Tumblr is running like stinky crap again this morning. Getting tired of this. Tumblr Staff is clueless and lazy. I may abandon this blog, due to frustration with the “We really don’t care” attitude I’m getting from staff.
This colossal circle in the Sahara Desert is known as the ‘Eye of Africa’. Scientists originally thought a meteorite had created it but now they believe it is simply a geological oddity caused by the erosion of layers of rock: http://1.usa.gov/1lzOREn via NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Image: Oleg Artemyev/Roscosmos
The Aardwolf, Proteles cristata (1783)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Order : Carnivora
Family : Hyaenidae
Genus : Proteles
Species : P. cristata
Aardwolves are shy and nocturnal, sleeping in underground burrows by day. They will, on occasion during the winter, become diurnal feeders. This happens during the coldest periods as they then stay in at night to conserve heat.
They have often been mistaken for solitary animals. In fact, they live as monogamous pairs with their young. If their territory is infringed upon, they will chase the intruder up to 400 metres or to the border. If the intruder is caught, which rarely happens, a fight will occur, which is accompanied by soft clucking, hoarse barking, and a type of roar. The majority of incursions occur during mating season, when they can occur 1–2 times per week. When food is scarce the stringent territorial system may be abandoned and as many as three pairs may occupy a “single territory.”
The territory is marked by both sexes, as they both have developed anal glands from which they extrude a black substance that is smeared on rocks or grass stalks in 5-millimetre long streaks. They often mark near termite mounds within their territory every 20 minutes or so. If they are patrolling their territorial boundaries, the marking frequency increases drastically, to once every 50 metres. At this rate, an individual may mark 60 marks per hour, and upwards of 200 per night.
An aardwolf pair may have up to ten dens, and numerous middens, within their territory. When they deposit feces at their middens, they dig a small hole and then cover it with sand. Their dens are usually abandoned aardvark, springhare, or porcupine dens, or on occasion they are crevices in rocks. They will also dig their own dens, or enlarge dens started by springhares. They typically will only use one or two dens at a time, rotating through all of their dens every 6 months. During the summer, they may rest outside their den during the night, and sleep underground during the heat of the day.
Aardwolfs are not fast runners nor are they particularly adept at fighting off predators. Therefore, when threatened, the aardwolf will attempt to mislead its foe by doubling back on its tracks. If confronted it will raise its mane in an attempt to appear more menacing. It will also emit a foul-smelling liquid from its anal glands.
Aardwolfs are common sights at zoos. Frankfurt Zoo in Germany was home to the oldest recorded aardwolf in captivity at 18 years and 11 months.
'Eggs of North American Birds' (1902). American Lithographic Co.
Image and text courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery.
Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)
The bowmouth guitarfish is a species of ray. This rare species occurs widely in the tropical coastal waters of the western Indo-Pacific.
This large species can reach a length of 2.7 m (8.9 ft). The jaws are heavily ridged with crushing teeth arranged in wave-like rows. Usually found near the sea floor, the bowmouth guitarfish prefers sandy or muddy areas near underwater structures.
It is a strong-swimming predator of bony fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs. This species gives live birth to litters of two to eleven pups, which are nourished during gestation by yolk. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed the bowmouth guitarfish as Vulnerable because it is widely caught by artisanal and commercial fisheries for its valuable fins and meat.
The bowmouth guitarfish, often described as prehistoric in appearance, is considered by some scientists to be the ‘missing link’ between sharks and rays based on the ray-like placement of the mouth and gill openings, and disc shape of the front part of the body and the shark-like streamlined appearance of the rest of the body and the powerful tail.
A swiss diver, captured these pictures of one of the six anacondas he saw on his 10 day trip to Mato Grosso in Brazil. This one was about 26-feet long.
"At the first moment it’s scary because you don’t know the animal and everybody says it’s dangerous. ‘But after a while you understand that nothing happens if you respect the snake. ‘I have never been so close to a snake like this before. But I think a small poisonous snake is more scary than a big one. At least you can see the anacondas clearly and know what they’re doing." - Franco Banfi
Forty seconds of a truly impressive thunderstorm, which passed over Minneapolis earlier this week.