Saturday, September 6, 2014

Seven of The World’s Most Intriguing Animals

From a rabbit that looks like a fur ball with a face; to a small primate that can rotate its head 180 degrees; down to a fish that uses its fin to walk on ocean floors — these creatures are truly intriguing animals! Read on to learn more about them.

Proboscis Monkey

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The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or commonly known as the long-nosed monkey, is a reddish-brown monkey native to the southeast Asian island of Borneo. Males which are bigger than females average 60 to 70 cm head-body length and weigh up to 23 to kg. This arboreal monkey has a nearly long coat. Fur color ranges from bright orange, brick-red, reddish brown, or yellowish brown. Aside from its fairly long nose, proboscis monkey is well-known for its large, swollen stomach, as if it is pregnant. Its large nose will turn red and swollen when it gets either angry, excited or sexually mature.

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They live in group with a single male leading the group with 9-19 individuals ( adult females and their offspring). They are known to make an assortment of vocalizations. They are adept swimmers and majority of their lives are spent living close to water. Proboscis monkey feed mainly on unripe fruits and young leaves. The proboscis monkey is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In captivity, proboscis monkeys can live more than have 25 years.

Angora Rabbit

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The Angora rabbit is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit that traces its root in Ankara, Turkey. It is fairly small rabbit well-known for its long, soft hair. Angora rabbit appears round, like a fur ball with a face. Coat color ranges from black, blue, chinchilla, fawn, golden, smoke, and white. This fascinating animal has bunches of hair on its ears and feet tips. The long hair can grow up to 15cm in length. Furthermore, it has powerful back legs. Adults can weigh up to 3kgs.

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There are four recognized breed namely: English, French, Giant, and Satin. Angora rabbits are active, playful and social. They sleep at day and are most lively at dawn and dusk. They feed mainly on fresh hay, fresh fruit and vegetables. Females can produce, on average, 3-5 young; with a 28-31 days gestation period. Life span: 5 years or more.

Star-Nosed Mole

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The star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata), is a distinctive, semi-aquatic mammal native to eastern north America. It inhabits series of tunnels (some as long as 270m) beneath the surface of a stream or lake. This fascinating animal is known for bizarre nose having a set of 22 sensitive tentacles! Having poorly developed eyes, Star-nose mole relies mainly on its tentacles to detect and identify probable prey without using sight. Furthermore, these fleshy tentacles are also handy in keeping soil and food from entering the nose.

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Typically, star-nosed moles measure 152 – 211 mm in body length and weight: 30 – 75 g. They generally have cylindrical bodies, large claws, strong forelimbs and broad feet. The coat is thick and dark, and ranges from blackish brown to black. They are also good swimmers! Depending on the habitat, the star-nosed mole’s diet include; ants, beetles, earthworms, larvae of aquatic insects, leeches, salamanders, small fish, and young snakes.

Aye-Aye

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The Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), is a medium-sized nocturnal lemur native only to the island of Madagascar. It inhabits deciduous forest and tropical rainforest. An intriguing kind of lemur, the aye aye has big yellowish-orange eyes, a pink nose, rodent-like teeth and long bushy tail. It has huge disk-shaped ears that is so sensitive in picking up even the slightest sound. What‘s more, its ear can be rotated independently. Last thing — its fingers are very long specially the skinny, middle finger that is very handy in picking up prey hidden beneath fruits and tree barks. What an intriguing animal!

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Aye-ayes are dark brown or black. Adults measure 360-440 mm (Head and body length) and can reach up to 3 kg. in weight. A solitary and nocturnal animal, they spend the day sleeping in nests and begin searching for food anywhere between 30 minutes before and three hours after sunset. Diet includes: animal matter, beetles, fruits, fungi, insect larvae, nectar, and seeds. The aye-aye is currently classified as Endangered by the IUCN.

Philippine Tarsier

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The Philippine tarsier (Carlito syrichta), known locally as the kupal in Cebuano/Visayan, is an extremely small animal measuring around 85 to 160 millimeters (3.35 to 6.30 in) in height. It weighs 113-142 grams. Its geographic range includes the islands of Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao in the Philippines. It can easily be identified by its big, round eyes (considered the biggest amongst mammals) — 16 mm across, very proportionate to its body size!

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Having eyes that are fixed in its skull poses no threat for this versatile primate. It is gifted with a special neck flexibility — allowing its head to swivel it’s head 180 degrees! Furthermore, the Philippine tarsier‘s big eyes provide it with excellent night vision. It has large, constantly moving ears and thin tail primarily used for balance. The thin, rough fur comes in gray to dark brown in color. The toes’ second and third digits have sharp claws typically used for grooming. A nocturnal animal, it feeds primarily on live insects particularly crickets and grasshoppers.

Lowland Streaked Tenrec

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An animal that looks like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog — the Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is another intriguing animal native only to Madagascar, Africa. This small tenrec inhabits tropical lowland rain forest. It is easily recognized by its long, tapered snouts; a vestigal tail and spines amongst their fur. Coat is blackish-brown with yellowish band running from the forehead down the pinkish snout. The belly is chestnut-brown with soft hairs. Adults measure to about 16 to 19 centimeters in head to body length and weigh between 90 to 220 grams.

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Lowland streaked tenrecs lives in long, shallow burrows built near water lines. They form highly-socialized family groups that communicate in different sensory signals such as auditory cues, mechanical (touch), olfactory (smell), and visual signals. They are active during day and night, foraging upon earthworms andf other small insects. When threatened, it uses the spines on the crest around and body for protection.

Pink Handfish

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A fish that uses its fin to walk on ocean floors, rather than swim, isn’t that an intriguing animal? Yes, in 1999, a living pink handfish was spotted along the coastal waters of Tasmania, Australia. Although there are 14 known species of handfish, only four known species of pink handfish have ever been found. Little is known about its biological makeup. What marine biologists reveal is that pink handfish is a bony scales-covered fish, with thick skin acting as defensive tool against predators. It is a small fish measuring just about 15 cm long.

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