Animals · Nature

Diamondback Turtle

The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) or simply terrapin, is a species of turtle native to the brackish coastal tidal marshes of the eastern and southern United States, and in Bermuda.[5] It belongs to the monotypic genus, Malaclemys. It has one of the largest ranges of all turtles in North America, stretching as far south as Florida Keys and as far north as Cape Cod.[6]

The name “terrapin” is derived from the Algonquian word torope.[7] It applies to Malaclemys terrapin in both British English and American English. The name originally was used by early European settlers in North America to describe these brackish-water turtles that inhabited neither freshwater habitats nor the sea. It retains this primary meaning in American English.[7] In British English, however, other semi-aquatic turtle species, such as the red-eared slider, might be called a terrapin.

The common name refers to the diamond pattern on top of its shell (carapace), but the overall pattern and coloration vary greatly. The shell is usually wider at the back than in the front, and from above its appears wedge-shaped. The shell coloring can vary from brown to grey, and its body color can be grey, brown, yellow, or white. All have a unique pattern of wiggly, black markings or spots on their body and head. The diamondback terrapin has large webbed feet.[8] The species is sexually dimorphic in that the males grow to approximately 13 cm (5.1 in), while the females grow to an average of around 19 cm (7.5 in), though they are capable of growing larger. The largest female on record was just over 23 cm (9.1 in) in length. Specimens from regions that are consistently warmer in temperature tend to be larger than those from cooler, more northern areas.[9]Male diamondback terrapins weigh 300 g (11 oz) on average, while females weigh around 500 g (18 oz).[10] The largest females can weigh up to 1,000 g (35 oz)

 

(photos taken at Camden Aquarium)

 

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Animals · Sharks · water

Bamboo Sharks

DSCN2146Bamboo Sharks

Size: Up to 3.5 feet long
Habitat/Range: Shallow waters of tide pools and inshore coral reefs of the Indo-west Pacific region

A small shark with spots. Its dorsal fins are straight or convex rear margins, and its anal fin is set very far back on a very long, thick tail. Its first dorsal fin origin is opposite or just behind the pelvic fin insertions, and it has lateral ridges on its body.

COLOR
This shark has a pokie machines dark body with numerous light and dark spots, dark bands and saddles not conspicuously edged with black.

SIZE
When the shark hatches, it is about 3.54 to 4.72 inches [9 to 12 cm] in length. Females mature when they are 1.6 to 2 ft [50 to 60 cm], and the shark can reach a length of 3.1 ft [95 cm].

HABITAT
The shark prefers inshore waters. It is usually seen on the bottom, or on the reefs in the tropics.

DISTRIBUTION
Indo-west Pacific from Madagascar to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan.

(photos taken at Adventure Aquarium)

Animals · Cats · Mountain Lion · Puma

Cat Country

cougar

The Cougar

This powerful predator roams the Americas, where it is also known as a puma, cougar, and catamount. This big cat of many names is also found in many habitats, from Florida swamps to Canadian forests.

Mountain lions like to prey on deer, though they also eat smaller animals such as coyotes, porcupines, and raccoons. They usually hunt at night or during the gloaming hours of dawn and dusk. These cats employ a blend of stealth and power, stalking their prey until an opportunity arrives to pounce, then going for the back of the neck with a fatal bite.

Type:MammalDiet:CarnivoreSize:Head and body, 3.25 to 5.25 ft (1 to 1.6 m); Tail, 23.5 to 33.5 in (60 to 85 cm)Weight:136 lbs (62 kg)Protection status:Endangered

Animals · Birds · Fowl · Nature

The Majestic Peacock

peacock

The Peacock

Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful “eye” markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird’s back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.

The term “peacock” is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.

Animals

Monkeying Around!

tan monkey hanging out

Gibbon

Monkey Species
There are more than 260 species of Monkeys found in the world today. They are derived from early primates that have been around for millions of years. There isn’t enough information about evolution to say with certainty how they came to be.  The gibbon monkey — or, more properly, gibbon ape — might not have a familiar name, but you’ve probably seen his funny walk and graceful style of swinging through the trees. Gibbons are so closely related to humans that they live in monogamous families and can walk upright on two legs. These slender, agile primates live in a small part of the world and are on the endangered species list.

Animals

What’s good for the goose?

The Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) occurs in North America, where it is regionally common.

This species has adapted well to living in urban and suburban areas and are commonly found on lakes, ponds and rivers.  In the past, the Cackling Goose was considered to be a smaller subspecies of the Canada Goose.

However, in July 2004, the American Ornithologists’ Union’s Committee split them up into two separate species based on genetic studies and differences in:

  • voice
  • size (most races of Cackling Goose being smaller than the Canada Goose)
  • breeding habitat (Cackling Goose breeds farther northward and westward than the Canada Goose)

There are 5 subspecies of Cackling Goose, of varying sizes and plumage details. The smallest form of the Cackling Goose – the Lesser Canada Goose or Small Cackling Goose – is only about a quarter the size of the “Giant Canada Goose.”

This goose is easily recognized by its black head and neck, distinctive white patches on the face, light tan to cream chest and its otherwise brownish-grey plumage.

They are strong swimmers, divers and flyers. Cackling Geese are long-distance migrants and are well known for their V-shaped flight formation, during which the front position is rotated since flying in front consumes the most energy.  This species is protected in North America under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, making it illegal to harm, take, or possess migratory birds, any parts of the bird, their nests or their eggs, except during the hunting season, or by special permit (MacGowan, Loven and Whitford).

Animals

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon

I took this photo while visiting Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ.  The Komodo dragon, also known as the Komodo monitor, is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar.Wikipedia

Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis
Speed: 12 mph maximum (On Land, Sprint)
Mass: 170 – 200 lbs (Adult, Male)
Length: 8.5 ft. (Adult, Male)
Rank: Species
Animals

Cat speak!

My trip to the Zoo led me to this beautiful cat. Below are some interesting details.

Amur leopards differ from other subspecies by a thick coat of spot-covered fur. They show the strongest and most consistent divergence in pattern. Leopards from the Amur River basin, the mountains of north-eastern China and the Korean Peninsulahave pale, cream-colored coats, particularly in winter. Rosettes on the flanks are 5 cm × 5 cm (2.0 in × 2.0 in) and widely spaced, up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in), with thick, unbroken rings and darkened centers.

Their coat is fairly soft with long and dense hair. The length of hair on the back is 20–25 mm (0.79–0.98 in) in summer and 50 mm (2.0 in) in winter. The winter coat varies from fairly light yellow to dense yellowish-red with a golden tinge or rusty-reddish-yellow. The summer pelage is brighter with more vivid coloration pattern. Compared with other leopard subspecies, they are rather small in size, with males bigger than females. Males measure from 107 to 136 cm (42 to 54 in) with a 82 to 90 cm long tail, a shoulder height of 64 to 78 cm (25 to 31 in), and a weight of 32.2–48 kg (71–106 lb). Females weigh from 25 to 42.5 kg (55 to 94 lb).

Animals

White Crested Laughing Thrush

The white-crested laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus) is a member of the Leiothrichidae family.[2] It is found in forest and scrub from the Himalayan foothills to Indochina. It formerly included the Sumatran laughingthrush as asubspecies, but unlike that species the plumage of the white-crested laughingthrush is rufescent-brown and white, and the black mask is relatively broad.