Grand Teton National Park - WY, USA
What’s that animal that just scurried by you on the ground?  
Here’s a good way to compare four commonly seen (and mixed-up) Grand Teton critters and to learn where you might find them. 
Top left: uinta ground squirrel, commonly found in the valley. 
Top right: golden-mantled ground squirrel, most commonly seen at Inspiration Point. 
Bottom left: American pika, a lagomorph found in rock fields at higher elevations (shorter than uintas and with big round ears) . 
Bottom right: uinta chipmunk (smaller than the ground-squirrel, with stripes across the eyes). there are also 2 other species in GTNP, the Least and the Yellow Pine Chipmunk.
(dl)

What’s that animal that just scurried by you on the ground?

Here’s a good way to compare four commonly seen (and mixed-up) Grand Teton critters and to learn where you might find them.

Top left: uinta ground squirrel, commonly found in the valley.

Top right: golden-mantled ground squirrel, most commonly seen at Inspiration Point.

Bottom left: American pika, a lagomorph found in rock fields at higher elevations (shorter than uintas and with big round ears) .

Bottom right: uinta chipmunk (smaller than the ground-squirrel, with stripes across the eyes). there are also 2 other species in GTNP, the Least and the Yellow Pine Chipmunk.

(dl)

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea) is a common species of mongoose found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. Dozens of subspecies are known, and the fur color varies between subspecies. The slender mongoose tends to live alone or in pairs, and, although it is an opportunistic omnivore, it feeds primarily on insects.

This specimen was photographed at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic.
 Photograph: Karel Jakubec
(via: Wikipedia)

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea) is a common species of mongoose found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. Dozens of subspecies are known, and the fur color varies between subspecies. The slender mongoose tends to live alone or in pairs, and, although it is an opportunistic omnivore, it feeds primarily on insects.

This specimen was photographed at the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic.

Photograph: Karel Jakubec

(via: Wikipedia)

The West Indian Manatee
Manatees are large plant-eating slow moving aquatic mammals. Short front flippers help them steer or even crawl through shallow waters and strong paddle-shaped tails propel them.
A distant relative of the elephant they have thick, wrinkled skin that is grey or brown in color. An average adult is about 10 feet long and weighs between 1,500 and 2,200 pounds with a life expectancy of about 50-60 years.
The major threats to manatee survival are human activities: boat-related injuries and deaths, habitat loss or degradation, and in some countries, hunting.
The U.S. Geological Survey works in partnership with other Federal and State agencies and private organizations to study manatee life history, behavior, ecology, and population biology.
For more information on USGS studies on manatees, including the West Indian manatee, check this out:
Manatee Research int he SE United States
Crystal River Manatees
Photo credit: Robert Bonde, USGS
(via: USGS)

The West Indian Manatee

Manatees are large plant-eating slow moving aquatic mammals. Short front flippers help them steer or even crawl through shallow waters and strong paddle-shaped tails propel them.

A distant relative of the elephant they have thick, wrinkled skin that is grey or brown in color. An average adult is about 10 feet long and weighs between 1,500 and 2,200 pounds with a life expectancy of about 50-60 years.

The major threats to manatee survival are human activities: boat-related injuries and deaths, habitat loss or degradation, and in some countries, hunting.

The U.S. Geological Survey works in partnership with other Federal and State agencies and private organizations to study manatee life history, behavior, ecology, and population biology.

For more information on USGS studies on manatees, including the West Indian manatee, check this out:

Manatee Research int he SE United States

Crystal River Manatees

Photo credit: Robert Bonde, USGS

(via: USGS)

Elephants Have 2000 Genes for Smell - Most Ever Found
We’ve long known that African elephants have a great sense of smell—but a new study shows that the large mammals have truly superior schnozzes.
by Christine Dell’Amore
Compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 2,000.
That’s the most ever discovered in an animal—more than twice the number of olfactory genes in domestic dogs and five times more than in humans, who have about 400, according to research published July 22 in the journal Genome Research. The previous record-holder was rats, which have about 1,200 genes dedicated to smell.
Why so many? “We don’t know the real reason,” study leader Yoshihito Niimura, a molecular evolutionist at the University of Tokyo, said by email. But it’s likely related to the importance of smell to the poorly sighted African elephant in interpreting and navigating its environment…
(read more: National Geographic)
photograph by João Nuno Gonçalves

Elephants Have 2000 Genes for Smell - Most Ever Found

We’ve long known that African elephants have a great sense of smell—but a new study shows that the large mammals have truly superior schnozzes.

by Christine Dell’Amore

Compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 2,000.

That’s the most ever discovered in an animal—more than twice the number of olfactory genes in domestic dogs and five times more than in humans, who have about 400, according to research published July 22 in the journal Genome ResearchThe previous record-holder was rats, which have about 1,200 genes dedicated to smell.

Why so many? “We don’t know the real reason,” study leader Yoshihito Niimura, a molecular evolutionist at the University of Tokyo, said by email. But it’s likely related to the importance of smell to the poorly sighted African elephant in interpreting and navigating its environment…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph by João Nuno Gonçalves

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Gray slender opossum (Marmosops incanus)

The Gray Slender Opossum is an opossum species from South America. It is found in Brazil. The Marmosops in generel prefer to live on the grounds of forests, staying away from high branches of trees.

They often hide in the dense understory with high plant coverage surrounding them. They are highly influenced by rain and predation, with migration occurring more often during certain seasons.

The diet of Marmosops consists of a variety of things. This includes, but is not limited to fruit, arthropods, flowers and small vertebrates. They also will eat insects, arachnids, and gastropods depending on the species and time of the year.

photo credits: Ramon Campos, Hans Ulrich Bernard, redorbit,

libutron
libutron:

Boodie  (Burrowing Bettong, Lesueur’s Rat Kangaroo) 
The Boodie, scientifically named Bettongia lesueur (Diprotodontia - Potoroidae), is a small Australian marsupial. Like a little kangaroo, the Boodie has well developed, muscular hind limbs and short muscular forearms. The head is small with a pointed muzzle, short rounded ears and beady black eyes. 
Boodies are listed as Near Threatened because its extent of occurrence is small and it is known from just 6-8 locations. It was formerly widespread in central, southern, and south-western parts of Australia, but the species was eradicated as a result of predation by introduced animals. However, it persists in insular populations on Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay (Western Australia) and on Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast. In 1992, after an absence of 50 years, the Boodie was successfully reintroduced to the Australian mainland.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Jeremy Ringma | Locality: unknown (Australia)

libutron:

Boodie  (Burrowing Bettong, Lesueur’s Rat Kangaroo) 

The Boodie, scientifically named Bettongia lesueur (Diprotodontia - Potoroidae), is a small Australian marsupial. Like a little kangaroo, the Boodie has well developed, muscular hind limbs and short muscular forearms. The head is small with a pointed muzzle, short rounded ears and beady black eyes. 

Boodies are listed as Near Threatened because its extent of occurrence is small and it is known from just 6-8 locations. It was formerly widespread in central, southern, and south-western parts of Australia, but the species was eradicated as a result of predation by introduced animals. However, it persists in insular populations on Bernier and Dorre Islands in Shark Bay (Western Australia) and on Barrow Island off the Pilbara coast. In 1992, after an absence of 50 years, the Boodie was successfully reintroduced to the Australian mainland.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Jeremy Ringma | Locality: unknown (Australia)

Study Finds That Seals Feed at Offshore Windfarms
Some seals prefer to forage for food at offshore wind farms, a study suggests.
by Michelle Warwicker
Researchers found a proportion of GPS tagged harbour seals repeatedly visited wind turbines in the North Sea. They deduced the mammals were attracted to these structures - which may act as artificial reefs - to hunt for prey.
"As far as we know this is the first study that’s shown marine mammals feeding at wind farms," said research team member Dr Deborah Russell from the University of St Andrews, UK.
The team’s findings are detailed in a correspondence article published in the journal Current Biology.
Dr Russell and colleagues tracked dozens of harbour or common seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) living around the British and Dutch coasts of the North Sea. They observed 11 harbour seals visiting wind farms - Sheringham Shoal in the UK and Alpha Ventus in Germany…
(read more: BBC Nature)
photograph by Christine Hall

Study Finds That Seals Feed at Offshore Windfarms

Some seals prefer to forage for food at offshore wind farms, a study suggests.

by Michelle Warwicker

Researchers found a proportion of GPS tagged harbour seals repeatedly visited wind turbines in the North Sea. They deduced the mammals were attracted to these structures - which may act as artificial reefs - to hunt for prey.

"As far as we know this is the first study that’s shown marine mammals feeding at wind farms," said research team member Dr Deborah Russell from the University of St Andrews, UK.

The team’s findings are detailed in a correspondence article published in the journal Current Biology.

Dr Russell and colleagues tracked dozens of harbour or common seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) living around the British and Dutch coasts of the North Sea. They observed 11 harbour seals visiting wind farms - Sheringham Shoal in the UK and Alpha Ventus in Germany…

(read more: BBC Nature)

photograph by Christine Hall

Gut Microbes Help Packrats Eat Poison
by Ashley Jaeger



Packrats can repeatedly eat poison if they have the right gut microbes.
Scientists had suspected this, but there wasn’t much evidence to support the idea, so a team decided to test it in desert woodrats (Neotoma lepida). Some populations of this species snack on a bush called creosote, which is toxic, while other groups leave it alone. When the creosote-eaters were given antibiotics, their gut microbes changed so that they couldn’t metabolize the toxins from bush. And when non-creosote-eaters were given fecal transplants from those that could eat the bush, the non-eaters could ingest more of the toxin.
The results, published July 20 in Ecology Letters, suggest that gut microbes expand the range of what planting-eating mammals can munch on and that  microbes may one day help livestock broaden their menu too.
(via: Science News)
photo by Kevin Kohl/University of Utah

Gut Microbes Help Packrats Eat Poison

by Ashley Jaeger

Packrats can repeatedly eat poison if they have the right gut microbes.

Scientists had suspected this, but there wasn’t much evidence to support the idea, so a team decided to test it in desert woodrats (Neotoma lepida). Some populations of this species snack on a bush called creosote, which is toxic, while other groups leave it alone. When the creosote-eaters were given antibiotics, their gut microbes changed so that they couldn’t metabolize the toxins from bush. And when non-creosote-eaters were given fecal transplants from those that could eat the bush, the non-eaters could ingest more of the toxin.

The results, published July 20 in Ecology Letters, suggest that gut microbes expand the range of what planting-eating mammals can munch on and that  microbes may one day help livestock broaden their menu too.

(via: Science News)

photo by Kevin Kohl/University of Utah

Bats Can Navigate Using Polarized Light
by Sid Perkins
Forget the phrase “blind as a bat.” New experiments suggest that members of one species of these furry flyers—Myotis myotis, the greater mouse-eared bat—can do something no other mammal is known to do: They detect and use polarized light to calibrate their long-distance navigation.
Previous research hinted that these bats reset their magnetic compass each night based on cues visible at sunset, but the particular cue or cues hadn’t been identified. In the new study, researchers placed bats in boxes in which the polarization of light could be controlled and shifted.
After letting the bats experience sundown at a site near their typical roost, the team waited until after midnight (when polarized light was no longer visible in the sky), transported the animals to two sites between 20 and 25 kilometers from the roost, strapped radio tracking devices to them, and then released them…
(read more: Science News/AAAS)
photo by Top-Pics/TBK

Bats Can Navigate Using Polarized Light

by Sid Perkins

Forget the phrase “blind as a bat.” New experiments suggest that members of one species of these furry flyers—Myotis myotis, the greater mouse-eared bat—can do something no other mammal is known to do: They detect and use polarized light to calibrate their long-distance navigation.

Previous research hinted that these bats reset their magnetic compass each night based on cues visible at sunset, but the particular cue or cues hadn’t been identified. In the new study, researchers placed bats in boxes in which the polarization of light could be controlled and shifted.

After letting the bats experience sundown at a site near their typical roost, the team waited until after midnight (when polarized light was no longer visible in the sky), transported the animals to two sites between 20 and 25 kilometers from the roost, strapped radio tracking devices to them, and then released them…

(read more: Science News/AAAS)

photo by Top-Pics/TBK

SeaWorld is 50 years old and we have 50 good reasons NOT to go there!No. 33:  In the wild, the mean life expectancy of orcas is 30 years for males and 50 for females. While a very small number of captive whales has achieved these average life spans, most die in their teens and 20s and none have come anywhere close to the estimated maximum life spans of 60-70 years for males and 80-90 for females. Please go to http://uk.whales.org/Wdc-in-action/ending-captive-cruelty to support our fight against captivity!

SeaWorld is 50 years old and we have 50 good reasons NOT to go there!

No. 33:  In the wild, the mean life expectancy of orcas is 30 years for males and 50 for females. While a very small number of captive whales has achieved these average life spans, most die in their teens and 20s and none have come anywhere close to the estimated maximum life spans of 60-70 years for males and 80-90 for females.

Please go to http://uk.whales.org/
Wdc-in-action/ending-captive-cruelty to support our fight against captivity!