Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone who bought any of my novels for Christmas. I'm blown away every year as more and more people are picking up a copy of my novels! What began as a story that I was writing just for my own enjoyment has unexpectedly turned into something much larger than I ever could have imagined. So I wanted to say thank you!

And to everyone who just received one of my novels as a gift for Christmas - I hope you love the world that I created for you to escape into! If you just received the last book of the trilogy - Acea and the Adventure Thru Time - which was recently released, I hope you enjoy the conclusion of the story that I set out to tell over six years ago.

Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone that visits this blog! I'm humbled and amazed by the huge readership that grows every year. I hope the animal facts that I learn are as interesting to you as they are to me.

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rare Video of a "Ghost Shark"

It may be close to Christmas, but this video will leave you feeling like it's Halloween.  For the first time, video has been taken of the rare "Ghost Shark."  That's the name given to what's really the pointy-nose blue chimaera.  Though normally found in the southern hemisphere, this video was taken between Hawaii and California.

Ghost Shark Caught On Video For The First Time

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hilarious Lion vs. Zookeeper Video

You have to turn the audio up, it's worth a listen.

"Now when you're playing with lions, it's important to never show fear..." HaHa!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Adorable Animal Video: Panda Playing in Snow

My new obsession? Watching panda bears play in the snow. It's just so wonderful!

Here's Tian Tian from the Smithsonian National Zoo playing in snow.  By the way, if you haven't been to it before, this is an amazing zoo. And admission is free!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

50 Incredible Animal Facts (MSN)

I just love lists like these that tell me even more amazing facts about animals! Credit goes to MSN, and I love how they put the list on their front page this morning.

My favorite new fact is that Prairie Dogs say hello by kissing!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Video: Great White Shark Cage Breach

I will never go in a shark cage. Especially one near Great White Sharks. Why? This video says it all....

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Amazing Animal Video: Battling Giraffes

I had no idea that Giraffes battle each other. They're supposed to be gentle. But after seeing this video, it'd make you think otherwise.

Why do giraffes battle each other? Some researchers believe battles will rarely occur between males who are dueling to mate with a nearby female.

This doesn't happen often, though - so enjoy this rare video!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Caterpillars are Amazing, Too - Right? You Bet!!!

On a hike to a waterfall, my family passed this little guy:

In fact, we actually passed so many of these guys that it got me wondering - there's got to be amazing facts about caterpillars, right? You bet there are! And the more I read about caterpillars, the more I learned just how fascinating they are!

Now, let's stop and just think about one commonly-known thing about caterpillars: they transform into butterflies or moths through a process called metamorphosis. This alone is amazing and unlike most other creatures! In fact, the caterpillar I snapped a photo of will transform into the American Dagger Moth:

Now, moths alone are amazing creatures - for example, male moths can smell a female moth more than 7 miles away despite not having a nose! However, this post is focused on caterpillars instead. So, here are some amazing facts about caterpillars:

  • There are 180,000 known different types of caterpillars. 
  • When you see a caterpillar, it's in the larva stage of their life cycle. There are 4 parts of their life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon stage); and adult (moth or butterfly). Caterpillars begin making the cocoon after being only 2-4 weeks old! That means you only have a short time to see the little guys before they disappear.
  • A caterpillar's job is really one thing: eat. Some consume 27,000 times their body weight. This is so that they have enough energy to complete their metamorphosis and produce eggs as an adult.
  • Because of how much they eat, caterpillars increase their body mass by at least 1,000 times! 
  • They have about 4,000 muscles in their body! Guess how many a human has? 629. Wow!
  • Caterpillars move in a wave like motion from back to front. Can you do that?
  • They are geniuses at self defense. Some look like bird droppings, twigs, leafs, or bark. Others will absorb toxins from their host-plants so that birds will not want to eat them.
Enjoy some pics of some crazy-looking Caterpillars, and what they metamorphosis into!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Amazing Animal Facts: Sharks!

I could easily have this blog focus on sharks - they're that interesting. I've done posts in the past about great white sharks. Though they're probably the most well-known predatory shark, there are many other sharks.

I recently stayed at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas. I gotta admit, I stayed there because of the gigantic shark tank - it's crazy awesome!!!  I'll get to the picks later below. But I seriously can't say enough about the shark tank that is in the middle of the pool - well worth the stay!!! I just stared at the sharks for hours while wading in the pool. Amazing.

There are 5 types of sharks in the tank:
  1. Sand Tiger Shark: This one is my favorite - it looks like a mini great white. I say "mini," but they really are large - about 6.5 to 10.5 feet long.  Their teeth are easily seen and give a very menacing impression!
  2. Nurse Shark: These are nocturnal and will often rest on the bottom of the sea shore in large groups of 40 or so. They are 7.5 to 9.75 feet long.  Interesting fact: Nurse Sharks are responsible for the most shark bites because many divers can't resist pulling their long tails.
  3. Blacktip Reef Shark: About 5.2 feet long, this shark is very common to Florida. Their name perfectly describes them - they have a black tip on their fin.
  4. Zebra Shark: They feed mainly on reef mollusks and crustaceans as well as small fish.  Their narrow bodies allow them to squirm into narrow crevices and channels in search of food.  These are vulnerable to decline in population, but are found around Japan, Australia, and in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea. They can get up to 12 feel long and are aptly names due to their zebra look.
  5. Sandbar Shark: This species gets its common name from the sandy and muddy areas where it's commonly found along the U.S. Atlantic coast.  Besides humans, Sandbar Sharks have very few predators.
Did You Know? Pigs kill more humans every year than sharks do!

Ok, time for pictures of this amazing shark thank - there's even a water slide you can go down through the middle!!!

How Many of the Five Shark Species Can You Find in My Pics?

Oh, by the way, The Shallows comes out on DVD on September 27, 2016.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Amazing & Fascinating Animal: Feather Starfish

Today's animal is not only amazing, but fascinating, beautiful, captivating, and many other things....

It's the Feather Starfish! I'm going to post a video and several pics below to prove that this species of echinoderms are all of the things I said they are above.  But first, some amazing facts:

  • An echinoderm is another name for starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, and sea lillies.
  • Feather Starfish are a common sight at the Great Barrier Reef.
  • There are over 1,800 known species of starfish globally, and Feather Starfish make up over 500 of those species! That's how many different variations are known to exist!
  • Feather Starfish are much different than "normal" starfish. Feather Star fish have "feet" - called cirri - that latch onto fan coral or other perches.  Instead of feeding from the bottom, underside of the starfish (like normal ones do), feather starfish extend their "feather" arms out into the water. These arms have a sticky substance on them which filters food out of the water currents, and then passes the food down their arms into their mouth.
  • Unlike normal starfish, Feather Starfish don't have just five limbs. Rather, they're known to have between 20 - 200!
  • The way they breed is fascinating. They breed by releasing sperm and eggs into the surrounding water. The eggs hatch to produce larvae. After a few days, they hatch and float down to the ocean floor where they undergo a metamorphosis into the adult form.

Now for some pics showing the amazing diversity of this beautiful species:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Amazing Animal Video: Gigantic Alligator on Golf Course

If you haven't seen this video yet, watch it. This video is crazy. It makes me never want to go golfing in Florida.This alligator is huge! I can't believe these golfers were willing to get that close...

With gators being in the news so much lately, I'll definitely be posting more on these predators in the future.

Just let the gator golf on thru!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Amazing Animal Facts: Bengal Tigers

Have you seen The Jungle Book movie yet? If not, it's definitely worth it! The animals are so well done, especially the infamous Bengal Tiger - Shere Khan. This got me thinking, did you know that Bengal Tigers are extremely amazing? Here are a few facts to prove it to you:
  • It is the most numerous species of tiger in Asia, but it is endangered! Less than 2,000 are estimated to exist.
  • It has no predators in its natural environment. None. Think about that ... wow.
  • Newborn cubs are born blind and helpless. Their mother feeds them milk for 2 months before being introduced to meat. After about 18 months, they begin hunting on their own.
  • It is estimated that 1% of them are actually DNA-hybrids with Siberian Tigers. But because males from the hybrids are sterile, it's believed that these hybrids exist due to breeding mistakes made while they're in captivity.
  • Males weigh up to 500 lbs, and females up to 310 lbs
  • They consume up to 60 lbs of food at one time! They normally feed on larger animals like deer, buffalo, and antelope.
  • They're known to stalk its prey and attacking when the prey is caught off guard.
  • They live alone and scent-mark their own territories to keep competition away.
  • They can run up to 35-40 mph!
  • Females typically raise her cubs with very little help from the male. My wife would probably say they're not very different from humans for this ... haha, jk.
  • They are extremely deadly and will attack human.
This is Shere Khan in the Jungle Book movie. Very well done, huh?

This is a real Bengal Tiger - don't mess with it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

Godzilla Spotted? (Video)

Check out this amazing video! Calm down, though - it's not actually Godzilla. Instead, it's the only known marine iguana, and it's found (of course) at Galapagos Island. And what it uses its teeth for is unique.

...but then again, maybe it's just sharpening its teeth. It does look like it could be the offspring of Godzilla!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Amazing Animal Video: Ant Hill Excavated

About a month ago, I posted about ants. But this post is about the ant hill, or colony. Ever wonder what the ant colony looks like underground? This video excavated a gigantic one, and frankly - it's fascinating. Honestly, though, despite the results being mind-blowing, I'm still pretty horrified by the method used to cast the ant colony...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

New Species Alert: Ghost Octopus

New species alert! The official name probably won't be "ghost Octopus," but it should be. This new species of octopus is believed not to have a known genus. It was found 2.6 miles underwater off of Hawaii.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Amazing Animal Facts: Porcupines

Porcupines are awesome. I was saw one in the wild when I was on a hike, and I was surprised at how large it was! But the one thing I was unsure about was whether a wild porcupine was dangerous. Here are some interesting facts about porcupines!

  • Baby porcupines are called porcupettes. They are born with soft quills which turn hard within hours of delivery.
  • Quills that are lost during defense will grow back.
  • The quills are a voluntary muscle - they can lay on their back but are activated as a defense mechanism.
  • They are nocturnal, have weak eyesight, and rely entirely on their nose for food!
  • They are the third largest rodent in the world!
  • Their quills are self-medicated with a topical antibiotic. A porcupine attack with thus not necessarily lead to an infection. This is done to prevent the porcupine from accidentally being self-quilled.
  • They are not aggressive unless they feel threatened.
Aren't porcupettes cute?
This is definitely what I saw on my hike!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Amazing Animal Facts: Ants

I just rented Ant-Man to watch this weekend (I know ... I'm late in the game on this). But it got me wondering, are there actually any interesting facts about ants? Turns out there are several! The first one especially blew me away:

  • The total biomass of ants on Earth is about equal to that of all the humans on Earth. (Some scientists believe it actually is larger than the biomass of humans!) This is because scientists estimate there are about 1.5 million ants for every single human being.
  • Over 12,000 species of ants are known to exist, and a single acre of land in the Amazon rainforest may contain 3.5 million ants!
  • The largest any colony ever found was over 3,750 miles wide. To put this in perspective, the shortest distance from coast to coast of the U.S. is about 2,092 miles long. This super colony was found in Europe, where individual colonies of invasive Argentinian ants were found to have been merged.
  • Ants don't have lungs -because they're insects!
  • Ants can carry objects 50 times their body weight. This is because Ants are known to hit the weight room regularly. Just kidding. Though this is a well-known fact, think about it - that's like the average human being able to lift an RV!
I could totally do this if I wanted.