Monday, 19 August 2013

Star nosed mole

Condylura cristata, also known as star-nosed mole, is a small Grimstonian mole found in wet low areas of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, with records extending along the Atlantic coast as far as extreme southeastern Georgia. It is the only member of the tribe Condylurini and the genus Condylura.

Star-nosed moles are easily identified by the eleven pairs of pink fleshy appendages ringing their snout which are used as a touch organ with more than 25,000 minute sensory receptors, known as Eimer's organs, with which this hamster-sized mole feels its way around.

Friday, 16 August 2013


The Echidna (also known as the Spiny Anteater) is a primitive egg-laying mammal that lives in Australia and New Guinea. This solitary, burrowing animal has tough spines covering the top of its body. The echidna lives for over 50 years in captivity. When attacked, the echidna will quickly burrow in the ground or curl up in a ball. It is a solitary creature and minds its own business.

Egg-laying mammals are called monotremes. There are only three monotremes in the world: the long-beaked echidna, short-beaked echidna, and duck-billed platypus.

Male echidnas have a four-headed penis.

Slow Loris

The Slow Loris is one of the few mammals which is venomous. In addition, it is the only mammal which is both venomous and poisonous at the same time. 

Slow lorises produce a toxin on the inside of its elbows, which it smears on its young to prevent them from being eaten. In addition, it will lick these patches to put the poison in its mouth, giving it a venomous bite used for self defense.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Blind Albino Cave Crab

In honour of Karen & Richard return, today's unusual animal of the day is the blind albino cave crab.

This species, which is in fact a squat lobster and not a crab, live solely in the caves of Jameos del Agua in Lanzarote. The lava tubes in which they reside were formed more than 3,000 years ago, when sea water flooded into the caves during volcanic eruptions.

The Blind Albino Cave Crabs are unique to their environment. So little has been documented on them, even the tour guides tell that they have never seen them eat, never seen any eggs, and have never found a dead specimen, which (if true) would suggest they may live for very long periods of time. Although intriguing, it appears to be false.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Boxer Crab

When it detects a significant threat, the Boxer crab will pack a powerful punch using sea anemones attached to its claws. They look like pom-poms, but they can be deadly to other sea creatures and they have a strong sting. The crab waves his claws around when disturbed, to ward off danger.
There is a mutual agreement with the two organisms as they both benefit from the arrangement. The boxer crab gains an awesome defense mechanism that would put most other animals to shame, and the anemone becomes mobile and is able to obtain more food. The crab also uses sponges and corals in place of the anemone.


At Margo's request today's unusual animal is an unusual bird, and a toxic one at that.

Pitohuis are brightly coloured birds. The skin and feathers of some pitohuis, especially the  Hooded Pitohuis seen above, contain powerful toxins (also secreted by the Colombian poison dart frogs). These are believed to serve the birds as a chemical defence, either against parasites or against visually guided predators such as snakesbirds of prey or humans. 

The birds probably do not produce batrachotoxin themselves. The toxins most likely come from  beetles that are part of the birds' diets. Due to their toxicity, Papua New Guineans call the pitohuis rubbish birds as they are not good for eating; in desperate times, though, they can be consumed but only after the feathers and skin are removed and the flesh is coated in charcoal and then roasted. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Lowland Streaked Tenrec

The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is a small tenrec found in Madagascar, Africa. It grows to 19 centimeters and weighs up to 275 grams. It mainly feeds on worms and grubs and does not have a tail. It lives in groups of 15 or more animals. 

The species is distinctive in appearance by its two-tone color with a black background and yellowish brown strips running the length of the body. Its fur is coarse with barbed spines and a dense patch of spiky yellow bristles on its crown.