The tiny elf owl, Micrathene whitneyi, is one of the smallest owls in the world, growing to only 5 or 6 inches long — about the size of a typical sparrow. They live in the extreme southwestern United States and Mexico, and sometimes nest in cacti. Click the links below the pic to learn more about this amazing tiny owl species! 😀

elf owl tiny sparrow-sized small micrathene whitneyi

Audubon Guide: Elf Owl
Beauty of Birds
Owl Research Institute
Owling.com
The Owl Pages

Here’s a fun, free, full-length documentary on turtles and tortoises. Can YOU tell the difference?

Chitwan National Park, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, is one of the last refuges for the Bengal tiger as well as home to the largest population of one horned rhinoceros in the world. Visitors to the park are encouraged to explore the area by boat, by foot, or by elephant. There are also several breeding areas such as for vultures, elephants, and crocodiles.

chitwan national park nepal himalyas one horned rhinoceros calf mother baby

Wikipedia   |   WikiVoyage
UNESCO   |   Official Park Site
Lonely Planet   |   YouTube Video

Jabiru are storks that live in Central and South America, especially in the wetlands of Brazil and Paraguay. They are the tallest flying bird in their range, with adult males sometimes reaching 5 feet in height — about as big as the flightless rhea! Jabiru means “swollen neck” and both males and females have their namesake. Males tend to be about 25% larger than females, however.

ARKive   ADW   EOL
Cornell Lab   Oiseaux-Birds

Jabiru

The Hoopoe reminds me of a woodpecker who uses his bill to dig.

Hoopoe Bird Digging

The Dragon’s Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari)
can be found only on Socotra — four islands
off the horn of Africa, south of the Arabian Peninsula,
in the Indian Ocean.

dracaena cinnabari dragons blood tree socotra endemic crazy unique arid umbrella roots

Photo by Rod Waddington on Flickr

Kaziranga National Park lies in the far northeastern portion of India, just south of the Himalayan Mountains. It is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of endangered one-horned rhinoceroses and has the highest density of tigers of all protected areas in the world. This area also protects Asian elephants, water buffaloes and swamp deer, along with thousands of birds. Check out the links below to learn more about this ecological hot spot!

kaziranga national park india rhino

Kaziranga National Park
Koyeli Tours and Travel
UNESCO listing
Wikipedia

This full-length (almost an hour long) documentary, “Owls: Silent Hunters” by National Geographic features Fergus Beeley, a man who has devoted his life to studying owls and other birds of prey.

Up in the rugged, unforgiving mountains of Scotland, can any wildlife make a living? This BBC free full-length documentary film is presented on YouTube by AnimalLife. In these Scottish hills, we see that red deer and pine martens join many hardy bird species such as black-throated divers, hooded crows, ptarmigans, and reintroduced sea eagles. Follow a family of divers from a late second laying to the fledging and beyond. And follow the migration of salmon to the highest points in the river. At the end of the film is an entertaining filming diary.

Smilax species are shrubby vines that can climb up trees using curly tendrils and hooked thorns. Many are evergreen, and 20 species are found in North America north of Mexico. Of these, the most common are catbriers or greenbriers. Sarsaparilla is a medicinal plant native to Mexico. Its common name means “little bramble vine”. Click the links below to learn more about this useful species.

sarsaparilla smilax aristolochiifolia vine tendrils red berries mexican zarzasparilla

Wikipedia
iNaturalist
Tropical Plant Database

The Eurasian harvest mouse, Micromys minutus, is not only Europe’s smallest rodent, but it is also the continent’s only animal with a prehensile (grasping) tail. The nest this tiny one weaves also takes the prize for the most complex of any European mammal. The little harvest mouse splits and bends stalks of grass, eventually forming a spherical structure about 4 or 5 inches wide. These tiny rodents live only about 6 months, and even in captivity 18 months is the record.

More pics & info on Encyclopedia of Life
More pics & video on ARKive

Europe’s Smallest Rodent

The Dwarf Mongoose

Best Dwarf Mongoose Video

The colorful and unique Christmas Tree Worm, Spirobranchus giganteus, adds to the excitement of diving in tropical coral reefs all around the world. Their colorful plumes, always appearing as an identical pair, are used for both breathing and feeding. The plumes are covered with tiny hairs that trap food in the water and sweep it towards the animal’s mouth.

Spirobranchus giganteus christmas tree worm colorful coral reef plumes

EOL   |   Wikipedia
Caribbean Reefs
Great Barrier Reef
Mother Nature Network

This tiny Earth Tongue is only about an inch tall!

earth tongue geoglossum club fungi tiny moss black mushroom

Mushroom Expert
Wikipedia
Encyclopedia of Life

In the snowy winter, a beaver must work to keep a hole in the ice. He is cranky and slow-moving. The otter, on the other hand, is having fun sliding down hills and pestering the beaver! Watch this fun little video for a peek into the interaction between these two species in the dead of winter.

Beaver vs. Otter

Great (or Northern) Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, large for their type, are found across northern Europe from the UK to Western Russia. Females are larger than males and sport a bright yellow and black-spotted underbelly. Males have the bright belly plus two separate crests: a more scalloped or tufted version down their back and two smoother ones on the top and bottom of the tail. You may also be able to spot a silvery stripe running along the sides of the male’s tail. Watch the video below and check out the links to learn about this unique amphibian species!

ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
Freshwater Habitats Trust

Great Crested Newt

The Hooded Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia minor, is a carnivorous plant native to SE USA.

sarracenia minor hooded pitcher plant

Botanical Society: Hooded Pitcher Plant
Wildflower Center: Sarracenia minor
Carnivorous Plant FAQs

Dwarf Mongoose “beds”

Dwarf Mongooses live in Africa. Wikipedia says they sleep at night in…

  • “disused” termite mounds
  • rock piles
  • hollow trees

… along with other such cubby hole hideouts in their part of Africa. Continue reading

The stickpins or stubble lichens are 30 species in the genus Calicium, which often grow on live branches of trees such as giant redwoods. Below is a closeup of the fruiting body of Calicium adaequatum, sometimes called the “tiny daisy” lichen. Click the links below the pic to see just how minute these bodies really are…! Our Creator sure likes to put a lot of detail into tiny structures! 😀

Calicium adaequatum tiny daisy stickpins stubble lichen fruiting body miniature redwood forests boreal

Encyclopedia of Life
Ways of EnLICHENment
United States Forest Service

The St. Lucia or iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the southeastern corner of Africa features a wide variety of wildlife habitats including forest, inland lake, swamp, sand dunes, and coastal waters where whales make their annual migrations.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park