The Pyrenean Desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, is one of only two species of desmans in the world. This small aquatic insectivore lives in Spain and northern Portugal, near the Pyrenees mountains. They use their long, sensitive, flexible snout to search for underwater prey — tiny invertebrates such as insects, snails, and small shrimp. Desmans are related to moles and share several characteristics with them, including poor eyesight. Desmans, however, have more powerful hindquarters for propelling them through water.
Hornbill Nest Video
What I like best about this tiny bird is its name: Have you ever heard of a gnatwren?! It is not a wren, yet it has the cocked tail and general appearance of one. It IS a type of gnatcatcher, but it doesn’t quite LOOK like one. This unique species is the only one in its genus, yet it has over a dozen subspecies. It lives in Central and South America, with an isolated population along the east coast of Brazil. Read more about this little feathered friend using the links below the pic.
The American Bittersweet vine, Celastrus scandens, is native to central and eastern North America, but is unfortunately being replaced by a non-native invasive species, the Oriental Bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus. Our native species has alternate, oval, fine-toothed leaves and berry-like fruits that start out green, change to yellow then orange, then finally split open to reveal the 3-part fruit interior shown below. The fruits are poisonous to humans but eaten widely by birds and mammals, from wild turkeys to eastern cottontails. When growing up a young sapling, bittersweet vines can choke out and even kill their host, but typically it causes no real damage.
Perhaps the least known and most vulnerable species of bear is the Malayan Sun Bear or Honey Bear, Helarctos malayanus. This species grows to be only about half the size of black bears and lives in southeast Asia. They eat mostly insects, honey, and fruit, but will also eat small reptiles and rodents as well as eggs and a few plants such as sugar cane. Each sun bear has a unique lighter patch of fur on its chest, making it relatively easy to distinguish between individuals.
Malayan Sun Bear
This full-length (51min) nature documentary by National Geographic is in high definition and free on YouTube!
Be entertained and learn a LOT about these amazing reptiles. 😀
The Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare, lives in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It eats mostly ants, and it is immune to ant venom. When disturbed by a potential predator, this little lizard squirts its own blood out of its eyeball with precise aim, targeting his attacker’s face. Apparently this blood has some type of odor or taste that repels the predator. Click the links below the video for more videos, pics, and information on this crazy critter with its unique defense!
Blood Squirting Lizard!
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.