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.