The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record.
The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed mammal baffled naturalists when it was first discovered, with some considering it an ela...
Females are 27 inches (69cm) at the withers. Male Komondorok are a minimum of 28 inches at the withers, but many are over 30 inches tall, making this one of the larger common breeds of dog. The body is not overly coarse or heavy, however, and people unfamiliar with the breed are often surprised by how quick and agile the dogs are.
Its long, thick, strikingly corded white coat (the heaviest amount of fur in the canine world) resembles dreadlocks or a mop. The puppy coat is soft and fluffy. However, the coat is wavy and tends to curl as the puppy matures. A fully mature coat is formed natura...
Named after the dragons of Chinese mythology, Leafy seadragons (Phycodurus eques) resemble a piece of drifting seaweed as they float in the seaweed-filled water. The Leafy seadragon, with green, orange and gold hues along its body, is covered with leaf-like appendages, making it remarkably camouflaged. Only the fluttering of tiny fins or the moving of an independently swiveling eye, reveals its presence.
Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries as many as 150-200 eggs. After being deposited by the female, the eggs are carried in the honeycomb-shaped area (known as the brood patch) und...
Funnel-web spiders, the most notorious members of our spider fauna, are found only in eastern Australia. There are at least 40 species currently placed in two genera: Hadronyche and Atrax. They are medium to large spiders, varying from 1-5 cm body length. Males are more lightly built than females. Body colour can vary from black to brown but the hard carapace covering the front part of the body is always sparsely haired and glossy. The lateral pair of spinning organs (spinnerets) at the end of the abdomen are longer and easily visible in Atrax spp. but often shorter in Hadronyche spp.
The translation of the Malayan word "Orang-utan" is "forest man". And indeed do the large Great apes show a lot of human characteristics concerning their facial expression as well as their gestures. Adult male Orang-utans are imposing figures with their reddish shaggy fur, broad cheeks and long beards. In the wild they reach weights up to 80 kg. Male Orang-utans living in zoos and suffering from lack of exercise are often even heavier. Female Orang-utans are much smaller than the males. The face of young Orang-utans is fair-skinned but, like in Chimpanzees, gets darker the older they get.
The Kuranda area of far north Queensland is a key zone for the endangered Cassowary, the birds around Cassowary House have raised 7 chicks since June 1998, with another male a couple of kilometres along the same road having a similar record and currently having 4 chicks. In January 2002 we had a new female appear, and occasionally join with the family group, though the regular female soon drives her away when they coincide here. The individual birds are readily recognisable by their casque shapes and patterns, with males having a drooping bustle and females being considerably larger and havi...
In 1983 a farm cat named Blacky had a tryst with the resident male in the area, Smokey, and gave birth to a litter that included one brown kitten, Brownie. What the names of these cats lacked in originality, the kitten herself made up for with her unusual coloring and charming personality.
Brownie had a litter the next summer that included Minky, a longhaired black male. In 1985 Brownie and Minky produced two kittens: Teddy Bear, a solid brown male, and Cocoa, a brown and white female.
The Chantilly’s long road to acceptance started in 1967. The breed’s originator, Jennie Robinson, bought two cats, an 18-month-old male and a 6-month-old female, from a pet shop in White Plains, New York. She was told the cats had belonged to someone who had recently died. Several years later, ACA registered the cats, Thomas and Shirley of Neotype, as “Sable Foreign Longhairs.”
The first deliberate cross between a Siamese and a Persian was made in 1924 by a Swedish geneticist, but it wasn’t until 1935 that the first pointed pattern longhair was born. In the early 1930s two Harvard medical employees crossed a Siamese female with a black Persian male, not to create a new breed, but to establish how certain characteristics were inherited. This mating produced a litter of black, shorthaired kittens. They then bred a black Persian female with a Siamese male. The outcome was the same. This is not surprising, since long hair and the colorpoint pattern are both governed by r...
The Devon didn’t settle into the unsuspecting laps of us humans until 1960. The father of the Devon breed, a feral, curly-coated tom, lived around an abandoned tin mine near Devonshire, England. He mated with a straight-coated calico female that produced a litter of kittens in the garden of cat fancier Beryl Cox. One of the kittens, a brownish-black male that Cox named Kirlee, had the same short, curly coat as his father. Breeders think that the calico female and the curly-coated male must have been related, since the Devon Rex gene that governs the curly coat is recessive and must be present ...
The first known Cornish was discovered on July 21, 1950, on a farm in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England, where Serena, a tortoiseshell and white domestic, gave birth to five kittens. The litter contained one curly-coated orange and white male kitten, which Nina Ennismore, Serena’s owner, named Kallibunker.
Like the American Curl breed, the Wirehair started as a spontaneous mutation in the domestic cat population. In 1966 breeder Joan O’Shea acquired from a small farm in upstate New York a kitten that was “just a hair different.” As a breeder of Rex breeds, O’Shea recognized that the scruffy-looking red and white bicolor male kitten might represent a new breed of cat.
The main characteristic of the black-backed jackal, which gives it its name, is the black hair running from the back of the neck to the tail. The chest is white, and the underparts are white to rusty white, whereas the rest of the body ranges from reddish brown to ginger in appearance. Adults stand about 38 cm (15 inches) at the shoulder and are nearly 1 meter (3 feet) long in length. The head is dog-like, with a pointed muzzle and high, pointed ears. The winter coats of male adults develop reddish to an almost deep russet red color. Females tend to be less richly colored.
The largest canid in the world, the gray wolf spends most of its life in packs, usually of five to ten individuals, that are led by the so-called alpha pair, the only male and female in the pack to breed.
Occasionally the wolf hunts and forages alone.
However, when preying on large animals such as moose and deer, it will hunt with the pack, using a variety of strategies, such as pushing its prey toward a rendez-vous point where other pack members wait in ambush.
The wolf uses a haunting howl to keep the pack together.
High-ranking adults also communicate by scent-marking with u...
The color of the kit fox, also known as the swift fox, varies according to region.
Nocturnal carnivores, kit foxes prey on rodents, rabbits, hares, and sometimes ground-nesting birds and reptiles.
During the day, they shelter in burrows, which may have up to twenty-four entrances. Each burrow is typically occupied by a single fox.
Cubs are born blind and helpless, and the mother rarely leaves the den while nursing. During this time, the male hunts and provides food and nourishment for the nursing female.
At about one month, the cubs are sufficiently developed to venture outside...
Tomato frogs are sexually dimorphic. The female ranges from reddish-orange to bright vermilion, and the male from dull orange to brownish-orange. Both males and females have a yellowish underside and black throat. Juveniles are dull in color, developing brighter coloration as they mature.
The female tomato frog is larger than the male, measuring 3 to 4 inches long. The male is 2 to 21/2 inches long.
The tomato frog has a squat body and narrow mouth; it has ridges of folds on the roof of its mouth.
The tiger salamander is named for its striped pattern.
It is the world's largest land-dwelling salamander.
The tiger salamander ranges from 6 to 13 inches long and is stout with a broad head and rounded snout. It has small, rounded eyes, and its feet have tubercles.
It is brownish-olive in color with black and yellow spots or blotches. Its underside is usually yellow.
The male tiger salamander tends to be longer with a more compressed tail and longer, stalkier hind legs than the female.
Larvae have yellowish-green or olive bodies with dark blotches and a stripe along each s...
The polar bear has a thick, well-insulated coat comprising water-repellent guard hairs and a dense undercoat.
The polar bear's coat and a layer of fat beneath it help keep the bear warm in its arctic habitat.
The polar bear's fur is not soft, but quite oily, which helps repel water. It measures about 1 1/2 inches thick, and can vary in color from white to creamy-yellow to light brown.
Large and stocky, male polar bears grow up to 9 feet long and weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. Females weigh as much as 500 pounds and measure 8 feet long.
The polar bear's skin, nose and f...
You can easily spot a male wood duck by his exquisite coloring. He has a white throat and chin and bright green and purple feathers. The female, like most female ducks, is more or less brown. She has a white patch on her throat, and a prominent white eye-ring. Male and female wood ducks have well-defined head crests and long, dark, square tails that help identify them in flight.
Wood ducks are some of the smallest ducks of all. They never weigh more than 2 pounds, and measure 17 to 20 inches in length.
They ride higher in the water than other ducks and are "dabblers," meaning they don...