Drill Ranch Nigeria is hiring Vets and more. Apply now!

Drill Ranch Nigeria is recruiting!

Endangered Primate Rehab:

Qualified personnel needed as project administrators, veterinary and technical advisors

Project Description:
Founded in 1991, Drill Ranch maintains 90% of the world’s captive drill monkey population in 7 natural-sized reproductive groups of wild born founders and captive bred offspring. The project also maintains 29 chimpanzees, a guenon group and accepts some other native species for rehab and release. Project emphasis is on conservation and technical aspects of animal management and preparation for release. Most animals live at the field site in multi-hectare, electrified enclosures of natural habitat. An urban facility serves as quarantine, education site & project HQ. There are ~28 national staff. The project is involved in in situ conservation, and works with government, communities and other NGOs to promote endangered species protection nationally.

Staffing needs:
Drill Ranch is seeking committed and skilled long-term volunteers. We’re interested in a diverse set of skills not limited to animal experience or degrees. The most important qualities are a serious commitment to animals and their welfare, and willingness to work as part of a team. Expatriate staff work as technical advisors in support of national staff. They may variously be responsible for animal husbandry, veterinary care, daily operations, infrastructure and equipment maintenance, construction projects, administration, ecotourism hospitality, education and possibly community and government liaison activities.

Depending on qualifications, work is voluntary. In-country expenses, housing and meals are provided. Stipends may be available for highly qualified people. Preferred commitment is one year.

These skills and experiences are valued, but not required:

• Animal husbandry, veterinary and/or medical experience
• Practical & mechanical skills (construction, automotive, electrical, etc.)
• Appropriate educational background
• Developing country experience
• Administration, management, bookkeeping, fund-raising, public relations & good writing skills
• Conservation or development work, particularly in Africa

These are demanding positions, requiring determination and genuine commitment to African wildlife conservation. Life here is rarely easy. Positions may be suitable for a couple with a balance of skills, who will work independently, as needed. Applicants must be at least 25 years old, be willing to shoulder tremendous responsibility, and take direction while being able to make decisions, as needed. Commitment to teamwork and communication is essential. Daily routines may include long hours of often-mundane work, while being prepared to respond to emergencies at any hour: this requires a genuine love of animals.

Please email a detailed CV/resume, and a note explaining why you’d like to work at Drill Ranch, to:

Liza Gadsby – liza@pandrillus.org

Update on killing of Elephant in Idanre, Ondo State

Residents and farmers in six communities in Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State are living in palpable fear over the killing of one of the eight elephants said to have been terrorizing farmers in the last few months. The six communities troubled by the invasion of the animals are Alawo Ekun, Atupa, Ayinuola, Blessing, Ago Taylor and Nirowi.

Mixed reactions have greeted the killing of the elephant. While some describe it as self-defense, others ask relevant authorities to do the needful by bringing the culprits to book for their cruelty against the animals.

Elephant was killed to save lives—head hunter

Reports had it that a 57-year- old local hunter in Janiyi village, ldanre, Ojo Olaniyan Adaralode led others to kill one of the eight elephants said to have invaded the communities at midnight. Adaralode, who is the head hunter and President of Hunters Association in the council area, said he and other hunters responded to the distress call from the communities following frequent invasion of the elephants which had caused them untold hardship. Adaralode said that the death of one of the animals was “not deliberate but to save the lives and properties of the people living in communities.” He said: “Elephants from the thick forest had been visiting the villages in the area for sometime, destroying their mud houses,  farmlands, injuring people and sometime ago, sacked the residents of one of the villages, while a number of farmers relocated to a new place.” Narrating how he led other hunters to face the animal, Adaralode said: “On that fateful day, I was called that a group of elephants, numbering about eight, had invaded farms at Janiyi village. I rushed there and lo and behold, we met about eight elephants, charging and running after the residents of the village already. “One of the farmers, who saw the elephants on his farm and raised the alarm was held captive by the animals and when he tried to shoot to scare the animals away, the animals flung him to the ground and in the process, trampled on him and destroyed the gun with him.” Adaralode told Vanguard that the young hunter is still lying critically ill at an hospital in Idanre. Continuing, he said: “When we got to the scene, we shot into the air severally to scare them away but it yielded no result and one of the elephants was shot in the process.” According to him, residents of the communities have been living in fear for months as the elephants have been visiting the communities frequently  and leaving tales of woes. He said all efforts to wade off the animals from the communities yielded no result.

Corroborating the head hunter’s claim, a community leader, Chief Alani Akinlaja said that the animals usually invade the communities at night while they are asleep using their long tusks to uproot their huts and destroy their farmlands in the process. Akinlaja said: “Many houses have been destroyed by the animals which usually invaded the communities at night in search of what to eat; the animals are becoming more daring day by day as they have changed from their night invasion to daylight attack. It is like they are possessed by the way they destroy everything in their way including human beings.” Vanguard was informed that after the incident, hunters now go hunting in groups for fear of possible attack by two elephants, which they fear may return for revenge. Another leader in the community, who spoke with Vanguard, Tubosun Ogunmade warned the residents to be vigilant, saying the elephants would soon mobilize themselves to attack the people. He said: “These animals are intelligent and hardly forget things, they will be back to revenge.” When it was killed, Vanguard was informed that the seven others made attempt to pull it along while they fled the village but it was difficult because of some obstacles along the thick forest. No fewer than eight members of the community reportedly sustained various degrees of injuries when the animals invaded the communities and one of them met his death. After the elephant was killed, the villagers heaved a sigh of relief and brought out their knives and cutlasses to butcher the animal. However, the Ode-Ekun of Idanre, Smart Oguntimehin, who said the killing, was in self defense, solicited for government assistance in capturing the animals from the area. Oguntimehin said that a young farmer who was working on his farm noticed the arrival of the animals on his farm and tried to chase them out of the farm but said “before he could bring himself together, the animals started charging at him and trampled on him until he became unconscious.” He said: “Cruelty to animals is a crime and we cannot take laws into our hands but we must guard against the killing of our people. We have to protect our lives, lives are involved and we call on relevant authorities and bodies to come to our aid in bringing these animals under control.” Vanguard further learned that many villagers, who had the inkling that danger lurks in the corner have relocated. They reportedly farm during the day in the community but retire to sleep in other safe communities some distance away.

Mixed reactions greet killing

A university don, Prof. Ilesanmi Adeyemo called for the arrest and prosecution of those behind the dastardly act. Adeyemo who is of the Department of Ecotourism and Wild Life at the Federal University of Technology Akure said: “What that man did is illegal and he should be arrested and taken to jail because almost all the elephants in the area have been killed illegally. I don’t think we have up to 15 elephants in the whole of Nigeria and we are seriously looking for a way to conserve them. Elephants rarely attack people and I will not believe the hunter killed the animal to defend himself or his people.” The Owa of Idanre, Oba Frederick Aroloye declined comment asking this reporter to go and speak to the killers of the animal. Also, the state Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Deji Olurimisi said the government is not concerned about the incident. Olurimisi said: “How am I concerned about what you are asking me? Since it did not happen in government forest reserve or government golf course, it’s not my concern.” Also, the Commissioner for Environment, Funso Esan said that if the elephants pose danger to the lives of the people, they are justified if they kill the animal.

Meanwhile, a Non- governmental body, Environment and Justice in Africa, in a memo to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu said “the killing of a dwarf Elephant during the week in Idanre Forest reserve is an indictment on the part of the Ondo State government and its Ministry of Environment. Its spokesperson, Dr Olugbenga Oke Samuel said: “The killing of the Elephant in Idanre is definitely a wake up call on the government to prioritise environmental governance in the state.” On its part, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, has asked the governor to prosecute the hunter who killed an elephant in Idanre. The Acting Director General of the NCF, Joseph Onoja, said ”The NCF plays a vital role in the country’s environment nature preservation. We manage the Omo-Shasha Woodland which is the last forest complex in the South-West where we still have the forest elephant. “It was in the corner of this forest that an elephant was killed, we have been in touch with the governor trying to get him to take action because the incident has the potential of embarrassing his government.”

 

Culled from Vanguard Nigeria 

Are you interested in joining a cause for Wildlife Conservation in Nigeria? Read this!

Earlier this week, there were reports of a local hunter who killed an elephant for sport and game in Idanre Hills, Ondo State, Nigeria. This brought so much sadness to our heart at MyAnimal,MyHealth because issues like this is one of our major concerns with poor animal health and welfare in Nigeria. While most of the world is busy working towards the protection and conservation of their wildlife at all costs, some of our citizens are acting albeit ignorantly in destroying our already dwindling wildlife for personal gains.

The fact that we still have elephants ALIVE in the country should be something to be celebrated and IMMEDIATE actions should have been taken to protect it. In countries with established systems and policies for this, the poor elephant should have been reported, protected, and kept healthy to continue to live and procreate in its natural environment. However, it is sad that our country pays little or no attention to preserving our wildlife and environment with no implemented or enforced policies. Even most of our Also, there is little knowledge or wildlife literacy especially among the rural dwellers who are located in remote areas and so interact more closely with our nature and wildlife. Furthermore, there is little research, data or information concerning wildlife and conservation in Nigeria as it is not a common area of interest for most scientists and environmentalists here.

With MyAnimalMyHealth, we are committed to working in this regard and taking proactive steps in understanding more about Nigeria’s wildlife and ensuring that wildlife and environmental conservation becomes a necessity and a lifestyle. We understand that there is currently little support or body towards this cause and we are willing to step into that gap to enact a positive change. We have an enormous task ahead of us and we are willing to work collaboratively with people who likeminded and are equally passionate about wildlife conservation.

To begin this, we are launching a coalition of people and professionals from all disciplines who are passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation. The goal of this coalition would be to establish proactive wildlife and environmental conservation in Nigeria by promoting wildlife literacy, research, and policies.

Our activity channels include (but are not limited to) the following;

  • To collate available data and information on wildlife in Nigeria
  • To encourage and participate in the implementation of policies and actions for wildlife and environmental conservation
  • To report and engage the public on wildlife conservation issues in Nigeria
  • To educate and train residents of select wildlife zones in rural Nigeria on wildlife conservation.

These objectives are not exhaustive and as we proceed, we will continue to improve on the coalition goals and objectives to ensure effective work. Our scope of work will include both forest and marine habitats.

If you are interested in joining this network of passionate, like-minded individuals for wildlife and environmental conservation, kindly reach us via myanimalmyhealth@gmail.com or call/whatsapp +2348120320647. Also, if you are outside Nigeria and you share this passion, and you would like to contribute in terms of resources and information, please feel free to contact us via email. 

 

Attention! Monkey Pox Virus – A new disease outbreak in Nigeria?

On Thursday, 5th October, 2017, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) released a press statement confirming an outbreak of a new contagious viral disease, Monkey Pox Virus in Nigeria.

The press statement which was signed by the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that they were first notified of a suspected case of the disease on 22nd September, 2017 . This was present in an 11 year old male patient at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Since then till date, 11 other cases have been identified with the disease while 32 close contacts of the cases have been advised and monitored. So far, there has been no deaths as all cases are receiving medical care and are improving clinically.

Monkeypox infection is zoonotic disease – that is, a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. However, human-to-human transmission may also occur. Animals which transmit this disease include monkeys, rats and squirrels. Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus (the same genus with smallpox and cowpox virus) in the family Poxviridae. It was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries. The only time the disease has been identified outside Africa was during an outbreak in the United States in 2003. The disease is relatively rare in Nigeria and has only been previously reported in the 1970s until now.

Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material. Human-to-human transmission may occur through large respiratory droplets which require prolonged face-to-face contact. Direct or indirect contact with infected humans may also facilitate transmission to another human.

In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion, which progress to the appearance of rashes and skin lesions that include macules, papules, vessicles, pustules and scabs. The main difference between symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not. The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks and causes death in about 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease. The disease has no specific medicine for treatment, but when intensive supportive care is provided most patients recover fully.

To prevent transmission and infection of humans with monkeypox virus (especially in susceptible environments), it is important to adhere to the following;

  • Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
  • Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • For health workers, use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients.

Currently, a Rapid Response Team from NCDC has been deployed to support the Bayelsa State Government in the investigations and public health response to the outbreak. Also, the Bayelsa State Government has started an aggressive public enlightenment campaign to advise clinicians and the public on the symptoms of the disease and the steps required to manage the cases and to prevent further spread.

In light of the Monkey virus disease outbreak, the NCDC is advising all Nigerians to remain calm and supportive of public health authorities as needed. The also advice Nigerians to avoid self-medication and to ensure that people report to the nearest health facility if they feel unwell and notice any of the above symptoms in their body or for anyone around them. The are also advising all health care workers to practice universal precautions while handling patients and/or body fluids at all times. This is equally applicable to all humans and animal health workers alike, even as they are equally urged to be alert, to be familiar with the symptoms while suspected cases should be reported to the Local Government Area or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.

The following contact information has been provided for inquiries or reportage on this disease; 

NCDC toll-free number: 0800-970000-10

SMS: 08099555577

Whatsapp: 07087110839.

Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov

 

 

 References

DINOSAURS! What do you know about them?

DINOSAURS!!!

When we hear the word “Dinosaurs”, we might imagine something ancient and large lumbering around the jungle and eating anything in sight. This imagination is much thanks to what is depicted in most dinosaur movies that we might have watched in the past. Some people also refuse to believe that dinosaurs never even existed as there is no living  dinosaur existing today. Well, dinosaurs were not made up from some scientist’s imagination! They actually did exist and there are various bone fossils and relics today that prove that, just as there are fossils and relics that prove how long humans have been on earth. Also interestingly, some of us might also imagine dinosaurs as large man-eating dragons that everyone should be scared of (again… thanks to the movies).

Now, to dispel some of these myths, let’s get down to the REAL facts about dinosaurs that you should know.

  • Dinosaurs first appeared on the earth about 240 million years ago. They lived and reproduced on earth for about 175 million years before becoming extinct around 66 million years ago.
  • The entire generation of dinosaurs were wiped out when a large asteroid (or comet) crashed into the earth at the previously stated time of 66 million years ago. In addition, there were frequent volcanic eruptions which produced choking chemicals, including sporadic temperature and climate changes. A combination of these incidents over a short period of time may have also contributed to their extinction.

  • All birds (as we have them today) emerged from dinosaurs – specifically feathered dinosaurs. According to Steve Brusatte in National Geographic, the most important dinosaurs that have been discovered in the last decades are all feathered dinosaurs. These similarities (and more) present some traceable evidence that birds indeed evolved from dinosaurs.
  • About 1200 species of dinosaurs have been discovered till date
  • Though dinosaurs were the largest animals of all time, but a great majority of them were actually smaller than a turkey.
  • Dinosaurs reproduced by laying a clutch 10-20 eggs. However, only few usually make it to baby dinosaurs as most were either eaten by carnivorous dinosaurs and other predators or bio-degraded.

 

References – Livescience.com, natgeokids.com, newdinosaurs.com

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Vultures

The predictable reactions when people hear the name “Vulture” is a mixture of horror, disgust and all things that are dead, ugly and rotten. And though they are one of the world’s prominent scavengers, we should be grateful they do scavenge because these birds are actually very and extremely important to our ecosystem.

So think you know all about Vultures, here’s 10 cool facts about them!

1. There are 23 species of Vultures in the World

2. A group of resting vultures is called a Committee or Venue; When in flight, a flock of vultures is called a Kettle; When the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group of vultures is called a Wake.

3. As we mentioned earlier, Vultures are actually VERY important in our ecological system. Because they feed almost exclusively on dead animals (which may be rotten, toxic and diseased), they help to prevent the spread of diseases and toxins from such animals to other living things, plants, animals and humans. They also play a huge role as waste biological wastes controllers.

vultures1

 

4. Their senses of food and smell are excellent

5. Vultures have weak feet and legs

6. Due to their weak feet and legs, they do not carry prey back to their chicks. Instead, they will gorge at a carcass, get back to their chicks and regurgitate the food eaten from their crop to feed their young chicks.

7. When Vultures need to cool off on hot days, they can do so by urinate on their legs and feet. This process is called Urohydrosis. Also, their urine is toxic and kills bacteria or parasites that they might have picked up from walking through carcasses or perching on dead animals.

vultures3

8. When threatened, vultures would vomit to lighten their body weight so they can escape more easily into flight. Vomiting also serves as a defense mechanism to deter predators that may be threatening the birds.

9. Also, when they feel threatened, Vultures may give off warning signs by Hissing.

10. Lastly, a vulture’s stomach acid is significantly stronger and more corrosive than that of other animals or birds. Therefore, these scavengers can comfortably feed on rotting carcasses that may be infected with dangerous bacteria. The acid in their stomach is so strong, it will kill the dangerous bacteria in most diseased or toxic food they eat and the food won’t affect them like it would affect other birds, animals or humans.

……. You are welcome!

 

Sources; Bird Trivia and National Geographic

Ants

ant

Ants are one of the most widely spread creatures in the world. Though they are most prevalent in tropical forests, they can be found in almost every continent and geographical region of the world. Ants are insects with unique capabilities and there are more than 12,000 species of them. Ants may present as pests for human life especially with their interference and invasions in the house and environment. But in actual fact, they help the environment a great deal as they are major contributors to sustaining our ecosystem and are an integral part of replenishing soil integrity.

Ants are social insects because they commonly live in large colonies or armies. They usually live in very structured communities which may be found underground, on ground-level mounds, or in trees. Some colonies may reach up to millions of ants.

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There are three kinds of ants in a colony and they include; the queen, the female workers, and males. The queen and the males have wings, while the workers don’t have wings.

The queen is the head of the community (or colony) and her only job all her life is to lay eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Some queens may lay as much as millions of eggs throughout their lifetime. Some ant species may have a colony with more than one queen. When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. This is because queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce to repopulate the colony.

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The workers are the ants that are typically seen by humans in the environment. They are wingless female ants that do not reproduce, but perform many duties such as food search, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, building the anthills or mounds, etc. They also act as soldiers to protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space. If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony to repopulate their colonies. When the ‘captured’ eggs hatch, the new ants will become the “slave” ants for the colony.

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The only job of the male ant is to mate with the queen and future queen ants. Once their mating is done, they often die soon afterwards.

Ants communicate and cooperate by emitting chemicals that can alert their fellows to danger or lead them to a promising food source. Ants are omnivores and their sources of food vary widely and may include nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. Some other ant species may feed on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals.

Ants do not have lungs to breathe but they get the oxygen they need through tiny holes that is found all over their body. These holes also allow for “expiration” of Carbon dioxide in the same manner

Fun facts about Ants

  • The ant is one of the worlds’ strongest creature in relation to its size; An ant can lift more than three to twenty times its own body weight.
  • Ants don’t have ears but they “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • Some ant species are asexual, they clone themselves and do not require any males
  • All worker, soldier and queen ants are female.
  • Ants typically move an estimated 50 tons of soil per year in one square mile.
  • The total weight of all the ants in the world almost equal or more than that of all humans.
  • Some ants can support about 100 times their own weight by being upside down on glass.
  • Ants are the longest living of all insects, living for up to 30 years.

 

References: National Geographic, Ant Ark, Pest World for Kids

The Powerful Eagle

The Eagle

Type: Bird                                              Conservation Status: Least concern

Diet: Carnivore                                      Average life span: 28 – 30 years

Weight: 3 to 7 kg                                  Size: Body, 86 to 109 cm; Wingspan, 1.8 to 2.4 m

 

Eagles are one of the most popular birds worldwide because of their peculiarities and their reference to being one of the most powerful and resilient birds of the wild. They are particularly referenced in various cultures, social and religious settings in contexts of strength, power, freedom and success.

Eagles have unusual eyes and extremely large pupils which are very large in proportion to their heads. Their eyes have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, five times more that a human’s 200,000. While humans see just three basic colors, eagles see five. These adaptations gives eagles extremely keen eyesight and enable them to spot even well-camouflaged potential prey from a very long distance. In fact the eagles’ vision is among the sharpest of any animal and studies suggest that some eagles can spot an animal the size of a rabbit up to two miles away! The Bald and Golden Eagle (which we will discuss) are mostly resident in North America – United States, Canada, Alaska and Mexico

The Bald Eagle

eagle

The bald eagle is not in any way bald as the name depicts because it has a snowy-white-feathered head and white tail. They are mostly found in Alaska and Canada. They are powerful birds of prey and they either use their talons to fish or eat small mammals or scavenge and steal the kills of other animals. They generally live near water in areas where fish are abundant

Bald eagles are believed to mate for life. A pair of partner bald eagles will construct an enormous stick nest high above the ground, mate and tend to a pair of eggs each year. When eaglets are hatched, they lack the distinctive white markings and remain dark until about five years old. Also, young eagles roam great distances across geographical boundaries.

bald eagle

For many decades, bald eagles were hunted for sport and to protect fishing grounds. Also, pesticides like DDT also wreaked havoc on eagles and other birds. These chemicals collect in fish, which make up most of the eagle’s diet. They weaken the bird’s eggshells and severely limited their ability to reproduce. However, since DDT use has been heavily restricted in much of North America since 1972, eagle numbers have rebounded significantly and have been aided by reintroduction programs. Currently, the birds have been upgraded from endangered to least concern.

 

Golden Eagle

golden_eagle_8

These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They are extremely swift, and can dive upon their prey at speeds of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour. Apart from North America, golden eagles can also be found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.

Golden eagles are carnivorous and they use their speed and sharp talons to snatch up rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds, fish, and large insects. They have even been known to attack full grown deer.

goldeneaglephoto4

Golden eagles are also monogamous and pairs can maintain territories that may be as large as 60 square miles (155 square kilometers). They remain with their mate for several years or possibly for life nesting in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They can also build huge nests to which they may return for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young golden eagles may survive in about three months.

Ranchers once killed many of these birds for fear that they would prey on their livestock, but studies showed that the animal’s impact was minimal. Today, golden eagles are protected by law.

5 interesting things you must know about Eagles

  1. The Bald Eagle is the national bird symbol of the United States and it has been said that Ben Franklin famously argued against the bird’s nomination as the United State’s national symbol because of the bird’s activities in scavenging and stealing the kills of other animals.
  2. The Golden Eagle is the national bird symbol of Mexico.
  3. The Golden eagle is also North America’s largest bird of prey.
  4. The Bald and Golden eagles are monogamous and would usually stick to one partner most of their lives.
  5. The largest bald eagle nest on record was 9.5 ft (3 m) wide and 20 ft (6 m) high and weighed over two tons.

References: National Geographic, One Kind Animals

Anaconda

ANACONDA

 

Type: Reptile                                                           Diet: Carnivore

Average life span in the wild: 10 years        Size: 20 to 30 ft (6 to 9 m)

Weight: Up to 550 lbs (227 kg)                           Group name: Bed or knot

Anacondas are four species of aquatic boa inhabiting the swamps and rivers of the dense forests of tropical South America (especially in the Amazon and Orinco basins). The Green Anaconda snake is the most popular and the largest member of the boa family of snakes and the largest snake in the world. Female anacondas are significantly larger than males and they have the largest sexual dimorphism of all the snakes. It has a girth of nearly 30 cm (12 in.) and a weight of 227 kg (550 lb.), making it the heaviest of all snakes. Their enormous size makes it much easier for green anacondas to swim in the water than to slither slowly on land. Their eyes and nostrils are on the top of their head allowing them to see and breathe while most of their body is under water. This way they can be stealth and sleek in water and lay in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely submerged.

South American Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)

Other anaconda species, include the yellow, dark-spotted, and Bolivian varieties. They are all from South America and all smaller than the green anaconda.

Diet

They feed on wild pigs, deer, birds, turtles, capybara, caimans, and even jaguars.

Anacondas are not venomous but they kill their prey by grabbing the animal in its jaws, locking it in with its teeth, coiling their muscular bodies around their captured prey and squeezing until the animal dies of crushing or suffocation.

anaconda

The Anaconda can swallow prey whole even if its much bigger than the size of its mouth because its jaws bones have stretchy ligaments, are loosely connected to the skull and can unhinge. While the snake eats, its muscles have wave-like contractions, crushing the prey even further and surging it downward with each bite. They can go weeks or months without food after a big meal. Most of their time is spent in the water hunting. Although they use both sight and smell to hunt, they also have the ability to sense heat emitted by potential prey.

Green anacondas also partake in cannibalism as the females, the larger of the sexes, have been reported to eat smaller male anacondas.

Reproduction

Between April and May, the males seek out females for the opportunity to mate. Often times, multiple males will pursue the same female. This usually results in “breeding balls” of up to a dozen males wrapped around a single female, all attempting to mate. The breeding ball can last up to 4 weeks.

anaconda4

Once pregnant, the female will produce and retain eggs inside her body. The eggs develop for 8-12 weeks and then hatch while still inside the mother’s body. She then gives birth to as many as multiple dozens of live young anacondas. Baby snakes are about 2 feet (0.6 meters) long when they are born and are almost immediately able to swim and hunt.

Behavior

The Anaconda is most active at night which makes it a nocturnal reptile. Although they are not venomous, they defend themselves by inflicting severe bites, or kill its attacker/prey by constriction. It is possible to be bitten by an Anaconda, but the bite itself would not be fatal. Most local people kill these snakes on sight, out of the fear that they are man-eaters. In most instances, if an Anaconda senses humans in the area, it will retreat in another direction.

anaconda6

Conservation Status

Anacondas are sometimes hunted illegally for their skin or to be sold as pets. However, their size makes them inconvenient pets, and their skin is not very popular for clothing and shoes. They are also very difficult to catch. They also face the threat of habitat destruction but despite this, they are not considered endangered.

Adapted from National Geographic, Animal Fact Guide and Animal Corner

Crocodiles!!!

Crocodile

Type: Reptile                                                                         Diet: Carnivore

Average life span in the wild: 45 -70 years              Size: 15 – 17 ft (4.5 – 5 m)

Weight: 500 lbs (225 kg)                                                  Colors: Brown, Green and Gray

Relative: Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man

Crocodiles are one of the world’s oldest living creatures and are thought to be around 200 million years old. This suggests that crocodiles were around in dinosaur times! Crocodiles feed on fish, reptiles and mammals, (even man) and the size of a crocodile’s prey generally depends on the size of the crocodile. They mostly love to bask on land and float in water and they are generally threatened to extinction.

There are three major types of crocodiles and they are discussed below;

Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile has reputation as a vicious man-eater and because they usually reside in waters and areas close to human population, they have frequent have run-ins with people. Their virtually indiscriminate diet means a villager washing clothes by a riverbank might look just as tasty as a migrating wildebeest. Estimates are that up to 200 people may die each year in the jaws of a Nile crocodile. They live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, and Madagascar in rivers, freshwater marshes, and mangrove swamps.

crocodile

The diet of the Nile crocodile is mainly fish, but it will attack almost anything unfortunate enough to cross its path, including zebras, small hippos, porcupines, birds, and other crocodiles. It will also scavenge carrion, and can eat up to half its body weight at a feeding.

Despite its fearsome nature, this crocodile is unusually caring nature as a parent. Where most reptiles lay their eggs and move on, mother and father Nile crocodiles ferociously guard their nests until the eggs hatch, and they will often roll the eggs gently in their mouths to help hatching babies emerge.

croc baby

Saltwater crocodile

This is the world’s largest living crocodile! They have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea.

They are classic opportunistic predators as they lurk patiently beneath the surface near the water’s edge, waiting for potential prey to stop for a sip of water.

crocodile 3

They’ll feed on anything they can get their jaws on, including water buffalo, monkeys, wild boar, and even sharks. Without warning, they explode from the water with a thrash of their powerful tails, grasp their victim, and drag it back in, holding it under until the animal drowns.

Population estimates range from 200,000 to 300,000 worldwide, and they are considered at low risk for extinction. However, their hides are most valued above all other crocodilians.

American crocodile

crocodile4

The American crocodile is considered an endangered species and most are found in southern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Their habitat of choice is the fresh or brackish water of river estuaries, coastal lagoons, and mangrove swamps.

Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, fish, crabs, insects, snails, frogs, and occasionally carrion.

Some fun facts about crocodiles

Fact 1 – Legend has it that if you are being chased by a crocodile, the only chance you have of getting away is by outsmarting the crocodile. Apparently the way to do this is to run away from the crocodile diagonally down a hill! The myth says that crocodiles have a very slow turning circle meaning that if you run diagonally, the crocodile theoretically cant catch you!

Fact 2 – As crazy as it sounds, crocodiles are known to swallow stones when they are on the banks of the water. The crocodile does this to help its digestive system and also to aid it’s buoyancy in water. Also, it is thought that by swallowing stones, the crocodile may also be able to swim to deeper parts of the water.

Fact 3 – The crocodile is also unable to stick out its tongue.

Fact 4 – The crocodile is able to regrow new teeth very quickly after losing the old ones, throughout the crocodiles life.

Fact 5 – Mummified crocodiles and crocodile eggs have been discovered in Egyptian tombs.

Fact 6 – American crocodiles are far more likely to flee from the sight of humans than to attack people

 

References

A-Z Animals; National Geographic Nile Crocodile, Saltwater Crocodile, American Crocodile