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We hope that reader will gain an increased appreciation of the need for more conservation measure in order to protect the beautiful creatures that inhabit the earth. Our philosophy is that the more we learn about animals, the more we respect them and take better care of them. That is why we update this blog with new animals, We encourage you to syndicate our content by adding "animal of the day" to your own blog! (read more)

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Monday 30 May 2011 Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin - The Lazy Dolphin

Indo-Pacific Humpbacked DolphinThe Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is a marine mammal that generally inhabits the tropical and temperate reefs and estuaries of the Pacific ocean and the Indian ocean. Their easternmost range extends to between northern Australia and southern China, while their westernmost range extends to the edges of the Indian ocean and southern Africa. They are most common in the coastal waters surrounding Indonesia.

Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins travel in groups of less than ten individuals, with some groups containing up to 30 individuals. These small, close-knit groups are referred to as pods. They do not have a specific breeding season, and breed all throughout the year. However, they do generally tend to give birth in the summer months between December and February. A generally slow and non-acrobatic marine mammal, males have been known to put on acrobatic displays in order to win mates for breeding.

These dolphins are characterized by their "humped" dorsal fins. Though this hump can be very distinctive in most males, it is not uncommon for males to completely lack this humped dorsal fin. It is also not uncommon for males to have well-defined ridges on their dorsal tail stock. Their bodies are very stocky, making them formidably strong. Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins have bee known to drive off and kill sharks, mostly due to this size and strength. Their beaks are highly defined, and look very distinctive. Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins are distinctly long and large, topping out at around 10.5 feet (about 3 meters) in large males. Females generally are no larger than 8 (about 2.5 meters) feet long. Adult Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins are not known to grow larger than 626 lbs (284 kg).

Being a large fan of reefs, the diet of the Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin involves mostly reef fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Using echolocation, they hunt in smaller groups to pick out their prey from amongst the reef. While they are known to hunt mostly in small groups, it is not unheard of for them to hunt alone. In almost all cases, they are known to eat alone. They are aggressive when feeding, and do not abide intrusion well.

The Indo-Pacific hump backed dolphin is not in any major danger. They are hunted for meat and oil, but not on a significant enough scale to warrant concern. The major impact to their population numbers is found in commercial fishing by-catch. Every year, many dolphins are netted and killed accidentally by commercial fishermen. Their only known predators are sharks.

Picture of the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin by takoradee, licensed under GFDL You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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Monday 09 May 2011 Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat - Bashful and Bewhiskered

Northern Luzon Giant Cloud RatThe Northern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) gets its name from its habit of dwelling in rainforest treetops, which seem to reach the clouds. Though it mainly lives in the trees, the giant cloud rat is occasionally seen foraging on the forest floor. Its native range is the northern and central provinces of the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

This rodent reaches an average length of 700 mm, a weight of 2.6 kg and lives for about 10 to 12 years.

A coat of long, coarse fur is usually whitish or pale gray, with dark brown or black markings around the snout, eyes and ears. The tail is also covered with dense fur. A short, blunt snout is framed by long whiskers, and it has bright, black eyes and small ears. Strong hindquarters, large feet and specialized, sharp claws give the Northern Luzon giant cloud rat its tree-climbing talents and digging ability.

Nocturnal and slow-moving, the Northern Luzon giant cloud rat is a vegetarian, eating new, fresh leaves and fruit. It has also been known to raid crops and gardens near the forest edge.

Unlike its cousin, the brown rat, which can produce several litters of pups in a year, giant cloud rats reproduce only once per year, bearing only one pup. Nests may be found in hollow trees or underground burrows. The female carries her progeny until it is able to forage on its own.

The Northern Luzon giant cloud rat has few known predators other than large birds. Because it is so slow-moving, the rodent can only protect itself with claws and a strong odor from its musk glands.

The main threat to their existence is deforestation. Destruction of rain forests by agriculture and logging companies has greatly reduced its range and habitat. Because this animal is only found in the Philippines and reproduces very slowly, the odds are becoming stacked against its survival.

Giant cloud rats are hunted by humans for their meat, and human predation has been a significant factor in their reduced population. Attempts to raise them in captivity, however, are showing some success. The Northern Luzon giant cloud rat is currently a protected species and is listed as 'near threatened', but local people of the Philippines are still allowed to hunt them.

Picture of the Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat at Cincinnati Zoo by Ltshears, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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