Animal Picture of the Day:
Wild Bactrian Camel

Wild Bactrian camel

Photo by John Hill.

The wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) is critically endangered; with a world population of less than 1000 they are among the world’s rarest mammals. They are the ancestor off all domestic camels.

These unique creatures are adapted to arid plains and hills where water sources are few and vegetation is sparse. Herds of these wild camels move widely, their distribution being linked to water. Shrubs constitute their main source of food.

The areas in China and Mongolia where these wild camels live is extremely harsh. A nearly lifeless land, its temperature may reach 60-70 degrees C (140-160 degrees F) in summer and -30 degrees C (-22 degrees F) in winter. All aspects of the camel have adapted to these extreme conditions.

Wild and domestic Bactrian camels readily interbreed, but physically they are quite different. The domestic Bactrian camel is quite common in Asia. And, contrary to popular legend, there is no evidence that camels store water in their stomach or in their hump.

Animal Picture of the Day:
Spotted Hyena

spotted hyena

Photo by Yathin S Krishnappa

Despite the image of the hyena as a scavenger living off the kills of other predators, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) or “laughing hyena” is actually a top predator on the savannas of Africa. In fact, it’s now known that lions will scavenge off hyena kills, while the hyenas have to wait for the larger animals to get their fill. The hyena social structure is female dominated, with the females larger than the males and the females being the leaders of the packs. Less glamorous than the wolf, the hyena is an often misunderstood, but very interesting animal.

Animal Picture of the Day:
Mountain Gorilla

mountain gorillas

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) are large, quiet, gentle apes that live in Africa. Although gorillas are frequently portrayed as aggressive, dangerous killers, they are actually shy, peaceful vegetarians. Due to massive loss of habitat and poaching these gentle, majestic primates are in great danger of going extinct.

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