The title the photographer gave this tapir was “sing a song.” If it is making a sound, I wish I could hear it! I love tapirs but have no idea what they sound like. I think it looks more like the tapir is just taking a breath after a refreshing drink though.
World Tapir Day has been established to raise awareness about the four species
of tapir that inhabit Central and South America and South East Asia. Each of the
four species is in decline and is threatened by human activity such as mining,
deforestation, farming and hunting.
Tapirs play an important role in their ecosystems and are one of the oldest
surviving genera in the animal kingdom, but despite their size, history and
ecological importance, tapirs remain one of the least recognised species of
animals. In comparison with other animals, tapirs feature little in the collective
consciousness and are frequently misidentified by zoo visitors. Even in their home
ranges, tapirs receive little attention, with exotic species featuring more
prominently in zoos, children’s books and the media.
The plight of tapirs is symbolic for the wider threat to their habitats specifically, and
the world’s ecology in general. The decline of tapir populations is indicative of the
general health of their ranges – their disappearance from their home ranges often
marks a point of ‘no return’ for the natural environment. The destruction of forests
into small, isolated enclaves and the encroachment of human activity into pristine
forests affects all native species. However, as the largest – yet one of the most
secretive – of animals in their ranges, tapirs’ disappearance is often not noticed
until it is too late.
Tapirs are really neat, wonderful creatures. All four species of tapir are either endangered, or vulnerable of becoming endangered. It’s great to see efforts to raise awareness!
They’ve also got a cafe press store, profits of which go to support the Belize Zoo’s conservation program. I wouldn’t normally think of getting a cafe press shirt, but the mascot is so cute!
I’m kind of annoyed when I visit a blog that features pictures of animals, and they update with something that isn’t a photograph of an actual animal. But dangit I was so ridiculously delighted when I saw this picture. I just had to post it!
I’m not sure why the capybara is allowing the tapir to use it as a pillow. Does anybody know if these two species have a special kind of bond? That’d be neat! The idea that these two individuals just have a special bond is pretty cool too!
It’s only a little over a month away until Mother’s Day! (My mother reads this, and as I’ve never done anything for the holiday aside from intentionally try to forget it was Mother’s Day, I’m sure she’ll be shocked to know that I know when Mother’s Day is!) I thought I would start collecting some pictures of mothers with their uglorababies, but already I’m finding it difficult not to just post what I’ve found! These pictures are so cute!
This is my first attempt at creating an animal alphabet. I’ve tried to make sure everything on the list is somewhat obscure, but also somewhat notable! You probably know about some of these creatures, but did you know about all of them? Let me know!
Some descriptions are shorter than others because either there isn’t that much information on them, or just because I might have forgot to put more information in. I’ll probably augment some of these descriptions later. I was kind of anxious to post this!
A is for Axolotl
The axolotl is a neotenic species of salamander, a salamander that does not go through metamorphosis. While it resembles the texas cave salamander that the BBC’s Planet Earth made famous, the two are not closely related, the texas cave salamander coming from a lungless family of salamanders. The axolotl does have lungs, but part of the resemblance between the two species comes from their external gills that they retain as adults.
Axolotls are critically endangered in the wild, being only native to two lakes, one of which has been drained by humans to prevent flooding. Despite their status as a critically endangered, they are kept as pets and used by scientists, largely because they are easy to breed.
The Coati is a relative of the raccoon that are native to Southern North America, Central America, and Northern South America. They are omnivores, eating mostly insects and fruit, but are noted as being one of the few animals that can eat large tarantulas.
The hoatzin is a species of bird found in the Amazon of still debated origins. The species is unique in several ways, including the presence of two claws at the end of each wing as a chick, and a digestive system based on fermentation.
The species is also known by the name “stinkbird,” a name that I also had as a child.
The Iriomote cat is a critically endangered species of cat only found on the Japanese island of Iriomote. It is one of four species of cat that can not sheath their claws, the others being the fishing cat, the flat-headed cat, and the cheetah.
An estimated 100 animals are believed to be alive, their decline due to habitat destruction and over hunting. A third of the Iriomote’s 289 square kilometers (about 111.5 square miles) of land was declared a natural reserve, but most of their preferred habitats remain outside of this region. The species is also threatened by their ability to breed with feral cats on the island.
Javelinas are the wild suinans native to the Americas. While they appear similar to Afro-Eurasian pigs and hogs, javelinas are placed in their own order. One way to tell the difference is that Afro-Eurasian hogs have curved tusks, while javelinas have straight tusks.
The lamprey is a jawless fish with a terrifying mouth (pictured) found in both saltwater and freshwater systems in most temperate regions of our planet. They begin their lives as toothless larvae that feed on microbes, but go through metamorphosis to become these creatures that vaguely resemble eels or hagfish.
The adult lamprey feeds by attaching itself to a fish, digging into it, and sucking its blood. JUST SHOWING YOU SHOULD NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.
The nautilus is the only shelled cephalopod. It’s regarded as a “living fossil” (I ordinarily do not like the term, but find it appropriate here), as hundreds of millions of years ago they were more varied and far more prosperous. Today there are only six species of nautilus, all limited to the Indo-Pacific.
While the pangolin looks like a xenarthran (the cohort of animals that include anteaters, sloths, armadillos, and everyone’s favorite semi-obscure extinct mammal, the glyptodon, all of which are only found in the new world), sharing the long tongue of the anteater and having armor like an armadillo or glyptodon, it’s closest living relatives are actually the carnivorans (dogs, cats, bears, pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, walruses), etc). This seems especially strange because pangolins lack teeth.
The behavior of the pangolin is just as great as their appearance. They use their claws to dig for insects, burrow, and to climb. Some species can hang from tree branches with their tail. When sleeping or threatened, they roll into balls. They are pretty much a grade A animal.
The tapir is an odd-toed ungulate native to Central and South America, and Southern Asia
Pictured is a Malayan tapir, the largest of the four tapir species, and the only old world species. It is also the only tapir with that black and white pattern. However, despite their being a large difference in the coats of adult tapirs of different species, juvenile tapirs share a very similar brown body with white spots and stripes.
The vaquita is the smallest marine cetacean (the order that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises). It is native to the Gulf of Mexico Sea of Cortez.
The vaquita is a critically endangered species. The number of surviving individuals could be as few as 100, none of which are in captivity. Only one photograph of a living vaquita has ever been taken.
One cause of decline is that vaquita have been accidently caught by humans fishing for other marine life. The damming of the Colorado River has also altered their habitat. In an effort to preserve the species, the Mexican government has created a nature preserve covering the Colorado River delta, and the upper part of the Gulf of Mexico, and a move to the use of fishing gear that will not hurt this species has been made.
The xenopus are frogs native to Africa. They are probably most notable as being a model organism for study, the females producing large oocytes, and having easy to manipulate embryos.
The xenopus was used in the first well-documented pregnancy test, as it was discovered that urine from pregnant women induced the production of oocytes in xenopus females. I AM COMPLETELY UNSURE AS TO HOW THEY WOULD HAVE FIGURED THIS OUT.
Zebus are a line of domestic cattle mostly found in South Asia and Africa. They are more suited for dry and warm climates than non-humped cattle, and have a distinctive hump on their shoulders, and large dewlaps.
This list (and I guess the little descriptions, even though they’re essentially poorly written summaries of Wikipedia articles) is (are) being released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. None of the pictures are mine, details on each can be found by clicking them!
If I’ve made any mistakes in this post, please let me know! It’s kind of a long post, and I am not the greatest proof-reader of my own work.