Ivan Drago's Animal Thread (1 Viewer)

Ivan Drago

ÜberApocaZealot



Vulture, any of 22 species of large carrion-eating birds that live predominantly in the tropics and subtropics. The seven species of New World vultures include condors, and the 15 Old World species include the lammergeier and griffons. Although many members of the two groups appear similar, they are only distantly related.All of the New World vultures and some of the Old World vultures have bare heads, a condition that prevents feathers from matting with blood when the birds reach inside carcasses. Most vultures have a large pouch in the throat (crop) and can go for long periods without food—adaptations to a feast-or-famine scavenging lifestyle. In some species the beak is exceptionally strong and heavy for tearing hide, muscle, and even bone. Eyesight in all vultures is well developed, as is the sense of smell in the turkey vulture. Old World vultures have relatively strong feet, but New World Vultures have flat, weak feet that are poorly adapted for grasping.

Vultures are widely distributed, but they are absent from Australia and most oceanic islands. Most have broad food habits, consuming carrion, garbage, and even excrement, but rarely do they descend upon live animals. A few occasionally take helpless prey such as lambs and tortoises or, in the case of Andean condors, newborn calves. Vultures may remain aloft for hours, soaring gracefully on long, broad wings. When one bird descends to a dead or dying animal, others may be attracted from miles away. When feeding, vultures maintain a strict social order based on body size and strength of beak. Smaller vultures must wait for the scraps left behind by the larger, dominant species. Even large vultures, however, give way to nearly all mammalian competitors, including jackals, hyenas, and coyotes.

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Ivan Drago

ÜberApocaZealot


Common bottlenose dolphins (referred to hereafter simply as bottlenose dolphins) are found throughout the world in both offshore and coastal waters, including harbors, bays, gulfs, and estuaries of temperate and tropical waters (estuaries are the areas where rivers meet the sea). They are one of the most studied and well-known marine mammals in the wild. In addition, they are easy to view in the wild because they live close to shore and are distributed throughout coastal and estuarine waters. But this puts dolphins at increased risk of human-related injuries and death. They are a highly intelligent species and use sound both for communication and to hunt for food.

Bottlenose dolphins in the United States are not endangered or threatened, but they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including disease, biotoxin, pollution, habitat alteration, vessel collisions, human feeding of and activities causing harassment, interactions with commercial and recreational fishing, energy exploration and oil spills, and other types of human disturbance (such as underwater noise).

NOAA Fisheries helps conserve bottlenose dolphins through collaborative management, integrated science, partnerships, and outreach. Our scientists use a variety of innovative techniques to study, protect, and rescue bottlenose dolphins in distress (e.g., disentanglement response and strandings). We facilitate collaborative approaches to better understand impacts to bottlenose dolphins and their habitat. Our work helps reduce harmful effects of human activities (such as fisheries interactions, noise, and pollution) through effective management actions based on sound science, public input, and public outreach.

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Ivan Drago

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Crocodile, (order Crocodylia, or Crocodilia), any of 23 species of generally large, ponderous, amphibious animals of lizard-like appearance and carnivorous habit belonging to the reptile order Crocodylia. Crocodiles have powerful jaws with many conical teeth and short legs with clawed webbed toes. They share a unique body form that allows the eyes, ears, and nostrils to be above the water surface while most of the animal is hidden below. The tail is long and massive, and the skin is thick and plated. Crocodiles are a living link with the dinosaur-like reptiles of prehistoric times and are the nearest living relatives of the birds. A large variety of crocodilian fossils have been discovered that date back 200 million years to the Late Triassic Epoch. Fossil evidence also suggests that three major radiations occurred. Only one of the four suborders of crocodiles has survived to modern times. The order Crocodylia includes the “true crocodiles,” alligators, caimans, and gavials.

Crocodiles are the largest and the heaviest of present-day reptiles. The largest representatives, the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) of Africa and the estuarine (or saltwater) crocodile (C. porosus) of Australia, attain lengths of up to 6 metres (20 feet) and weigh over 1,000 kg (about 2,200 pounds). Some fossil forms (such as Deinosuchus and Sarcosuchus) may have been between 10 and 12 metres (33 and 40 feet) long. In comparison, the smallest species, the smooth-fronted caiman (Paleosuchus) and the dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis), reach about 1.7 meters (about 6 feet) in length as adults.

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Ivan Drago

ÜberApocaZealot

Beaver


Beavers are famous for their buckteeth and large, flat tails. These two well-known features aid beavers in their lives from day to day.
The beaver’s teeth never stop growing. Chewing on tree trunks and branches helps keep the teeth from getting too long. A beaver’s front teeth stick out in front of their lips. That way, beavers can cut and chew underwater wood without getting water in their mouths. Beavers have a coating on their teeth that contains iron, which helps prevent tooth decay. A beaver’s paddle-shaped tail is black and scaly. In water, it functions like a boat rudder, helping steer the beaver as it moves logs to its dam. Beavers are builders! They spend much of their time building and maintaining their houses: dams and lodges—large dome-shaped piles of branches in lakes, rivers and larger streams. Beavers access their lodges through underwater entrances, which lead into dry living areas. As the colder months approach, they spread a thin layer of mud on top of the lodge to keep out any predators, such as lynx and wolves. If a beaver feels threatened, it will slap its tail on the surface of the water to warn other beavers in the area, then it will dive deep underwater to stay safe. Beavers can be found around lakes and streams all over Canada. In the past, beavers were over-hunted for their fur and meat, threatening the population. They have come back, however, thanks to wetland rehabilitation and other conservation efforts.

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Ivan Drago

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Octopuses are ocean creatures that are most famous for having eight arms and bulbous heads. Some other fun facts: They have three hearts and blue blood; they squirt ink to deter predators; and being boneless, they can squeeze into (or out of) tight spaces. They are quite intelligent and have been observed using tools. The order Octopoda includes 289 species, according to the World Animal Foundation. The word also refers specifically to animals in the genus Octopus. The word octopus comes from the Greek, októpus, which means "eight foot," according to a Smithsonian magazine article that summarized facts in Katherine Harmon Courage's book, "Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea."

Some people call their appendages tentacles, but that is incorrect; they are arms. Most octopus species have suction cups on the bottom of each arm. The arms seem to have a mind of their own. In fact, two-thirds of an octopus' neurons are in its arms rather than its head, according to the article. That means that an octopus can focus on exploring a cave for food with one arm while another arm tries to crack open a shellfish.

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Ivan Drago

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Anacondas are semiaquatic snakes found in tropical South America. They are some of the largest snakes in the world and are known for their swimming ability. “Anaconda” is the common name for the genus Eunectes, a genus of boa. Eunectes means “good swimmer” in Greek. There are four recognized species of anaconda, according to Bill Heyborne, a herpetologist and professor of biology at Southern Utah University. They are the green anaconda, the yellow or Paraguayan anaconda, the dark-spotted anaconda and the Beni or Bolivian anaconda. “They can be differentiated from one another genetically, but also based on their size and geographic range,” Heyborne said. Heyborne said that when most people say “anaconda,” they are actually referring to the green anaconda, the largest of the four species. The green anaconda is the heaviest snake in the world and one of the longest. According to the Jacksonville Zoo, anacondas feature prominently in South American myths, sometimes appearing as shape shifters, as the creator of the water, as vicious human-eaters, or as magical, spiritual beings with healing properties.

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Ivan Drago

ÜberApocaZealot


Tree frogs are a diverse family of amphibians that includes over 800 species. Not all tree frogs live in trees. Rather, the feature that unites them has to do with their feet—the last bone in their toes (called the terminal phalanx) is shaped like a claw. Tree frogs also have toe pads to help them climb and many have extra skeletal structures in their toes. Tree frogs can be a variety of colors, but most of the species found in the United States are green, gray, or brown. Some of them, like the squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirella), are chameleon-like in their ability to change color.

Although tree frogs can grow to be a range of sizes, most arboreal species are very small because they rely on leaves and slender branches to hold their weight. At 4 to 5.5 inches (10 to 14 centimeters) long, the white-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata) from Australia and Oceania is the largest tree frog in the world. The largest tree frog in the United States is the non-native Cuban tree frog, which reaches 1.5 to 5 inches (3.8 to 12.7 centimeters) in length. The world’s smallest tree frogs are less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long! Tree frogs are found on every continent except Antarctica, but they’re most diverse in the tropics of the western hemisphere. About 30 species live in the United States, and over 600 can be found in South and Central America. Not surprisingly, lots of tree frogs are arboreal, meaning they live in trees. Special adaptations like toe pads and long legs aid them in climbing and jumping. Non-arboreal tree frogs find habitats in lakes and ponds or among moist ground cover. Tree frogs are consumed by many different carnivorous animals. Mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish all eat tree frogs. Many of the frogs rely on camouflage to protect themselves from predators, and the more arboreal species escape ground-dwelling predators by hiding in trees.

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Ivan Drago

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To most people, moths don’t rouse the same admiration as butterflies do. That is, of course, until you see a luna moth. With a wingspan of 10 cm or more, luna moths are a sight to behold, with their long trailing hindwing tails, an eyespot on each of their wings, and their beautiful lime-green color. Found in Canada from the Maritime provinces west to Saskatchewan, luna moths make their homes among deciduous trees. As adults, luna moths have one purpose — to reproduce. In fact, they don’t even have a mouth for feeding. They survive on stored fat from when they were a caterpillar and live only for a week.


Active at night, the adult female releases a pheromone to attract males. Males use their sensitive antennae to smell this scent. The first male to reach a female is the one she typically mates with. Once mating is complete, the female lays an average of 200 eggs in small clusters on the undersides of leaves of trees such as white birch, hickory, walnut, willow, maple and oak. The female dies shortly after laying her eggs, while the male may live a bit longer to fertilize more females. About 10 days after being laid, the eggs hatch into caterpillars. Luna moth caterpillars are green with short hairs, a yellow stripe along each side, red knobs, and a brown or green head. They eagerly feed on the vegetation in which they emerged, and after a week they moult their skin. In total, they go through five larval stages, each lasting about a week. When they reach a length of 8 cm, these caterpillars enter the pupal stage. They often fall to the ground and then make a cocoon by spinning silk and wrapping themselves in a leaf. This is how they remain — well camouflaged — for two to three weeks. When the adult luna moth emerges from the cocoon, it crawls onto a tree. Unable to fly, it rests while its wings fill with blood. Once night falls, the luna moth is ready to fly off to find a mate. Luna moths often fall prey to bats, spiders, toads, owls and other birds. Human activities also take their toll on these moths. Urban development can destroy caterpillar host trees, such as maple, oak, white birch or willow, and increased numbers of lights and the use of pesticides also threaten luna moth populations.

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Ivan Drago

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Scorpions are members of the class Arachnida and are closely related to spiders, mites, and ticks. They are commonly thought of as desert dwellers, but they also live in Brazilian forests, British Columbia, North Carolina, and even the Himalayas. These hardy, adaptable arthropods have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and they are nothing if not survivors. There are almost 2,000 scorpion species, but only 30 or 40 have strong enough poison to kill a person. The many types of venom are effectively tailored to their users' lifestyles, however, and are highly selected for effectiveness against that species' chosen prey.

Scorpions typically eat insects, but their diet can be extremely variable—another key to their survival in so many harsh locales. When food is scarce, the scorpion has an amazing ability to slow its metabolism to as little as one-third the typical rate for arthropods. This technique enables some species to use little oxygen and live on as little as a single insect per year. Yet even with lowered metabolism, the scorpion has the ability to spring quickly to the hunt when the opportunity presents itself—a gift that many hibernating species lack.

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Ivan Drago

ÜberApocaZealot


The termite belongs to the order of the roaches called Blattodea. It has been known for decades that termites are closely related to cockroaches, predominately the wood eating species of roach. Until recently, the termites were the order Isoptera, which is now the suborder. This new taxonomical shift is supported by data and research to confirm the new comparison that termites are actually social cockroaches. This suborder of Isoptera has over 2,600 species worldwide, and 50 species that call North America their home. The heaviest populated areas are located in the tropic and sub tropic regions.

The origin of the name Isoptera is Greek and means two pairs of straight wings. The termite has been called the white ant over the years and commonly confused with the true ant. It wasn’t until modern times and the use of microscopes they were able to observe distinguishing features between the two orders. The features were the straight termite antennae, the four equally sized wings, the broad waist of the thorax, and broad abdomen.

The earliest termite fossil known in existence dates back to over 130 million years ago. Where do termites come from? The termite order branches from an ancient wood cockroach-like insect about 100 million years ago. The advances in molecular data gives the proper evidence to confirm the origin of the termites. Termites as a majority are known to inhabit the tropical regions around the world. Few of the species are able to branch out into the northern territories. With the characteristics of being social insects, termites mimic other social insects like bees, ants, and wasps. Termites, though, are different in the simple reason that any cast can be male or female, but in other social insects all workers and soldiers are female! Throughout history, the termites, also called white ants or wood bugs, have destroyed structures and invaded homes over countless centuries. They continue to cause billions of dollars in damage every year all over the world. Termites today that spend their lives within the food source are the most primitive of termite species. The next more moderately adapted termites live in the soil and forage for wood. African termites are some of the most advanced termites in the world that farm funguses and grasses. These termites live in the soil all of their lives and construct mounds that are in the record books. They also rank amongst the largest in the world. The movement to understand these insects has led to many discoveries and ideas. Leading researchers and engineers are copying the structure and venting mechanics of African termite mounds. There are also experimental trials being conducted using termites to create biofuels. The termites are truly novel insects that are ranked amongst the most successful insect pests.

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Ivan Drago

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The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is among the most spectacular and variable of the group, with 21 races scattered over the southwestern Pacific. Most races of this 150-gram (5-ounce) species have red bills, blue heads, green wings, and black feet, though the color and pattern of the chest, neck, and belly vary dramatically. Screeching, chattering flocks feed in the upper canopy and nest in hollow trees, sometimes in the company of flocks of other fruit- and nectar-eating species. At night they gather, sometimes by the thousands, in communal roosts. In the dry scrub of southern Australia, breathtakingly colorful purple-crowned lorikeets (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) gather in small nomadic flocks to eat fruit, pollinating the flowering mallee in the process. Along with a deep purple cap, the head has red-and-yellow cheek pads. The chin and chest are sky blue, and the green wings are ornamented with red, blue, and green on the undersides. Colonies of these lorikeets nest in tree holes. Though both members of a pair may roost in the unlined hollow, only the female incubates the two or three eggs.

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Ivan Drago

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Mountain goat, (Oreamnos americanus), also called Rocky Mountain goat, a stocky North American ruminant of the family Bovidae (order Artiodactyla). Surefooted relatives of the chamois, mountain goats cling to steep cliffs in habitats ranging from ocean shores to glaciated mountain tops. They are agile, methodical climbers, adapted to the insecure footing of snow-covered and icy cliffs, where predators are loath to follow. On these cliffs, they readily turn on their pursuers, including humans. Mountain goats belong to the goat antelope tribe, Rupicaprini, of the bovid family. Despite their unusual appearance and behavior, they are close relatives of sheep and true goats. Mountain goats occur from the Yukon and Alaska to Utah, but most are found in British Columbia.

They have been successfully restored to their former abundance in some areas and have also been introduced to some areas where they were never native, including Kodiak Island, the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. They occurred in early postglacial times on Vancouver Island but became extinct; recent restoration efforts failed. Mountain goat populations fluctuate and are sensitive to human impacts. Consequently, they are constantly being watched to ensure the timely application of corrective management. Stocky climbers with muscular legs and broad hooves, mountain goats stand about 1 meter (39 inches) at the shoulder. Large males can weigh more than 120 kg (260 pounds), and females weigh about 60–90 kg (130–200 pounds). The hair is coarse, white, and shaggy over a thick, woolly underfur; a beard frames the slender muzzle. The sexes look alike and bear sharp, slightly backward-curving, black horns that are 5–25 cm (2–10 inches) long. Unlike true goats, mountain goats do not butt heads but instead stab each other with their horns. Since the horns can cause severe injury, mountain goats are highly reluctant to fight. Nevertheless, males grow a very thick skin as a body armor against attacks by rivals or females.

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Ivan Drago

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Cobra


Cobra, any of various species of highly venomous snakes, most of which expand the neck ribs to form a hood. While the hood is characteristic of cobras, not all of them are closely related. Cobras are found from southern Africa through southern Asia to islands of Southeast Asia. Throughout their range, different species are favorites of snake charmers, who frighten them into assuming the up reared defense posture. The snake sways in response to the movement and perhaps also to the music of the charmer, who knows how to avoid the relatively slow strike and who may have removed the snake’s fangs. The short fangs at the front of the mouth have an enclosed groove, which delivers the venom. Cobra venom generally contains neurotoxins active against the nervous system of prey—primarily small vertebrates and other snakes. Bites, particularly from larger species, can be fatal depending on the amount of venom injected. Neurotoxins affect breathing, and although antivenin is effective, it must be administered soon after the bite. Thousands of deaths occur each year in South and Southeast Asia.

The world’s largest venomous snake is the king cobra, or hamadryad (Ophiophagus hannah). Found predominantly in forests from India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines and Indonesia, it preys chiefly on other snakes. Maximum confirmed length is 5.6 meters (18 feet), but most do not exceed 3.6 meters (12 feet). King cobras guard a nest of 20 to 40 eggs, which are laid in a mound of leaves gathered by the female. The guarding parent will strike if a predator or a person approaches too closely. Not all cobras are egg layers. The Indian cobra (or Indian spectacled cobra, Naja naja) was formerly considered a single species with much the same distribution as the king cobra. Recently, however, biologists have discovered that nearly a dozen species exist in Asia, some being venom spitters and others not. They vary both in size (most ranging between 1.25 and 1.75 meters) and in the toxicity of their venom. Spitters propel venom through the fangs by muscular contraction of the venom ducts and by forcing air out of the single lung.

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Ivan Drago

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A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order ‘Odonata’. Dragonflies are are not actually a fly even though they both have six legs and three body parts, head, thorax and abdomen. The main difference between them is that flies only have two wings whereas dragonflies have four wings. Dragonflies are sometimes confused with Damselflies. Even though they are both members of the same order, they have slight differences whereby when resting, damselflies hold their wings together, a dragonfly holds its wings horizontally or slightly down and forward and their hindwings are broader near the base.

The eyes on a damselfly are separated, in most dragonflies the eyes touch. However, being in the same order makes their life cycles quite similar. The Dragonfly name comes from their fierce jaws, which they use to catch their prey. A Dragonfly has two large compound eyes which take up most of its head. Dragonflies have long, delicate, membranous wings which are transparent and some have light yellow coloring near the tips. Their bodies are long and slender and they have a short antennae. Dragonflies are very colorful, for example the Green Darner Dragonfly has a green thorax and a blue segmented abdomen. Some are red like the Comet Darner and yellow like the Emerald Darner.

Dragonflies breath through spiracles which are tiny holes located on their abdomen. They can beat each pair of wings together or separately and their rear wings can be out of phase with the front wings. Their wing beat is around 50 – 90 beats per second. Dragonflies have complicated neck muscles which allow them to tilt their head sideways 180 degrees, back 70 degrees and down 40 degrees. Dragonflies can hover in mid air and then rapidly accelerate. Traveling at almost 30 miles per hour, dragonflies are the fastest insects in the UK. All dragonflies are carnivorous in both the larval and adult stages of their lives. Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, midges and other small insects like flies, bees and butterflies, catching its prey while it is flying. A Dragonflies ability to maneuver in many directions makes them able to out-fly their prey.

Dragonflies also have the advantage of excellent eyesight. Each of their two large eyes is made up of thousands of six-sided units. Together, these smaller eyes enable a dragonfly to detect even the slightest movement. They have large optic brain lobes and 80% of their mental processes are devoted to vision and they can detect color, ultraviolet light and polarization.

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Ivan Drago

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The word “Cheetah” is derived from the Hindi word “Chita” meaning “spotted one”. The Cheetah is the fastest land animal reaching speeds of 45 – 70 mph. Cheetahs have also been known to swim, although they do not like to. The Cheetah is not one of the Great Cats, because it does not have a floating Hyoid bone in its neck it can not roar, therefore it is a Lesser Cat. Cheetahs have been considered through out history to be a sleek and beautiful cat.

Cheetahs have been in captivity for over 5,000 years and were first tamed by the Sumerians. By far the Cheetah has been considered the easiest of the exotic cats to tame. The Cheetahs were used as hunting partners for sport in Asia prior to Assyrian Dynasty in Libya, during the reign of the Kings. Their keen eyesight played a major role, which aided in the hunt.

Cheetahs have also been pets to many people dating back to such historical figures as Genghis Khan and Akbar the Great of India and Mogul Emperor. Akbar (1555-1600 AD) had a collection of an estimated 6,000 Cheetah, which only produced one litter each year. 25% of Cheetah in captivity will breed more than once. This along with several other studies has proven the Cheetah does not breed well in captivity. The Cheetah is a tall and elegant cat in appearance. Large chest, narrow waist, long thin legs, and a slim well muscled build this animal was definitely made for speed. The Cheetahs coat varies from a tawny to golden tone covered in a pattern of solid black spots averaging .75″-1.5″ in diameter. The Cheetahs beautiful pelt became more protected in 1970, when the fur trade regulations were strengthened. The fur is coarse to the touch not silky as it appears. The Cheetahs long thick tail has spots, which turn into rings and at the end is tipped with white.

The throat and abdomen are a creamy white in color. The Cheetah has a small head with high set eyes and short rounded ears tipped with white on the back. The most well known characteristic is however the distinct black “tear mark”, which runs from the inside corner of the eye down to the corner of the mouth. Cubs are born with a mantle of fur running from the back of the neck down to the rump. This clever disguise aids in camouflaging the kittens in the high grass while they are following their mother. This mane like feature begins to disappear at the age of 3 months, but still remains visible at 2 years of age. The fur color of a newborn cub is medium gray, which gradually evolves into the adult colors by the age of 4 months. The King Cheetah has a fur pattern mutation, which turned the small rounded spots into large connected black patches. This mutation is caused from a lack of genetic diversity.

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Ivan Drago

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No other wolf in the world can offer the same coloring as the Arctic Wolf. It is very unique due to the location where it is found. While some species of wolves do have some white coloring, this one is almost completely white. They do offer some aspects of yellow, gray, and black in places though.

The overall size of them will depend on where they happen to live in their region. Some of them only weight about 75 pounds. Others though can weigh up to 125. Some of them are about 3 feet in length when they are fully grown. Others are twice that long though at about 6 feet. Due to the extreme cold where the Arctic Wolf lives, they have two thick layers of fur. The outer layer actually gets thicker as the winter months come along. They first layer helps to form a waterproof barrier for the skin. As a result their body temperature can stay warm enough even when it is bitter cold.

These wolves also have smaller ears than other species. That is part of them staying warm as well. They also help them to regular their overall body temperature. Since the ground is permanently frozen they have padded paws that are designed to offer them a good grip when they walk. The information about the evolution of the Arctic Wolf continues to be debated among the experts. It is believed by most they that evolved from other types of canines more than 50 million years ago. It is also believed that due to the Ice Age some wolves ended up in this very cold region. They were able to develop an anatomy that allowed them to adapt to the extremely cold temperatures. They also learned how to survive on fat stored in the body instead of needing food as often as other species of wolves do.

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Ivan Drago

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*These bastards are much bigger than I thought. Just sayin'.





The harpy eagle is legendary, although few people have seen one in the wild. Early South American explorers named these great birds after harpies, the predatory “frightful, flying creatures with hooked beak and claws” of Greek mythology. This dark gray bird of prey has a very distinctive look, with feathers atop its head that fan into a bold crest when the bird feels threatened. Some smaller gray feathers create a facial disk that may focus sound waves to improve the bird’s hearing, similar to owls.

Like most eagle species, the female “harpy” is almost twice as large as the male. The harpy eagle's legs can be as thick as a small child's wrist, and its curved, back talons are larger than grizzly bear claws at 5 inches (13 centimeters) long! The harpy may not be the largest bird of prey (that title belongs to the Andean condor), but this extraordinary creature is definitely the heaviest and most powerful of birds. The strong, silent type, harpy eagles do not vocalize much. When heard, they wail (wheee, wheee-ooooo), croak, whistle, click, and mew.

Harpies are great at saving precious energy. You will never see a harpy eagle soaring over the top of a rain forest. Instead, the powerful harpy flies below the forest canopy and uses its great talons to snatch up monkeys and sloths that can weigh up to 17 pounds (7.7 kilograms)! A harpy is capable, in a serious chase, of reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). It dives down onto its prey and snatches it with outstretched feet.

Its short, broad wings help the harpy fly almost straight up, too, so it can attack prey from below as well as above. And the harpy eagle can turn its head upside down to get a better look at its potential meal. The bird perches silently for hours—up to 23!—in a tree, patiently waiting to catch unsuspecting prey. It has excellent vision and can see something less than 1 inch (2 centimeters) in size from almost 220 yards (200 meters) away.

The deadly talons of a harpy eagle can exert several hundred pounds of pressure (over 50 kilograms), crushing the bones of its prey and instantly killing its victim. A harpy also feeds on opossums, porcupines, young deer, snakes, and iguanas. Heavier prey is taken to a stump or low branch and partially eaten, since it is too heavy to be carried whole to the nest. Most of the harpy’s food is found in the rain forest canopy and understory instead of on the forest floor. The larger females tend to take sloths and monkeys; the smaller, more agile and faster males tend to take more quantities of smaller food items. This increases the pair's odds of eating on a regular basis.

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