A white, wispy blanket of spider webs coated a city in Australia. Photo by Lukas Coch, EPA.
Millions of spiders fell from the sky and left behind a blanket of silky webs in Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia earlier this week. Although referred to as “baby spiders”, the tiny spiders are actually adult sheet-web weavers or money spiders.
Sometimes these spiders participate in an event called mass ballooning where all the spiders climb to a high point, like up a pole or tall plant, and then they jump into the air to be carried away by air currents. Every time one jumps, it leaves behind a trail of silk strands. The end result is a wispy blanket of spider webs as pictured above.
Did you know that male mice can sing like birds? Their songs are just so high-pitched that humans can’t hear them.
A new study from researchers at Duke University has revealed that male mice will sing loudly to court females they can smell but can’t see. Once the female comes within view, the male will sing more softly.
Cholita, an abused spectacled bear and former circus animal, waits for her trip to the United States, where she can live out the rest of her life in a sanctuary. Photo provided by Animal Defenders International (ADI).
Cholita has had a hard life. She is an Andean/spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), a species considered vulnerable of extinction in the wild. She was kept illegally at a circus in Peru. There, she was severely abused.
Due to the gruesome abuse she suffered at the circus, Cholita now has no claws, teeth or hair. She is barely recognizable as a spectacled bear. But there is hope for Cholita, to live out the rest of her days in a United States sanctuary.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Peruvian authorities to get Cholita on a special ‘Spirit of Freedom’ flight to Colorado scheduled for April 20. The huge rescue mission, which also includes the rescue of 70 other circus animals, is expected to cost ADI over $1.2 million.
Aww! Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a pair of cheetah cubs!
A pair of cheetah cubs have joined the ranks at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. The cubs, named Tendai and Thabo, weighed 12 pounds when they were born on November 22, 2014. Once old enough, they will start their own coalition of cheetahs at the Cheetah Run habitat.
Dozens of leftover Christmas trees were donated by a local tree lot to the Oakland Zoo after the holiday season wrapped up. And the Oakland Zoo keepers have put them to good use!
“The Christmas trees provide our zoo animals with a unique seasonal enrichment,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care at Oakland Zoo.
The trees became sticky snacks for the giraffes, zebras, camels, elephants, and goats. They provided hiding spots for goodies to entice baboons and otters. And they added a new dimension of fun to the squirrel monkeys’ exhibit.
Three male lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Photo by Dr. Darin Collins / Woodland Park Zoo.
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA welcomed three male African lion cubs on October 24. Mother Adia and cubs are bonding and nursing well in an off-view maternity den. Zoo staff will monitor the newborn lions over the next several weeks to ensure their healthy development.
Watch a video of Adia and her cubs the day they were born:
In the wild, African lions inhabit the grasslands, shrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN Red List. They are threatened by loss/fragmentation of habitat as well as disease. They are also killed by humans in bravery rituals, as hunting trophies, for medicinal powers, or by ranchers protecting their livestock. To learn more about lions, see our lion facts article.
Learn more about the lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo at their blog.
Just in time for Halloween, a Francois langur named Pumpkin gave birth to a bright orange baby. This is the fifth baby for mother Pumpkin and father Cartman.
“The newest Francois’ langur is healthy, nursing regularly and is showing signs of growth,” said Curator of Primates, Maureen Leahy. “Older sister Orla has already shown her support by alloparenting, a process in which the other female monkeys take turns carrying and providing care to the young.”
Although adult Francois langurs are distinguished by their black and white coloring, baby Francois langurs have an orange coat. Scientists believe this encourages alloparenting because the infants are easily identified. The orange fur fades to black after 3-6 months.
In the wild, Francois langurs inhabit southern Guangxi province of China, northern Vietnam and west-central Laos.
On July 3rd, Nashville Zoo welcomed a new fuzzy face- a female red panda cub! Both the cub and her mother are doing well in their off exhibit den.
“This is the first birth of a red panda at Nashville Zoo, so it is certainly cause for celebration,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “Though the cub can’t be seen on exhibit right now, we hope she will make her debut this fall and bring attention to the fight to save this species.”
Red pandas are considered vulnerable of extinction. In the wild, they inhabit the mountains of central China, Nepal, and northern Myanmar. Threats to their survival include habitat loss and high infant mortality rates.
The Nashville Zoo’s red panda pair are part of AZA’s Species Survival Program, which is a breeding program that aims to produce a self-sustaining, genetically diverse captive population.
World Elephant Day focuses on raising awareness to help elephants. African and Asian elephants face many threats including poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict, mistreatment in captivity, and more.
According to the World Elephant Day site:
World Elephant Day asks you to experience elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments where elephants can thrive under care and protection. On World Elephant Day, August 12, express your concern, share your knowledge and support solutions for the better care of captive and wild elephants alike.
What can you do to help elephants?
Learn about elephants and the important role they play in the ecosystem. (See our article, African elephant, to read more.)
Participate in eco-tourism whose operators treat elephants with respect. Boosting Africa’s economy through eco-tourism helps placate local residents who view elephants as pests.
Encourage the ethical treatment of elephants in captivity. Boycott circuses, whose unethical treatment includes chaining elephants up by their feet and trunks, as well as beating them frequently. Urge zoos to create environments similar to African elephants’ native habitat.
Eastern massasauga rattlesnake at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.
Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago announced the birth of 13 eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, an endangered species in Illinois. The snakes were born on June 20.
“We are overjoyed by the arrival of this litter,” said Diane Mulkerin, curator at Lincoln Park Zoo. “The zoo is extremely enthusiastic about the significant positive impact these rattlesnakes will have on this endangered population.”
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.
The baby rattlesnakes are the size of a US quarter when coiled, but they can grow to be 30 inches long. In the wild, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes ranges from the Midwest to New York and Ontario and inhabits forests, fields, and marshes.