What is the name of the smallest bear in the world?

The sun bear is the smallest bear species in the world. It gets its name from the yellow or creamy white mark on its chest that resembles the rising sun. It is also known as the Malayan bear.

Compared to the biggest bear species - the polar bear and the Kodiak or grizzly bear, which stand almost 3 metres (9.8 feet) tall and weigh around 635 kilos, the sun bear grows to about 1.2 metres (36 cm) in length and weighs around 40 kilos. It has a black coat and a light grey or orange nose. The feet are tipped with long sickle-shaped claws, which are sharper and curvier than in most other bear species. The soles are hairless.

Sun bears build nests in trees by breaking or bending the branches. They spend the day in the nests, sleeping and basking. They hunt only at night.

In 1978, the IUCN included the sun bear in its Red List of endangered species. Although its population has decreased due to hunting, a few thousand can still be found in the forests of the Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, Myanmar, Borneo and Thailand.

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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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Animals have been a very important factor in the progress of mankind. You know that, right? How did man make boats? How did he catch fish? How did he build homes in difficult places? How did he fly? All of that came from keen observation of animals. Birds have taught pilots to fly in formation. It is not just what animals can do physically, there is a lot to leam from their emotional behaviour, says Dr. Vint Virga, a vet.

"Late one November evening a dog [brought to my clinic] in an unconscious haze forever changed the course of my life as a vet." he said. "Pongo, a two-year-old retriever struck by a [speeding] pick-up lay before me on a blanket." He was badly hurt. There was nothing modern medicines and the vets training could do for him. The doctor did all he could and then put his arm around him and sat down, frustrated and exhausted. "Yet, from this simple act of caring, in less than an hour, I watched him recover in body and spirit." Moved by the animal's will to live and his response to care, Dr. Virga researched into animal behaviour and wrote the book The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human.

Dr. Virga has listed 10 lessons we can all leam from animals

1. Savour the moment

Animals live focussed on the moment. Their thoughts do not wander about the past and future. By noticing more of each moment, we can fully appreciate what is happening right now in our lives.

2. Pay attention to your instincts

Animals are alerted by their senses. They respond to cues about the world around them by trusting their instincts and acting on them. As we attend to our senses and acknowledge our instincts, we open ourselves to new choices and opportunities.

3. Keep focussed on what's most important

On those days when it seems everything has gone wrong, when we feel down and out, our animal companions greet us with unfailing love and affection. They do not judge us on our success and failure. Even when we speak harshly to them or ignore them completely, they wait for the right moment to come to us. And in their patient devotion, they serve as reminders of how vital it is to connect with others and share our thoughts.

4. Don't get bogged down in words

Don't you feel comforted when your dog trustingly puts its muzzle on your lap? As we communicate with family and friends, most often we think of relying on words. The tone of our voice, our facial expressions, our posture, our movements, can all communicate our thoughts, emotions, and intentions. They're often more reliable than the words we choose. How about a hug?

5. Take time to rest

In the hurried pace of our daily routines, it's easy to fill our days with a steady stream of activities. Take a hint from our dogs and cats, the panda in the zoo, a hawk perched on a tree. We need those quiet moments to rest for a bit and give ourselves time to relax and reflect.

6. Remember to play

When we feel pressured by work or at home, a well-deserved break-even for just a few moments from the task at hand can lighten our load. From Labradors to Bengal tigers and timberwolves to leopards, creatures around us routinely play to invent, discover, and bring joy to their day.

7. Don't take yourself so seriously

Whether chasing their tails or pouncing on strings, our cats are fully absorbed in their game. They do not worry about how they may appear to others. When our dogs chase a ball, sniff at lampposts, or gnaw a bone, they relish their pastimes without concern for how they may look to passers-by. Ignore the judgments of others, and enjoy those playtimes.

8. Let go of attachment to being right or wrong

Evolution favours those creatures that focus on what matters most: finding food, remaining healthy, resting, caring for the young. When we keep thinking of our sense of pride and self-importance, we risk losing the outcomes and results we want most. Letting go of our attachment to personal pride frees us to align ourselves with what we value most.

9. Love unconditionally

In the silent presence of the creatures around us-all alone on the sofa with our dog by our side or cat resting cosily curled in our lap-we sense their regard for our thoughts and feelings, and we feel comforted. We too can do this for others.

10. Forget and forgive

Animals do suffer grief, misfortune, and misery. But unlike humans, animals have an incredible ability to forgive. Despite extreme trauma they may have experienced in the past, they manage to remain optimistic and not hold on to grudges. There are any number of stories of animals becoming ambassadors of hope and forgiveness even after being subjected to unspeakable cruelty. Continuity of life is more important to them than reliving the past.

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Which is the tallest animal?

No prizes for guessing the tallest animal in the world. The giraffe - with its incredible long neck - is quite literally ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest.

If you thought LeBron James, the famous basketball player was tall, think again. Male giraffes grow up to 14 feet in height. The legs of a giraffe alone are 6 feet long. This means that a basketball player would be able to walk easily under a giraffe! Additionally its neck also measures an additional 6 feet. If you can picture two LeBron James’ standing one upon the other – that’s how tall a giraffe is!

They can run at speeds of 56 km/h, but these sleepy-eyed giants are peaceful by nature. They spend their days browsing on acacia leaves, tall shrubs and hanging fruits. They use their long blue tongues to pluck off leaves and buds from trees. They do not eat short grasses. Can you guess why?                                                                  

This is because bending its head is not an easy job for the giraffe. It will only drink water once in a few days due to this. It must spread its legs and bend its long neck down to get at the water which makes it vulnerable to predators. However, it's not just being vulnerable from predator that makes drinking water a tricky business for the giraffe. Its body must also regulate its blood pressure so that the act of bending does not cause its head to explode. Why? Keep reading…

A giraffe’s heart has to pump blood so that it reaches its brain - which is very far away! For this, the giraffe's heart (which weighs about 11 kg) has to pump a powerful beat to keep sending blood into the brain. Consequently a giraffe’s blood pressure is very high - nearly twice as high as a human’s.

With such a high blood pressure when the giraffe lowers its head the sudden change in blood pressure would cause its head to explode! The giraffe prevents this by regulating the blood flow into its brain (and heart) while lowering its head and lifting it back up again with the help of ‘elastic’ veins and thick heart muscles. These unique adaptations have been studied by NASA to design space suits. Looks like science still has a long way to go to catch up with nature!

These incredible and gentle animals are threatened by poaching, climate change and habitat loss. They are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List but are already extinct in many countries in Africa.

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The Kharai camels of Kutch, Gujarat, are the only camels in the world that swim. Their name is derived from the word khara, meaning 'saline'. They can survive on both dry land and in the sea, making it an ecotonal breed. During the rainy season, they swim upto 3 kms along the Gulf of Kutch grazing on mangroves and other saline loving plants. Because of the salt content in the plants, the camels need to drink water immediately after grazing. Locals believe that the milk of kharai camels is beneficial in the treatment of tuberculosis, diabetes and cancer. There were more than 10,000 kharai camels in Gujarat about a decade ago, but now there are fewer than 4,500. Rapid industrialisation in the mangrove swamps and erratic rainfall are destroying the habitat they rely on for food, pushing this unique breed to extinction. In 2015, the kharai camels were declared as endangered by the Indian government. After the major earthquake of Gujarat, the mining, cement, and windmill industries, among others, intensified their operations in a bid to rebuild Kutch. This disturbed the ecosystem wherein Kharai camels were thriving. Their routes changed and food intake decreased considerably. To save the Kharai camels, we must save their natural habitat. Since it is clear that they can only survive on mangroves, preserving their ecosystem is the need of the hour. Fortunately, the large-scale benefits of mangrove are being understood and the government is taking significant steps to conserve them. Several mangrove forests in the area have been designated as protected areas, where they are undergoing special care to continue sustained growth.

Credit : Financial express

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How are baby elephants similar to human babies?

Baby elephants suck their trucks just like human babies suck their thumbs. And they do it for the same reason - comfort. Trunk sucking also helps young elephants master the use of their trunks for feeding.

Aside from the comfort it provides, trunk sucking helps an elephant calf learn how to use and control this lengthy appendage. With more than 50,000 individual muscles in the trunk, you can imagine how complicated it is to get it to do what you want it to do at any given time. Sucking on the trunk helps a young elephant learn how to control and manipulate the muscles in the trunk so that it can fine-tune its use.

Elephants also suck their trunks as a means of advanced "smelling." They can taste the pheromones of other elephants by touching their trunks to urine or feces and then popping the trunk in their mouths to get a closer whiff.

While trunk sucking is primarily a mannerism found in young elephants, older elephants—even mature bulls—have been seen sucking their trunks when they are nervous or upset.

Credit :  Tree Hugger

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Are bats blind?

There are about 1.300 species of bat and they largely differ in their hunting and eating habits. More than 450 species use echolocation while foraging for food. While some produce sound by contracting their voice box, others use their tongue and nostrils. The sound bouncing off objects in their way, producing an echo, helps the mammals navigate their way through the night. They can vocalise a low-pitch (10 kHz) to a high-pitch call (up to 200 kHz), which is often outside the human range of hearing. Bats also use their sense of sight to hunt, depending on the circumstances. Visual acuity may vary among bats, but they are not at all blind.

In fact, bats can see three times better than humans. Since our understanding of their sense of hearing for navigation is too well documented, their power of sight is often taken for granted. Most fruit bats, which feed on nectar, don't echolocate at all. They have a sharp vision that exceeds the visual spectrum of humans. They can even distinguish colours.

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Why are pigs the most intelligent animals?

Pigs are intelligent animals. They are smarter than any other domesticated animals. Studies suggest that they are capable of playing video games and solving puzzles and that they also have a long-term memory.

They also have excellent object-location memory. If they find grub in one spot, they’ll remember to look there next time. Pigs possess a sophisticated sense of direction too. They can find their way home from huge distances away.

Pigs are sentient beings, who experience joy, loneliness, frustration, fear, and pain just like the animals with whom many of us share our lives.

Despite this, most pigs are kept in cruel factory farms. Pregnant sows are confined in barren metal cages so small they’re unable to turn around, piglets are castrated without painkillers, and sick piglets are slammed headfirst into concrete floors.

There’s an obvious contradiction in loving some animals while eating others. But people who are opposed to animal cruelty often find ways to justify their dietary habits. This usually includes clinging to the idea that eating meat is necessary for health.

The science is clear, however. We’re more than capable of living happy, healthy lives without eating meat or other animal products.

Credit : Mercy for Animals 

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Why do male seahorses give birth to the babies?

Seahorses can change color, move their eyes independently of one another, and even have prehensile tails (like monkeys). The fact that male seahorses also get pregnant and give birth is sure to leave you in total awe of these fascinating fish!

While we celebrate all the scuba diving, freediving, and ocean-loving dads out there, we also want to give a big shout out to the most unique dads that call the underwater world home. In the entire animal kingdom, male seahorses (and their close relatives) are the only male animals that undergo pregnancy and give birth to offspring.

Although male seahorses carry the eggs, they don’t make them. After the male and female seahorses spend time courting, the female deposits her eggs inside the male’s pouch. The male then fertilizes the eggs inside the pouch. Instead of growing their babies inside a uterus like human moms do, seahorse dads carry their babies in a pouch. Their pouch provides oxygen and nutrients, as well as regulates temperature, blood flow, and salinity for the developing eggs.

Depending on the species, male seahorses typically carry their eggs for 2 -4 weeks. Then, they give birth to 100 – 1,000 babies at a time. That’s a lot of adorable, teeny tiny seahorses! Like human moms, seahorse dads give birth through energetically costly muscular contractions.

Credit : PADI

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What color is a hippo’s sweat?

The hippopotamus or hippo mystified ancient Greeks because it appeared to sweat blood. Although hippos do sweat a red liquid, it isn't blood. The animals secrete a sticky liquid that acts as a sunscreen and topical antibiotic.

Initially, hippo perspiration is colorless. As the viscous liquid polymerizes, it changes color to red and eventually brown. Droplets of perspiration resemble drops of blood, although blood would wash away in water, while hippo perspiration sticks to the animal's wet skin. This is because the hippo's "blood sweat" contains a high amount of mucous.

Yoko Saikawa and his research team at Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan, identified non-benzenoid aromatic compounds as the orange and red pigment molecules. These compounds are acidic, conferring protection against infection. The red pigment, called "hipposudoric acid"; and the orange pigment, called "norhipposudoric acid", appear to be amino acid metabolites. Both pigments absorb ultraviolet radiation, while the red pigment also acts as an antibiotic.

Credit : ThoughtCo

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What is baby rabbit called?

Newborn hares, called leverets, are fully developed at birth—furred with open eyes—while newborn rabbits, called kittens or kits, are born undeveloped, with closed eyes, no fur, and an inability to regulate their own temperature, Stott said.

Before the 18th century, rabbits were called coneys. The term for young coneys was rabbits. However, that name began to take over in popularity. By the 18th century, rabbit was the more widely used name for these creatures.

It is believed that the term bunny is a leftover mispronunciation of coney. The name bunny was also a popular name used to refer to a young girl.

Another tale of the origin of how the word bunny exploded in popularity relates to the Easter holiday. The tale of the Easter bunny laying eggs for children was originally referred to as an Easter hare. However, it was felt that the name Easter hare was not appealing or cute enough, so it was changed to the Easter bunny.

Whichever is the true origin, it is undeniable that the term bunny is much more widely used when referring to baby rabbits than the word kitten. Rabbits are considered kittens for the first 9 months of their lives. After this, they are fully grown adults.

Credit : Simplemost 

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What color is a polar bear’s skin?

Polar bears have white fur so that they can camouflage into their environment. Their coat is so well camouflaged in Arctic environments that it can sometimes pass as a snow drift. Interestingly, the polar bear’s coat has no white pigment; in fact, a polar bear’s skin is black and its hairs are hollow. They have a thick layer of body fat, which keeps them warm while swimming, and a double-layered coat that insulates them from the cold Arctic air.

Polar bear paws are ideal for getting around in the Arctic.

They’re huge—as big as dinner plates—and measure up to 30 cm (11.81 in) across. This helps the bears walk on thin ice without falling through. 

The polar bear’s super-paws are also designed for swimming. The forepaws act like large paddles and their hind paws serve as rudders.

Black footpads on the bottom of each paw are covered by small, soft bumps known as papillae.

Papillae grip the ice and keep the bear from slipping. Tufts of fur between their toes and footpads help with warmth, as well.

Thick, curved, sharp, and strong—each measures more than 5 cm (1.97 in) long. Polar bears use their claws to catch and hold slippery seal prey and to gain traction on ice.

Credit : Polar Bears International

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A butterfly uses which body part to taste food?

Butterflies don’t really have mouths, much less taste buds, to help them decide if food tastes good or bad. Instead, they use their feet!

To eat, a butterfly unwinds a long, skinny part of its body called a proboscis, and sucks up liquids like nectars and juices. It works for nutrients, but the proboscis does not have sensors to determine taste. Instead, those sensors are located on the back of the butterfly’s legs. The insect will step on its food to sense dissolving sugars.  Even more importantly, a female butterfly will use her feet to drum on a plant and “taste” its juices. This helps her decide if the leaf would be edible to a caterpillar, and therefore, if she has found a suitable place to lay eggs.

In butterflies, these chemoreceptors lie on the tarsus. Insect legs are subdivided into different segments, as the picture below shows. The tarsus is located distally, meaning “away from the body”.

Just as humans can taste the sweet in sugar and the bitterness of medicine, insects can sense different tastes too! They can sense sweet, bitter, sour and salty through their chemoreceptors.

This strategy is crucial for butterfly survival. In a review published in Insect Molecular Biology, the authors noted that multiple behavioral studies have shown that butterflies use taste to make many important choices. This informs not only what in their surroundings is food, but also guides them in choosing a mate, and deciding where to lay their eggs.

Credit : Science ABC

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The U.S. national bird is the bald eagle, but what did Benjamin Franklin want it to be?

The story about Benjamin Franklin wanting the National Bird to be a turkey is just a myth. This false story began as a result of a letter Franklin wrote to his daughter criticizing the original eagle design for the Great Seal, saying that it looked more like a turkey. In the letter, Franklin wrote that the “Bald Eagle...is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself.”

About the turkey, Franklin wrote that in comparison to the bald eagle, the turkey is “a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America...He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage.” So although Benjamin Franklin defended the honor of the turkey against the bald eagle, he did not propose its becoming one of America’s most important symbols.

The story that Franklin proposed the turkey as the national symbol began to circulate in American newspapers around the time of the country’s centennial and are based on a January 26, 1784, letter in which he panned the eagle and extolled the virtues of the gobbler to his daughter, Sarah. In doing so, though, he was not delivering a critique of the Great Seal but a new medal issued by the Society of the Cincinnati, an association of Continental Army veterans. “For my own part I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country,” he wrote. The Founding Father argued that the eagle was “a bird of bad moral character” that “does not get his living honestly” because it steals food from the fishing hawk and is “too lazy to fish for himself.”

In contrast, Franklin called the turkey “a much more respectable bird” and “a true original native of America.” While he considered the eagle “a rank coward,” Franklin believed the turkey to be “a bird of courage” that “would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.” While the private letter was a spirited promotion of the turkey over the eagle, Franklin never made his views public, and when the chance had been given to him to officially propose a symbol for the United States eight years earlier, his idea was biblical, not avian.

Credit : History

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How many eyes do most spiders have?

Most spiders have eight eyes. Some have no eyes and others have as many as 12 eyes. Most can detect only between light and dark, while others have well-developed vision. Experiments have demonstrated that some spiders can recognize and respond to specific shapes on television monitors. However they're equipped to see, all spiders have highly evolved systems to detect prey and danger.

Some spiders can't see at all. Most spiders don't see very well. Many have eyes that only help them distinguish between light and dark. Only a few species can see well in enough detail to be able to hunt prey effectively.

Those facts may surprise some people. Why? Because spiders have so many eyes! Most spiders have eight eyes. Some species have six or fewer eyes, but they always come in an even number.

Some species of spiders, such as those that live in caves or under the soil, have no eyes at all. Even those species with eight eyes don't usually see very well. For example, most spiders that spin webs have poor eyesight and rely upon their senses of touch and smell to navigate their webs and find prey.

Credit : Wonderopolis 

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