Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. ~Bradley Millar

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Louisiana Pine Snake - Rare, Weird Snake of Louisiana

I was just scrambling around the web, looking for some amazing facts about animals. I chanced to stumble upon something that can raise a few eye brows. A bit too weird, rare and imperiled, this snake had been discovered in Luisiana. Yes, the Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni) in amongst the rarest snakes in America, though they are found in mass in the well managed 12,000-hectare timberland in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Now the question is how did such an endangered species could manage to thrive well amidst the wood for long? This shows a hope of light at the end of the trench and scientists tend to make more researches for managing the forest more effectively so as to preserve such endangered species!

This really sounds cool! The Louisiana pine snake had been one of the most amazing reptiles in some parts of eastern Texas and Louisiana. Old-timers in these parts of the country recalled incidences of meeting with a 1.5- to 1.8-meter long colorful reptile that they used to call "Bull Snake". According to them the snake use to draw itself straight up off the ground when approached the snake often draws itself up off the ground when approached, menacing with severe hiss and warranting painful bites - though non-poisonous. Long after the snake was last seen, that it was viewed again during the fag end of 2004. From much of its original range this amazing reptile had disappeared to a great extent. Steve Reichling, a biologist and curator at Memphis Zoo, Tennessee, said that it had been a contender for the title of most endangered snake in the US. He also said, "This is a five- or six-foot snake that's diurnal (active in daylight hours) and should be relatively easy to find. Yet it's known by only about 250 documented scientific specimens since it was described in 1929."

This rare snake is seen only in the six isolated islands that are mostly in Louisiana, although some of them are in Texas. However, the largest habitat of this endangered snake is by far the Bienville Parish timber property, which is managed by
the International Paper company. According to Reichling, ten snakes have been caught in the wild since April 1st 2006 so far. He added, "That's an amazing abundance for this species."

One most significant point that the researchers and herpetologists noted was that much of scarcity of the Louisiana pine snake has been attributed to the loss of its natural habitat - the sandy-soil and longleaf-pine-forest. According to them the wanton logging, agricultural and real estate development are solely responsible for eliminating of the ecosystem from that region. Long span of fire-suppression activities have also contributed greatly in diminishing the natural habitat of this endangered variety of snake. The old-timers said that they used to find these weird snakes during '30s and '40s, but haven't seen them crawling around in the wild in last three decades. Reichling said "The younger people have no clue that there's such a weird snake in their midst. I try to tell them, 'You're sitting on a snake that's only found here.' It has been lost to their memory in just a couple generations."

After a great deal of research for a long span of time, Steve Reichling came up with a stud book for the Pine Snake in the year 1992. He talked about the the natural history and wrote reviews on the present condition of this amazing creature.

Appearance, Nature and Behavior


Not much is known about this rare snake. The Louisiana pine snake is amongst the most impressive specimens of serpents, with buff to yellowish background. Dark brown markings near head and brown to russet markings near the tail tend to add to the beauty of the snake. Although insofar the size goes they are almost the same as the other Pine Snakes, but according to many herpetologists that are far more gorgeous than other Pine Snakes. The Louisiana pine snakes have attractive blotches that are usually some shade brown or reddish-brown. These large serpent are really magnificent and feed on rodents in the wild. Cool if not threatened, these rare snake become aggressive if approached. They tend to behave quite wildly with menacingly hissing sound raising itself off the ground straight way!

The rare pine snake has already been enlisted as the most threatened species in Texas. It has been marked as one of the most endangered species that has come into the conservation concern in Louisiana. Collaborating with other scientists, Rudolph researched out certain other factors that has contributed a lot in the decline of the Louisiana pine snake population. With the largest eggs of any U.S. snake, a Louisiana pine snake produces only 3 to 5 eggs per clutch at the most. This low reproductive rate of the Louisiana pine snake means that the species may not recover as quickly as it should.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blue-Spotted Grouper – Perfect Marine Fish for Your Dream Marine Aquarium

blue-spotted grouper, marine fish, marine aquarium fishHey, if you are planning to set up your dream marine tank… a gorgeous, large one, I have a fish for you! If you have a tank already, and facing certain odds that go with it, you might want to change the set up and the fishes. I’ll be talking about a beautiful fish - Blue Dot Grouper that you can try out. If you are thinking that you might be at a loss as to how to stock it, believe me it’s not a rocket science! With its real knockout glamor the Blue Dot Grouper will definitely fill the bill! The most common dilemma that most of the not-so-expert aquarists usually face regarding stocking Blue Dot Grouper is the size of tank! Remember, Blue Dot Grouper is really a large variety of fish and requires a large tank – minimum 100 gallon.

Also called Blue-spotted Grouper, Argus Grouper, Peacock Rockcod , Peacock Sea Bass or Peacock Hind, this beautiful marine aquarium fish is of Indo-Pacific and Hawaii origin and amongst the sturdy ornamental fishes that have earned a great deal of admiration by aquarists world wide. Being a sea bass from the family Serranidae, the Blue Dot Grouper primarily feeds on other small fishes in the wild, though it can be fed on crustaceans (krill, small fish, shrimp, mussels etc.) too in your aquarium. Feed at least two times a day with its preferred meaty food items. Remember, this most attractive member of the genus is a bit too aggressive by nature and its compatibility must be give careful consideration. Only one Blue Dot Grouper fish should be kept in a tank. Although this beautiful marine fish may appear a bit shy while introducing, it will soon prove to be one of the most beautiful, smart, disease resistant and personable member of your marine aquarium.

One of the most interesting facts about this wonderful marine fish is that it can change its body color to match with its surroundings. In its natural habitat, Blue Dot Grouper fish is usually seen around the coral reefs. Blue Dot Grouper fish has six white vertical stripes or bands, running along the length from the pectoral fin till the tail fin, adding spice to its beauty. Interestingly these white bands sometimes becomes prominent, while sometimes get faded off being contingent upon the fish’s surrounding environment and its reaction towards it. When threatened these vertical white bands seems to be faded off.

Blue Dot Grouper – Fast Facts
  • Scientific names: Cephalopholis argus
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific region.
  • Taxonomy: Blue Dot Grouper fish belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Actinopterygii, Order Perciformes, Family Serranidae, Genus Cephalopholis and Species argus
  • Fish Size: Approximately 16 inches on maturity.
  • Tank Size: Minimum 100 gallon fish-only tank with ample space to move freely
  • Color: Blue, Brown, Tan and Green colors with vibrant blue spots. The fins are dark Blue in color with its lighter, yet prominent shade outlining the fins.blue-spotted grouper, marine fish, marine aquarium fish
  • Aggression: Generally aggressive towards the other marine aquarium invertebrates in captivity.
  • Compatibility: Blue Dot Grouper fish is moderately reef compatible. This aggressive marine fish can be kept with other aggressive and semi-aggressive tank mates like, Lionfish, Angelfish, Scorpion Fish, Marine Eels, Surgeons and Tangs.
  • Light: Blue Dot Grouper appreciates moderately low illumination in the marine aquarium.
  • Temperature of water: Water temperature should range between 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Specific gravity of water: 1.023 to 1.025.
  • pH of water: 8.10 to 8.40.
Caution:

• Blue Dot Grouper is a large fishes and develops habit to dislodge the corals in your marine aquarium. It is hence advisable not to keep it in a Reef Type Marine Aquarium.
• Due to its large size and voluminous eater, Blue Dot Grouper usually leaves around lot of waste in the marine aquarium. You should be highly vigilant to keep your tank’s water perfectly clean by using very effective biological filter.
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Orang Utans, The Critically Endangered Species

It’s really hard not to fall in love of the charming spell cast by quizzical expression of a playful kid — especially when the kid is a baby orangutan!

Orang Utans, the only great apes outside Africa, have been classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007, and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3). There are as fewer as even less than 30,000 orang-utans left in the wild, although the majority are spread over the three or four subspecies in Borneo and a very small population live in Sumatra. Not all but the Bornean orang-utan has been listed as endangered species by the IUCN, while Sumatran orang-utan is facing the more threatening, and has been listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. This implies tat the Sumatran orang utans is at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild withing a very short span of time. The natural home for the orang utans is the leafy green canopy of the Southeast Asian rain forests in Sumatra and Borneo. The abundance of fruits and other edible veggies make the big apes lead a happy life out there. that these apes eat. The wanton growth of the logging industry in these areas has left this habitat in grave danger, making their population shrinking down gradually.

During November 2002, the researchers from "Nature Conservancy" had discovered a new population of orang-utans in East Kalimantan, Borneo. The group number ranged between 1,000 and 2,500, showing a light of hope that the species could be conserved well. Unfortunately, withe the passage of time there was a twist witnessed in the scenario. Researches say that these solitary apes actually need huge amount of space to thrive well. The national parks that should be safe place for them are reportedly being logged unlawfully. The growing demand of palm oil (world's best selling vegetable oil) have threatened the forest areas, where they can live safely. Almost 80% od the world's Orang Utan habitat have turned out to be vulnerable to illegal logging, gold mining and conversion to permanent agriculture, throwing the species into a zone of serious threat of extinction! Another major cause for the sudden deterioration in their population was the relentless hunting. Their slow movement made them easy target for the hunters. Their extremely long inter-birth interval is another cause of their population having a stiff fall. 1997-98 had been a real sad time for these amazing Bornean creatures. The raging forest fire of 1997 and 1998 had destroyed almost one-third of the total orang-utan population of Borneo Island.

The Great Orangutan Project (GOP) is a collection of a number of Orang Utans projects that anybody - even you and me can get involved in. The Great Orangutan Project (GOP) has been designed to save the orangutans from being extinct. You can volunteer your extra hours in this noble motive to Save Orang Utans
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Keeping Piranha Fishes in Your Aqurium

Piranha Fishes piranha fish Chiclids family Prinahas school of PiranhaIf you are given a chance to take a refreshing dip into the cool Amazon basin to beat the summer heat, I am sure you will want to enjoy it to the fullest, unless you do not have to play the role of a chewing toy for a school of Piranha. The infamous piranha fish has a good deal of reputation of nibbling live or dead animals. Though this might sound a bit too awkward, but the fact is that a school Piranha can strip flesh off a full sized cow in just a few minutes. Truth be told… Piranha prefers to scavenge on dead animals, and if there's not an option like that, they'll surely move on to tales and scales of other mates in the vicinity.

My personal experience with just one Piranha in my tank had really been bad… probably the worst one, I could ever share! I had a medium-large tank, where I intended to keep a Piranha along with the other aggressive tank mates of Chiclids family, including two Tiger Oscars, one Red Oscar, two Albino Oscars and one gray-black spotted Plecostomus cat fish of around 6” - 7” long… none of them were full grown. I had to shift my Red Scatophagus argus and Green Argus to a separate salty tank. I still remember, it was Monday evening sometimes around mid Autumn, when I brought my long desired Piranha and released it with the Oscars. Let me hide and seek… I wasn’t really aware of the fact that Prinaha could eat up the world, until (the next morning) I found two of my Oscars head without the body and one of the Albinos was still live with its tail nibbled off! Strangely it did not harm my cat fish, which proved that Piranhas can be kept with Plecostomus cat fishes. The Piranha wasn’t a full grown one, but obviously a bit older than all of its other tank mates. I started digging more into the world of Piranha; never kept another, but collected some really researched information from varied sources, a bit of which, I thought, you guys would like to read about.

The piranha is a member of Characidae ( also called Characin) family. Characin is a large family of over around 1200 species of aggressive fishes, of which some have earned a great deal of admiration as very popular aquarium fishes, like all the common discuss and butterfly fishes. Although importing and trading Piranha is illegal in many states in the US, including the state of California, the law is not that stringent in other parts of the world. They are easily traded in many parts of the world. Amongst many varieties of Piranha fishes, the Red Belly Piranha (Pygocentrus Ntereri) is the most common as aquarium fishes. Reports of Piranhas nibbling people in their habitat to dead, has hardly been heard, but it will definitely bite your finger hard if you dip it in a tank of Piranhas. That happens probably because they turn out to be more aggressive in captivity.

Many of my peeps ask me if Piranhas can be kept with other fishes. Yes, but not with all kind of fishes, as the case holds good for many aggressive and semi-aggressive communal fishes too! I will recommend Piranhas with Plecostomus cat fishes, provided they (cat fishes) are not too small in size. Better not to release new Plecostomus cats in the tank full of Piranhas; rather you can release new Piranhas with already existing cats. You can keep Piranhas safely with large sized Green Spot Texas Cichlids, Wimple Piranha (which is not actually a true Piranha), large Red Belly Pacu and Black Pacu etc. Better to keep at least three Piranhas in a tank. Pacu mingles well Piranhas and thrive along well.
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Seal With "Arms" Discovered

A missing link between the seals and the land-based ancestors have been discovered recently! This amazing animal news abuz the word wide web, causing the animal lovers world wide to raise brows. A new study says that the newly discovered prehistoric seal with arms is no longer a missing link between te land creatures with the aquatic ones. According to the researchers, being spurred by "global warming and cooling in the ancient Arctic, the freshwater, amphibious seal is an example of the region as a hotbed of evolution". The discoverer said that, the seal measured around three and a half feet (110 centimeters) long. This 20 to 24-million-year-old "walking seal" had muscular limbs like the land mammals, a long tail, and webbed feet. Unlike the shuffling seals that we usually find these days, the newly discovered species may have walked as gracefully as it swam, said the researchers.

If the seal without the webbed fins looks a bit less than odd, it may be because of its resemblance in look to a modern otter. This finally lead study author Natalia Rybczynski agreed "to some extent, ecologically" could be "a modern analogy for these early pinnipeds."It is now believed that many marine mammals, for instance manatees and whales have roots with the land mammals that originated with Charles Darwin around 150 years ago. But hard evidence for land-to-water evolution in mammals like seals and certain other pinnipeds was in fact lacking until this new discovery - to name, the Piujila Darwin, which is "Darwin's young marine mammal" in an amalgamation of an Inuit language and Latin. In the context, a vertebrate paleontologist Rybczynski asked the Canadian Museum of Nature: "We know that some sort of land-dwelling ancestor existed, but how did we get to the fully marine form?" Rybczynski also added: "There was a morphological gap. So Puijila darwini is an important transition fossil".

The most primitive pinniped fossil skeleton yet found is the Puijila darwini specimen that had been discovered in the year 2007 in an impact crater at Canadian Arctic. According to the researchers, at that time the animals frequented the then temperate rivers and lakes of the Arctic region, and they may have slowly adapted to the under-sea lifestyle, when the lakes had started to freeze during the chill! The seals were deprived of food and their natural habitats! This first evidence of early Arctic pinnipeds runs a long way to prove that the region was a hotbed of pinniped evolution, according to Rybczynski. The Arctic experiences amplified the twists in the climatic condition, which could accellerate up evolution as animals are forced to either adapt theselves with the change or completely disappear.

Also check out discovery of new bird species
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In love of Animals

In Love of Animals is an animal lovers' blog that talks about animals and endangered species. This blog intend to share information about animals and spread out awareness about the protection of endangered animals. We want to raise our voice against animal killing and secret trading. Let the wild live in wild!


Note: Most of the pictures in this site are taken from net

Content in this animal blog

Welcome to 'In Love of Animals'. This is an animal blog run by a single person (an animal lover). The content in this animal blog (In love of animals) are all well researched, with the information taken from various sources - both online and offline. All information about animals here are all well researched and the content are original, except the images that have been taken from the net. The motive is to make this animal blog a rich resource of animal information for animal lovers.

My animal blogs

I am an animal lover first - then a dog lover! I can hardly scoop time out of my tremendously busy schedule. This has made me too slow with blogging. I have a few animal blogs and this is one of them. You can find posts in these animal blogs not very frequently. My animal blogs are:
In love of animals
Welcome dog lovers
German shepherd dog information
Amazing animal videos
About German Shepherd Dog

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