Saturday, March 27, 2010

Camera Critters: Superb Bird of Paradise

Hello there... by ~IsisMasshiro on deviantART

This cute drawing (not mine!) shows the Superb Bird of Paradise (Lophorina superba), native to New Guinea. All Birds of Paradise are extravagant in their courtship rituals, but the Superb Bird of Paradise is among the most strange. If you think that the drawing is exaggerating, watch the video from the excellent BBC documentary Planet Earth:

See more animals over at the Camera Critters meme

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google me 3

People came across my blog with:
"can my bearded dragon eat daddy long legs"
Yes. I don't know whether true Daddy Longlegs aka Harvestmen were meant or the spiders that share that common name, but both are safe for bearded dragons to eat. Both are beneficial, though, feeding on insects and, in case of Harvestmen, almost anything they can find, so if you don't want them in your house, it may be better just to put them outside.

"bearded dragon nodding"
It's a gesture to establish dominance, often done while inflating the beard.

"miced cow"
Um, sorry. I can offer cow mice, though.

"can a bearded dragon eat crocus"?
Better not. Crocus are at least mildly toxic. My dragon really enjoys primroses, though. Those contain saponins, so they shouldn't be given too often, but the brightly coloured flowers seem to be really attractive. Make sure they are not sprayed!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Stuhlmannbrunnen

The Stuhlmannbrunnen was built in 1900, as a gift to the town of Altona (now a part of Hamburg) from Günther Ludwig Stuhlmann, the founder of the Altonaer Gas- and Water Works.
It's often said to be an allegory of the fights over fishing grounds ect. between Altona
and Hamburg, who is apparently loosing
The fountain was in bad shape and had to be renovated in the 90s, mostly paid for by private citizens and firms, who also paid for the continuing operation of the fountain, although it wasn't switched on when I took the photos.
When I first saw it, I thought it was ugly and oversized. But it sort of grew on me, a kind of adorable monstrosity.

See the world with MyWorld Tuesday

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Camera Critters: Okapi

a Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) in the London Zoo. Okapis are related to giraffes, but live not on the open grasslands, but in the African rainforests. There, their stripes and dark fur will make them vanish from sight and they don't need such a long neck. Their tongue is very long (and a nice shade of purple), up to 18 inches, similar to those of a giraffe.
here's a pair, you can tell the male from the female by his small horns. Those are called ossicones and are another feature okapis share with giraffes. They were unknown in Europe until 1901 and today, they are still rarely seen in zoos. Many were imported after their "discovery", but died due to the stress of capture and transport and captive breeding wasn't successful until 1957. In the wild, they are threatened by loss of habitat.

This is a Camera Critters post

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Camera Critters: Timmy

Meet Timmy. he's a winter White Dwarf Hamster and as of last week, belongs to my boyfriend. We saw Timmy at the shelter when I was checking the mice, I take pictures and upload them to mouse forums so that the mice have better chances of being adopted. Timmy was born in January and was given up at the shelter at the end of February - not a very good start into life.
We didn't take him home right away, but both couldn't stop thinking about him and so he moved in with us a week later. He's still so tiny, this is an egg container he's sitting in...
He will be fully grown in about two months and we hope that he will live with us for a long time!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Google me, part 2

So I had some Google hits by someone looking for a camera to put up a tree to watch birds. The Wingscapes BirdCam comes to my mind. It's not that cheap, but it makes great photos.

Also, there were some people looking for the webcam of the Lüneburger Heide Wildpark. They don't have one, sorry. But you can watch some short films about their daily work on their Website

I'm afraid I can't help with the scientific name for Ook. There's no such thing. Ook is what the Librarian of Unseen University says most and he's an Orang Utan, Pongo pongo. Actually, Orang Utans are either Pongo pygmaeus (Borneo) or Pongo abelii (Sumatra), but he's a Discworld Orang and as such a different species.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hummel, hummel

This is an ABC Wednesday and MyWorld Tuesday post.
This is the Hummelbrunnen (Hummel fountain) in Hamburg. It shows the watercarrier Hans Hummel (1787-1854) who apparently was a grouch and when children tried to annoy him by calling to him "Hummel! Hummel!", he answered with "Mors! Mors!" - which is short for the Low German Klei di an'n mors and means kiss my ass.

Sometimes it's said that Hummel Hummel - Mors, Mors is a greeting in Hamburg, but it's not and all you will probably get is a strange look. Sometimes people from Hamburg use it when they travel and meet another Hamburger, as a sort of verbal secret handshake and soldiers in WWI used it as a battlecry.
Hans Hummel is what is called a Hamburger Original - a Original means someone with a peculiar personality or trait, someone everyone in the town recognized, Emperor Norton for example would certainly have qualified as a San Francisco Original.
Hummel is still very well known in Hamburg and apart from the fountain, there are colourful sculptures of him all over the city. They were auctioned to raise money for homeless people, but many owners allowed the sculptures to be left where they are. Here's a picture of one of them.

Just in case you don't know what a water carrier is: someone who carried water from the nearest public well to people's homes for a small fee. It was common in some places like Hamburg and Venice, for example, but not a widespread occupation.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Camera Critters: Nile Crocodile

The Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) at Hagenbecks Tierpark are fed a few times a week and they have to work for their food.
It's impressive to see them snap at the fish, the sound of their jaws snapping close it really loud and you just know that you never want to be on the wrong end of such a snap. They can rise from the water with 2/3 of their body without any problems.
Nile Crocodiles can bite down with a force of up to 5000 pounds, but the muscles that open their jaws are weak and can be held shut comparatively easily. A group of crocodiles is called a float, by the way.
See more animals at the Camera Critters meme - today it's the 100th CC!

Friday, March 5, 2010

hermit crabs and bearded dragons

In my blog stats, I can see how people find my blog. Usually, I think that they'll find what they are looking for. But I had a Google search a few days ago about co-habitating hermit crabs and bearded dragons and this is not a good idea for so many reasons. Don't even think about trying this. Bearded dragons are desert animals, while land hermit crabs need a humidity of at least 70, better 80% - way too high for dragons. The crabs can't breathe when the humidity is too low (not to mention that they would dry out eventually). And you can't find a compromise between their needs, that would mean that one or both of them would suffer.
Good info on bearded dragons can be found here
and good info on land hermit crabs here

Co-housing animals is not something you do to save space or because the tanks looks a bit empty (while all your crabs are molting for example). It usually not a good idea even with species that share the same habitat since in most cases they have their own microhabitat and have different needs that can't be met in one tank. To co-habitate two species with the same needs, you need a bigger tank that you would need for housing each species alone so that they can avoid each other and so that you can create the perfect conditions for each species. You should also be experienced with keeping both species alone for a few years to make sure you recognize signs of problems (stress ect.) right away. In most cases, it's better not to try.