Sloths are medium-sized mammals that live in Central and South America belonging to the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae, part of the order Pilosa. Most scientists call these two families the Folivora suborder, while some call it Phyllophaga.
Sloths are omnivores. They may eat insects, small lizards and carrion, but their diet consists mostly of buds, tender shoots, and leaves.
Sloths have made extraordinary adaptations to an arboreal browsing lifestyle. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrition and do not digest easily: sloths have very large, spe...
Perhaps the oldest breed of horse in Britain is the Shetland Pony. Named after the islands where it originated, it is now one of the most popular ponies in the world. The little Shetland is probably so shaggy because it was conditioned by its environment. The Shetland Islands, lying off the northern coast of Scotland, are mostly barren and have a harsh climate. For many centuries the Shetland Pony lived in the open, protected from the elements only by this thick hair, long mane, and forelocks. The Shetland Islanders domesticated the ponies to do useful work for them. The pony carried peat down...
American feral horse, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) horse, Range horse
The Mustang is a feral horse found now in the western United States. The name Mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteño or monstenco meaning wild or stray. Originally these were Spanish horses or their descendants but over the years they became a mix of numerous breeds. These were the horses which changed the lives of the Native Americans living in or near the Great Plains. As European settlers came farther west they brought their horses with them. Some were lost to Indian raids, others were freed as wild stallions tore down fences to add the tame mares tn his herd or tame horse escap...
The American Miniature is a "height" breed; they must measure no more than 34 inches in height at maturity. This measurement is the vertical distance from the last hairs at the base of the mane to the ground. These tiny equine are replicas of their larger breed cousins and will look like Quarter Horses, Arabs, Thoroughbreds, and Draft Horses.
The American Miniature Horse Association's Standard of Perfection calls for a small, sound, well-balanced horse, possessing correct conformation characteristics. These horses are not dwarves, runts, or "genetic" errors, but are produced by selectiv...
The Exmoor pony is the oldest and purist of the British native pony breeds. The ponies have roamed the bleak, open moors of southwestern England, known as Exmoor, for centuries. They are believed to be the direct descendants of the horses that walked onto Britain before it was an island. Archaeological evidence dating back over 60,000 years bears an uncanny similarity to the Exmoor Pony of today.
Natural selection has designed a pony suited to survival in a cold and wet climate without the provision of food or shelter by mankind. Two features unique to the breed are the “hooded-eye”, or he...
Some say that the Camargue horse has an oriental or Saracen origin, due to the forsaking of Arab horses during the barbaresque invasion in the south of France in the 8th century. We can presume that those horsemen only rode males, not females. So, if crossings have been done, they were absorbed into the local horses.
According to some scientific research, the origin of the Camargue horse would be the solutre horse, who lived in a marshy land, near the Quanternary Sea. Both have the same characteristics (same skeleton, same stature...) From his cradle, they went down to the Rhone Delta.
The Silkie is the only breed with black pigmented skin. The feathers are without the usual forms of webs, that is, there is a lack of adhesion of the barbs to one another which gives the appearance of down or silky hair, hence the name silken or Silkie. Another distinguishing feature is turquoise blue ear lobes. These birds originated in China, found there by Marco Polo in 1298. (Marco Polo thought silkies were covered with wool rather than feathers, hence the name.) In America, the breed ranks in the first 15 breeds in popularity. They are characterised as: active, bold, silky and fluff...
A parrot with a 950-word vocabulary, a sense of humour and alleged telepathic powers is forcing a rethink of the scope for animals and humans to communicate. The 6-year-old captive-bred African grey called N'kisi is one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world. The bird uses words in context, with past, present and future verb tenses. And, like small children, it resorts to creativity to describe new ideas - for instance saying "flied" for flew and inventing the phrase "pretty smell medicine" to indicate the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, a New York-based a...
According to the centuries-old legend, pure white cats resided in the Buddhist temples of the country of Burma (now Myanmar), and were revered as the feline carriers of the souls of priests who had departed the mortal plain. (The term for this process is transmutation, which means to change from one form to another.) The Goddess of transmutation, Tsim-Kyan-Kse, was worshiped in these temples, represented by a golden statue with glowing sapphire eyes.
Mun-Ha, a priest and worshiper of Tsim-Kyan-Kse, served at the temple of Lao-Tsun. Every evening Mun-Ha’s faithful companion Sinh, one of the...
Dubbed the "Apollo of Dogs," the Great Dane is probably the product of two other magnificent breeds, the old English mastiff and the Irish wolfhound. Its ancestors were used as war dogs and hunting dogs; thus, its ability as a fearless big-game hunter seemed only natural. By the 14th century, these dogs were proving themselves as able hunters in Germany, combining speed, stamina, strength and courage in order to bring down the tough wild boar. The noble dogs became popular with the landed gentry not only because of their hunting ability but also because of their imposing yet graceful appearanc...
Coloration of red foxes ranges from pale yellowish red to deep reddish brown on the upper parts and white or ashy on the underside. The lower part of the legs is usually black, and the tail usually has a white or black tip. Two color variants commonly occur. The cross fox has reddish-brown fur and a black stripe down its back and another across its shoulders. The silver fox ranges from strong silver to nearly black and is the most prized by furriers.
Red foxes, like many other canids, have tail glands, which are located above the root of the tail on its upper surface and lie within the derm...
The spadefoot toad is a relatively moist, smooth-skinned amphibian.
It has a horny, broad black "spade" on its webbed hind feet, which it uses for burrowing.
Approximately 11/2 to 3 inches long, the spadefoot has large, bulgy eyes with vertical pupils. It is usually olive to brown in color with a pair of yellow stripes that extend from the eyes down the middle of the back.
The hoatzin is pear-shaped with a bare face and shaggy crest.
It measures approximately 24 to 26 inches in length.
The hoatzin has blue skin covering its face, and red eyes; its outer feathers are primarily chestnut-brown, and it has a long, bronze-green tail ending in white. Its head is topped with reddish-brown crest feathers.
Young hoatzin are born without feathers, developing a layer of black down shortly after birth.
The golden eagle is about 30 to 40 inches in length and weighs between 9 and 13 pounds.
Its wingspan can be as wide as 7.5 feet, which makes the golden eagle the largest predatory bird in North America.
The tail of the golden eagle is grayish brown, while the head, body and other feathers on the wings are typically black in color.
The feathers at the head and nape of the eagle's neck are golden brown.
Adult eagles have dark brown eyes, while their bill and claws are black. Their cere (a waxy, fleshy area at the base of the beak) and feet are yellow, and their legs are feathered...
The bald eagle is the U.S. national bird; it is the only eagle unique to North America.
Spanish name: Aguila Cabeza Blanca, Aguila
French name: Pygargue à Tête Blanche
Other names: American eagle, white-headed eagle, white-headed sea-eagle
Adult bald eagles have brown plumage with a white head and tail. Immature eagles are irregularly mottled with white until the fourth year. Their legs are feathered halfway down the tarsus, and their beak, feet and eyes are bright yellow.
Bald eagles have massive tarsi, short and powerful grasping toes, and long talons. The talon of t...
The manatee, often called the sea cow, is the only exclusively herbivorous marine mammal. It grazes on all kinds of aquatic plants, especially marine sea grasses, assisted by its large prehensile lips, which are studded with bristles.
During the day, it is frequently found close to the surface, sleeping within the top three to ten feet (1 to 3 m). Occasionally it swims down to thirty feet (10 m), propelling itself along with the aid of its large flat tail, which it also uses as a rudder.
When feeding, which it usually does at night, it walks along the bottom using its fore limbs.
Identified by the lateral stripes that originate at their eyes, the striped dolphins are sometimes seen swimming alongside large ships off California and in the Atlantic, a behavior known as bow-riding.
In the eastern tropical Pacific, where they are also found, they tend to be shyer.
These dolphins are energetic swimmers, sometimes moving upside down and jumping as high as twenty feet (6 m) out of the water to do backward somersaults.
Social animals, they are commonly found in schools of up to five hundred individuals.
The size of the school depends on geographic location; tho...
Carpet beetles and clothes moths aim for our woollen fabrics and furnishings. They're just doing what comes naturally. They were born to recycle the fur, feathers and even skins of dead animals. Have you ever tried to eat wool? The reality is you can't, simply because wool is made of keratin, a large and long molecule that is hard to break down. There are very few animals that can actually digest and break down keratin, and carpet beetles and clothes moth caterpillars are some of those specialists.
Spiders can send a chill down a person's back; oh yes, arachnophobia can be a rotten affliction and there's no need to feel ashamed about being arachnophobic in the true sense of the medical word. But the problem that the Bugman faces is that spiders should be viewed with a great deal of respect and awe, simply because they are amazing creatures and thereâ€™s much more to them than we see at first sight of those eight-legged, hairy predators.