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Animals

Gorgeous eyelashes of the Secretary bird

The Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is your new favorite bird.

Endemic to Africa and the national bird of Sudan, the Secretary bird looks like a combination of an eagle and a crane. Its snake-stomping legs can deliver up to 43 pounds of force. The raptor is also known for its speed, earning the nickname “devil’s horse.”

But what’s most recognizable about this 4-foot terrestrial bird of prey is its beautiful, elongated eyelashes and eyelash-like feathers.

Don’t be ashamed to admit if the Secretarybird has better eyelashes than you.

Gorgeous eyelashes of the Secretary bird
Gorgeous eyelashes of the Secretary bird
Gorgeous eyelashes of the Secretary bird
Gorgeous eyelashes of the Secretary bird
Categories
Animals Nature

The giant crowned flying fox is a human-size bat from the Philippines

Here’s a creature from the Philippines that will stop you in your tracks. The giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) grows as large as 3 feet with a 5-6 feet wingspan.

It is quite simply one of the largest bats in the world.

giant crowned flying fox

You’d think that the megabat the size of a 6-year-old kid would be a threat, but it’s harmless — the animal is vegetarian and primarily munches on fruit. For that reason, it is also known as the golden-capped fruit bat. The bats even help spread seeds as pollinators. 

Unfortunately, the species is endangered and facing extinction due to poaching in the forest.

giant crowned flying fox
giant crowned flying fox
giant crowned flying fox
Categories
Animals Nature

The flamboyant cuttlefish

The cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) is a real master of color change. 

The bioluminescent fish can modify their appearance and shape using flashing LCD-like bands to hypnotize prey before snatching it up. 

That’s right — these fish use their strobing disco lights to psyche-out crabs and small fish!  

Like the octopus, the cuttlefish have pigmented chromatophores in their skin, allowing them to camouflage with their surroundings. 

Learn more about the cuttlefish in the video below. 

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Animals

The Great Blue Turaco

The beautiful Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) is a bird from West and Central Africa’s tropical forests. 

The birds weigh up to three pounds and grow up to 30 inches long, about a pheasant’s size. While not the most competent flyers, they are excellent climbers, spending most of their time hanging out in the trees.

Great Blue Turaco

While the great blue turaco sings sweet melodies and snacks on fruit, leaves, and flowers, it’s most famous for its mix of vibrant colors. 

With blue running across its head and upper breasts, the bird also flashes a black crest, a teal belly, and a red and tipped beak that gives it the impression of wearing lipstick. It also sports a stunning dark blue mohawk.  

One of the most sought after bird species by birders, the Great Blue Turaco is also widely regarded as a bird that brings good luck. 

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Animals Travel

A rare look at a great horned owl swimming through a canyon

Behold this rare video of a great horned owl “swimming” (read: trying to fly) through a canyon in Lake Powell. The great horned owl is a type of force eagle-owl native to the Americas.

The young swimming owl – identifiable by the spot of nestling feathers — accidentally fell from its nest on the cliff edges during a snooze. Luckily, the owl treaded enough water to make it to shore. Surely it won’t be as careless as a grownup.

Known as the “tiger of the sky,” great horned owls excel at hunting using their keen eyesight and powerful talons. The owl can exert 28 pounds of force to split the spine of large prey. Imagine being wrapped in such an intense grip.

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Animals Nature

Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider

Let’s hope this animal doesn’t upset your sleep tonight. Below is a close-up facial expression of the Wolf Spider (Lycosidae).

Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider
Photo: Meidienbunker Produktian (via Twitter/Solbrah)

If you don’t think the energy the creature gives off is weird enough (see the Oni Mask), look more closely at the additional four more little eyes near the mouth.

Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider
Photo: Meidienbunker Produktian

Despite looking like an angry muppet, the wolf spider takes the parenting role seriously.

The mothers carry the kids on their backs until the Spiderlings are old enough to hunt independently.

When spotted at night, the baby spiders look like little sparkly eyes.

Here are some other more zoomed-out images of the Wolf Spider so you can identify it just in case you cross paths.

Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider
Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider
Extreme close-up of a Wolf Spider
Categories
Animals Technology

Watch a Chimpanzee using Instagram

This video of a chimpanzee scrolling through Instagram is eye-opening.

Touch is intuitive; the candy-colored screen all too addicting. 

Generation thumbs transcend humans.

Still, it is the ability to communicate and tell stories that released humans from the prison of biology. 

This video echoes what Yuval Noah Harari noted in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind on the difference between humans and other animals. 

We control the world basically because we are the only animals that can cooperate flexibly in very large numbers. And if you examine any large-scale human cooperation, you will always find that it is based on some fiction like the nation, like money, like human rights. These are all things that do not exist objectively, but they exist only in the stories that we tell and that we spread around. This is something very unique to us, perhaps the most unique feature of our species.

You can never, for example, convince a chimpanzee to do something for you by promising that, “Look, after you die, you will go to chimpanzee heaven and there you will receive lots and lots of bananas for your good deeds here on earth, so now do what I tell you to do.”

But humans do believe such stories and this is the basic reason why we control the world whereas chimpanzees are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.

Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Categories
Animals Nature

Valais Blacknose sheep from Switzerland

Strange-looking but cute — if you can even see their faces — the Valais Blacknose sheep is a type of mountain-breed sheep from the Valais region of Switzerland.

These fancy-looking lambs are called ‘luxury sheep’ for their magical faceless features, shaggy coats, and spiral horns.

Although they’re used for their wool and meat in Switzerland, the sheep are growing in demand in the UK as pets with a value of up to £10,000 each for newborns.

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Animals

Draco volans: The flying dragon lizard

Looking like the dragons out of a science fiction movie, Draco Volans are real-life flying lizards.

These mini flying creatures have developed the ability to glide up to 26 feet throughout thousands of years using their winglike extensions. So, they don’t actually fly, nor do they breathe fire.

But don’t get your hopes up about finding one as a pet. Located in Indonesia, the Draco Volan is nearly impossible to catch.

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Animals Nature

Pink sea urchins have self-sharpening teeth

Pink sea urchins house five teeth, each supported by a separate jaw in a circular arrangement at the center of their spiked spherical bodies.

But researchers at Northwestern have discovered that the teeth of pink sea urchins are specially equipped to self-sharpen themselves.

pink sea urchin teeth
Graphic: Cell.com

The enamel break bits off regularly to maintain sharpness, the same way a knife sharpens upon a blade.

“The material on the outer layer of the tooth exhibits a complex behavior of plasticity and damage that regulates ‘controlled’ chipping of the tooth to maintain its sharpness,” said Northwestern University Professor Horacio Espinosa.

The teeth continue to grow throughout life, helping the sea urchins ward off predators.

pink sea urchin teeth
pink sea urchin teeth
pink sea urchin teeth