Bar-headed geese on their way to their breeding grounds in central Asia. Photo: srikanthgp
Bar-headed geese are known for their exhausting migration route over the Himalayas, reaching extreme heights up to 10,175m and traveling distances of 1500km in a single day. Although it was already known these high-flyers are physiologically and biochemically adapted to flying at these altitudes where oxygen levels and temperatures are both extremely low, it remained unclear how they performed this incredible energy-costly feat.
Among the many amazing features of our planet this is one I think you should definitely know about: The world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island! Can you picture that? Vulcan point is a small volcanic island within the 2km large Crater Lake of the Taal Volcano on Volcano Island in Taal lake on Luzon Island, Phillippines, in the pacific ocean.
An island within a lake on an island in a lake on an island in the pacific… Picture that!
Alaskan Bar-Tailed Godwits just look like an ordinary shorebird. Recent research however has discovered that these waders are the new world record holders for non-stop flight. Every autumn, these extreme migrators fly an astonishing 11.000km from Alaska to New Zealand without any stopovers to rest or refuel. This roughly doubles the previous maximum known non-stop distance for migratory birds.
Meet the water bear, the world’s toughest animal. Despite what their name may let you believe, these water-dwelling creatures are very very small, measuring less than a millimeter. Having the unique ability to basically die and come back to live again, these rather adorable animals can survive even the most hostile conditions and environments.
The tiny pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey in the world. Measuring only some 13 centimeters (5in), this tawny colored primate is as big as a soda can! They have long hair on their heads and chests, giving the appearance of a mane, and a huge tail that can be as long as their body.
Pygmy marmoset twin clinging on to a finger. Photograph: Frösö Zoo
A Great Dane named George has been crowned the “world tallest dog”, Guinness World Record officials anounced this week. Giant George measures 110 centimeters (43in) from paw to shoulder.
The world tallest dog - George the Dane
This 111 kilograms of dog stands an incredible 2.2 meter when on his hind legs. George is not only the official record holder for both the tallest living dog, he even is the tallest dog ever. However, some argue that the previous record holder, a Dane named Titan, is still the world tallest.
In contrast with George, the smallest dogs in the world only measure some 8 centimeters. How can there be such huge differences within one species and how does a dog’s size affect its life? Mudfooted will soon give the answer.
Pistol shrimps are fascinating crustaceans that have a very special way of hunting. By an extremely rapid closing of their oversized claw, the shrimp produce a loud snapping sound that stuns their prey. The noise made by the pistol shrimp is not caused by the claws hitting each other – as scientists used to believe – but by a jet of water created by the impact that shoots out at 100 km/h.
The pistol shrimp stun their prey by snapping their large claw
Exploring the animal kingdom for its fascinating and intriguing species I was struck by the Baluchistan Pygmy Jerboa, one of the smallest mammals in the world. This species, only found in the hot deserts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, is said to be the world’s smallest rodent, measuring 5 cm long on average.
For the title of the smallest mammal in the world, it’s only competitors are the bumblebee bat and species of the shrew family.
Jerboas are a group of jumping desert rodents that resemble a mouse with a long tufted tail and very long hind legs. They are a great example of convergent evolution – unrelated animals that develop similar characteristics because of living in similar conditions. In all the world’s major desert regions you will find animals that mainly use hopping as locomotion, a very energy-efficient way of avoiding predators when you have the space.
People have a strong tendency to like short faces and big eyes. The combination of it’s small size, large eyes and short face therefore make the Pygmy Jerboa one of the cutest mammals in the world.