12 Crazy Pangolin Facts: Meet the World’s Most Hunted Animal

KS Strange ScienceI had never heard of a pangolin before last week. What did I learn? These incredible creatures are the most hunted animal on the planet. They are also totally bizarre.

I’ve seen them described as medieval anteaters, modern-dinosaurs, walking pinecones, artichokes with legs, nature’s backhoe and armored Pokemon. Let’s go ahead and talk about why pangolins are so awesome (and weird).

pangolincute

Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on the planet, which is why they need our protection. There are eight species of pangolin spread over two continents, Africa and Asia. All eight species range from Vulnerable to Critically endangered.

Their bodies are covered in heavy scales, which is one of the reasons they are traded illegally. According to CNN, “pangolins are trafficked by the thousands for their scales, which are boiled off their bodies for use in traditional medicine; for their meat, which is a high-end delicacy in China; and for their blood, which is seen as a healing tonic.

Last Wednesday, 182 nations of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) unanimously agreed to a total ban on international trade on all species of pangolin – a decision that received much praise around the world.

12 CRAZY PANGOLIN FACTS!

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1) Pangolins walk awkwardly on their hind legs, using their tail for balance.

2) When pangolins are frightened they curl up into a tiny, strong roly poly ball.

3) Even big cats in the wild have no idea what to do with them…

pangolinlions

4) Pangolins don’t have any teeth. Instead, they use their sticky tongue to eat insects.

5) A pangolins tongue can be longer than its body.

6) Speaking of insects, pangolins can consume more than 70 million ants a year.

7) Baby pangolins are carried on their mother’s tail or back.

pangolinbaby

8) 20% of a pangolin’s weight is comprised of scales.

9) More than 10,000 pangolins are trafficked illegally each year.

10) Pangolins ears and nose have special valves that close when ants attack.

11) The pangolin’s large scales are made of keratin, like our nails.

12) Nobody knows how many pangolins are left or how long they live.

Sources: The Telegraph, World Wildlife Fund, World Pangolin Day & Nat Geo Wild.


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12 Crazy Pangolin Facts: Meet the World’s Most Hunted Animal

Hog-Nosed Shrew Rat Seems Like A Harsh Name For This Newly Discovered Mammal

KS Nature

Scientists in Indonesia just discovered a new mammal and they named it the hog-nosed shrew rat. Seems a little harsh, right? But I guess that’s to be expected when you find a rat with a little piggy face. 🐀🐷

Hog-Nose Rat
This new species of rat is called Hyorhinomys stuempkei, or the hog-nosed rat. Credit: Museum Victoria

According to the BBC, the unusual creature was discovered on Sulawesi island by researchers from Australia, Indonesia and the United States. While the hog-nosed rat (Hyorhinomys stuempkei) shares many traits with other rats in the area, there are a few features that are unique to the species. It has huge ears for an animal its size, a long hog-like nose with forward-facing nostrils, and flat nails.

It also has ‘very long urogenital hairs.’ That means it has long pubic hair – a lot of it. I don’t know what you want to do with that information, but its written right there in the report.

Morphologically, the hog-nosed rat is most similar to a group of endemic Sulawesi rats known commonly as “shrew rats.” These are long faced, carnivorous murines, and include the genera Echiothrix, Melasmothrix, Paucidentomys, Sommeromys, and Tateomys.

Discovery of this new genus and species brings known shrew rat diversity on Sulawesi to 6 genera and 8 species. Researchers believe the physical diversity among these animals is ‘remarkable’ considering the small number of species currently known. The findings were published in this month’s Journal of Mammalogy.

Hog-Nosed Shrew Rat Seems Like A Harsh Name For This Newly Discovered Mammal

SLOTH VIDEO: Top 10 Reasons Sloths are Cooler Than You – Cute Overload

KS Naturebaby-slothSloths are drowsy tree-dwellers that spend most of their time eating and sleeping in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. These adorable, mysterious creatures melted the hearts of millions way before Kristen Bell lost it on Ellen. I’ve crafted what I believe to be the most comprehensive video list explaining why sloths are the coolest (and cutest) mammals on the planet 🙂 Click away!

10 – They Rock Baby Sloth Onesies

9 – They Get the Hang of Things

8 – They Give Great Hugs

7 – They Play Well With Others – In Buckets!

6 – They Enjoy Bath Time

5 – People Don’t Make Memes About You

Disney Sloths to the Rescue!

4 – They Eat Their Vegetables

3 – They Don’t Rush Through Life

2 – Celebrities Cry Over Them

1 – They Make This Adorable Sound

Video

Keeva the Baby Chimp Paired with Surrogate Mom for a Mother’s Day to Remember

KS NatureA baby female chimpanzee by the name of Keeva, born to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 12th, has been given the best Mother’s Day present – a new surrogate mom!

Once the Maryland Zoo realized Keeva’s birth mother couldn’t care for her, they teamed up with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to find a surrogate mother to raise her properly. You can view the big announcement on the Maryland Zoo’s website and Facebook page 🙂

IMAGE: Facebook - The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Baby Keeva (IMAGE: Facebook – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore)

The tiny primate was born at 2.6 pounds to first time mother ‘Carole,’ who has been with the chimp troop at the Maryland Zoo for 27 years. Unfortunately, Carole could not care for Keeva properly, and the Zoo was forced to make a tough decision.

“The birth seemed to be without complication and the baby appeared to be healthy,” stated Mike McClure, general curator at The Maryland Zoo. “However, it soon became apparent that Carole was not adapting to motherhood appropriately and we made the difficult decision to remove and hand-rear the baby while searching for a suitable home with a nurturing surrogate.”

Maryland Zoo staff felt it was important to familiarize Keeva with the sights, smells, and sounds of the troop. The infant spent several weeks in a behind-the-scences section of the Zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest, receiving round-the-clock care.

While Keeva was experiencing her first few weeks of life, the Zoo knew they needed to find her a surrogate. They worked with the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to find an adult female chimpanzee ready to take on the task. Luckily, they found an experienced surrogate named ‘Abby.’

“We know Abby has the instincts and skills to raise a baby chimp – she has been successful twice before,” noted Lee Ann Rottman, general curator of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “We have every reason to believe that she will raise Keeva as her own, when given the opportunity.”

Keeva is now 5 pounds, can hold her head up, has started to speak, and is beginning to teethe! But, it will be 4-6 months before she is introduced to Abby. She will be integrated slowly, as chimpanzees live in complex social groups with a strict hierarchal structure. We wish her the best of luck.

Humans tend to have a soft spot when it comes to chimpanzees. This is most likely due to the fact that they are our closest relatives, sharing 98 percent of our genes! Sadly, these great apes are endangered and still threatened by poachers, disease, and habitat destruction.

Keeva the Baby Chimp Paired with Surrogate Mom for a Mother’s Day to Remember