A few interesting facts about hyenas: The spotted hyena is a highly successful animal, being the most common large carnivore in Africa. Its success is due in part to its adaptability and opportunism; it is primarily a hunter but may also scavenge, with the capacity to eat and digest skin, bone and other animal waste. Compared to other hyenas, the spotted hyena shows a greater relative amount of frontal cortex which is involved in the mediation of social behavior. Studies strongly suggest convergent evolution in spotted hyena and primate intelligence. The spotted hyena has a strong and well developed neck and forequarters, but relatively underdeveloped hindquarters. The rump is rounded rather than angular, which prevents attackers coming from behind from getting a firm grip on it.The base colour generally is a pale greyish-brown or yellowish-grey on which an irregular pattern of roundish spots is superimposed on the back and hind quarters. Although the genitalia of the male spotted hyena is typical by mammalian standards, that of the female closely resembles that of the male; the clitoris is shaped and positioned like a penis, and is capable of erection. The female also possesses no external vagina (vaginal opening), as the labia are fused to form a pseudo-scrotum. The pseudo-penis is traversed to its tip by a central urogenital canal, through which the female urinates, copulates and gives birth. In both males and females, the base of the glans is covered with penile spines. Both sexes have a pair of anal glands which open into the rectum just inside the anal opening. These glands produce a white, creamy secretion which is pasted onto grass stalks by everting the rectum. The odour of this secretion is very strong, smelling of boiling cheap soap or burning, and can be detected by humans several metres downwind.
The takin rivals the muskox as the largest and stockiest of the subfamily Caprinae, which includes all goats, sheep, and similar species. Short legs are supported on large, two-toed hooves, which have a highly developed spur. The body is stocky and the chest is deep. The large head is made more distinctive by the long, arched nose, and stout horns that are ridged at the base and can reach 64 cm (25 in) in length. Both sexes have small horns which run parallel to the skull and then turn upwards in a short point, these are around 30 cm (12 in) long. The long, shaggy coat is light in color, with a dark stripe along the back, and males (bulls) also have dark faces.
Living in Pairi Daiza by choice I have found this tiny jumping spider while sitting on a bench. Zebra spiders are 5–9 mm in size, females being the biggest. Even though they have eight eyes, the two at the front are the largest and give them excellent binocular vision. These tiny spiders are black and tan with white hairs that form stripes.
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.