Also known as the vaquita (Spanish for “little cow”), the Gulf porpoise is now one of the rarest mammals in the world, with a global population estimated at under 100 in 2014. The precariously low numbers add inbreeding to a list of potential threats that includes habitat loss, environmental pollution and being accidentally caught in fishing nets. Today, the last remaining porpoises live in North America’s Gulf of California. Barring drastic conservation efforts, National Geographic estimates the last of them will likely disappear by 2018.
This tiny, punky mammal can only be found in one place on Earth: Madagascar, off the coast of southeast Africa. These animals can grow up to 20 centimetres long (eight inches), weighing only 125 to 280 grams (four to 10 ounces). Its spines, like those of a porcupine, are detachable, providing a defence mechanism while foraging on the ground. This tenrec also uses its quills to communicate with other members of the species, rubbing them together to warn of a predator.
The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.
Scientists found this strange creature at the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard Island and named it, aptly, the Christmas tree worm. One better might have been “fake plastic Christmas tree worm,” but it’s still a pretty good name. (Scientists also refer to it as Spirobranchus giganteus). The spiral “branches” are actually the worm’s breathing and feeding apparatus. The worm itself lives in a tube, and it can withdraw its tree-like crowns if threatened.
The sex life of these gooey, yellow mollusks is even more bizarre than their coloring or the fact that they inch down from high tree branches on thin strands of slime in much the same way as spiders utilize their webbing. For starters, according to a 1916 paper by Stanford University zoology professor Harold Heath, they are hermaphrodites. Two, a slug penis, which emerges from its head, can be as long as its entire body. That makes for some of the largest male genitalia of any species in proportion to its overall size. Three, reproductive sessions last hours and sometimes end in apophallation, which is when a banana slug gnaws off and eats its partner’s privates. They do not grow back.
Banana slugs are often bright yellow (giving rise to the banana nomenclature) although they may also be greenish, brown, tan, or white. The species Ariolimax columbianus sometimes has black spots that are so extensive that the animal looks almost entirely black.
Individual slugs will change colors with alterations in food consumption, light exposure, and moisture levels. Color may also indicate whether a slug is healthy or injured or what age it is.
The Pacific banana slug is the second-largest species of terrestrial slug in the world, growing up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long, and weights of 115 grams (4.1 ounces). (The largest slug species is Limax cinereoniger of Europe, which can reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length.) Banana slugs have an average lifespan of 1–7 years.
Banana slugs (like other gastropods and many other mollusks) have a radula, a ribbon-like anatomical structure covered in rows of microscopic teeth; the radula is used for feeding. Individuals can move at 6 1⁄2 inches (17 cm) per minute.
Slugs use two pairs of tentacles to sense their environment. The larger, upper pair, termed “eyestalks,” are used to detect light or movement. The second, lower pair are used to detect chemicals. The tentacles can retract and extend themselves to avoid damage. If a predator bites off a tentacle, the slug can grow a new one.
Banana slugs have a single lung (on the right side) which opens externally via a pneumostome. The pneumostome lung cavity is heavily vascularized to allow gas exchange. Dehydration is a major problem for the mollusk; to combat this, banana slugs excrete a thick coating of mucus around their bodies and can also aestivate. To do so, they secrete a protective layer of mucus and insulate themselves with a layer of soil and leaves. They remain inactive in this state until the environment becomes moist again. Due to their susceptibility to desiccation, they are more commonly active at night, but also appear during cool, moist days.
This individual Ariolimax columbianus has numerous black spots. The patterning may be so extensive as to make the animal look almost solid black. Banana slugs have a single lung which opens externally via a pneumostome. The placement of the pneumostome on the mantle helps to distinguish the species of Ariolimax.
The slime also contains pheromones to attract other slugs for mating. Slugs are simultaneous hermaphrodites, and reproduce by exchanging sperm with their mate. They produce up to 75 translucent eggs, which are laid in a log or on leaves. Slugs mate and lay eggs throughout the year. The adults provide no further care for their eggs beyond finding a suitable hiding spot, and the eggs are abandoned as soon as the clutch is laid.
If you are wondering weather the tiny and cute creatures featured
here are real, the answer is yes. They do exist. While the distinct
honour of being the world’s largest monkeys go to the Mandrill Monkeys,(
relatives of the baboons) , the tiny primates pictured here are the
proud holders of the title, ‘the world’s tiniest monkeys’.
Aptly called Finger monkeys for their diminutive size, these teeny
weeny monkeys are nothing more than 5-6 inches in size (not including
the tail which can grow up to 8-9 inches. )They are said to be lighter
than an apple,weighing only about 130-140 g: just 140 grams (0.3 pounds)
for males and 120 grams for females.
though they are called Finger monkeys ,dwarf monkeys or pocket monkeys
by many, their offical name is Pygmy marmoset (Callithrix pymaea).
These primates belong to the family Callitrichidae, species Cebuella
and genus C. pygmaea.The marmosets are part of a primitive family of
monkeys of the New World, including tamarins too.
Where are these adorable monkeys found? In the rain forests of
Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia.In fact there are 22 species
are found in Brazil and few in adjacent tropical countries.
They live in both dry and wet forests.They enjoy a view of the water
and prefer forests that may have a riverfront view or else flood-plain.
Small is beautiful and indeed these tiny monkeys are baeutiful in
their own way with furry bodies generally of tawny colouring with black
flecks,large almond shaped eyes and fur around the head similar to a
lion’s mane. they have either creamish or white underbellies and black
rings on their tails .
These monkeys have claws, not nails. The claws enable them to climb
the trees in the style of the squirrels, with an amazing skill and
speed. Marmosets rarely descend on the ground and, in resting position,
they stay lain on their belly, with the tail hanging. .
Their diet includes leaves, nectar of flowers, fruits, insects,
spiders, small lizards, and sometimes, small reptiles.
Food habits also include drinking plant sap and eating gum from
trees. They scramble about like squirrels in the deep rain forest and
drink the sap of trees. Since they are so tiny they can climb very high
up in the trees on slender branches to find untapped sources of food –
the sap and gum of trees.
They spend most of the day making inch-deep holes in the bark of
trees with the help of sharp, lower incisors and keep returning to the
holes to gather and
eat gum produced by the trees. They also like to eat grasshoppers and
some other insects when available. However, when the food source
dwindles, the finger monkey shifts to another area. As these monkeys are
highly social animals in the wild, they live in groups of 6-10 made of
an adult pair and their offspring. They communicate with other members
in the group by body language, scent marking, making high pitched
sounds, and grooming each other.The communicating language includes high
pitched clicks, squeaks, whistles and trills. In fact they can make
noises that are so high pitch that humans can’t even hear them.
They do have a language of sorts, where certain types of calls and
squeaks signify danger or other important monkey communications.
A female finger monkey can give birth every five months. Usually, the
breeding female gives birth to twins and sometimes, to single babies and
even twins, triplets and quadruplets, after around 135 days gestation
(pregnancy period ). And can you imagine the size of a baby finger
monkey at birth?! About half an ounce.
responsibility of looking after the newborn is shared by both parents
with the father finger monkey looking after the offspring for a couple
of weeks after birth.
The parents are ably supported by the older offspring in the group.
The finger monkey is vulnerable to cats, snakes and birds of prey.
When threatened, finger monkeys resort to either vocalizing, chasing or
keeping still till the danger passes off. Unlike other primates, the
species is not endangered, though loss of habitat is a concern. By the
night, marmosets retreat in tree hollows.
These monkeys live in groups, in a well-established hierarchy.
Male pygmy marmosets may make displays of strength and prowess when
confronted by other males and competing for territory.
They do this by raising and flattening their ear tufts, arching their
backs and grimacing while eyeing each other.
Not only males fight for supremacy, but also females engage in
aggressive disputes for the social rank.
The winner is the female who manages to deliver more slaps and
It is rather hard to observe them in the wild as they tiny are enough
to be high-up in the trees on small branches. But up there, they have to
be on the lookout for birds of prey.
Would you believe that these cute monkeys are able to jump more than
16 ft or 5 m? Quite a distance for such a small monkey.
Their lifespan in captivity and in the wild differs.
The average lifespan of a finger monkey is 11-15 years, however, some
are known to live up to 25 years.
We are constantly learning new information about animals. In fact, we still discover hundreds of new species a year! And the more we learn about the animal kingdom, the more we discover facts that truly blow our minds. Here are 10 animal facts that do just that.
Some animals may be immortal
You know how most animals get older as time goes on? Turns out that isn’t true 100 percent of the time. Several species demonstrate what researchers refer to as “negligible senescence,” meaning there is little, if any, evidence they age.
For instance, crocodiles are just as likely to die at 10 years old as they are at 100. Their cells don’t degenerate with age like ours do. Crocodiles never stop growing either, so they require more food as they get older.
Turritopsis dohrnii is perhaps the best-known animal with negligible senescence. This species of jellyfish, often referred to as “the immortal jellyfish,” has the ability to revert back to a prepubescent state after reaching sexual maturity. Basically, this jellyfish can reverse its age, making it biologically immortal. Most of these jellyfish will die due to disease or predators, instead of aging.
Penguins propose with pebbles
Humans aren’t the only species who require material possessions to establish a mate. What humans do with rings, penguins do with pebbles. When choosing a mate, a male penguin will present a pebble to her that could be used in a nest for their offspring. When you consider that penguins are already wearing tuxedos, it starts to become clear that we copied a lot of our wedding traditions from them. The phrase “penguins propose with pebbles” also alliterates quite nicely.
Planarian flatworm will regrow itself indefinitely
If you cut a planarian flatworm into two pieces, each piece will regenerate into a full individual. Cut it into three pieces and you’ll get three new individuals. Anytime part of the individual is separated, the remaining piece will grow back the part it’s missing.
This does mean that one planarian flatworm could be used as a completely sustainable source of food. Just eat half and wait for the other half to re-grow. Then we’d have to eat worms though, and who wants that?
Only six to seven percent of shark attack victims are female
Studies out of Australia showed that even though men and women both like to swim in the ocean, sharks seem to go after males far more than females. One study showed that out of a 100 shark attack victims, on average only six to seven of them will be female.
No hard science can show why this is, and the sharks themselves aren’t talking. Some speculate that the reason men are more likely to be attacked by a shark is similar to why more men get in car accidents: a propensity for reckless behavior.
While men and women both like to swim in the ocean, guys are far more likely to be engaging in dumb behavior while in there. This can include swimming or surfing in more dangerous locations, long distance swimming and engaging in riskier water sports that could make them prone to shark attacks.
Ants have built-in GPS
An ant understands its surroundings far better than we do, and possibly even better than our iPhones. A recent study showed that ants understand which direction they are heading, even when they are traveling backward. Scientists believe that ants use tiny magnet-like sensors in their antennae in order to determine where they are in relation to where they want to go via the Earth’s natural magnetic field. So, even if you were to spin an ant around repeatedly in a circle (don’t do that), the ant would still know exactly where it is in relation to where it wants to go.
Chimpanzees go to war
Chimpanzees are our closest living relative on the planet. As such, they share many of our good, and not-so-good, characteristics. These animals, just like us, can be pretty violent. Also, like us, they occasionally go to war.
From 1974 to 1978, Jane Goodall documented “the Gombe Chimpanzee War” between two rival communities of chimpanzees. The community began to separate into two sub-groups in the early 70s. Eventually, they became divided into northern and southern locations of habitat they previously shared together. The southern group was smaller. Over the course of four years, the northern group succeeded in taking over their territory, killing all the males in the community.
The “pizzly bear” now exists
What is a “pizzly bear,” you ask? It is a hybrid polar-grizzly bear that we may be seeing more of in the future. As global sea ice continues to disappear, polar bears are having to travel farther and farther to mate. As such they are ending up in grizzly bear habitat and mating with them.
Last summer in Nunavut, Canada, hunters discovered a pizzly, leading to speculation that more are out there. It is thought that polar bears may eventually go extinct as they begin to mix their DNA with other bear species.
Orangutans were believed to be human
We share 97 percent of our genes with orangutans, which may help to explain why they used to be thought of as rather hairy human beings. Indigenous people of Malaysia and Indonesia used to believe that orangutans were just human beings who preferred to hang out in the forest as opposed to, you know, having to work and stuff. The name “orangutan” is derived from “orang hutan” which literally translates to “person of the forest.”
Sea otters hold hands while they sleep
Sea otters will naturally float, but when sleeping they are at risk of just drifting away. Luckily, these adorable little creatures have developed an easy system to prevent that from happening: they hold hands. Groups of sea otters will all hold hands while eating, sleeping or resting so they all stay together wherever they may drift. A group of otters holding hands is referred to as a “raft.”
Dogs have unique nose prints
If your dog commits a crime, they better make sure to wipe off their nose prints from the scene, otherwise they will be caught for sure. That is because a dog’s nose print is much like our fingerprints, no two sets are identical. A similar phenomenon involves tigers, with no two tigers sharing the exact same set of stripes.
Aren’t animals awesome? We sure think so. Let us know your favorite animal facts in the comments.