Saturday, September 22, 2012

Seagulls are not ugly, they are adorable!

Leading up to Hallowe'en, I'll be profiling animals that are not normally considered cute. In fact, many people are often afraid of these animals, and I'll be showing how cute they can be!



Cuddling together!

A lot of people find Seagulls to be annoying or ugly, but here are examples of Seagulls being cute and adorable! Many sea birds like to be around one another, and often cuddle together in cute pouffy balls on the beach. 

Seagulls are also very smart, and work together to find food. Some Seagulls even trick fish with food to catch them, the same way that humans use bait when fishing!




Fuzzy!

 Seagulls usually have one partner for their life, meaning that the family stays together. The romantic couple will often lay their eggs in the same location year after year. They work together to build a soft and cozy nest for their babies. The mother Seagull lays about one to three eggs and the parents take turns keeping the eggs warm and safe. When they hatch the baby Seagulls are adorable piles of fluff!






Both the mother and father help to raise the babies, taking turns feeding and protecting them.

Seagulls like to eat a lot of different kinds of food. They are not picky! They often catch fish from the ocean, and also like to eat shellfish, such as clams. In order to open the shells, these birds will fly high in the air and drop the shellfish onto a hard surface, like a rock, and keep doing this until the shell cracks open!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fuzzy Little Bats!

Leading up to Hallowe'en, I'll be profiling animals that are not normally considered cute. In fact, many people are often afraid of these animals, and I'll be showing how cute they can be! 

So fuzzy!
Many people are afraid of Bats, but they are really cute and fuzzy! Also, the Bats found in Canada, such as the Little Brown Bat, are pretty small, so there is nothing to be afraid of. Bats are Mammals, just like us, which means that the mothers feed their babies milk.

I've seen Bats in Stanley Park, Vancouver, flying around at dusk! They swoop over the Lagoon, catching bugs to snack on. Bats also help pollinate plants, such as Bananas!

Bats love to cuddle one another. They often sleep in giant cuddle piles, consisting of millions of bats!




Sleeping upside down!
Most Bats sleep during the day and are active at night. One of the cool thing about Bats is their ability to sleep while hanging upside down! They curl up into a little ball by wrapping their wings around their body, and then doze off to sleep.

Because Bats often fly around in the dark, they have a special skill, called echolocation, to find their prey. It's too dark at night for Bats to see their food, such as insects, so they make high-pitched noises which bounce back off objects, just like an echo. Bats can understand the echoing noises to figure out where objects are, like trees and bugs. How cool! There are some Bats who do not have this special skill, called Old World Bats. They are bigger in size and like to eat fruit!



Further Reading: Investigating the Role of Bats in Emerging Zoonoses


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Momongas: the Cutest Ball of Fluff You'll Ever See!!

Cuddly Momongas!



I've just discovered Momongas, super adorable, tiny, fluffy Squirrels! They are a type of flying Squirrel, which means that when they jump and spread out their arms and legs, they have, what looks like, furry wings! They are not actually wings, but skin, similar to webbed toes.



Sleepy nap.


Momongas love sleeping in trees! They live in forests in Japan and like to sleep in tree holes during the day, but wake up at night to do cute things, like glide from tree to tree.

Their big, super cute, eyes help them see at night when they are gliding and collecting food.
Momongas like to eat leaves, berries and fruit, seeds, and tree bark. They use their tiny little paws to hold their food.



Peek-a-boo!


Momongas make their nests using moss and lichen (both plants) that they collect. These chubby, furry Rodents have about 1 to 5 babies once or twice a year. The babies are born between May and July, which means a lot of cuteness during the Summer!

MOMONGAS ARE MY NEW FAVOURITE ANIMALS!! :D

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup



Every year, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is held in September all across Canada. Environmental groups, organizations, and individuals get together to clean up the shorelines in their communities, be it a harbour, a pond, or a beach. 

This year, I'm living in Vancouver and have joined two cleanups in my area. One taking place in English Bay, my favourite beach, and the other at Beaver Lake, where there really are Beavers!

Check out Shoreline Cleanup to see the map of all the cleanups that have been organized. You can join an existing one or even organize your own!




Monday, September 3, 2012

Squishy Sea Stars!



Sea Stars live on the ocean floor.             (Photo credit: Paul Shaffner)
Sea Stars are water-filled, squishy, and adorable animals! There are different kinds of Sea Stars, the most popular being the five-armed "Starfish". Starfish are not actually Fish, so I call them Sea Stars instead! Fish are animals that have backbones (and are called "vertebrates"), while Sea Stars don't have a backbone (and are called "invertebrates"). This means that Sea Stars are very soft!





I'm holding a Sun Star!                      (Photo credit: N. Collins)

This is a purple Sun Star that I worked with at the Ocean Sciences Center in Logy Bay, Newfoundland. Sun Stars have a lot of arms! The cool thing about Sea Stars is their ability to grow back any arms that get inured. So if you see a Sea Star with a tiny arm, that means it's slowly growing back to its normal size.





The underside of a Sea Star.              (Photo credit: Jaclyn Pisano)

Most Sea Stars eat other animals, like mussels or snails, through the mouth on the underside of their bodies. Some Sea Stars can also push their stomachs outside of their bodies to eat their prey!!

To walk, Sea Stars have tiny little, squishy "tube feet" that act like suction cups. These tube feet are organized in lines on the underside of each arm.

Sun Star eating!         Salt Spring Island        (Photo credit: G. Gan)




When Sea Stars eat, their bodies get poofy in the middle! This means that they've surrounded their food and are having a great snack. 

Some Sea Stars keep their eggs inside of them, which can also make their bodies look poofy. Although, most Sea Stars let their eggs float off into the ocean!

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