Echidnas, medium-sized animals that closely resemble porcupines or hedgehogs, are one of only two egg-laying mammals (the other being the duck-billed platypus) left in the world. Also called spiny anteaters, the timid creatures that are native to Australia, are very elusive and hard to observe in the wild. Therefore, though they have been around for millions of years, very little is known about their lifestyle, making it almost impossible to breed the mammals in captivity.
Kids News - Animals Articles
The “Muriwai Monster,” a twitching black mass that washed up on Muriwai Beach, 25 miles northwest of Auckland, New Zealand, has taken the world by storm since its discovery about a week ago. Melissa Doubleday, who stumbled upon it while driving by, initially suspected it to be a whale carcass. However, when she shared images of the mysterious “creature,” which was covered in seaweed and wiggling black tendrils with white shells on social media, people around the world began speculating it was a sea monster, a “beach Christmas tree,” or even an alien time travel capsule.
On December 5, San Francisco Airport (SFO) officials introduced LiLou, the newest member of the Wag Brigade, family, a group of friendly therapy dogs that roam the airport terminals to provide comfort to harried travelers. However, Lilou is not a canine, but a small breed of pig called Juliana. The two-year-old is the first pig to be certified with the SPCA, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program, in the United States.
The thorny devil, named for the sharp spikes that cover its head and body, is a lizard that dwells in the Australian Outback’s hot and arid desert. Though its scary appearance has earned it other equally alarming names like the thorny dragon or the mountain devil, the palm-sized reptile is a harmless, slow-moving animal that has managed to adapt to one of the world’s most inhospitable environments. While researchers know a lot about these hardy lizards, the one mystery that had never been completely solved, is how they keep hydrated.
With only about 1,800 specimens left in the wild, all giant pandas are precious. However, Qizai, a seven-year-old that resides at the Foping Panda Valley in China’s Shaanxi province, is even more so. That’s because he is amongst a handful of giant pandas known to have brown and white fur and the only such specimen in captivity. However, while the 220-pound Qizai is now the superstar of the animal world, life has not always been easy.
The fact that ants are fascinating insects has been known for some time. The tiny creatures that make their way around using their built-in GPS, survive floods by morphing into living rafts and are even reputed to predict earthquakes. Now, scientists have discovered a colony of wood ants living in a dark underground barren bunker despite having no apparent source of food.
While parrots are usually credited as the avian world’s best mimickers, the title probably belongs to the aptly named superb lyrebirds. Endemic to Australia, the ground birds are extremely shy and difficult to approach. Hence, though researchers have known of their ability to imitate everything, from other birds, to humans, and even car alarms and chainsaws, very little was known about their lifestyle in the wild. Now thanks to a team of researchers led by Dr. Anastasia Dalziell, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we finally have some insight into these amazing ancient animals that have been around for millions of years.
The next time you shriek at the sight of a spider, be aware that the arachnid can hear you loud and clear from as far away as 10-feet! The surprising discovery by Cornell University researchers adds to the already impressive list of arachnid attributes that includes superior vision and ability to weave intricate webs.