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.

Picture Credit : Google

WHICH CAMELS CAN SWIM?

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

Picture Credit : Google 

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

Picture Credit : Google 

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.

Picture Credit : Google 

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 

Picture Credit : Google