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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 November 2009 The European Mink - A Species on the Verge of Extinction

European minkThe European Mink (Mustela Lutreola) is considered as an endangered mammal species in Europe. The medium-sized European Mink has short legs, a bushy and short tail, and a long slim arched body. Its coat is blackish brown with white bands on the upper and lower jaws, sometimes including the throat. It can adapt to semi-aquatic life with its partly webbed feet which aid it in swimming, diving, and hunting underwater. Its eyes, however, are not well-adapted to see underwater prey and on the ground also, it has to depend on its sense of smell to forage terrestrial prey.

An adult European Mink female weighs about 600 grams (21 oz) and as the male is heavier, it may weigh about 900 grams (31 oz). The length of its body can be 28 to 43 cm (11.02 to 16.92 inches) and its total length up to its tail is 35 to 58 cm (13.77 to 22.83 inches).

Although both the male and the female have a similar appearance, males are a lot larger. The reason of this difference can be attributed to the fact that males have to fight for territories and mates, while females feed and protect themselves and their offspring. A larger female may end up feeding itself by simply consuming more food. The young ones are quite similar to the adults.

Until the 19th century, the European Mink was easily found in the whole of the European Continent but because of wanton hunting, its population has declined considerably and has greatly reduced. Today, it is on the verge of extinction and is seen only in some parts of Eastern Europe, France, and Spain and that too, on a very rare basis.

European minks are nocturnal animals and emerge only in night in search of food. They eat small animals like birds, vole, frogs, fish, crabs, and insects. They hunt in water, in swamps, on land, and burrows making their range of hunting considerably greater. The mink is known as a wanderer and rarely uses the same den. They are solitary mammals, except during the period from February to March, which is their breeding season. The gestation period lasts for 5 to 10 weeks and the female gives birth during spring because at that time the food is found in abundance. The female gives one litter every year and there can be 2 to 7 young ones in one litter. Their weaning period is about 10 weeks and the babies leave the den when they are 12 to 18 weeks old. After one year, the babies become mature and live up to only six years.

These semi-aquatic animals are found at nearby fresh water. They inhabit the shaded banks of rivers, lake shores, marshlands, and streams. One may also find them in burrows and muskrat huts. They make dens using grass, leaves feathers, and fur under trees, on stream banks, and in drift piles.

Picture © Nicolai Meyer You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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Tuesday 03 November 2009 The Pygmy Sperm Whale

Pygmy sperm whaleThe Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia Breviceps) belongs to the sperm whale family and since this creature is not often seen in the sea, there is very little information about its whereabouts.

Just like the giant sperm whale, there is a spermaceti organ in the forehead of the pygmy sperm whale and there is a dark red colored fluid in the sac in its intestines which gets released whenever it is frightened. It is considered that this fluid is expelled to disorient and confuse predators.

The length of a pygmy whale is about 47.24 inches (1.2 meters) at birth and after attaining full growth, they may reach a length of 137.79 inches (3.5 meters). The weight of an adult pygmy whale is about 881.83 pounds (400 kg). The back and the sides of the whale are bluish gray while its underside is creamy in color. Compared to its body, its head is much larger and if looked at from sideways, it appears swollen. The dorsal fin of this whale is considerably smaller than that of its cousin Dwarf Sperm Whale, the smallest whale, and this difference between the two species can be used for identification of the species. The lower jaw is small and hangs downwards. It has 20 to 32 teeth and all of them are set in the lower jaw and it has a false gill behind its each eye. The Pygmy Sperm Whale is usually a solitary creature but sometimes, one may find also it in a group of five to six at a time. It feeds on crabs, small fish, or squid.

Much is not known about these whales, but there is some evidence indicating that they produce only once in a year. The gestation period is for about 11 months and a female gives birth during spring or autumn and at birth, a calf may weigh about 121.25 pounds (55 kg).

The Pygmy sperm whale can be found in all tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters, i.e. in Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. This species is known for migration and though its population is not known, it is not considered threatened.

Since these whales are seen rarely, most data regarding them comes from the stranded animals making their range and the migration map very difficult. This is the reason why these whales are not hunted on a large scale. A matter of concern regarding this species arises from that fact that although it is not considered an endangered species, plastic bags have been found in the stomach of some pygmy sperm whales. You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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