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Thread: Animals are Magical

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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Animals have an astounding response to bushfire. These are the tricks they use to survive
    The Conversation
    By Dale Nimmo
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-...IbJBepRnC8-dFE



    Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity.

    Australia's bushfire season is far from over, and the cost to wildlife has been epic.

    A sobering estimate has put the number of animals killed across eastern Australia at 480 million — and that's a conservative figure.

    But let's look at some uplifting facts: how animals survive, and what challenges they overcome in the days and weeks after a fire.

    Sensing fire

    In 2018, a staff member at Audubon Zoo in the United States accidentally burned pastry, and noticed something peculiar.

    In nearby enclosures 10 sleepy lizards, or Tiliqua rugosa, began pacing and rapidly flicking their tongues. But sleepy lizards in rooms unaffected by smoke remained burrowed and calm.

    It was obvious the lizards sensed the smoke from the burnt pastry, probably through olfaction, or sense of smell (which is enhanced by tongue flicking). So the lizards were responding as they would to a bushfire.



    n Australia, experiments have shown smoke also awakens Gould's long-eared bats and fat-tailed dunnarts, enabling their escape from fire.

    Animals also recognise the distinct sounds of fire. Reed frogs flee towards cover and eastern-red bats wake from torpor when played the crackling sounds of fire.

    Other species detect fire for different reasons. Fire beetles from the genus Melanophila depend on fire for reproduction, as their larvae develop in the wood of burned trees.

    They can detect fire chemicals at very low concentrations, as well as infrared radiation from fires.

    The beetles can detect very distant fires; one study suggests individuals of some species identify a fire from 130 kilometres away.

    Stay or go?

    Once an animal becomes aware of an approaching fire, it's decision time: stay or go?

    It's common to see large animals fleeing a fire, such as the kangaroos filmed hopping from a fire front in Monaro in NSW a few days ago.



    Kangaroos and wallabies make haste to dams and creek lines, sometimes even doubling back through a fire front to find safety in areas already burned.

    Other animals prefer to stay put, seeking refuge in burrows or under rocks. Smaller animals will happily crash a wombat burrow if it means surviving a fire.

    Burrows buffer animals from the heat of fires, depending on their depth and nearby fuel loads.

    From here, animals can repopulate the charred landscape as it recovers. For example, evidence suggests populations of the agile antechnius (a small carnivorous marsupial) and the bush rat recovered primarily from within the footprint of Victoria's Black Saturday fires.

    Avoiding fire is only half the battle

    The hours, days, and weeks after fire bring a new set of challenges. Food resources will often be scarce, and in the barren landscape some animals, such as lizards and smaller mammals, are more visible to hungry predators.

    Birds of prey arrive quickly at fires. Several species in northern Australia have been observed intentionally spreading fires by transporting burning sticks in their talons or beaks.

    One US study published in 2017 recorded a seven-fold increase in raptor activity during fire. They begin hunting as the fires burn, and hang around for weeks or months to capitalise on vulnerable prey.


    In Australia, introduced predators can also be drawn to fires. Feral cats have been observed travelling up to 12.5 kilometres from their home ranges towards recently burned savanna ecosystems, potentially drawn by distant smoke plumes promising new prey.

    A 2016 study found a native rodent was 21 times more likely to die in areas exposed to intense fire compared to unburned areas, mostly due to predation by feral cats. Red foxes have an affinity for burned areas too.

    So should a little critter hunker down, or begin the hazardous search for a new home?

    Staying put

    Perhaps because of the risks of moving through an exposed landscape, several Australian mammals have learnt to minimise movement following fire. This might allow some mammal populations to recover from within a fire footprint.

    Native mammals have been found hiding in beds of ash after fires.

    Short-beaked echidnas seek refuge and, when finding it, lower their body temperature and limit activity, so reducing the amount of food they need for energy.



    Despite their spiny defences, echidnas have been found more often in the stomachs of foxes following fire, so staying put is a good move.

    Small marsupials such as brown and yellow-footed antechinus also use torpor to suppress their energy use and therefore the need to seek food.

    Running the gauntlet

    Not all wildlife have adapted to stay put after a fire, and moving in search of a safe haven might be the best option.

    Animals might take short, information-gathering missions from their refuges into the fireground before embarking on a risky trek.



    They may, for example, spot a large, unburned tree that would make good habitat, and so move towards it.

    Without such cues to orient their movement, animals spend more time travelling, wasting precious energy reserves and increasing the risk of becoming predator food.

    Survival is not assured

    Australia's animals have a long, impressive history of co-existing with fire. However, a recent study I led with 27 colleagues considered how relatively recent threats make things much harder for animals in fire-prone landscapes.

    Some native species are not accustomed to dealing with red foxes and feral cats, and so might overlook cues that indicate their presence, and make the bad decision to move through a burned landscape when they should stay put.



    When fires burn habitat in agricultural or urban landscapes, animals might encounter not just predators but vehicles, livestock and harmful chemicals.

    And as this bushfire season has made brutally clear, climate change is increasing the scale and intensity of bushfires. This reduces the number of small refuges such as fallen logs, increases the distance animals must cover to find new habitat and leaves fewer cues to direct them to safer places.

    We still have a lot to learn about how Australia's wildlife detect and respond to fire. Filling in the knowledge gaps might lead to new ways of helping wildlife adapt to our rapidly changing world.

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  3. Link to Post #242
    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Yet another ( but new) feature about the octopus, which has 8 brains (all in their 8 armpits), 3 hearts, blue blood, and an absolute master at camouflage
    1/12/20
    "CBS Sunday Morning
    594K subscribers
    The octopus is one of the most bizarre life forms on Earth – one of the smartest, most interesting, and most alien. It can camouflage itself in a flash, squeeze its entire body through a one-inch hole, and use their brains (yes, it has nine of them) to think and play. Chip Reid visits scientists at New England Aquarium in Boston, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and talks with Sy Montgomery, author of "The Soul of an Octopus," about these curious creatures."


    More here, part of a Ted Talk from April 2019:
    Last edited by onawah; 13th January 2020 at 07:24.
    Each breath a gift...
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    This Weird Echidna Is The Result of One of The Best Fire Survival Tactics We've Heard
    JACINTA BOWLER
    25 AUG 2019
    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-ec...wZ9sIXJ4YnWLbw

    Echidnas are one of Australia's cutest and weirdest animals. The spiky creatures lay eggs even though they're mammals, they eat termites but they're not related to anteaters, and they evolved from an ancestor shared with the duck-billed platypus.

    And now we've learned they also have one of the most impressive bushfire strategies we've ever heard – they just go to sleep, even if they end up a little less spiky afterwards.



    Despite how unique echidnas are, we don't know that much about them in the wild, and the group EchidnaCSI is on a mission to get as many photos and samples of their poo as possible.

    That was how EchidnaCSI ended up with a picture of a particularly flat echidna, taken by member Georgina Swan – you can see the image below, and it's quite a sight.

    So, what happened here? Well the team at EchidnaCSI point out that there was a bushfire nearby, so this little guy was probably caught in it. But how did it escape with just its spines scorched?

    "We've seen a lot of echidnas that have been through fires and have lost either a lot or only a few spines," environmental physiologist Peggy Rismiller from the Pelican Lagoon Research Centre told ScienceAlert.

    "We've seen the spines actually melted down to little nubs on the body."

    This might sound particularly painful, but Rismiller says not to worry too much, as it wouldn't hurt quite as badly as you might imagine.

    "The spines are modified hairs," she explained. "So, you know, they do grow back."

    Rismiller has spent 30 years studying echidnas, one of the oldest surviving mammals in the world.

    "When I started my research in 1988, there were still about seven basic questions that were unknown about echidnas that had been asked in the 1830s," she explained

    "Basics such as 'when is an echidna sexually mature?', and 'when they are sexually mature, how often does it actually reproduce?'. We've done a lot of work in 30 years, actually filling in much of their biological mysteries."

    For example, we now know echidnas don't try to escape a fire, instead they bury themselves as deep as they can into a cool, protective soil, take a nap, and wait for the flames to all blow over.

    Although this is no ordinary nap. It's similar to hibernation, but a shorter and shallower state called torpor. It allows echidnas to lower their body temperature and their metabolic rate, so that they can conserve energy while out-waiting danger.

    "They slow down their heart rate and their breathing and their metabolism, down to about three breaths a minute," Rismiller explains.

    But before napping, our flat echidna might not have buried itself quite low enough to entirely avoid the fire, hence the damaged spikes.

    "We've seen echidnas that couldn't completely bury themselves and get soil between the spines because there were rocks or roots. These exposed spines melted down to little nubs," she said.

    "There have been instances when fire trucks go through after a fire that half buried echidnas had some of their spines basically cut off."

    Although most echidnas are happy to walk away after a situation like this, we're still don't know what it's doing to them longterm.

    "We're not quite sure how badly fire affects them," Rismiller adds.

    "Monotremes - echidnas and platypus - are the longest surviving mammals, so they have actually evolved in Australia with natural fires. It is part of their environment and part of their evolution as well."

    We're just glad to know that our flat echidna will be okay. What amazing animals!

    If you want to find out more about EchidnaCSI you can check them out here.

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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    I had no idea possums were so gorgeous and sweet! I bet they can put up a good fight with those teeth too!

    Last edited by Ken; 17th January 2020 at 14:26.

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    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Cat Lovers' Nirvana
    The Living Purring Cheetah Blanket | Special Needs Big Cat Relaxes Beyond Nirvana From Neck Massage
    Sep 3, 2018
    Dolph C. Volker
    ( A cat's purr is known to be healing, not just for the cat, but for anyone they are touching while purring. Imagine how healing and relaxing it would be to be this tame cheetah's pillow! )
    "Cats just LOVE to lay on you. Faith is one of the cheetahs I've known (off and on) since she was a cub. She's five years old in this video. Remember her when she became my pillow years ago? (https://youtu.be/WTHDxJ_JWzY)

    I've built up a special relationship with her over these years. She remembers and comes to me day or night for attention, company, rubbing, a scratching, and a sleepover.

    I discovered Faith loves her neck massaged and I used that to completely relax her! I rub, scratch, pinch, pull, and massage Faith's muscles, skin, and fur on the back of her neck while she melts in my arms. The video is amazing, even for me.

    It is a known stimulus relaxant to scruff the back of a cats neck. Nerve endings send signals to the brain to tell the body to relax. Feline moms will carry cubs using this scruff technique when moving them to safer locations. You don't want struggling cubs when mom is carrying them so the scruffing relaxes them. Both males and females have this affect and males will innately bite the back of a female cats neck during mating; same effect; calming the female. It is why you see many cats with extra fur on the back of their neck... it absorbs the bite pressure from mom or male cats. It also works for veterinarians who have uncooperative house cats to examine. They place a clamp on the back of the neck and it instantly calms them.

    Faith is a severely physically handicapped special needs cheetah due to having sterile meningitis when she was just weeks old. She almost died. It affected her skeletal and tissue growth resulting in her handicaps. She is a bit crosseyed, walks stiff, runs a bit awkward, has some gastric issues, curly tail, and has difficulty getting up and laying down... she manages but usually just flops down.

    Being an animal that doesn't comprehend the difference, she acts just like a cheetah anyway. Purrs, grooms, plays, runs, chases, gets affectionate, gets upset, and has the whole gamut of emotions and behaviors of a cheetah. She can never be released, forbidden to breed, and is cared for as a favorite at Cheetah Experience.

    Starting very early in her life as a vulnerable and sick cub, staff and volunteers would babysit Faith; spending days and nights watching over her. She and her old friend Eden would spend nights with the volunteers. After 5 years, Faith still loves spending nights with volunteers, even though she doesn't need watching over any more. Since I have known Faith for so long, I have special permission to continue spending nights with Faith when volunteering and interning at CE.

    Faith can still can be a bit of a hazard because she has a tendency to love bite and pacify herself on you. It is not aggressive but affection. She grabs clothing or your skin and can bite hard because she cannot control herself. I've never been bitten this way because I know her behavior so well and see it coming a mile away. But I've seen the scars on other people who were not as aware or knowledgeable. Point is, wild animals are still a hazard but I am willing to take the risk because I enjoy the encounters and enrichment as well.

    What is cool to me is Faith comes to ME to spend the night rather than the other way around. This brick house you see is open on one side with a door to her large enclosure. Faith sleeps outside much of the time and when she hears me setting up the bedding, she comes purring inside and flops on me to snuggle for the night. It is an incredible and warm feeling (literally). This was recorded during winter with (-)freezing temps and Faith shares her warmth with me. Cheetahs have an average temp ranging from 100-103deg Fahrenheit or 39.4 Celsius! We humans are only 98.6F. Faith becomes my purring living hot water bottle cheetah blanket for the night. Just incredible.

    We both enrich each others lives when I am there volunteering or interning at Cheetah Experience in South Africa. Faith is the current ambassador cheetah that guests and visitors can have escorted visits inside her enclosure. The public is not allowed to touch her, just observe from a respectful distance.

    Tonic immobility of a cheetah...

    Thanks for watching!"

    Each breath a gift...
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    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    How Cute is This? SO CUTE!!
    Red Panda
    1/1/18
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    United States Moderator Ken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    How Cute is This? SO CUTE!!
    Red Panda
    1/1/18
    Wonderful animals!!! I was lucky enough to see one in the wild at pretty close range in northern Nepal, 1990.

    Thank you, onawah, for the beauty and heart that you consistently bring to Avalon
    "Love is the only engine of survival.." Leonard Cohen

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    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Lucky you!...And thanks!
    Quote Posted by Ken (here)
    Quote Posted by onawah (here)
    How Cute is This? SO CUTE!!
    Red Panda
    1/1/18
    Wonderful animals!!! I was lucky enough to see one in the wild at pretty close range in northern Nepal, 1990.

    Thank you, onawah, for the beauty and heart that you consistently bring to Avalon
    Each breath a gift...
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  17. Link to Post #249
    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    (Doesn't this remind you of every lover's quarrel you've ever witnessed...or been involved in? Pebble is relentless! )
    Aug 11, 2015
    MegaBirdCrazy
    No pebble, I can't be your boyfriend
    Aug 10, 2015


    Part 2
    Each breath a gift...
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Cuteness overload!!

    Adorable Red Panda Funny Supercut Compilation 2014
    Apr 23, 2014
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    It's nice to see some koalas safe and happy, even if it's from 2017...
    Heart Warming Moment Mama & Baby Koala Reunite
    Dec 18, 2017

    Koalafication

    "This wee little wild baby koala was walking on the ground all alone and lost while it's Mama was high in the tree - not a good place for baby! There was no time to waste as the road was close by and local dogs around. I do not interfere with wildlife unless it is a dire situation and in this case it was. I will always call Fauna Rescue when possible but it was sensible to just get them together asap. but Mum & Bub were quickly reunited and we left them alone and watched over them for a couple of hours as they hung out in the tree top. 3 days later and they are still in our trees 😍 Tis' the koala season here in Greenhill! The neighbourhood are on watch for vulnerable koalas this time of year, we take care on the roads and watch out for wandering koalas, we also leave out water stations during heatwaves and contact Koala Rescue when there is a sick, injured or compromised koala."
    Each breath a gift...
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    Avalon Member Kryztian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    This orangutan saw a man wading in snake-infested water and decided to offer a helping hand
    By Emma Reynolds, CNN
    https://www.azfamily.com/news/us_wor...PKMXKYRRdni4fk


    The orangutan held out its hand to the man,
    who was clearing snakes from a river as part of
    efforts to protect the endangered apes.

    he natural world never fails to surprise us, and this moving encounter between an orangutan and a man in Borneo has melted hearts all over the world.

    Amateur photographer Anil Prabhakar captured the fleeting moment, in which one of the Indonesian island's critically endangered apes stretched out its hand to help a man out of snake-infested water.

    Prabhakar was on a safari with friends at a conservation forest run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) when he witnessed the scene.

    He told CNN: "There was a report of snakes in that area so the warden came over and he's clearing snakes.

    "I saw an orangutan come very close to him and just offer him his hand."

    Prabhakar said it was difficult for the guard to move in the muddy, flowing water. It seemed as if the orangutan was saying "May I help you"? to the man, he said.

    "I really wasn't able to click," he said. "I never expected something like that.

    "I just grabbed that moment. It was really emotional."

    Venomous snakes are predators of Borneo's orangutans, which are under threat from forest fires, habitat loss and hunting.

    "You could say snakes are their biggest enemy," said Prabhakar, a geologist from Kerala in India.

    The guard then moved away from the ape and climbed out of the water. When Prabhakar asked why he moved away, "He said, 'they're completely wild, we don't know how they'll react.'"

    Prabhakar said the entire encounter lasted just three or four minutes. "I'm so happy that moment happened to me," he said.

    His photo of the moment has been liked 15,000 times on Instagram.

    The orangutan is Asia's only great ape and is found mostly in Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia, with the remaining 10% found in Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia, according to the BOS foundation. It is estimated that the Bornean orangutan population has decreased by more than 80% within the past three generations.

    The apes are brought to the conservation forest if they are injured, at risk from hunters or facing destruction of their habitats. Once they are healthy, they are returned to the wild.

    They also reproduce very slowly, according to BOS. A female will only give birth every six to eight years in the wild.

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    Romania Avalon Member Anka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Just some photos that I like, thanks to all the wonderful animals that changed my life.










    Every human is a question asked to the Spirit of the Universe,again and again,because every human is an endless row of humans and in all humans together dwelling the Great Human Spirit.

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    United States Avalon Member onawah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    New documentary about Anna Breytenbaach
    The Animal Communicator And Her Incredible Ability | Animal Communicator
    Feb 11, 2020
    Real Wild

    "What if you could talk to animals and have them talk back to you? Anna Breytenbach has dedicated her life to communication. She sends messages to animals through pictures and thoughts, and receives messages back! Anna can feel the scars hidden under a monkeys fur or turn a snarling leopard into a contented cat."

    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    United States Avalon Member rgray222's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    The Blanket Octopus is stunning. The female blanket octopus (Tremoctopus spp.) spends her entire life in the open ocean, and looks fabulous doing so. Between the arms of the female blanket octopus are long sheets of multi-color changing skin for a truly stunning display as in the video below


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    Avalon Member Orph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Animals are Magical

    Quote Posted by rgray222 (here)
    ... The female blanket octopus spends her entire life in the open ocean, and looks fabulous doing so. Between the arms of the female blanket octopus are long sheets of multi-color changing skin for a truly stunning display as in the video below
    Wow. That must be a dream come true for a female. She doesn't have to change her wardrobe. Her wardrobe changes for her.
    I am enlightened, ............ Oh wait. That's just the police shining their spotlights on me.

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