Today's Fact

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Albatrosses and Petrels

Albatrosses and petrels, also known as tubenoses, include diving petrels, gadfly petrels, albatrosses, shearwaters, fulmars and prions, about 100 living species in all. These birds spend most of their time at sea, gliding over the open water and dipping down to snatch meals of fish, plankton, and other small marine animals. Tubenoses are colonial birds, returning to land only to breed (breeding sites vary among species, but in general, these birds prefer remote islands and rugged coastal cliffs), and they are monogamous, forming long-term bonds between mating pairs.

A unifying anatomical characteristic of albatrosses and petrels is their nostrils, which are enclosed in external tubes that run from the base of their bill towards its tip. Amazingly enough, these birds can drink seawater: they remove salt from the water using a special gland located at the base of their bills, after which the excess salt is excreted out through their tubular nostrils.

The largest tubenose species is the wandering albatross, the wingspan of which can reach 12 feet. The smallest is the least storm petrel, with a wingspan of just over one foot.

Did you know?
Seabirds don’t usually get much credit for their olfactory skills. Nevertheless, many rely on scent to help track down prey; albatrosses can follow a mouth-watering aroma for over 12 miles.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile is an African crocodile and may be considered the second largest extant reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).  The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, occurring mostly in the central, eastern, and southern regions of the continent and lives in different types of aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers and marshlands Although capable of living in saline environments, this species is rarely found in saltwater, but occasionally inhabits deltas and brackish lakes. The range of this species once stretched northward throughout the Nile, as far north as the Nile delta.

Nile crocodiles are relatively social crocodiles. They share basking spots and large food sources, such as schools of fish and big carcasses. There is a strict hierarchy, which is determined by size. Large, old males are at the top of this hierarchy and have primary access to food and the best basking spots.

Did you know?
Nile crocodiles can live to be over 40 years old.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans.

Primates are found all over the world.

Non-human primates occur mostly in Central and South America, Africa, and southern Asia.

A few species exist as far north in the Americas as southern Mexico, and as far north in Asia as northern Japan.

The Primates order is divided informally into three main groupings: prosimians, monkeys of the New World, and monkeys and apes of the Old World.

All primates have five fingers (pentadactyly), a generalized dental pattern, and a primitive (unspecialized) body plan.

Another distinguishing feature of primates is fingernails.

Opposing thumbs are also a characteristic primate feature, but are not limited to this order; opossums, for example, also have opposing thumbs.

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