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The African Fish Eagle – Kleptoparasite Extraordinaire

Sunday, 6 October 2019


The National Bird of two countries - Zimbabwe and Zambia – the African Fish Eagle is a bird that, with its gorgeous snow white head, once seen is never forgotten.

The Eagle is found in most parts of the continent – as long as you are south of the edge of the Sahara Desert.  Also known as the African Sea Eagle it is found anywhere near where there is water containing fish.  It has a distinctive call which immediately identifies it, but what really stands out is its magnificent plumage.

The Banana Slug – Nature’s Giant Recycler

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Perhaps it is the mucus, perhaps the snake-like appearance or the habit of many species of slug to regard your garden and the carefully cultivated plants within as dinner – but the slug generally has a pretty bad press.

So, if you just groaned in horror at the picture above, you are in good company. A lot of people don’t like slugs. The sight of them in a garden has been known to turn even the most mild mannered in to mad mollusk murderers. Yet the giant Banana Slug, the second largest in the world (after the European Limax), has more than just its size and resemblance to a certain yellow fruit as a claim to fame. This is one of the unsung champions of the forest, for the banana slug only eats dead organic material which they then turn in to soil.

The Pink Robin: The Gloriously Pink-breasted Bird

Sunday, 18 August 2019

The robin, both European and American is famous for its red breast.  The subject of nursery rhymes and Christmas cards the male of the species is resplendent in red. Australia, too, has a robin.  One might, of course, expect this particular country to produce something a little different: it has form, after all.  So, step forward the pink robin, Australia’s passerine of pulchritudinous pinkness.


Just in case you think this is some kind of practical joke, here's a rare and short video of the pink robin.

The Hyrax – The Elephant’s Cousin

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Hyrax may look like a guinea pig to the casual observer but looks can be very deceptive.  It has even been called the rock rabbit but its family tree is much stranger than you might expect. Its nearest living relatives are the elephant and, bizarrely, the sea cow.

Caught In The Web: How Spiders Eat their Prey

Friday, 16 August 2019


Imagine you are an insect caught in a spider web. What exactly will happen to you once the spider comes and, as it were, sits down beside you? It’s not a pretty process, that’s for sure but some amazing macrophotography can make even death a thing of beauty...

The fate of a creature caught in a spider web often holds a morbid fascination to the casual viewer. The urge to release them may be strong but many hold back, perhaps afraid that if they assist the struggling animal then a similar fate may well be in store for them.

The Remarkable Giraffe Weevil of Madagascar

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Three guesses how the giraffe weevil gets its name. Unsurprisingly, this extraordinary looking Madagascan creature gets the name from its stupendously long neck.  It is three times longer in the male than the female of the species (Trachelophorus giraffa). As such it is sexually dimorphic – the male’s neck is used for aggressive combat.

When it comes to mating, it is certainly the male of the species which is more deadly.  The giraffe weevil has evolved its extended neck to fight for the right to a nearby female (which will patiently await the outcome of the fight and even occasionally act as a kind of referee before procreating with the winner). They show no aggression towards other species, neither hunting nor eating other animals. It is rare for males to kill each other in this struggle.

The Mwanza Flat-headed Rock Agama - The Spider-Man Lookalike Lizard

The lizard that looks an awful lot like a certain superhero is in huge demand in pet shops. Take a look and find out why.

Fans of Peter Parker’s erstwhile alter ego Spider-Man who also happen to be animal lovers have discovered their ideal pet.

Looking strangely like the comic and movie hero, step forward the Mwanza flat-headed rock agama. Yet if you suddenly want to run out and buy one, you need to consider the facts first of all.

Fishing with Cormorants

Sunday, 28 July 2019

It is partnership between man and animal which has lasted over a millennia. A fisherman needs to catch enough fish to sell and feed himself and his family. Sometimes that means that he needs an assistant. Along the river ways of China that assistance has come from a member of the pelicaniformes order of birds – the bird we call the cormorant.

These are working animals in much the same way as dogs and horses on farms in the west with a specific role assigned to them. The major primary difference is that the cormorants are not born in to captivity. They are lured by bait and caught. The training process can then begin.

Welcome to Flamingo City

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Each year the lakes of Kenya play host to one of the world’s largest populations of flamingos. For a short period the area around a group of lakes is awash with pink as millions of lesser flamingos fly in to breed and one of the world's most spectacular displays takes place.

There is safety in numbers, of course. It ensure the survival of the many. So each year Flamingo City forms, crowded, noisy and sometimes tempers can flare.  Yet why do these remarkable birds flock here in such huge numbers?

Some of these lakes, Lake Bogoria in particular, have formed along the Rift Valley. The lakes, among them Nakuru and Elementeita do not have significant drainage in to rivers. This means that the forces of evaporation are concentrated on them and this causes the water to become brackish and alkaline.

This has, of course, an adverse effect on aquatic life and you may then be wondering what on earth the flamingos eat. The answer is algae, the growth of which is encouraged by the shallow depth of the water and the powerful sunlight beaming down upon it.

The lesser flamingo loves to eat this blue-green algae and it is virtually alone in its taste for this rich harvest. That means that, without competition, they arrive in huge numbers. Some are predated by hyenas but Lake Bogoria can be temporary home to over one hundred thousand of them.

Volcanic geysers and fumaroles spit out sulfurous gases into the air which gives the place an other worldly feel. Once can hardly imagine life scraping by here, let alone thriving. Yet only a small distance away life defies all obstacles and flourishes in a mass of pink exuberance!


Image Credit
First picture - Image Credit Flickr User Rainbirder

The Solitary Bee: Wonderful Short Documentary

Thursday, 18 July 2019


Did you know that the UK has over 250 species of bees and that the majority of them don’t live in hives but live their lives alone?  This wonderful documentary by Team Candiru follows first Red Mason Bees and then others as they struggle to find resources, avoid death and create new life.  If you love nature the next seventeen minutes are going to seem like a few seconds.  Enjoy!

Plus if you want to learn more about the bee hotels included in this documentary then whey not visit our feature article on them?

How Spiders Escaped the Pakistani Floods

Sunday, 30 June 2019

When the floods hit Pakistan in 2010 the first thing that many people did was to head for higher ground. So too did countless millions of animals, among them spiders.  To escape the rapidly rising waters the spiders did the sensible thing and climbed up trees.

The flood waters took quite a while to recede. The result was that the temporary arachnid shelter became semi-permanent – and a spider has to do what a spider has to do...

The Burrowing Owl – The Smallest Species of Owl

Saturday, 29 June 2019

There are a number of things which separate the burrowing owl from other species. The first clue is in the name.  Another is that they are the smallest species of owl on the planet and more often or not they do not weight more than half a pound in weight and reach around ten inches in height. They also come out in the day time, unlike most other owls.

That is not a snake that the adult burrowing owl is feeding to its chick. It's a caterpillar - which goes to show just how small they are. They are also much more relaxed around humans than other species of owls.  They will happily colonize areas like airports and golf courses and have even been known to nest in larger gardens. As long as there are open areas and a good water supply they seem to be content to live near us.

The Ant With a Door for a Head

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Cephalotes is a broad genus of ants.  They are heavily armored – it makes you wonder just how formidable they would look if we were the same size. The amazing thing about many of them is the head – used to plug a gap as it were.  Above is an ant of the species Cephalotes varians.

The Four Most Exotic Animals in the World

Thursday, 30 May 2019


Earth is home to an immense variety of living beings and animals, many with qualities which make them very rare and special. If you go looking, you will come across all kinds of insects, fish, birds and mammals which will fascinate you, and sometimes even make you shiver with fear.

In fact, the mankind’s relationship with such species goes back thousands of years. Many of these animals whom we consider exotic today used to be pets for our ancestors. To tell you the truth, there are some exotic animals which people still actually keep in their homes. Regardless, let’s acquaint you with the four most exotic animals that mankind has ever come across.

Mandarin Duck
Found in Russia, Japan and China, Mandarin Duck was first introduced in Europe and is considered exotic because of its immense beauty. The male duck has a phenomenal variety of colours like orange, fuchsia, cream, brown, blue and green. These ducks normally inhabit in areas close to lagoons, ponds and lakes. Having them in the vicinity is considered good luck in various parts of Asia. Many also consider their presence as a mark of conjugal love and affection. In some countries people also offer Mandarin Duck as a gift to the groom/bride during weddings!

Slow Loris

A primate that is found mainly in Asia, Slow Loris is a sort of Internet celebrity. The evolutionary history of this animal remains a mystery. What sets it apart is the way it protects itself from the predators. It has a gland in its armpits which possesses poison and becomes active whenever it licks that area. The female Slow Loris even apply this poison as a coating on their young ones to protect them. Apart from the deforestation problem, this species is threatened with extinction by none other than the human beings. You can often find people involved in illegal trade of this small mammal in the underground market.

Pink Grasshopper
You must have seen green, brown and sometimes even the white grasshoppers. But Pink grasshoppers are a rarity as they are a result of a recessive gene which is not found in majority of the species. There is only one in 50,000 grasshoppers which has this colour. As is evident, the exotic nature of this species is because of its colour, which also makes it unattractive to its predators.

Pangolin
Image Credit
It’s a kind of mammal which has large scales and is found in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Although pangolin doesn’t have any specific body weapon which it can use against its predators, its legs are so powerful that it can dig the ground very quickly. Such is the force of its legs that it can even break the human leg with one hit.

The Pangolin wards off its predators by emitting a very foul smell or by digging quick holes into the ground. You will find them living in pairs or alone. It’s not uncommon to find Pangolin meat in China as there is excessive demand for it in the country.

First Image Credit

The Wolf Eel: The Old Man of the Sea

Monday, 27 May 2019

Picture one of those double-take moments when you have to look again in a mixture of curiosity and alarm. Then imagine that you are thirty meters underwater when that happens. Over the years, divers off the coast of California have had many such moments when they suddenly come across the huge face of an old man peering at them from the rocky reefs below. Yet this is not anything approaching a subaquatic nightmare: it is the face of an extraordinary creature, the wolf eel.

The Water Deer: Vampire among the Ruminants?

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Do you see something a little strange about the deer in the picture? If your eyes were immediately drawn to those rather vampiric fangs protruding from its mouth, then your next thought might have been that this must be some sort of freak of nature, an accident of birth.  That isn’t how deers come, is it?  For the Water Deer, otherwise and popularly known as the Vampire Deer the answer is in the affirmative.

Let’s give the animal its proper name.  This is the Chinese Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis inermis) and it is one of two subspecies (the other being the Korean variety) which have prominent tusks, downward-pointing canine teeth which make it look as if it’s had a run in with a Nosferatu type who has suddenly acquired the ability to ‘turn’ mammals other than humans.  This feature makes the subspecies unique – they are the only two members of the genus Hydropotes.

The Crabs that Build Their Own Galaxy

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Small hermit and soldier crabs in Malaysia and Australia build their home digging a deep hope in the sand on a beach. They got a good idea of how to move sand up during his construction. Down in the hole this crab is making sand balls and later push them up to the surface, 2-3 balls at a time. Pushing sand ball more far from the hole they form a kind of sand ball flower or sand ball galaxy.

Up close you can see the almost perfectly spherical balls that the crabs engineer.  They are meticulous in their method to say the very least.

Amung Feedjit