Category Archives: Blogging Thru Alphabet

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – W is for Wolf

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I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme. And sheesh – we are almost done with this round!

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard  M for Macaw

N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros  S for Skunk  T for Termite

U for Uguisu  V for Viper

wolves

Wolf. Scientific Name Canis lupus

Wolves are best known for their howl which they use to communicate in many different ways. They may be a lone wolf looking for his pack or a pack of wolves letting others know of their territory. They may also just be joining another wolf that has already started howling.

Wolves vary in color from all white to all black with all colors in between. The biggest wolves live in Alaska and range from 125 – 135 pounds; the smallest is in Iran at 60 pounds. The wolf has no known natural predators and is thought to live about 10 years in the wild.

Wolves are carnivorous (meaning they eat meat) and they normally hunt large animals, but they will hunt small animals if need be. They normally hunt as a pack for large animal such as moose.

They develop deep bonds with their pack and have even been known to die for one of their pack members. Once they find a mate they normally stay together for life. They do have a hierarchy they establish within their pack and those at the top eat first and the others eat what is left, even if that means they have to wait to eat.

Adaptable gray wolves are the most common and were once found all over the Northern Hemisphere however they are also known to attack domestic animals which has them as one of the most despised animals by humans. MANY have been shot, trapped and poisoned in order to keep them away. In the lower 48 states they were hunted to near extinction.

The red wolf is found in the southeastern United States and they became extinct in the wild in 1980. Scientists have been breeding and reintroducing them in North Carolina and there are now around 100 red wolves in the wild.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of about six to ten.

I thought this was interesting, wolves can interbreed freely with dogs, red wolves, coyotes, and jackals to produce fertile offspring. This is a case of incomplete speciation. There are physical, behavioral, and ecological differences between these species, but they are fully genetically compatible. None of the animals in this group can breed with foxes, which are too far separated genetically.

They have one breeding season per year and that is in the winter. That is so when the cubs are born and finally ready to hunt there will be plenty around for them. It also allows them time to grow and mature before their first winter season where it is more difficult to find food.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter X and learn about the Xerus.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

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Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – V is for Viper

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk  T for Termite  U for Uguisu

There are two parts to the term “pit viper,” and they both tell you something about these snakes. Let’s start with the second word. All of the snakes in this group are members of the Viperidae family of snakes — vipers for short. The first part of the name, “pit,” refers to the heat-sensing pits these snakes have. The pit viper is best identified by two small holes located on its face, one beneath each eye. These are special organs that allow them to sense their prey and “see” their prey in the dark. It is a “heat sensor”.

Viper

Vipers are characterized by long, hollow venomous fangs that are attached to movable bones on their top jaw. This is what they use to kill their prey and to protect themselves.

Most vipers are slender to stout-bodied snakes with a short tail. Most species have eyes with elliptical pupils that can open wide or close down very narrowly. This enables the snakes to see in a wide range of light conditions. Some vipers have keeled scales (scales with a ridge in their center) while others have smooth scales.

They are found from desert to rainforest. The moccasin is the only aquatic (lives in the water) viper. A Most pit vipers hunt at night when it is cooler. Although they usually stalk smaller forms of warm-blooded prey (mice and rats), they can be deadly to humans if and when they feel threatened.

All of the pit vipers are venomous snakes. But the strength and type of venom varies from one species to another. Consider the difference between the South American bushmaster (Lachesis muta) and the North American copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix). Both are pit vipers, but the potency of their venom differs greatly. A single bite from the bushmaster, even a juvenile specimen, can be fatal. On the contrary, there are very few documented deaths from a copperhead bite. Pit vipers – specifically copperheads – are responsible for more reported bites in the United States than any other type of snake.

There are no vipers native to Madagascar or Australia.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter W and learn about the wolf.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – U is for Uguisu

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk  T for Termite

The Uguisu is a small bird found in Japan, Taiwan and China. It is also commonly called the Japanese Bush-Warbler. But the beauty of their song has brought them to become called the Japanese Nightingale.

ugbird

The Uguisu was first described as a documented species by Heinrich von Kittlitz in 1830.

These are a relatively small bird with dull coloration that is normally either olive-green or brown. They have long, straight tails. They have thin legs with clawed toes to help them grip as they perch.

In general they are quiet, secretive birds that are heard more than seen (but really only heard during mating season).

The female looks like the male only smaller. She builds a nest and will lay up to five eggs. The chicks hatch within two to three weeks. The babies are fed for about two weeks before they leave the nest.

The Uguisu is an omnivorous animal meaning that they feed on a variety of both plants and animals. Like other Warblers and Nightingales, the Uguisu has a predominantly insect-based diet feeding on flies, worms, beetles, moths and grasshoppers in the forest. The Uguisu is also known to forage for fruits and berries to supplement it’s diet.

This breed of bird will live from two to five years in the wild.

Interesting, but disgusting, fact: the droppings of the Uguisu (known as guano) are now used as a product in certain face creams particularly, as it is thought to make skin softer and more radiant looking. Apparently this peculiar choice in moisturizer is thought to have been used by geishas and kabuki actors throughout Japan for centuries, and it is now sold as a commercial product.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter V and learn about the Viper.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – T is for Termite

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk

As my husband and I are in the beginning stages of buying a house, I thought termites would be a good thing to research. Not that I expect this to be an issue with the house we are looking at but it is often discussed at some point during the buying process. So, with that, let’s find out about these creatures that we have heard of but probably don’t really know a whole lot about…

So, I hopped over to the Orkin website for a little termite help and what I found was DIS-GUST-ING! {laughing out loud} THIS is what I saw…BLECH!

Termites

Photo taken from Orkin’s website

Apparently there are SEVERAL types of termites. Nice. (NOT!)

So, here is some general information about termites:

  • They are social animals so they raise their young in groups.
  • Termite colonies each all day every day; 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Termites are known as “the silent killer” as they can eat through wood, flooring, walls and even wallpaper without being detected.
  • Termites cause more than FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of damage EVERY YEAR.

Termites tend to show up as winged nuances in the spring as they are looking for a place to call home. Once they find a home they shed their wings.

They are found in dark, moist areas and require moisture to survive.

Termites develop via simple metamorphosis from egg to nymph to adult. Five to six molts are necessary for the termite to attain maturity. Those that do not achieve sexual maturity become workers or soldiers. The life cycle requires a year for completion.

In termite colonies, there is one king and queen pair which develop from fully winged adults. The queen develops an enlarged abdomen to accomodate her increased egg-laying capacity. She may lay millions of eggs annually.

Queens and their colony may survive for several years. Females may live to 20 years. Non-reproductive termites live for a couple of years. Individual termite colonies have been known to exist for approximately 100 years.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter U and learn about the Uguisu (bird).

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – S is for Skunk

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

I really enjoyed doing the rhino last week and was surprised with how much I learned about such a “commonly known animal.” So I thought I would do it again this week – but with a skunk. I am excited to see what we learn today!

Skunk

Nearly all skunks live in the Americas.

There are many different species of skunks that range from spotted to striped to swirled (didn’t know this either!) but they always contain black and white and normally are about the size of a house cat. The four species found here are:

  • Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis, most common)
  • Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius)
  • Hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura)
  • Hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus leuconotus)

Skunks are known for their black color with a white stripe down the middle. They are also know for their stink, I mean, their sprayable smell. This smelly scent is actually an oil that comes from glands under their tail. This can be sprayed up to ten feet! (WOW! I did NOT know THAT!) This spray doesn’t cause any harm to whatever it hits but it does cause much discomfort and normally distracts whatever it hits. This then allows the skunk time to get away.

Skunks are opportunistic eaters with a varied diet. They are nocturnal foragers who eat fruit and plants, insects, larvae, worms, eggs, reptiles, small mammals, and even fish.

Skunks have strong forefeet and long nails, which make them excellent diggers. Skunks will live in burrows (usually made by other animals), hollow logs or empty buildings.

Each female gives birth to two to ten young every year. Average life span in the wild is 2 – 4 years. (WOW – that isn’t very long! Didn’t know this either!)

As a side note: Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies in the Midwest.

A few “interesting facts”:

  • Immune to snake venom, skunks are known to eat poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes.
  • Although skunks have very poor eyesight, they have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
  • A group of skunks is called a surfeit.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter T and learn about the termite.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – R is for Rhinoceros

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal

I was thinking about “R” and decided to do rhinoceros because I was guessing there was a lot I didn’t know about them, even though I feel I know about them. So … let’s see what we can learn!

They live in Africa and there are two species: black and white. Both are distinct in their own ways. (Ok … already something I did NOT know! I had NO IDEA there were TWO!) They are different in their lip shape NOT their color. (Yea, that’s weird!)

White Rhino scientific name: Ceratotherium simum

Rhino_white

Above is a white rhino; below is a black rhino.

Rhino_blk

Rhinos are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants.

The white, or square-lipped, rhino is actually grey in color, has a hump on its neck and has a long face. The black, or hook-lipped (triangular shaped), has a thick hairless grey hide. Both have two horns (a smaller one above the larger one).

Black rhinos are solitary while white rhinos tend to be more social.

They have poor eye sight but have really good smelling and hearing.

Black rhinos tend to live in places that have dense wooded vegetation. White rhinos are normally found in savannas that have mud holes, water holes and shade trees.

The white rhino is the second largest land mammal – second to the elephant.

Females have babies every two and a half to five years. Gestation is 14 to 18 months. Although babies nurse for a year, calves are able to begin eating vegetation one week after birth.

There are also three Asian species: the Indian and the Javan, each with one horn, and the Sumatran, which has two.

Between all five species they can range in weight from 1,800 pounds to 5,100 pounds.

Life span is approximately 35 years.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter S and learn about the skunk.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – Q is for Quetzal

abc-blogging-button-names

I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine

Well, Q doesn’t offer a whole lot of choices when it comes to animals (well, to a lot of things actually) but I thought the Quetzal (pronounced /ketSAHL/ ) looked interesting so let’s learn about it today!

Quetsal

Scientific Name: Pharomachrus mocinno

They are often called the resplendent quetzal. Resplendent is an adjective meaning shining brilliantly; gleaming; splendid.

Some say this is the worlds most beautiful bird…which I might agree, it definitely is gorgeous!

It is found in the tropical forests of Central America.

The Quetzal is an incredibly colored bird with males displaying a bright metallic green or blue on most of their bodies besides the deep red of the chest and belly. The male Quetzal also has a distinctive tuft of golden green feathers that form a crest on top of their heads and immensely long twin tail feathers that can grow up to three feet in length. They are normally around 15 to 16 inches in length (not including their tail). As with other members of the Trogon family, the feet of the Quetzal are unique with two toes facing forward and two back on each foot that aid when perching high in the trees.

They are an omnivore (plant and meat eater) and eat insects, fruit, lizards and other small creatures.

They make soft, deep noises that can be very loud and they are known to use different calls depending on the situation.

Both the mom and the dad incubate the eggs (normally 2 or 3). Young quetzals can fly at around three weeks of age.

Interesting facts:

  • Resplendent quetzals are also known as Guatemalan quetzals, and the birds are the symbol of that nation. Guatemala also trades in currency known as the “quetzal.”
  • The Quetzal was seen as a sacred animal to ancient native people including the Aztec and the Maya and was often referred to as The Rare Jewel Bird of the World, along with regularly being depicted in native art. The long, bright tail feathers of the males were also used in garments worn by royalty

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter R and learn about the rhinoceros.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!