What are the fun facts of porcupine?

Porcupine is a large rodent that lives in Africa Europe, Americas and Asia. It is known for the sharp quills that cover its body. There are over two dozen porcupine species and all of them have these quills. Some porcupines have up to 30,000 quills on their body.

It uses the quills as a defence. These quills typically lie flat until it is threatened. They rise up and deter predators. The quills are easily released when predators get in touch with it. Lost quills are replaced with new quills.

 It is a nocturnal animal, eating leaves, stem, bark and fruit. It lives in tree branches or tangles of roots, and rock crevices. Its home is called a den.

The largest porcupine is the North African crested porcupine. It grows up to 36 inches (90 centimeters) long. The smallest is the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine. It grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), depending on species, and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm), according to the San Diego Zoo. The length of quills varies by type. New World porcupines have small quills that are around 4 inches (10 cm) long, while Old World porcupines have quills that can grow up to 20 inches (51 cm) long, though there are some exceptions.

A typical mating ritual consists of two males fighting over a single female. The males are careful not to injure themselves during the fight, and the winner territorially urinates on the female so that she knows to move her tail aside for safe, quill-free mating.

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What are the fun facts of octopus?

Octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed molluscs of the order Octopoda. It lives in all the world's oceans. It has a bulbous head, eight arms with suction cups on the bottom and three hearts. The colour of its blood is blue because of the copper-based protein called hemocyanin in the blood.

 It squirts an ink-like liquid to deter predators. This will temporarily blind and confuse a potential attacker, giving him the time to swim away.

It can squeeze into (or out of) tight spaces in search of food and shelter. It diet includes clams, shrimps, lobsters, fish, and even sharks.

Females usually lay 200,000 to 400.000 eggs. They guard the eggs even without eating. Once the eggs hatch, the female octopus dies and so does male octopus within a few months.

Octopuses live in oceans all over the world. Most are pelagic, meaning they live near the water's surface in shells, reefs and crevices. Some species live on the floor of the ocean, making their homes out of caves. Octopuses tend to be solitary, though they do interact with other octopuses at times. Some species of octopuses hunt at night, while others only hunt at dusk and dawn. 

When scared, octopuses will shoot a dark liquid, sometimes called ink, at the thing that scared them. This will temporarily blind and confuse a potential attacker, giving the octopus time to swim away. The ink can also dull the attacker’s smelling and tasting abilities, according to the Smithsonian article.  

Octopuses can also change color to hide and match their surroundings. They can turn blue, gray, pink, brown or green. The mimic octopus can also flex its body to resemble more dangerous animals, such as eels and lionfish, according to the World Animal Foundation.

If an octopus does get caught — no problem. They can lose arms and regrow them, according to National Geographic. 

Octopuses are fast swimmers but they prefer to slowly crawl along the sea bottom. To swim, octopuses suck water into their bodies and shoot it out a tube called a siphon, according to the World Animal Foundation. This lets the octopus blast off, away from attackers. 

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What is Ebola?

The Democratic Republic of Congo officially declared on December 16, 2021 the end of the 13th outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease which had resurfaced on October 8, 2021, in Beni in North Kivu province. What is Ebola Virus Disease? What causes it? Let's find out.

Deadly viral fever

Ebola is a life-threatening disease caused by a virus belonging to the family Filoviridae The viral haemorrhagic fever was first identified in central Africa in 1976. The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak ever since the virus was discovered, leading to over 11,000 deaths. The disease was named after the Ebola River in Congo, formerly Zaire, where it was originally identified.

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning it spreads from animals to humans. The virus which badly affects the immune system as it spreads through the body is transmitted to people from animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and monkeys. It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. It spreads among humans through contact with the bodily fluids (blood, faeces, urine, vomit, or semen) of infected people. Ebola is called a haemorrhagic fever virus as it causes problems with how our blood dots leading to internal bleeding.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of Ebola Viral Disease include fever fatigue, sore throat severe headache, muscle and joint pain loss of appetite, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea. The virus can be detected in blood within a few days of the manifestation of symptoms. Immediate medical attention, early intervention with rehydration, and symptomatic treatment are said to improve chances of survival.

There are vaccines for protection against Ebola. These anti-Ebola jabs have been administered to help control the spread of Ebola outbreaks in Congo.

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What are the fun facts of bongo?

Bongo is the largest and the heaviest African forest antelope. It has a chestnut coat with distinctive vertical whitish-yellow stripes running down its sides. Both males and females have spiral, lyre-shaped horns.

It is herbivorous and nocturnal. Its predators are lions, hyenas, leopards and pythons. It wallows in the mud to decrease its body temperature during the warmer periods of the year.

Bongos produce snorts, grunts and bleating noise when they are distressed. Females produce mooing calls for communication with their offspring. Mating season of bongos takes place between October and January.

Pregnancy in females lasts 9 months and ends with one baby. Female leaves the herd to give birth in secluded area. Baby remains hidden in dense vegetation during the first week of its life, before it becomes ready to join the herd with its mother. Young bongos grow quickly. Their horns start to develop at the age of 3 to 4 months. Bongos reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 2.5 years. Bongo can survive 10 to 18 years in the wild and up to 19 years in the captivity.

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What are the fun facts of elephant shrew?

Elephant shrew is a small insectivorous mammal native to Africa. It belongs to the group of animals called sengis.

It has an elongated, pointed head and a long, trunk-like nose (hence the name "elephant shrew"), large ears and eyes, long hind legs and a long, scaly tail. Though it resembles a shrew, it is not one. It can jump like a rabbit. Hence, it is also called a jumping shrew.

It is active during the day, but it is rarely spotted. It is good at camouflaging and dashing away from threats. It creates a series of pathways underground, which it uses to hunt its prey and also to escapes from predators. Its diet includes ants, termites, worms, grubs and spiders.

Elephant shrews live in pairs (that mate for a lifetime). They occupy territory of few acres, but spend most of the time alone (they gather only to mate).

Elephant shrews use scent glands under the tail to mark their trails and point out toward direction of food. They aggressively defend their territory against other elephant shrews (both males and females scream and fight with intruders).

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