Categories
Animals Nature

How the Mary River Turtle breathes for 72 hours underwater

The Mary River Turtle is a remarkable creature for two main reasons.

One, it possesses specialized glands on its bottom that allow it to stay underwater for 72 hours—yes, it breathes through its genitals. It does this by releasing oxygen bubbles through its cloaca, the hole (aka butt) it excretes waste through.

Two, the animal sports an algae-infused mohawk. It uses the algae growing on its shell to camouflage itself from predators. The Mary River turtle is easily one of Australia’s largest turtles extending beyond 20 inches in carapace length.

The turtle lives exclusively in Mary River streams in southeastern Queensland, Australia, where it’s listed as one of the world’s most vulnerable reptiles. The species is listed as endangered due to its limited home range and numerous threats posed by humans, such as pollution, habitat loss, poaching, and boat strikes.

A number of organizations are working to protect the species, including the Australian Department of the Environment, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and the World Wildlife Fund.

The Mary River turtle’s sighting is becoming increasingly rare, and it’s important to help the species survive for future generations to come.

The Mary River Turtle
Photo: Chris Van Wyk
The Mary River Turtle
Photo: Chris Van Wyk
Photo: Chris Van Wyk
Categories
Animals Nature

The Mwanza flat-headed rock agama aka Spider-Man agama

The Mwanza Flat-Headed Rock Agama is a small lizard found primarily in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania. The male lizard, which has a flattened head, is also known as the Spider-Man agama because of its bright red and dark blue coloration and its ability to climb vertical surfaces with ease.

The Mwanza Flat-Headed Rock Agama grows to a maximum length of about 12 centimeters (5 inches). Its short, rounded snout are a distinctive feature of this species and give it a unique appearance among agamas.

Although it is primarily diurnal (active during the day), the Mwanza Flat-Headed Rock Agama is also busy at night. An agile lizard, it can quickly run around and ascend up and over surfaces to chase insects, spiders, or worms.

spiderman agama 3
spiderman agama 3
Categories
Animals Nature

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs

Add the Tasmanian Giant Crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas) to one of the animals you’ll want to see in person one day.

Weighing up to 39lbs with a shell length of up to 18 inches, the Tasmanian Giant Crab is the fifth largest crab species. Its wild geometry makes its claws appear more massive than its body — just look at it held by humans.

This monstrous “king” of crabs resides in the deep ocean of Southern Australia, mostly at depths of 460–885 feet.

Unfortunately, the crab is a prize catch among fishers where’s it’s been fished in Tasmanian waters since 1992.

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs
Photo: Seal Life via Twitter/@StrangeAnimals
The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs
Photo: Courtesy of Pure South Dining
Categories
Animals Nature

Meet the Dracula Parrot, the most metal birds on the planet

Thinking of parrots usually conjures up images of the brightly colored blue, red, and green creatures.

But with the shape of a parrot and the dark beak of a vulture, Pesquet’s parrot, commonly known as the Dracula parrot, is one of the more unique-looking parrot species.

The rare vulture-parrot hybrid found in New Guinea’s rainforests

The vampiric-looking bird from the mountains of New Guinea looks bloodthirsty but snacks on a diet of figs. Its unusual goth-like appearance, a mishmash of black and red plumes, is also quite beautiful. Male Dracula parrots have an extra red dot behind the ears.

Unfortunately, the Dracula Parrot’s mesmerizing feathers make it attractive to poachers. The bird has been listed on the endangered species list by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Pesquet's parrot aka Dracula Parrot
Pesquet's parrot aka Dracula Parrot
Categories
Animals Nature

How the Honduran white bat converts large leaves into tents

Some of the most bizarre wildlife exists in the Honduran rainforest. Take the Honduran white fruit bat (Ectophylla alba), for example.

The size of a golf ball, these tiny fluffy creatures love to snuggle together like peas in a pod in leaf tents. Polygamous, each little colony houses up to six females and one male.

The tent-making bats

These white-winged cotton-ball-looking bats create their nook by nibbling the side veins jutting out from the Heliconia plant, causing the large leaves to fold down to form a tent.

The leaf tents allow the bats to avoid parasites such as bat flies. When sunlight filters through the canopy, their white fur appears green — superb camouflage!

While most bats sleep in caves, these magic bats, also called Caribbean white tent-making bats, spend their leaves eating figs and roosting in peace.

Honduran white bat
Honduran white bat
Honduran white bat
Categories
Animals Nature

The beautiful yet feisty Lilac-breasted roller bird, Africa’s most colorful bird

The plumage on the lilac-breasted roller bird is gorgeous. The creature sports eight different colors to give it the impression of a mesmerizing rainbow.

Native to sub-Saharan Africa and the national bird of both Botswana and Kenya, the lilac bird is known to perch on treetops by the roadside so it can pounce on rodents and insects moving about on the ground.

An aggressive little fluff—especially when intruders get too close to their nest—these birds are also renowned for the rolling flight pattern that sees them dip and dive from high in the sky in torpedo-like motion.

Categories
Animals

The cassowary is living proof that birds are living dinosaurs

The cassowary is further proof that birds are living dinosaurs.

Native to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia, the flightless Cassowary bird can grow up to a whopping 7 feet tall and weigh as much as 120 pounds. It’s the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird.

But even more dinosauric are the cassowary’s razor-sharp talons that it uses to defend itself. Known as the “world’s most dangerous bird,” the cassowary can quickly kill a human with one strike of its dagger-like feet.

Interestingly, the cassowary also lay bright green and pale green-blue eggs during the breeding season. That’s almost as fascinating as the bird’s turquoise neck, shark fin-shaped casque, and glossy feathers — such a mythical and neat-colored creature!

Categories
Animals Photography

The Fringed Leaf Frog

The Fringed Leaf Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus) is one of the rarest amphibians in the world.

The 3-inch creature lives a reclusive life up in the Amazon rainforest’s high canopies — it rarely visits the ground — in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The Fringed Leaf Frog

The frog’s coloration, of course, is stunning — intermixing green, blue, and purple. It also can feature pale blue patches on its back.

The myriad colors provide the frog with superb camouflage to conceal it from hunting monkeys. It also makes a soft, croaking sound.

Like all rainforest species, the Fringed Leaf Frog faces the threat of habitat loss. So if you see one perched for a photo opportunity, remember to leave it be.

The Fringed Leaf Frog
The Fringed Leaf Frog
The Fringed Leaf Frog
Categories
Animals

The elephant trunk snake

The Elephant trunk snake (Acrochordus javanicus) is among the largest freshwater snakes in the world.

This weird-looking snake has unique wrinkly scalation and a chunky body, resembling an elephant’s trunk. Its face also looks like a pug or seal.

elephant trunk snake

Given the snake’s aquatic nature, it’s often mistaken as an eel. But the elephant trunk snake rarely leaves the water. The creature mostly lives in the streams and lagoons in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Non-venomous — it has a forked tongue — elephant trunk snakes make popular exotic pets.

elephant trunk snake
elephant trunk snake
Categories
Animals

The freaky Potoo bird

The Potoo bird (Ghost bird) from Central and South America can appear freaky.

The strange-looking bird possesses a hooked snake-like bill with a massive gape the animal uses to swallow moths and other insects.

A nocturnal insectivore, their yellow eyes glow up into massive googly balls at night. Yet, they are unrelated to owls.

Potoo bird

The potoo bird enjoys excellent camouflage, living life perched upon a tree branch during the day.

In addition to looking like a muppet, the bird may be best known for its sound, projecting a creepy melancholic song.

Potoo bird
Potoo bird