A small, Asian mammal with a waddling gait. Like the giant panda, the red panda eats a lot of bamboo and has a ‘false thumb’ that extends from its wrist bone. They like to sleep in, usually starting the day in the late afternoon or early evening. In hot weather they like to sleep sprawled out on a tree branch, in cold weather they like to curl up with their tail over their face.
The Komodo dragon is a terrifying creature from the Indonesian islands. It is the largest living lizard, growing nearly 10 feet in length. Their diet is mostly carrion but when they attack live prey, they will run at it and tear out its throat. There are even accounts of Komodos terrorizing pregnant goats and deer into miscarriages- which they then dine upon. Mating between dragons is violent and when eggs are hatched, the young must hide in trees from the cannibalistic adults. Surprisingly, the Komodo is quite shy of humans and will rarely attack them unless cornered. Zoos and habitats have been working since the 1980s to conserve this fascinating species.
Drawing by Matt!
The cuttlefish is a type of mollusc, capable of changing its skin color at will. It uses this color-change to communicate to other cuttlefish and camouflage themselves from predator and prey. It is among the smartest of invertebrates. The eyes are highly developed, without a blind spot. Scientists believe an unborn cuttlefish starts observing its surroundings while still in the egg and the prey it sees at this stage is the prey it will prefer as an adult.
An army of mice from James!
The house mouse is one of the world’s most common rodents. They’re originally from Asia but have been transported to every country by man. They are omnivores and their diet is largely indiscriminate- a house mouse will even eat their own droppings. As the name implies, these mice like to nest in man-made structures where they are safe from the elements and have access to the kitchen.
a contribution by James!
A North American wild cat with at least a dozen subspecies and no real predator besides humans. Bobcats live in all sorts of climates all over the United States, Northern Mexico, and Southern Canada. The tail on an adult male is between 4 and 7 inches, giving it a ‘bobbed’ look. It preys upon a wide range of creatures, as small as insects and as large as deer, but prefers rabbits and hares (Eastern Cottontails are a favorite).
one of the most common rabbit species in North America. Females give birth to about 20 kits a year but only about 20-25% of the young survive past their first year since rabbits have so many predators. They are hunted by hawks, eagles, owls, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, lynxes, dogs, and weasels. I can’t help but feel a Watership Down pity for them…
a contribution by Dave!
In the 1979 edition of Life on Earth, David Attenborough writes that the tarsier’s eyes are so huge and bulging, “it has to turn its whole head… swivelling its head through 180° to look directly backwards over its shoulder blades. In Borneo, the local people believe that it can turn its head… through a complete circle…. they thought that the sight of a tarsier in the forest was a sign that a head would soon be lost- a good omen if you were setting out on a headhunting raid but not so good if you had been plannning to remain peaceably inside your longhouse.”