March 28, 2013

Fighters Facts

  • There are nine subspecies of this charismatic carnivore, three of which became extinct towards the end of the 20th century.

  • Predominantly solitary, the tiger spends much of the year living and hunting alone, over a vast swathe of forested habitat.

  • The tiger’s canine teeth are the longest among living big cats.

  • Individual tigers have a unique pattern of stripes.

  • The giraffe is the world’s tallest mammal, standing nearly six meters from the ground, of which the neck may comprise almost two and a half meters.

  • The giraffe eats the thorny leaves of Acacia trees using its black, 45 cm long, prehensile, tongue.

  • Giraffes are often accompanied by zebra and wildebeest which may benefit from the giraffe’s lofty viewpoint and acute vision; which provides an early warning of approaching predators.

  • Both males and females have prominent skin-covered, horn-like projections, called ossicones.

  • The giraffe’s heart can weigh more than 11 kg, and measure 60 cm long. It has to generate about twice the blood pressure required for a human, to maintain blood flow to the brain.

  • Like the camel, to which they are related, the vicuña and guanaco are adapted to survive in a harsh, dry climate due to their ability to conserve body water.

  • Vicuñas are exquisitely adapted to the rarefied mountain air of high Andes, having particularly high red-blood-cell counts.

  • The name hippo comes from the ancient Greek word for "river horse".

  • Hippos are capable of surprising speed and agility, with the ability to run at nearly 30 mph. They are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

  • The jaw of the hippo can gape to 150° wide. Their canines and incisors grow throughout life.

  • The eyes, ears, and nostrils of hippos are placed high on the head, allowing them to keep their body submerged in the relatively cool rivers and to prevent sunburn.

  • Their skin secretes a substance which inhibits the growth of bacteria, as well as absorbing ultraviolet light, providing a natural sunscreen.

  • African elephants can eat up to 450 kg of vegetation every day, but only about 40% of this food is properly digested.

  • African elephants are highly intelligent, having a very large and highly convoluted neocortex area of the brain, which is also found in humans, apes and some dolphin species.

  • Each of the elephant’s four molar teeth weighs about 5 kg and is about 30 cm long; elephants replace their teeth six times over their life time.

  • Elephant seals only feed during the aquatic phases of their annual cycle and fast when they come ashore for up to three months to breed and moult.

  • Typically Elephant seals dive between 300- 600 m. During a dive they can hold their breath for more than 100 minutes, although the average dive time is 20 minutes.

  • Muskoxen are named after the musky smell of their urine which is especially strong during the mating season.

  • When the herd is threatened, the bulls and cows will face outward to form a defensive ring around the calves.

  • A nomadic species, the muskox perpetually wanders the tundra, walking an average of two kilometers every day between feeding sites.

  • The lion’s roar is a territorial display that can be heard from five kilometres away. Lions are said to be able to count the number of individuals roaring and will only challenge the invaders if they outnumber them.

  • Lionesses favor males with the densest, darkest mane; generally the darker and thicker the mane, the healthier the lion.

  • When a new male coalition first takes over a pride, the incoming males kill young cubs fathered by the ousted male. Infanticide accounts for a quarter of all cub deaths.

  • Mothers of surviving cubs will not mate again until their offspring are at least 18 months old.

  • The Tasmanian devil is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial in Australia, since the last thylacine or Tasmanian tiger was killed in the 1900s.

  • Male Tasmanian devils fight one another for females, and then guard their partners to prevent female infidelity.

  • The power of the Tasmanian devils jaws is in part due to its comparatively large head. The teeth and jaws of Tasmanian devils resemble those of hyenas, which share their scavenging habits.

  • Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans. Chimpanzees split from the human branch of the family about 4 to 6 million years ago.

  • In chimpanzee society the 'dominant male' is not necessarily the largest or strongest male, but often the most manipulative male who can influence the goings on within a group.

  • The alpha male chimpanzee regularly displays by puffing up his coat to his apparent size, in an attempt to intimidate other members of the troop.

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