Stuff

The 70s

You love to make people smile, and you always have something encouraging or funny to say. Your friends admire your seemingly never-ending energy.

Sure, they’re cute, and they certainly look cuddly. But here are a few other, more surprising things you might not have known about koalas.

1. Koalas hug trees to keep cool. Scientists used thermal cameras to watch some koalas hanging out in trees and saw that when the weather was warm, the animals moved to lower parts of the trees and pressed themselves close to the trunks, wedging their bottoms right into the coolest spots.

2. In captivity, koalas exhibit more lesbian behavior than straight. Sexual encounters have been known to involve up to five females. They last twice as long as heterosexual encounters.

3. Fifty to 90 percent of female koalas have chlamydia. The symptoms in koalas are chest infections, conjunctivitis, and “wet-bottom,” which looks like what you’d imagine. It can be fatal unless treated with antibiotics and can leave the koalas sterile. Here’s the catch: Predators aren’t that important to koala population control, but chlamydia might be. In the late ’90s, chlamydia-free koalas were introduced into Mount Eccles National Park in Victoria, which had a huge Manna Gum tree population. Without chlamydia to control the population, koala numbers doubled every few years, and thousands of hectares of forest were at threatuntil hormonal contraception was introduced. In other areas where chlamydia-free koalas were introduced, the koalas killed the trees and then died of starvation [PDF]. When koalas are stressed, chlamydia—which is normally harmless—limits the population growth. Now, rather than overpopulation, a combination of habitat loss and a retrovirus is making chlamydia a problem even as the population dwindles.

4. Koalas fingerprints are virtually indistinguishable from human ones, so much so that they can be mistaken for one another in criminal investigations. The animals’ hands are covered in warts.

5.  Although koalas eat around half a kilogram of eucalyptus leaves a day, they’re very picky, tending to choose around 30 of the 600 varieties of eucalyptus trees out there. Koalas prefer large trees, but avoid those with low protein content and nauseating toxins. The problem is that two trees of the same species right next to each other can have wildly different toxin levels, forcing the koala to rely on their smell. Eucalyptus leaves are very low in calcium, forcing the koalas to go to the ground and eat dirt. They are reported to smell like big cough drops because of all that eucalyptus.

6. Because of their diet koalas have an unusually large caecum—part of the digestive system—to help them digest their diet of eucalyptus leaves. On the other hand, they have tiny brains because brains use a lot of energy and their diets don’t give them much to work with. They can only stay awake for four hours a day.

7. Koala joeys feed on their mother’s “pap,” which is a kind of soup the koalas make internally and excrete—so yes, baby koalas eat their mother’s droppings. They’re full of microorganisms and get their tiny digestive tracts ready for a lifetime of leaves for lunch.

8. The anima’s scientific name, Phascolarctos cinereus, loosely means “ash-grey pocket-bear,” but koalas are not bears: They’re marsupials. Their closest living relative is the wombat.

9. Some people might tell you that “koala” means “don’t drink”; don’t believe them. When koalas get really thirsty they do what any intelligent animal would do and drink from streams orswimming pools. According Etymology Online, koala comes from the Dharuk name for animal, which has been given in different ways including koola, kulla, and kula.

10. Mick is an incredibly rare white koala with white fur and dark eyes and nose. Albino koalas are white with pink eyes and noses.

The monkey selfies are a series of selfies taken by Celebes crested macaques using equipment belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater.

The hosting of the images on Wikimedia Commons was at the centre of a dispute in mid-2014 over whether copyright could be held on artworks made by non-human animals. Slater’s claim of copyright on the images was disputed by several scholars and organizations, based on an understanding that copyright was held by the creator, and that a non-human creator (not being a legal person) could not hold copyright. In December 2014, the United States Copyright Office stated that works created by a non-human are not subject to US copyright. In 2016, a US federal judge ruled that the monkey cannot own the copyright to the images.[1]

As of January 2016, Slater continues to claim copyright over the images

1. Hanging a shoe organizer in a closet can make for a better way to organize paper towels or cleaning supplies such as lysol wipes and swiffer pads.

2. Add double hooks to the inside of a closet door to hang dusters and dust pans.

3. If you have exposed beams in your basement or a particular area of the house, cover the beams with wire shelves to use for additional space.

4. A lid rack can make for the perfect solution to organize clutches.

5. A low hanging coat rack can make for a great way to hang shoes.

 

Common Animal Questions and Answers

The animal kingdom is fascinating and often inspires a number of questions from both the young and old. Why do zebras have stripes? How do bats locate prey? Why do some animals glow in the dark? Find answers to these and other intriguing questions about animals.

Why Do Some Tigers Have White Coats?

Researchers from China’s Peking University have discovered that white tigers owe their unique coloration to a gene mutationin the pigment gene SLC45A2. This gene inhibits the production of red and yellow pigments in white tigers but does not appear to alter black. Like orange Bengal tigers, white tigers have distinctive black stripes. The SLC45A2 gene has also been associated with light coloration in modern Europeans and in animals such as fish, horses, and chickens. The researchers advocate for the possible reintroduction of white tigers into the wild. Current white tiger populations only exist in captivity as wild populations were hunted out in the 1950s.

Do Reindeer Really Have Red Noses?

A study published in the BMJ-British Medical Journal reveals why reindeer have red noses. Their noses are abundantly supplied with red blood cells through nasal microcirculation. Microcirculation is the flow of blood through tiny blood vessels. Reindeer noses have a high density of blood vessels that supply a high concentration of red blood cells to the area. This helps to increase oxygen to the nose and to control inflammation and regulate temperature. The researchers used infrared thermal imaging to visualize the reindeer’s red nose.

Why Do Some Animals Glow In the Dark?

Some animals can emit light naturally due to a chemical reaction in their cells. These animals are called bioluminescent organisms. Some animals glow in the dark to attract mates, to communicate with other organisms of the same species, to lure prey, or to expose and distract predators. Bioluminescence occurs in invertebrates such as insects, insect larvae, worms, spiders, jellyfish,dragonfish, and squid.

How Do Bats Use Sound to Locate Prey?

Bats use echolocation and a process called active listening to locate prey, typically insects. This is particularly helpful in clustered environments where sound can bounce off of trees and leavesmaking it more difficult to locate prey. In active listening, bats adjust their vocal cries emitting sounds of variable pitch, length, and repetition rate. They can then determine details about their environment from the returning sounds. An echo with a sliding pitch indicates a moving object. Intensity flickers indicate a fluttering wing. Time delays between cry and echo indicate distance. Once its prey has been identified, the bat emits cries of increasing frequency and decreasing duration to pinpoint its prey’s location. Finally, the bat emits what is known as the final buzz (rapid succession of cries) before capturing its prey.

Why Do Some Animals Play Dead?

Playing dead is an adaptive behavior used by a number of animals including mammals, insects, and reptiles. This behavior, also called thanatosis, is most often employed as a defense against predators, a means to catch prey, and as way of avoiding sexual cannibalism during the mating process.

Are Sharks Color Blind?

Studies on shark vision suggest that these animals may be completely color blind. Using a technique called microspectrophotometry, researchers were able to identify cone visual pigments in shark retinas. Of the 17 shark species studied, all had rod cells but only seven had cone cells. Of the shark species that had cone cells, only a single cone type was observed. Rod and cone cells are the two main types of light sensitive cells in the retina. While rod cells can not distinguish colors, cone cells are capable of color perception. However, only eyes with different spectral types of cone cells can distinguish different colors. Since sharks appear to have only a single cone type, it is believed that they are totally color blind. Marine mammals such as whales and dolphins also have only a single cone type.

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?

Researchers have developed an interesting theory as to why zebras have stripes. As reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology, zebra’s stripes help to ward off biting insects such as horseflies. Also known as tabanids, horseflies use horizontally polarized light to direct them toward water for laying eggs and to locate animals. The researchers state that horseflies are more attracted to horses with dark hides than those with white hides. They concluded that the development of white stripes prior to birth helps to make zebras less attractive to biting insects. The study indicated that the polarization patterns of reflected light from zebra hides were consistent with stripe patterns that were least attractive to horseflies in tests.

Can Female Snakes Reproduce Without Males?

Some snakes are capable of reproducing asexually by a process called parthenogenesis. This phenomenon has been obeserved in boa constrictors as well as in other animals including some species of shark, fish, and amphibians. In parthenogenesis, an unfertilized egg develops into a distinct individual. These babies are genetically identical to their mothers.

Why Don’t Octopuses Get Tangled in Their Tentacles?

Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have made an interesting discovery that helps answer the question of why an octopus doesn’t get tangled up in its tentacles. Unlike in the humanbrain, the octopus brain does not map out the coordinates of its appendages. As a result, octopuses don’t know where their arms are exactly. To prevent the octopus’s arms from grabbing the octopus, its suckers will not attach to the octopus itself. The researchers state that an octopus produces a chemical in its skin that temporarily prevents the suckers from grabbing. It was also discovered that an octopus can override this mechanism when necessary as evidenced by its ability to grab an amputated octopus arm.

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