If you have children you will no doubt have experienced the heart stopping moment when you realize the little one has wandered off and you cannot see them anywhere. You might imagine, then, how the average King Penguin parent might feel when they return to feed their chick. Yet it is all part of the King Penguin’s master plan for the survival of the next generation.
Cats like to hide. That is because they employ something called crypsis to keep themselves safe and sound. A cryptic animal, like a cat, uses its anatomy and behavior to hide from anything which might predate them. It is different from camouflage as this can also be employed by predators and is used by many animals, including big cats, to more effectively attack prey. A house cat uses its natural flexibility to hide in places a predator might not consider. A box is just that. Inside it, a cat feels invisible, and that is exactly how he likes to feel.
Get up close and personal with the damselfly, thanks to director Hasan Samur. Here he reveals that far from being identical, each damselfly has its own unique colorings and patterns – and they are striking to say the very least. Many carry the scars of battle – some blind, some missing legs. We also get to see some remarkable footage of damselflies mating which to our eyes may seem very strange behavior indeed.
Andre Bauma works with orphaned gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the outbreak of civil war in 1996 the gorillas have been caught not in the mist but the crossfire. The human cost is also staggering with 150 park rangers murdered trying to protect them. However, this vital job is carried on by a brave few as only about 800 gorillas survive in the wild. Created by Orlando Von Einsiedel of the New York Times, this moving video follows Andre and his group of orphans as they struggle through daily life in the Congo.
If you don’t have nets to use then you can always make your own. This is what humpback whales do when they sense an opportunity to enjoy a feast and this behavior is only seen in Southeast Alaska where this rare and remarkable footage was taken by AkXpro Productions. Other whales do use bubble feeding but this method is unique to the Alaskan whales. Anywhere from four to twenty whales will join in with the hunt. One will release a ring of bubbles from its blowhole beneath the herring. This curtain of bubbles acts as a wall which keeps the fish inside it. Then another whale will produce vocalizations (which we can’t hear in this video, of course!) which makes the herring squeeze together in tight balls.
Then the whales lunge in unison. Breaking the surface simultaneously with their mouths wide open, then roll over and down. This captures as many fish as possible as well as forcing the water they take in out through their baleen plates. With the water forced out they can then gulp down their prey. Altogether, pretty amazing!
Dogs like nothing better than when something a little out of the ordinary happens. So, when the world has turned white one morning and the water has gone hard and slippery, you can’t blame a dog for getting a little excited, can you?
It is a depressing fact that in just over half a century the number of hedgehogs in the UK has plummeted from 50 million to just one million. So, instead of their being parity between the hedgehog and human populations, now there is less than one hedgehog for every fifty people. This animation, directed by Kris Hofmann, highlights the plight of the hedgehog in the UK. Find out how you can do more at the Wildlife Aid Foundation.
Have you ever wondered how to tell a dragonfly apart from a damselfly? That question and many others are answered in this delightful short documentary by Melissa Lesh. We won't tell you here - watch the video. In fact if you are doing a school paper on odonates in general then you cannot go far wrong if you watch this film – and them watch it again making notes next time!
This is a rather lovely piece by Michael Maes – and the first in series which he calls Poetry eMotion. It combines the profound emotion that poetry can engender with the motion of dolphins and mantas in Kona, Hawaii. The contrast of the curious dolphins, soaring through the sea in the daytime to the roving, feeding mantas at night together with So We'll Go No More a Roving by Lord Byron is, quite simply, sublime.
Around 800,000 years ago a species developed on the African Savannah, a canid but quite unlike any other. It was small – with a head and body length of only around 55 cm, tawny furred and with black ears. It is the ears which really make this mostly nocturnal animal stand out. On average they are a staggering 14 centimeters in length. Proportionally they may not be as large as Dumbo’s but this is no fictional appendage. These ears are for real.
This is extremely rare footage and was captured this year by the Undersea Hunter Crew. The video might upset you if you are fond of turtles but you have to admire the little guy – he does everything in his power to get away, ducking and diving and trying to outmaneuver the shark.
Whether or not he gets away, you will have to watch this amazing video to the end.
Our global climate is changing? That isn’t really a question for the Inupiat people of Northern Alaska. The ice is retreating and as it recedes ever further that lives the polar bears living in the area with a challenge: adapt or perish.
Yet what is the perspective of the local people about the future of the polar bear? The answer may surprise you in this short film by Possberg Media.
Do you hear a lot about the Ocelot? Hunted for its pelt for hundreds of years, the Ocelot was classified as a vulnerable endangered species until 1996. One look at this still rare animal and the attraction is undeniable but why is it no longer considered endangered?
Where have the honey bees gone? Since 2007 beekeepers have been witnessing Colony Collapse Disorder. It is more than a little worrying when you consider that due to pollination, honey bees indirectly provide us with over 30 percent of our food.
Here, the New York Times tells the story, which is a little more complex than you might have thought. Is there hope for the honey bee?
When Charles Darwin arrived at the Galapagos Islands in 1831 he had no idea that what he would discover there would help him conceive his theory of natural selection.
Yet despite the many wonders he saw there was one thing he could not experience as we can: the sight of sharks, mola molas, turtle, iguanas, penguins and even orcas in their own habitat. Thanks to Dustin Adamson of Ocean Shutter here is that underworld realm in all its startling and unusual beauty that Darwin could only dream about.
When you think about where giant salamanders come from, most people would normally associate them with China and Japan. Yet while it is true that almost all members of the giant salamander family, the Cryptobranchidae, originate in Asia there is one species which calls the eastern United States its home. It is Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, known otherwise and popularly as the hellbender.
Why this giant salamander, which can grow up to 30 inches in length, acquired this name is lost to history. Some say it is because of its strange looks which bewildered early European settlers who imagined that it was a creature from the underworld, bent on returning there. While this is hardly fair, it is not its only unflattering moniker: it also goes by the names mud-devil, devil-dog and more recently, the snotty otter. The first name, as we shall see is the most inaccurate: the hellbender doesn’t like mud one little bit.
You really don’t see this every day. The platypus is usually considered nocturnal (even though it can also be seen in the early evening) yet sometimes, needs must. This platypus (one of the few venomous mammals on the planet) wants to get from one creek to another in its Tasmanian home but with no streams to get it to its destination, it has been forced to walk. Its trek was caught on film by Max Moller of Black Devil Productions.
We don’t usually stray away from live action on Ark in Space, but this is really something rather wonderful. Mike Roush, an animator living in California, has created this animated record of the life and loves of the Burrowing Owl. Although it does veer in to the anthropomorphic it also faithfully records many of the details of how burrowing owls survive in the wild. If this wets your appetite for the real thing then why not take a look at our feature article on the burrowing owl.