sandy shores in South Africa. These frogs inflate themselves when disturbed and let loose that squeak for all they’re worth. Apparently this does somehow deter predators. They spend most of their time underground, though, only emerging when it’s sufficiently rainy (hence their name). They’re also only two inches long. D’awwww.(x)(x)
Also known as the Burmese Peacock and the Chinquis Peacock-Pheasant, this bird is found in lowland forests in most of mainland Southeast Asia and Assam (a northeastern state of India) excluding most of Indochina. Their diet consists of seeds, termites, fruit, and other invertebrates such as snails, worms, insects and larvae, etc. Females lay two eggs per clutch but may lay multiple clutches in one breeding season.(x)(x)
..is a species of hedgehog native to Central Asia and the Middle East. Like other hedgehogs the long-eared hedgehog is an insectivore and will feed mostly on insects and other small invertebrates. As you might of guessed this species of hedgehog sports fairly long ears which help them them with heat radiation in the harsh desert, they also grant them excellent hearing.
Why is the shingleback so grouchy? Why does it hate everything in the world?
Probably because it has tiny, stubby legs, and gives birth to huge pinecone babies.
Cheer up, shingleback. I love you.
The Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa) is also known as the Bobtail, Pinecone lizard, Sleepy lizard, or Stump-tailed skink. It is common in the dry woodlands and plains of southern Australia. Its broad, stumpy tail is designed to mimic its head so that a predator may attack it instead, allowing the skink to make a break for it. It can also detach its tail as a distraction. This behavior is a last resort because the tail houses vital fat stores that the skink uses for nourishment in the winter. Its first move is usually to stick out its bright blue tongue and hiss, which can startle or distract a predator and allow the Shingleback to escape. Shinglebacks eat fruit, insects, snails, carrion, and grasses. Once them pinecone babies are born, they stick around their parents for several weeks, though they do not receive food or other care from the parents. They then disperse to establish a home territory. Shinglebacks may live for up to twenty years in the wild.(x)(x)
Manta rays are some of my favorite marine animals (along with nudibranches and cutflefish.) They’re well known for their large size, docile nature and for their “flying” movement in the water. There are actually two recognized species of manta ray—Manta birostris (known as the Common Manta Ray) and M. alfredi. Mantas usually found near coral reefs and along continental shelves, although the Common Manta also traverses the open ocean along with the currents. Mantas are filter feeders and have plates in their mouths which they sieve water through to extract tiny plankton and crustaceans, similar to how baleen whales feed. Female rays carry their eggs until the pups are ready to hatch—several species of rays and sharks do this. Female mantas give birth to only one or two pups and do not always breed every year. This slow reproductive rate means that mantas are very vulnerable to overfishing (which causes a lack of food) and pollution. They are also accidentally caught in fishermen’s nets.(x)(x)(x)