What are the characteristics of a slow loris?


With its big eyes and cute face, slow Loris is perhaps one of the most adorable creatures in the wild. But it is also the world's only venomous primate. Native to the rainforests of South and Southeast Asia, the slow loris lives in trees. These lethal furballs are known for their bites that are loaded with venom. The animal's venom gets activated when its saliva mixes with an oil that is secreted by the gland on its upper arm. When threatened, the slow loris raises its arm. It then licks the gland and the saliva and oil mix produces the venom, which then goes to the animal's canines and is delivered to the victim through a bite. Its venom is said to cause anaphylactic shock and even death in humans...

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What are pioneer species?

Pioneer species include lichens mosses, fungi, and microorganisms such as bacteria. They reproduce and grow very fast establishing themselves before other competitors arrive. They are instrumental in building an initial biological community which will gradually enable other species to thrive.

Picture this. A newly created barren ecosystem or a barren disturbed environment. Not many organions can grow in these harsh, sterile environments. But a pioneer species can and hence the name. They are the pioneer or harbingers of life

The first species to colonise a newly created environment or recently disturbed environment is called a pioneer species.

These important species are the first to colonise barnos ecosystems. They are hardy and help in the recovery of an environment or ecosystem if it has been disturbed by cos such as deforestation or wildfires. They make the environment more hospitable for later species to thrive like helping enrich the ecosystem with nutrients

As they are the first to arrive they need to survive the harsh, barren ecosystem. As such, they are mostly photosynthetic can withstand harsh environments, mature early, or may even be capable of producing and dispersing a large volume of seeds. The seeds may be capable of surviving long periods of dormancy Pioneer species have many similar adaptations that help them colonise hostile environments.

They may be capable of germinating growing and reproducing quickly and also create a large range of offspring. For this, they might depend on asexual modes of reproduction or wind-dispersed pollen and seeds

Pioneer species include lichens, mosses, fungi and microorganisms such as bacteria. They reproduce and grow very fast, establishing themselves before other competitors arrive.

They are also instrumental in building the initial biological community. As time passes by, new entrants such as plants, animals and other organisms will arrive and outcompete them, changing the dynamics and structure of the biological community.

They are versatile and play an important role in ecosystem recovery and growth. They prepare the disturbed ecosystem or new ecosystem for complex communities.

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How are plants and animals named?

Binomial nomenclature is the standard naming convention used in modern society, and applies to Latin identification of species too.

Loxodonta africana, Panthera tigris, Nelumbo nucifera. Tamarindus indica these are not magical spells - you know these names better as the African elephant, tiger, lotus and tamarind respectively. Every living being on earth, be it an animal, bird, insect or plant is given a two-part scientific name in the Latin language. The system of identification is called binomial nomenclature. It was devised by a Swedish naturalist named Carl Linnaeus in 1753. An internationally agreed-upon set of rules govem the application of binomial nomenclature. The system helps scientists worldwide to discuss the various innumerable species without confusion.A species is one of the most basic units of biological classification. Each species has a unique name. The first capitalised part of the name indicates the genus to which the organism belongs and the second part identifies the species within the genus. The name is usually printed in italics. Part of the name may describe the organism (for example, 'domesticus’ indicates a domesticated species). It may indicate the name of its discoverer, for example, Abies fraseri is a fir tree named after a John Fraser, a Scottish botanist named John Fraser who discovered the tree species.

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Which is the smallest known mammal, by mass, that still exists?

The Etruscan shrew is the mammal having the smallest mass. It weighs only about 1.8g on average. It is also known as the Etruscan pygmy shrew or the white-toothed pygmy shrew and are characterized by very quick movements. These animals exhibit very fast metabolism and can eat about 1.5-2 times their own body weight per day. Their heads are relatively larger than their bodies.

Etruscan shrews are usually found in warm and damp habitats that are covered by shrubs. They use these habitats to hide from potential predators and often avoid open terrain such as grasslands and scrubby deciduous forests due to the threat of being hunted. They are mostly found in Europe and North Africa, all the way till Malaysia. They have also been located in the Maltese islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. They arrange their nests in various natural shelters, crevices, and abandoned burrows of other animals as they themselves cannot dig burrows very skillfully.

These animals are solitary and territorial. They use chirping noises and signs of aggression to protect their territories. They live rather interesting lives as they are constantly in motion when they are awake and not hiding, and when they are not eating, they constantly groom themselves. They hide from their predators very often, but such hiding periods are short and usually only last less than half an hour. When they move, they make clicking sounds, which stop as they rest.

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Why is the Bee Hummingbird unique?

The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird on the planet. The males often grow only up to 55 millimetres, weighing about 1.95 grams, whereas the females grow up to 61 millimetres from beak to tail, weighing about 2.6 grams. Bee Hummingbirds are an endemic species that are found in all parts of the main island of Cuba and the many islets and islands that make up the Cuban archipelago.

Visiting more than 1500 flowers in a day, these tiny birds feed on nectar, and sometimes on insects and spiders. In this process, they pick up and transfer pollen to their beak and head. An interesting aspect about them is that they feed on the flowers without landing on them-instead, they hover in the air while feeding and as a result of this constant flapping of wings, they need to eat every few minutes. Up to 15 per cent of their time is spent eating.

The downside of being the world's smallest bird is that they are particularly vulnerable to being attacked by other species that consider them similar to insects due to their size. Because of this, they have to watch out for larger birds, mongooses, bees, wasps, frogs, fish, and even spiders. Just like most other species, human activity has also led to a decrease in their number. They are not yet considered an endangered species, but are classified as "near threatened".

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What are the specialities of three-toed sloths?

The three-toed sloths are considered the slowest land mammals. Their slow pace is rather famous and, on an average, it is 0.24 km/h. They are close to the size of a large cat or a small dog with their head and body having a combined length of 45 cm and a weight of 3.5-4.5 kg.

Sloths are designed for a life on the treetops. Most of their life is spent hanging from branches with a powerful grip, which is provided by their long claws. This capacity enables them to sleep in the trees-sometimes as long as 15-20 hours a day.

Sloths give birth while hanging from the trees. Their babies are often seen clinging to their mothers, and they travel by hanging onto their mothers for the first nine months of their lives. On land, their weak hind legs provide no power and their long claws become an obstacle. If they are caught on land, the three-toed sloths have no chance to escape the predators, such as big cats, and can only try to defend themselves by clawing and biting.

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Which is the slowest bird at level flight?

Both the American woodcock and Eurasian woodcock have been recorded travelling at 8 km/h speed in level flight. Their brilliant camouflage techniques have earned them the title 'timberdoodles.' American woodcocks blend into woodland environments to the point of becoming invisible as they camouflage so perfectly with the leaf litter on the forest floor.

Their bodies are stocky and plump, and they have short wings. Their body structure helps them to navigate the woodland and meadows, which are their natural habitats. Their physical design implies that fast-paced and graceful flight is impossible for them.

However, American wood-cocks increase their pace during migration and speeds between 26 and 45 km/h have been recorded. Even during this time, they usually fly at relatively low altitudes.

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Where can we find the perentie, the fastest reptile?

Generally considered the fastest recorded reptile, the perentie, is most commonly found in Australia. It is Australia's largest lizard, and grows to over 2.5 metres in length. It has a long neck with a stout and robust body, and has a long, tapering tail as well. Perenties have a yellow body, or a cream body with tawny brown rosettes edged in dark brown on their back. They have dark limbs with white spots, with a head and neck that are pale creamy- white with a reticulated pattern of black lines and flecks.

Perenties are found in the arid parts of South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory, where they are usually found around rocky hills and outcrops. They often find their shelter in burrows that they dig themselves. These burrows can be extensive and have several escape exits.

The diet of younger perenties include lizards, insects, and small mammals. As they grow, they will spontaneously attack large venomous snakes, rabbits, birds and their eggs, and even small marsupials such as wallabies. They are rarely seen as they are extremely shy and live in remote areas away from human habitation. They are considered to be a species of least-concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Why is the cheetah known as the fastest mammal on land?

Cheetahs are the fastest mammals that live upon the planet and can run at speeds as high as 113 km per hour in short distances.

Their bodies are designed with a lot of agility. They can make quick turns while running at high speeds. Their spines are extremely flexible, giving them the ability to have long strides. Their slender limbs and hard footpads are also excellent tools that aid their agility and speed.

Cheetahs are covered in bold black stripes all over their body and each cheetah has a unique pattern over its skin. They have a tear-like pattern that runs from the inner corners of their eyes down to both sides of their mouths. The ends of their tails have black rings as well. These cats have great eye sight, making them dangerous predators.

Their unique coat is also a great way to blend with the tall, dry grass of the plains and helps them remain hidden during the hunt. The cheetahs live in a range of habitats across eastern and southern Africa, but they are usually found in open grasslands. At one point, they were found throughout Asia and Africa, but they are currently facing extinction due to loss of habitat. Their lives are threatened by the declining number of prey due to the destruction of the natural environments.

Although cheetahs are considered to be among the big cats, they are unable to roar- they can only purr. Like the other big cats of the family, they also usually prey on small- to medium-size animals such as hares, impalas, wildebeest calves, and gazelles.

The cheetah chases its prey at only about half of its maximum speed and often has to rest for at least half an hour before it can eat so as to catch breath. The pronghorn, also called the American antelope, is the fastest long-distance runner in the animal kingdom.

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Which is the world's tallest tree?

The Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest trees on Earth. They are found along the coastline of the Redwood National Park in Northern California. Apart from being the tallest trees on the planet, they are also some of the oldest living things on Earth. They have a life of up to 2,000 years. Even though it is not clear exactly why these trees can live to be so ancient, we do know that climatic conditions play a key role in this. They are also some of the most resilient trees on Earth. Their tannin-rich bark seems to be impenetrable to the fungus and diseases that affect other trees.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the king of these giants is a tree known as Hyperion. When it was last measured in 2019, it stood 116.07 metres tall from top to base, taller than a 35-storey building. Hyperion's exact location is a closely held secret, but it is known to be found in a hillside in which most of the old-growth coastal redwoods have been logged. Hyperion is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old.

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Which is the tallest animal?

Giraffes are the world's tallest animals with legs as long as 1.8 metres. They not only have long legs, but also have long necks that they use to reach leaves and buds on treetops, which no other animal can reach. They have very long tongues as well, which can be as long as 53.34 centimetres.

Living in the African savannah, they move at a speed of 16 kilometres per hour to cover long distances and can run as fast as 56 kilometres per hour in short distances. Although their massive height becomes advantageous while looking out for predators, it also becomes a difficulty while they drink from water holes. With their towering legs, the only way to drink water from these water holes is to bend down in a weird position that makes them vulnerable to attack. The wild cats of Africa are the most common predators of the giraffes.

Their favourite food is Acacia leaves. Like the cows, they regurgitate their food and chew it as cud. Their diet also keeps them hydrated, as the leaves have a lot of water content in them and helps them to avoid going to the water holes frequently. They also travel really long distances to find their meal as they consume about a hundred pounds of leaves every week, which is a big volume of plant matter to be found in one area.

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What are the specialities of the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef covers an area of 348,000 square kilometres, and is the longest and largest reef complex of the planet. In fact, this remarkable site is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Located on the north-east coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a huge diversity of species and habitats. This ecosystem is intricately interconnected, making it one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth.

It is home to over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of corals, and 4,000 species of molluscs. It also hosts 240 species of birds along with a number of sponges, anemones, marine worms, crustaceans, and other species. This giant marvel is also home to many endemic and threatened species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These features make it a very popular tourist destination and thus contribute to the economic development of the country.

In order to safeguard and preserve the reef, it was declared as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975, and the supervision of the park was handed over to the authorities of the Marine Park.

Owing to its significance in the ocean ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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Which is the world's largest flower?

Rafflesia Arnoldii, or the corpse flower, is the largest individual flower on Earth. It is a species of flowering plant in the parasitic genus Rafflesia found in the rain-forests of Sumatra and Borneo. With a strong and unpleasant odour of decaying flesh, it grows to a diameter of around one metre and weighs up to 11 kilograms. The buds of these flowers are about 30 cm wide and are very large and cabbage- like, in maroon or dark brown colour.

The flower is in fact a pot with five petals with striking red-brick and spotted cream colours, which warmly welcome carrion flies that are hungry for detritus. But the plant is now facing the threat of extinction and its existence is limited to places like Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand and the Philippines, because of depredations caused by humans and its own internal biology.

In terms of survival, everything seems to be against Rafflesia. Firstly, its seeds are difficult to germinate. As a result, it sustains entirely as a parasite on just one type of vine. This is dangerous as it can't survive without the vine. Apart from this, once it has acquired its nutrition by being a parasite, the plant breaks out as a flower bud, swells up over several months, and then bursts into flower. But even after this arduous growth phase, most of the flower buds perish before blooming. Even after blooming, Rafflesia can last only a few days, and is forced to pollinate in this short period of time. But the chances of pollination are very rare as the numbers of plants are decreasing steadily.

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Which is the largest bird?

The largest bird on the planet is, rather ironically, the flightless ostrich. It also lays the largest eggs among any living land animal. Ostriches are also the fastest birds on land with an ability to run at 70 kilometres per hour. They are found in the African savanna and desert lands, where they meet most of their water requirements from the plants they eat.

Unlike other birds, ostriches use their wings as "rudders" to help them change direction while running. Their powerful and long legs cover about 3 to 5 metres in a single stride. These legs are also rather formidable weapons. An ostrich kick can kill a human or a potential predator such as a lion! Their feet have long, sharp claws too. Ostriches live in small herds with less than a dozen birds in one herd. They mostly eat plants, roots, and seeds but also consume insects, lizards, and other creatures that are found in this harsh habitat.

Although there is a popular belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand, this is not true. Perhaps the saying would have originated because of the bird's defensive behaviour. When faced with trouble, ostriches lie low and press their long necks to the ground as a means to become less visible. Since their plumage blends well with sandy soil, from a distance, it gives the impression that they have buried their heads in the sand.

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Which is the largest animal on Earth?

Blue whales are the biggest animals that have ever inhabited our planet. These marine mammals grow up to 22 metres in length and to a weight of 150,000 kilograms. Their tongues alone weigh as much as an elephant in some cases and their hearts can be as big as an automobile.

The most interesting detail about these huge creatures is the fact that they reach these immense body sizes by consuming tiny shrimp-like animals called krills alone. In some seasons, a single adult blue whale eats about 4000 kilograms of krill a day.

Blue whales belong to the family of baleen whales. Baleen is a fringed plate made of fingernail-like material that is attached to their upper jaws. These giant animals feed by first gulping a great amount of water through their mouth and then they expand the pleated skin on their throat and belly to take it in. After this, the whales use their massive tongue and force the water out through the thin, overlapping baleen plates. This process leaves behind a large volume of krill, which gets consumed by the whales. Blue whales are found in all the oceans, except the Arctic. They occasionally swim in small groups but they move about in pairs or stay alone.

They now face a severe threat due to whaling and are considered endangered according to the IUCN Red List.

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