Monday, November 12, 2012

Sperm Whale

The sperm whale (physeter catodon) is a species of toothed whale found in all the oceans in the world. 

Physical Features
Dorsal fin of a sperm whale
The sperm whale is the largest species of toothed whale.  The length of males range from 45 feet to 65 feet.  Females are much smaller than males.  They grow about 40 feet long.  Males can weigh a maximum of 67 tons while they regularly weigh about 50 tons.  Females only weigh about 17 tons.  Sperm whales have a dark grey coloration and are distinguished by their large, square shaped head.  Sperm whales have the largest brains of any animal on the planet.  They get their name from the oily fluid found in their head known as spermaceti.  Scientists still do not know the function of this fluid.
Sperm whales have a small, hump like dorsal fin and have white patches on its belly.  They 
have small flippers.

Distribution and Habitat
Sperm whales are found in all oceans around the world.  They are known to live in deep waters.  Females stay in warm waters with their calves while males go to cooler oceans for feeding purposes.  Sperm whales are found about 3,280 feet under the sea.  Even though nobody knows the exact function of the spermaceti fluid, it is said that it turns in wax in cooler regions and helps sperm whales dive deeper and rise.

Sperm whales mainly eat different species of molluscs like octopus, squid and cuttle fish.  Other than these, it will sometimes eat fish.  Like all big whales, they consume a large amount of food everyday.  Normally, they will eat about 1,000 kilograms of fish and squid each day.

Life Cycle
Sperm whales have a gestation period of about 14-16 months.  Females have a calf every 5 years.Females gain maturity at about 10 years of age while males mature at an age of 20 years.  The average lifespan of a sperm whale ranges from 60-70 years.

Conservation Status
The IUCN rates this whale as 'Vulnerable'.  There are an estimated of 1 million individuals approximately.  There has been whale poaching in few areas.

Source of pic 1 and pic 2     

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Big Four Snakes of Asia

The Big Four snakes of Asia are the snakes which inflict the most snake bites in Asia, especially in the southern parts.  The Big Four includes:

  • The saw-scaled viper
  • The russell's viper
  • The Indian cobra
  • The common krait
                                                     1. The saw scaled viper

The saw scaled viper (Echis carinatus) is considered to be one of the most aggressive snake in the world.  They are from the family of vipers (Viperidae).  These snakes are quite small.  Their length ranges from 30 cm (11 inches) to 65 cm (25 inches).  Saw scaled vipers are found in the Indian subcontinent (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), Middle-East Asia and Central Asia.

                                                       2.  The russell's viper

The russell's viper (Daboia russelii) is a species of viper.  It causes the most deaths by any snake in Asia.  The word 'Daboia' means hidden or a lurker in Hindi.  A russell viper ambushes its prey.  Its skin allows it to camouflage with the background.  These snakes produce neurotoxin which affects the nervous system, causing paralysis.  Russell's vipers are found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Cambodia and parts of Indonesia.

                                                         3. The Indian cobra

The Indian cobra (Naja naja) is a species of cobra and belongs to the Elapidae family. The Indian cobra is also known as the spectacled cobra. It got its name from the shape on its hood. The hood has two oceli that is connected by a curved line. This shape looks like spectacles. The Indian cobra is mainly found in the Indian subcontinent. These snakes rarely exceed the lengths of 8 or 8.5 feet. An average spectacled cobra is 6 feet long.

                                                        4. The common krait

The common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) is an elapid found in the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as the Indian krait or the blue krait. It has a body that is blue, black or brown. They ahve white bands on their body. Common kraits are considered to be 15 times more venomous than cobras. They are one of the most deadliest snakes in the world.

Source of pic 1, pic 2, pic 3 and pic 4

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The fisher (Martes pennanti) is a species of mammal from the mustelid family. It resembles many species of marten but it is slightly larger. Its name is derived from many languages, one of them being Latin. They are rated as 'Least Concern' by the IUCN.

Physical Features
The fisher is a cat-sized animal with lustrous fur. The underside of its body have white or light brown patches. Like most species from the mustelid family, the coloration of the fur depends on seasons and gender. Fishers greatly vary in size. The length of their body ranges from 16 inches to 30 inches (40.6cm to 76.2cm) excluding the tail. The average length of their tail is 14 inches to 17 inches (35.5cm to 43.1cm). Males are normally bigger than females. Males weigh about 4.5 kilograms while females weigh about 2 kilograms. Sometimes males can weigh 9 kilograms but it is very rare.

The fisher is mainly carnivore, but will feed on anything. Their diet mainly consists of the snowshoe hare, porcupines and other small rodents. They are solitary hunters. Therefore, they will only feed on animals that are smaller or equal to its size. Fishers also eat fruits, nuts, mushrooms, small mammals, birds, insects and eggs. Pieces of deer and moose have also been found in the stomach of these animals.

Distribution and Habitat
The fisher is found in Northern US and Canada. Their range extends till the mountainous regions. Fishers prefer to live in forest and swamp woodlands.

After a gestation period of 352 days, a female fisher will give birth to a litter of 1 to 5 pups per year after the spring season. Females mature at the age of 1 year while males mature at the age of 2. The live for 10 years in captivity and wild.

Conservation Status
The fisher is rated as 'Least Concern' by the IUCN. There are several thousands of individuals in North America. Fishers are protected in some US states.

Source of pic 1

Saturday, March 31, 2012

10 Weirdest Animals In The World


This is a squid worm.  At first when discovered in 2010, scientists couldn't tell if it was a worm or a squid.  It is now the first member of a new family in the class Polychaeta of segmented worms.

The angora rabbit is a domestic breed of rabbit.  It is known for the amount of soft and long fur it has on its body.  It is one of the oldest type of domestic rabbit.


This repulsive looking creature is a blobfish which inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of Australia.  Its jelly-like body allows it to float in water.  It swallows any edible matter that comes in its way.
                                                        DUMBO OCTOPUS

The dumbo octopus get its name as its ears resemble the ears of the character 'Dumbo' in a movie by Walt Disney.  They are very rare. 
                                                             RED UAKARI

The red uakari is a primate.  It is known for its red face.  It is found in the rainforests of the Amazon.  
                                                          GIRAFFE WEEVIL

The giraffe weevil is a species of weevil native to Madagascar.  It is known for its unusually long neck which gives it this name.


The glass frog is one of the most fascinating amphibians in the world.  Its transparent skin allows one to see what is going on inside the body.  The organs of the frog are visible in this picture.

                                                          KOMONDOR DOG

The komondor dog is a very unique dog.  It has unusually long hair which resemble dreadlocks.  It has the most amount of hair of any canine in the world.


The cyclops shark is a very rare shark found in Mexico.  It has a single functioning eye on the center of its head.


The marsupial mole is a marsupial which is seen very rarely.  Details of its breeding is hardly known as it is very difficult to see.  It is considered to be endangered.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


The markhor (Capra falconeri) is a species wild goat from the genus of Capra. It is rated as ''Endangered'' by the IUCN. It is found in Asia. It is the national animal of Pakistan.
Male markhor

Physical Features
The markhor is the tallest species of wild goat by its shoulder height. The markhor stands about 30 to 48 inches tall (76 cm to 121 cm) at the shoulder. The length of this wild goat ranges from 4 feet to 6 feet. They have very lengthy horns which grow 5 feet long in males. The horns of females are much smaller than males. Their horns grow up to only 25 centimeters. Male markhors weigh 110 kilograms while females weigh only 40 kilograms. The main difference between male markhors and female markhors is the shaggy throat. Males have beard-like hair dangling from their chin. Both males and females have corkscrew-like horns. In summers, the fur of the markhor becomes shorter and reddish-grey in color.

Female markhor

Distribution and Habitat
The markhor is located in central and south of Asia.  It is found in the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, southern parts of Uzbekistan and some parts of Tajikistan.  The markhor is found in Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Nagar Valley, northern and central Pakistan, and some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.  Markhors live in mountainous regions.  They live at astonishing heights of 700m to 4000m (2,300 feet to 13,200 feet).  Markhors live in the sparsely wooded parts of western Himalayas.  The markhor is an endangered goat with fewer than 2,500 individuals remaining.

The diet of markhors depend on the season in the mountains.  In summer, they eat tussock grass.  During winter, they will eat shrubby leaves and twigs which are found on the lower slopes of the mountains.

Conservation Status
The markhor is rated as 'Endangered' by the IUCN. There are only 2500 individuals of this goat found in the mountains of Asia.  Markhors are bred in many zoos all around the world.

Source of pic 1, pic 2, pic 3