The Okapi is Quite Unique!

The Okapi is Quite Unique
The Okapi is an animal you might easily walk past without giving him much thought.  They are quiet and sedate.   Frankly, the coloring doesn't make them stand out either.   However, next time you are at a zoo, stop and consider the Okapi.  He is a very unique creature.

The Okapi is related to the giraffe, but has stripes like a zebra.  They are also closer in size to the zebra, but they share other unique characteristics with the giraffe.  

You will want to make sure you visit the Okapi soon.  Sadly, the Okapi are very rare and are endangered.  They can only be found in the wild in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.  Therefore, your very best chance to see an Okapi, is at a zoo.  Even then, not every zoo has them.



The Okapi's Ossicone


Giraffes and Okapis are the only animals that have ossicones.  At first glance, you would think the Okapi has horns.  He does not.  Male Okapi have ossicones on their heads.  When you visit the Okapi, be sure to take a really close look at his head.  You will notice that the ossicones are covered with skin and fur.  That is completely different from horns, which are bare bone.  What will not be as obvious in observation, is that the ossicone is made of flexible cartilage, not hard bone.  This characteristic alone makes the Okapi quite unique.

The Okapi


Facts About the Okapi

  • Okapia johnstoni
  • Endangered
  • Lives in the Rainforest of the African Congo
  • Stripes on Hind Quarters and Legs
  • Males have Ossicones (not horns)
  • Females do not have ossicones.  They have little swirls of hair instead
  • Females are Larger than Males
  • Weighs 400 - 750 lbs. 
  • Stand approximate 5' tall
  • Coat is Dark Brown with Reddish hues
  • Habitat:  Dense Tropical Forest
  • Food:  Leaves, Twigs and Fruit
  • Breeding:  Single Offspring Birth
  • Okapi hide their young 
  • Lifespan:  30 years
  • Okapi were not known to science until 1900

 

Not Long Enough

Most likely due to their natural seclusion and avoidance of danger, the Okapi were not known to science until 1900.  It is estimated that there are 10,000 - 20,000 Okapi worldwide.  As with so many other beautiful creatures, the Okapi is now on the endangered list due to being hunted for their meat and skins. 
 
 


Fishing Cat

https://amazing-wild-animals.blogspot.com/2016/12/fishing-cat.html
The Fishing Cat may resemble a domestic cat at first glance, but he is a wild cat found near the lakes and swamp areas of South-east Asia and Southern India.  He thrives in the marshy thickets and coastal creeks where food is readily available.

He is called a Fishing Cat because he is remarkably skilled at fishing.  The Fishing Cat lightly taps the water surface mimicking an insect.  The fish underwater thinks he is about to dine on a fabulous feast, when in fact, he is about to become a fabulous feast for the Fishing Cat.

Note how he concentrates so fully on his prey in the photo.  He is watching it's movement and patiently waiting for just the right moment.


https://amazing-wild-animals.blogspot.com/2016/12/fishing-cat.html

If you look closely at the photo, you will see the ripples in the water and his raised paw where he has just lightly tipped the surface.  Unfortunately, when he heard the sound of my camera shutter, he took off like, well, a wild cat!  I do hate that I cost him his meal.  But, I am ever so grateful for these lovely photos.


Facts About the Fishing Cat


  • Size:  larger than a domestic cat at 30 - 45" body length, height - 16"
  • Weight:  17 to 34 pounds
  • Muscular build 
  • Front paws are partially webbed
  • Diet includes fish, snails, snakes, small mammals and birds
  • Extraordinary swimmer, even underwater
  • Uses tail as a rudder to control swimming direction
  • Layers of fur with short dense fur close to skin that insulates his body.  Even water cannot penetrate his fur
  • Primarily nocturnal  
  • Life Expectancy:  Up to 12 years
  • Vulnerable Status


How the Fishing Cat Fishes


Not only does the Fishing Cat draw his prey to the surface so he can scoop the fish from the water, but he will also dive for his dinner.  If he wants a floating bird, he will dive, swim under the resting fowl, and come up from underneath to capture his prey.


Fishing Cat Video - Mother & Kitten 


Because I did not capture a full body photo of the Fishing Cat, I sought out a video so you could see the how gorgeous this wild cat really is.  I immediately fell in love with this kitten.  

 
 

Asian Small-clawed Otters

Photos and Facts about the Asian Small-clawed Otters
This is such an adorable animal!  Whether they are swimming, walking around on their short, little legs or sleeping, they have the ability to reach out and grab you heart. 

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is one of the smallest otters in the world, but he also has a few other characteristics that set him apart from other otters. 

All otters have webbed feet, but the Asian Small-clawed Otters feet are different.  The webbing only goes to the "knuckles" of his paw instead of to the tips of their toes, giving him hand-like "fingers".  Because of his reduced webbing, he has greater dexterity.  He also has extremely sensitive paws which he uses to catch his food.  Most otters have to use their teeth to catch food. 

The Asian Small-clawed Otter rarely eats fish like other otters.  That alone allows him to live in harmony with larger otters since they are not competing for the same food.
Also, the Asian Small-clawed Otter really does have very small claws that barely protrude beyond the tips of his paws.


Facts About Asian Small-clawed Otters


Status:  Vulnerable

  • Fur Color:  Gray brown to dark brown, with lighter fur on belly, throat and face
  • Great Swimmers with Extremely Strong Tail
  • Short, dense fur is impermeable to water
  • Live in dens that have tunnel entrances into the water
  • Tremendous lung capacity allows them to be underwater for several minutes
  • Body Length:  18" - 22"
  • Tail Length:   10" - 14"
  • Average Weight:  6½ - 13 lbs
  • Diet:  Clams, crabs, crayfish, snails & other aquatic animals
  • Live:  East Indies, China, & the Himalayas
  • Breeds with One Partner for Life 

The Asian Small-clawed Otters are classified as vulnerable.  They are mostly brown with a white throat
Asian Small-clawed Otter Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Training a Asian Small-clawed Otter


Asian Small-clawed Otters interact well with people, which allows them to be kept as pets in some areas of the world.

They are so affable, that Malay fisherman have can even train these adorable otters to fish for them.  Because of his hand-like paws, he can even fish in very shallow water by feeling for his catch.



 

The Clymene Moth - Black & Yellow Moth with a Cross

http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/
Sometimes I am blessed to find a beautiful creature in my own backyard.  Such was the case with the Clymene Moth.  He was such a lovely creature that I simply had to take his picture to share with the world.

The black cross he bears on his wings is almost spiritually symbolic. It immediately reminded me of a crusaders cross. Perhaps more so because the shape of the resting wings resembles a shield.

I felt I was being visited by an important messenger.  His message may have been nothing more than a reminder to stop and look at the unique beauty around us, but I felt blessed.

Facts About the Clymene Moth 

Scientific Name:  Haploa Clymene

  • Classification Tribe:  Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
  • Wingspan:  1 1/2 - 2 inches
  • Lives in Deciduous Wooded Areas / Forest or close-by 
  • Larvae eats plants that are poisonous to humans (Ageratina altissima and Eupatorium
  • Larvae (caterpillar) overwinter and eat willow, peach and oak tree
  • Adult Moth Life:  Early Spring to Late Summer  (My photo was taken in July)
  • Mostly Found in Eastern United States ranging from Florida all the way up to Quebec, Canada

Photos of the Clymene Moth by Sylvestermouse 

Both Photos Taken July, 2015


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/2016/09/the-clymene-moth-black-yellow-moth-with.htmlmoth with a black cross on back

Attract Moths to Your Backyard


We all attract moths to our backyards by simply turning on a back porch light.  However, if you would like to do a bit of moth-watching, there is a way to attract them when you desire their company.  Oh, and be sure you have your camera ready.

Recipe for Moth Appeal


  • 1 or 2 overripe bananas 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 6 ounces of stale beer 

Stir the ingredients together until well-blended.  Let warm at room temperature.  It is actually best, but not necessary, if left for several days under a breathable cloth.  (like a sour dough bread recipe)

When ready, simply brush the mixture on the trunk of a tree and wait for your "friends" to arrive.




Learn More about Moths

 The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Butterflies and Moths: A Natural History and Identification GuideCheck Price

 


Blue Masked Leafbird

http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/
Because of his lovely green color and very small size, it is actually pretty easy to see why this gorgeous little bird is named a leafbird.  In the canopy of trees, the leafbird could go virtually unnoticed unless he moves or sings to attract attention.  

It is also clear to see why he is call a "blue-masked" leafbird.  He does look like he is wearing a big blue mask on his face.  The blue and yellowish colors of his feathers also help him to blend in with his colorful tropical surroundings on the island of Sumatra in western Indonesia.  

The Blue Masked Leafbird is Near Threatened 


Facts About the Blue Masked Leafbird

(Chloropsis venusta)


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/
The Blue Masked Leafbird - Photo by Sylvestermouse


  • Near Threatened Species due to loss of habitat
  • Indigenous to Indonesian island of Sumatra
  • Classification:  Songbird
  • Nests at end of branches in the top of trees
  • Smallest of the Leafbird species  
  • Size:  5.5" in length from tip of beak to tip of tail 
  • Weight - half ounce  
  • Food:  Insects, Berries, Fruit, and Tubular Flower Nectar

Like hummingbirds, the little Blue Masked Leafbird collects pollen while eating.  Therefore, as he flies from one flower to the next,  he cross-pollinates flowers while he is drinking the nectar from each flower.   A great example of how animals and flowers help each other survive in nature.


Video of the Blue Masked Leafbird


I do love songbirds, but I don't normally include videos on the Amazing Wild Animals site.  However, I wanted you to be about to hear this little songbird for yourself.

Close your eyes and listen!  He will make you feel like you are resting under a canopy of trees, or walking through the Rainforest.



 

There aren't many Blue Masked Leafbird products available, so I added my own photo to a mug on Zazzle. If you would like to have this photo on a different Zazzle item, please leave me a note in the guestbook below. I'll be happy to add it for you.

Polar Bears

https://amazing-wild-animals.blogspot.com/ Since Polar Bears live in the Arctic, most of us will only ever see them in zoos.  In their natural habitat, their white fur helps to camouflage them against the ice of their region.  However, that white fur is quite a contrast to the greens and browns of other terrains.

The Polar Bear has a longer neck than other bears which allows them a longer reach when hunting their aquatic prey.   They have huge paws with bumpy pads that naturally help them get a grip in the ice of their Arctic region.  They have small ears & short tails which helps reduce heat loss.


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/

Even though I enjoy seeing Polar Bears in zoos, I often feel quite sorry for them.  They are most often panting due to the heat.  Even in colder weather, it is rarely cold enough for a Polar Bear to be truly comfortable.   In the zoo, the bears cool down by swimming in the pools in their enclosures.  Several of the zoos that I have visited have viewing areas so you can watch the bears swim underwater.   It is entertaining for us to watch a bear swim, but for them, it is quite refreshing and a great reprieve from the heat.



Sea Bears 


Polar Bears are also referred to as Sea Bears.  They are actually the only bear classified by several countries as a marine mammal.  Their paws are also wide and flat which helps them to propel through water in spite of their massive size.  Think of a paddle on a boat and how it can move a boat even without current.

Polar Bears are excellent swimmers and have no trouble whatsoever swimming underwater.


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/

Facts About Polar Bears


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com
  • Black Skin Covered with 2 Layers of White Fur
  • Height:  Up to 10 feet tall
  • Weight:   Up to 1100 lbs.
  • Life Span:  Up to 30 years
  • Nickname:  Sea Bear
  • Lives In:  Arctic Regions:  Alaska (US), Canada, Greenland, Russia & Norway
  • Food:  Seals, Reindeer, Fish, Seabirds, bird eggs and berries
  • Cubs:  1 - 4 Cubs born every 2 - 4 years
  • Currently:  Vulnerable Status, but numbers are decreasing
 


http://www.amazing-wild-animals.com/





Polar Bears You Can Take Home!

Eastern Chipmunks

Chipmunks are pretty clever little creatures that many of us find in our own backyards.  They are really cute, but often hide when humans are around.   Frequently, we can only watch them out our windows.  I often see them eating the bird seed that drops on the ground, but I am rarely able to actually catch them on film.

I just happened to be outside the day I captured the photo on the left.   As you can probably tell by looking at the photo, as soon as this little guy realized I was actually around, he tried hard to hide.  I wasn't about to hurt him, but he had no way of knowing that, so he hid until the coast was clear.


Homeowners & Chipmunks 


 Chipmunk 2 Inch Round MagnetCheck PriceMany homeowners find chipmunks to be a nuisance since they will indeed dig up flowers and bulbs as they seek insects, worms or food.  They dig burrowing holes in the yard, or even nest in a basement.  Chipmunks are ground dwellers so are not likely to move into your attic, but if you have a basement or a crawl space under your house, you do need to take precautions.  Otherwise, like any creature, they are seeking shelter and a safe place to live.

It isn't necessary to spend a lot of money trying to keep chipmunks out of your house.  A simple owl or hawk decoy will often do the trick.  They are easily scared away by just the sight of such predators, real or not real, especially if you purchase a decoy that lights up or makes a loud noise when sensor activated.  (see example below)

Keep in mind that poisoning a chipmunk is a dangerous decision.  Any animal will eat poison, including your own pets, therefore you seriously run the risk of having many unintended victims.

Other than the nuisance factor, chipmunks do very little harm, if any.  Their damage is mostly limited to the garden areas when they are trying to extract food.  They don't carry diseases often associated with wildlife.  The biggest concern would be Lyme disease from ticks since all outdoor animals, including pets, are susceptible to ticks.  Those of us who live in areas that are highly infected with ticks need to be more informed of how to deal with ticks.  Killing the wildlife in our area is not the solution.


Facts About Eastern Chipmunks 
(Tamias striatus)


Habitat:  Woodland or Bushy Areas
Life Span:  3 Years
Size:  5" - 8" or 12" including the tail
Weight:  2.5 - 5 oz
Food:  Nuts, Seeds, Fruit, Mushrooms, Insects, Worms and sadly Flower Bulbs
Predators Include:  Cats, Hawks, Owls, Snakes, Weasels, Raccoons, and Foxes

  • Rodent
  • Product 2 Litters of 4 -6 of Babies each Year:  One in Spring and One in Late Summer
  • Cheek Pouches for Food 
  • Sounds of the Chipmunk Sound like He is Telling You His Name:  Chip Chip
  • Often Referred to as a Ground Squirrel
  • Easily Recognized by Distinctive Stripes
  • Burrows Underground with Multiple Entrances

One really fascinating thing Chipmunks do when digging their homes, they either spread the dirt, or carry it away in their cheek pouches so the entrances are not easy to see.  He also camouflages his home with leaves, sticks or other natural debris.



Learn More About Eastern Chipmunks, Bring One Home or Scare Them Away!

 Eastern Chipmunks: Secrets of Their Solitary Lives (Smithsonian nature book)Check Price Hansa Upright Chipmunk Plush Animal Toy, 6Check Price Visual Scare Eye Glowing Owl - 15.5 Inch Owl Scarecrow with Solar Glowing EyesCheck Price