Aye-aye

The Aye-aye is an amazing animal that can only be found in Madagascar. They don’t look like primates at first but they are actually related to both chimpanzees, apes and humans.

They are rare nocturnal animals and spend their days in a nest of leaves and branches making them hard to spot as they blend well into the dark surroundings. Aye-ayes have sharp claws that they use to cling to the trees. They are usually dark brown or black and have large eyes, sensitive ears and a bushy tail larger than their body which keeps them balanced. Their most distinctive feature is a long slender finger.
Aye-ayes’ spend their entire lives in the rain forest tree tops and are rarely seen on the ground.

When hungry the aye-aye will tap its long finger on the trees and listen for wood-boring insect larvae moving underneath the bark. It then uses the same finger to fish them out. They will also supplement their diet with fruit.

Many native people of Madagascar consider the Aye-aye to be bad luck and will kill them when sighted. With hunting and habitat destruction mean that they are critically endangered. They are now protected by law in an effect to save their species.

Picture

  • elelur.com/mammals/aye-aye.html

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Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska

The Mendenhall Ice Caves are found in the Mendenhall Glacier, the 12 miles (19km) long mass of ice is found in Juneau Alaska. It is a popular tourist attraction, however, few visitors actually see inside it. Which is a shame considering the sights within.
The Ice Caves are an amazing place but they won’t be around for much longer as they have started to melt due to the globe rise in temperatures. But As it melts the water is carving more caves into its interior, creating turquoise-toned worlds which are every changing. So its kind of a win, loose situation.
You don’t, however, want to visit if you are not an adventurer. To get to the Ice Cave requires a Kayak ride or long hike and ice climb no to mention the threat of the caves collapsing. But it is all worth it to get a glimpse of the incredible landscapes once there.
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/mendenhall-ice-caves_n_4374019

Venus Flytrap

Scientific Name: Dionaea muscipula

The Venus Flytrap is a carnivores planet. This means that it eats meat. They are very peculiar as they have no brain, nervous system or muscles and yet are able to trap and swallow insects.

The Venus flytrap attracts its food (insects) by covering its leaves in nectar. If an insect lands on its leaf it is safe for it to eat as long as it does not trigger 2 of the 6 tiny hairs on the leaf in a 20 second period. If they do touch them an electrical signal will run through the leaves and they will snap shut in a fraction of a second, trapping the insect. It has special tips at the end of the leaf that closes to gather like prison bars making it extremely difficult for anything to escape.

To eat its victim it secretes digestive juices from its leaves, much like our stomachs, which dissolve the soft inner parts of the insect. Once it has digested everything the trap reabsorbs the fluid and after ten days the trap reopens. All that remains of the insect is its case/shell.

They also get nutrients from gases in the air as well as nutrients from the soil. However, they live in very poor soil and so have to revert to insects to get everything they need.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

The prehensile-tailed porcupine is one of the 12 species of New World porcupines and is native to South American forests.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are quite different to North American porcupines. The major difference is its’ prehensile tail (obviously). Their tail serves as a fifth limb, which allows them to move throughout the canopy ( the uppermost branches of trees in a forest) easily and also have strong claws to help them climb as they are almost entirely arboreal (tree-dwelling). They have short, thick quills that cover their body which ranges from a yellowish colour to black. Prehensile-tailed porcupines weigh 2 to 5 kilogrammes (4 to 11 pounds) and have a life span of 12 to 17 years. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are also only 1/4 of the weight of their North American brethren.

To protect themselves from predators they like to bite and shake their quills but do not shoot their quills. They also curl up to protect their underbelly which is vulnerable as it is soft and has no quills. Prehensile Porcupine’s are very calm docile creatures and will often flee when faced with danger.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are herbivores. That eat flowers, leaves, roots and shoots. They also eat cambium layers found beneath the bark of certain trees.
To communicate they make a variety of sounds, which include moans, whines, grunts, coughs, shrieks, barks and wails and when excited or threatened they stamp their hind feet in an attempt to frighten their attackers.
They are nocturnal and sleeps in holes in tree trunks or shaded areas of the canopy and only at night does it forage for food.

Prehensile-tailed porcupine, what a mouth full.
I myself have seen a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine in the amazon rain forest in Peru when on a night walk while staying in a lodge. (it was amazing and so adorable).

Image addresses
zoonewengland.org
voices.nationalgeographic.com
zooborns.com