Jul 27

Well, the day has finally arrived! Tonight, the big spectacle that is the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games will take place. It is set to be an incredible event, marking the start of an exhilarating few weeks of sporting challenges and potential Olympic glory for athletes from across the globe.

Cheetah image

Will you choose the speedy cheetah as one of your wild champions?

Here at ARKive, we’ve created our own challenge for YOU. Why not tackle our amazing fact-filled wild Olympic quiz, and see how much you know about nature’s best athletes!

On your marks…get set…

 

Go button

 

Apr 3

ARKive's Easter Egg Hunt

A dozen free range ‘eggs’ have been laid around the ARKive website for you to dig up using your eggspert knowledge!

It’s easy to play along:

  • Unscramble the first cryptic clue to lead you to the correct page on ARKiveARKive's Golden Egg
  • Find the egg and break it open to eggspose the next clue
  • Crack all of the clues until you reveal. . .
  • The final Golden Egg
  • Collect a special twibbon to show your friends what an egghead you are!

 

If you only make it half-a-dozen-way through and need to take a break, you can save the latest webpage in your ‘favourites’ and continue the egg hunt later.

Here’s your first clue:

“Watch this eggstreme angler video! Is this bird of prey the ultimate fisher?”

Do you eggcept the challenge, or will you chicken out?! If you’re finding it extraordinarily challenging, you can ‘like’ us on Facebook to get some eggclusive eggstra clues!

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Dec 10

The countdown to the holiday season is well and truly underway, and what better way to celebrate all things festive than with ARKive’s wonderfully wintry wildlife quiz!

Challenge your friends and family to see who is top of the pecking order and who will be left out in the cold with our seasonal selection of animal quiz questions. Who knows, you could even use it to settle those annual squabbles about who should have the last mince pie!

1. These polar animals all live in a wintery wonderland, but which one here is the odd one out?

 

Arctic foxEmperor penguinArctic hareSnowy owl

 

Arctic fox Emperor penguin adult and chick walking along ice
Arctic hare foraging in snow for food Female snowy owl flying low over the ground

 

2. Seasonal decorations during the festive season are a great way to brighten up the long winter nights, but which of these beautiful birds is also partial to adding a touch of sparkle to its home?

 

Emerald starlingVogelkop bowerbirdGoldfinchRuby-throated hummingbird

 

Emerald starling Vogelkop bowerbird in bower
Goldfinch perched on hawthorn Male ruby-throated hummingbird feeding

 

3. Which of these suitably festive-looking mammals hold the record for having the fastest-growing mammalian tissue known to science?

…Bonus point: What does the tissue form?

 

ReindeerPolar bearSnow leopardAntarctic fur seal

 

Svalbard reindeer in snow Polar bear family
Snow leopard female and juvenile Male Antarctic fur seal

 

4. Can you match these species to their snowy tracks?

 

Polar bearEmperor penguinGrey wolfCrabeater seal

 

Tracks on ice Tracks in snow
Tracks in snow Foot print in snow

 

5. They may all share festive names, but these animals also all live or breed on which isolated island in the Indian Ocean?

 

Christmas Island red crabChristmas frigatebirdChristmas imperial-pigeonChristmas shearwater

 

Migrating Christmas Island red crab Christmas frigatebird in flight
Christmas imperial pigeon perched in tree Christmas shearwater in burrow incubating egg

 

6. In Ukraine, which of these unlikely ornaments are thought to bring good luck if they are found adorning the tree on Christmas morning?

 

A spider’s weba cluster of berriesa bunch of flowersa bird’s nest

 

Female garden spider on dew covered web Common holly berries
Gibraltar candytuft close up of white flowers Common rosefinch nest with eggs

 

7. As part of the seasonal celebrations, children in Puerto Rico leave grass under their beds on the night before January 6th for which unusual animal?

 

Ecuadorian grass mouseCamelPuerto Rican boaGuanaco

 

Ecuadorean grass mouse feeding Wild Bactrian camel
Puerto Rican boa Guanaco near the Patagonian coast

 

8. In many Scandinavian countries, which animal is built in the centre of town during the festive season?

 

A sheepa horsea piga goat

Juvenile Dall sheep

Przewalski's horse

Wild boar

Wild goat

So, did your animal instincts earn you a place at the front of the pack, or did our festive nature quiz leave you scratching your head like this rather puzzled-looking American black bear?

Find out below!

 

The answers…

1. Emperor penguin – The Arctic fox, the Arctic hare and the snowy owl all occur in the Arctic, while the emperor penguin is the only one to live in the Antarctic.

2. Vogelkop bowerbird – While all of the other species may have dazzling names, the Vogelkop bowerbird is renowned for the beautiful shelters, or bowers, that the male builds to attract a mate.

3. Reindeer (Bonus point – the antlers) – Reindeer antlers the fastest growing tissue in any mammal. They grow at an astonishing rate, between 1-2 cm or more a day.

4. Clockwise from top left – Emperor penguin, Crabeater seal, Polar bear, Grey wolf

5.  Christmas Island – Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is home to many unique species, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

6. A spider’s web – If a spider’s web is found on Christmas morning it is believed to bring good luck for the coming year.

7. Camel – On the evening of January the 5th, Puerto Rican children collect grass and place it in a shoebox under their beds for the Three Kings’ camels.

8. A goat – A large decorative goat made out of straw is built in the centre of many Scandinavian towns at Christmas, as part of one of Scandavia’s oldest festive traditons.

 

Helen Roddis, ARKive Education Officer

Dec 5

When we heard that a wildlife club had been playing our ‘Survival’ app we couldn’t resist getting in touch to see what they thought. We spoke to Kate MacRae (WildlifeKate), who runs the Water Orton Wildlife (WOW) Club to find out more.

So, who is ‘WildlifeKate’?Kate MacRae

People often ask what I do… and I hope they don’t expect me to have a quick answer, as my days are crammed packed with so many different roles; teacher, naturalist, writer, photographer, education consultant….and mum!

Primarily, I am a naturalist and educationalist. I am a trained primary school teacher and I now teach part time in a Warwickshire school where I am the IT manager. I have been teaching in the primary sector for over twenty years, but my passion for natural history started a lot earlier than that!

Although I grew up in London, I have been obsessed with just about all aspects of the natural world for as long as I can remember. I spent many happy hours in Greenwich Park as a child, feeding the squirrels and watching the wildlife there.

My enthusiasm for the natural world is now spreading into just about all the work I undertake. I run my own consultancy business when I am not teaching and specialise in writing education materials.

I am lucky enough to live in a pretty rural location, with a garden full of wildlife.  It was a nest box camera system that really got me ‘hooked’ to using cameras in the garden and my desire to share these with others was the driving force behind my WildlifeKate website.  A year and a half later, I now have nearly 20 cameras in the garden which I live stream on my website and have been astounded by the interest all over the world.

Photo of a male kestrel at nestbox

A male kestrel caught on camera at a nestbox

Working with young people and teaching them about the natural world has always been close to my heart. I run the ‘WOW’ Club at school (Water Orton Wildlife Club) and I have a long waiting list of kids keen to join. We are lucky enough to have lovely school grounds and we work hard to include foster learning opportunities in the outdoors. We have hens at school, as well as a school garden and wildlife area. We meet once a week and get involved in all sorts of activities from making wildlife homes, bird feeders to exploring our local grounds for wildlife, then we blog about what we get up to. We have a camera on our bird feeders and in a nest box in the spring, which lives stream on our school website. I love sharing my enthusiasm with young people and feel it is essential to foster a knowledge, love and appreciation of the natural world – these pupils are the naturalists of the future!

ARKive in the Classroom

As a teacher, I have often used the ARKive website. The comprehensive collection of images and videos makes it a perfect choice both as a teaching resource in the classroom on the interactive whiteboard and as a research tool for pupils. It is great that pupils and teachers can embed images and videos into their own presentations and I have used lots of the videos and images within work on life cycles. The games have been very popular with my kids at school too.

Battle for ‘Survival’

When I saw that ARKive had released a ‘Survival’ app, I was keen to try it out with my WOW Club. We have a couple of iPads in school and it works brilliantly on those. The group were soon swiping, double tapping and pinching their way through the challenges and it was generating loads of discussion… ‘that can’t be a mammal, it lays eggs…’ ‘It’s gotta be a fish, it hasn’t got fur…’

Pictures of the WOW Club students playing Survival

WOW Club students playing Survival

The bright cartoon graphics, combined with vibrant coloured photos made it visually very appealing and the competition element meant the kids were keen to improve on their last survival score and beat their friends. Battles were fought to unlock photos and characters and then the kids were keen to go onto the website to find out more about some of the endangered species that were appearing… some of which they were unfamiliar with.

Here’s what the WOW Club thought… 

‘I like the game because I love animals but you are learning at the same time… I did not know if some were mammals, birds or fish, but now I do….’

‘I love this game, especially trying to tap, swipe or pinch. I give this game 5*s and 100 out of 100!’

‘I think this is a great game because you learn about animals and you have to act really quick and I was too slow… it is totally EPIC!’

‘I like the ‘Survival’ app because it helps you remember things as the knowledge comes back to you each time you play’

WOW Club students working together to play Survival

WOW Club students working together to play Survival

The kids are still trying to beat me in the game … I reign as the supreme ‘Survival’ champ, but it won’t be long before they have caught me up… they were already planning on uploading it on their devices at home. Their enthusiasm for this game was infectious and with a growing knowledge of endangered species, they will be giving me a run for my money very soon… I won’t be the WOW Club ARKive Survival Champ for long, I fear!  

Kate MacRae, ‘WildlifeKate

Survival is available for free now on the App store and Android Market.

Nov 25

Survival Logo

Name: Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

Komodo dragon Survival characterStats:

Status - Vulnerable (VU)

Length - Up to 2 metres

Weight – Up to 90 kilograms

Interesting Fact:

Whilst it might be unable to breathe fire, this dragon does have a highly venomous bite. The largest lizard in the world, it can eat up to a staggering 80% of its own body weight in one go!

Where am I found?

Found on the volcanic islands of Komodo, Rinca and Flores in Indonesia, the Komodo dragon inhabits lower monsoon forests and savannah.

 Komodo dragon photo

What do I eat?

A powerful predator, the Komodo dragon has a voracious appetite. It feeds on both carrion and live prey; adults ambush deer, water buffalo and wild pigs, and carcasses can be detected from up to 10 km away!

Komodo dragon photo

How do I live?

Recent research into the feeding behaviour of the Komodo dragon has shown that it is actually venomous, possessing complex venom glands in its jaw, which excrete a variety of toxic substances that prevent blood clotting and lower blood pressure in its prey. This means that even if the injured animal escapes, it will rapidly succumb to shock and blood loss induced by the venom.

The mating season for the Komodo dragon occurs between May and June, with males wrestling to compete for females. Around 25 eggs are laid by the female in a depression dug in the ground. These are then incubated for nine months before hatching, with the small, vulnerable juveniles spending their first year living in trees to avoid predation.

Komodo dragon photo

Why am I threatened?

The Komodo dragon population is thought to have declined in the last 50 years, with habitat destruction, loss of prey species and hunting of this giant reptile being blamed.

Komodo dragon photo

Play Survival today!

Survival is available for free now on the App store and Android Market.

Find out more about ‘Survival’ or watch the ‘Survival’ promotional video on YouTube.

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