With the festive season in full swing, here are 10 signs that show you’ve fully embraced the most magical time of the year.
1. The “I don’t have to go to work” face.
Today is Christmas, the holiday that children around the world have been anxiously awaiting for including the arrival of man in the red suit himself, Santa Claus!
In honor of Christmas, we’re presenting a WILD twist of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” story. Enjoy!
Perhaps not the typical rodent of lore, the cute puffball known as the woodland jumping mouse is one amazing mouse; its elongated hind legs allow it to hop up to 3 meters (9 feet) at a time!
The uniquely shaped and vibrant pitcher plant could easily be mistaken for a child’s stocking. Don’t be deceived however, this delicate plant is actually of the carnivorous variety with the ability to secrete an acidic solution.
This snoozing koala might look snug as a bug in a rug, and you would be right; koalas are primarily nocturnal. The koala is often mistakenly called a koala bear even though it is not related to bears, but rather belongs to the marsupial family.
While reindeer might not have shiny red noses like Rudolph, they still are an extraordinary species that can survive the extreme conditions of the north. Its specifically designed hooves serve as snowshoes and also aid in cracking ice when searching for food.
The regal bald eagle might not be as swift as Santa’s reindeer, but it is an enduring raptor that can live up to 28 years. Its name is certainly a misnomer, since the bald eagle sports a full set of white feathers upon its head.
While Santa’s beard might be more grandiose, one cannot deny that the emperor tamarin has a truly unique and elegant beard. Much like St. Nick, himself the emperor tamarin has a sweet tooth with a diet that includes fruits and nectar.
With a belly to rival that of Santa himself, the big-belly seahorse has a large protruding stomach. Like other seahorses, it lacks scales and instead has skin stretched over bony plates. Additionally, much like the man in red, the big belly seahorse is most active at dusk and at night.
The wondrous and colorful spear thistle is noted for its purple flower that does not appear until its second year of growth. The fluffy orb-like seedlings or down are functionally designed to aid in wind dispersal.
Merry Christmas from the Arkive Team to you!
William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA
With the holidays approaching and Christmas just around the corner, the ARKive team brings you their guide to the ultimate festive films, with a wildlife twist of course!
These collared doves could give the actors in this romantic comedy a run for their money when it comes to courtship!
While Buddy is probably the tallest elf you’ve ever seen, the elfin skimmer is the smallest dragonfly in North America!
Although they may look bulky, polar bears can actually reach speeds of about 40 kilometres per hour over short distances!
This greenfinch might not have stolen Christmas, but he doesn’t look too happy at the thought of someone stealing his berries!
These reef manta rays might not have to brave a toy store on Christmas Eve, but this feeding frenzy looks almost as chaotic!
While it may not really be the stuff of nightmares, the eerie nightjar is most active during the twilight and superstition has it that this species used to steal milk from goats!
It may not be completely ‘alone’ yet, but sadly the black abalone is Critically Endangered and has suffered serious declines.
While the jackdaw might not be much use in a snowball fight, this handsome member of the crow family does have distinctive frosty blue eyes!
It might not be miraculous, but it was once widely believed that barnacle geese developed from goose barnacles like these on the sides of ships!
With ears this large, the caracal wouldn’t look out of place in a Muppets line up!
Can you think of any other festive wildlife films we’ve missed? Post your suggestions in the comments section below!
Claire Lamb, ARKive Content & Outreach Officer
As the festive season approaches, many of us will inevitably end up overindulging in the coming weeks, despite our best intentions! We humans are not alone however, for there are several members of the animal kingdom who are no strangers to seasonal excess or super-snacking!
As winter approaches, brown bears can consume up to 40 kilograms of food a day, but with good cause! Brown bears hibernate, sometimes for more than half a year at a time without any food or water, utilising stored fat for energy. In the spring, these bears may weigh half as much as they did going into hibernation.
The largest lizard in the United States, the voracious Gila monster feeds on eggs, young birds, rodents and lizards, with juveniles able to consume over 50% of their body weight at one time. Check out this video of a Gila monster feasting on a nest of eggs! When food is scarce however, Gila monsters are able to survive for months using the fat stored in their particularly large tails.
Despite being a large and bulky creature, the walrus predominantly feeds on small invertebrates on the sea floor. Feeding on such small prey means that the walrus needs to be a highly efficient forager to find enough food to sustain itself and maintain the thick layer of blubber needed as insulation from the cold Arctic waters. After all that foraging it seems this group have hauled out for a well-earned rest!
Feeding on fibrous and highly toxic eucalyptus leaves may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the koala readily consumes up to 500 grams of these leaves a day. This diet does not provide much energy, so the koala helps compensate for this by spending long periods sleeping. Nothing like a nice nap after a good meal!
A species almost as large as a Boeing 737 is always going to need a lot to eat, but in the summer feeding season, the blue whale really outdoes itself! Gorging on up to 40 million tiny krill, the blue whale can consume an astounding 4 tonnes or more each day!
Unlike most birds, the turkey vulture has a highly developed sense of smell, meaning it is often the first scavenger to arrive at a carcass and it can consume plenty of rotting meat before being driven away by larger birds. Should a predator arrive, this species has a rather unpleasant defence mechanism – it will vomit as a deterrent, and possibly to lighten the load – enabling it to take off more easily and escape!
Can you think of any other examples of overindulgence from the natural world? Get in touch and let us know!
Claire Lamb, ARKive Content Officer
As the festive season gets into full swing, we’re sure a few of you will be warming up your vocal cords in preparation for a bit of carolling action. To help get you in the mood for some musical mayhem, we’ve had a root through the ARKive collection to find some of the species that might make good (or bad!) additions to any party of vibrant vocalists.
The call of the western hoolock gibbon is as energetic as the species itself, which can swing gracefully through the trees of its forest home at speeds of up to 56km/hour. The impressive vocal gymnastics of this species can be heard over great distances, so this primate would be a great asset to any raucous carolling choir!
If you listen carefully, you can hear the first few notes of ‘Jingle Bells’ in the call of this plains zebra! This braying bark is a key method of communication for zebras, and is used alongside body movements and facial expressions. Let’s hope these guys have good memories for music and lyrics, as they might have some difficulty holding a carol book!
Despite being the stoutest of all the rattlesnake species, this reptilian rattler can grow up to 80cm in length. It is found in south-western U.S.A and north-western Mexico, where it ambushes small lizard and rodent prey from the cover of isolated shrubs. The sidewinder could provide some interesting percussion accompaniment to a group of carollers, though I’m not sure how close you would want to get to one of these venomous critters!
If you feel like you need a little something extra on your carolling outing, why not invite the kakapo along to create a resonant boom to back up all your favourite festive tunes? We can’t guarantee he’ll be able to keep in time, but at least it’ll get the choral company noticed! This booming noise is made by male kakapos to attract a mate, and can be heard up to five kilometres away.
You know that feeling of surprise when you hear somebody sing, and their voice doesn’t sound at all like you’d expect it to? That’s how we felt when we came across this carolling audition tape for the dhole! This Asian species can produce a wide range of vocalisations, including a distinctive whistle which is used to reassemble pack members in its thick forest habitat.
Many of you avid music-lovers will recognise the beautiful song of the blackbird, and would be happy to have this musical avian in your carolling group. This species produces a range of vocalisations, including a loud alarm call which has been described as ‘pli-pli-pli’.
Emperor penguin colonies may be very noisy and somewhat tuneless places to be, but also extremely cold ones! This species can survive in temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees C, and withstand windspeeds of up to 200km/hour. Emperor penguins might not win any prizes as far as pleasant-sounding vocals go, but this species certainly deserves top marks for its parental care. While the female heads seawards to feed after laying her egg, the male will stay put without feeding for four months, in constant darkness, to incubate the egg. Now that’s dedication!
Does anyone else think that the bright-eyed frog has a call that sounds strangely like squeaky rubber?! This large tree frog, whose scientific species name albilabris means ‘white-lipped’ (can you guess why?!), can grow up to 81mm in length. The bright-eyed frog is endemic to Madagascar, where it can be found in moist rainforests.
This feathered fellow certainly seems to be putting a lot of effort into its call, but if this were an audition, I’m not so sure the Galapagos penguin would be offered a solo! This species is the most northerly of all penguins, and sadly, as of 2007, there were just 1,000 individuals left in the world.
The grey wolf is a highly social and intelligent species of canid, living in packs of between 5 and 12 individuals. As well as scent-marking, the grey wolf uses howling as a way of advertising territorial boundaries. It is an effective way of avoiding encounters with other packs, which can lead to fatal battles. Sadly, I don’t think this species would make an ideal choir member, as the individuals don’t seem to be able to howl in tune!