Archive for the Nature Attacks! Category

Bats caught in flight drinking water from pond

Posted in Images & Videos, Nature Attacks! on September 24, 2009 by Gustav

Bat drinkning and flying

This amazing shot were taken by experienced wildlife photographer Kim Taylor, and it wasn’t easy.

He said: “I think not one in a million people has ever seen this happen but it happens every night during the summer months all over the country”.

Kim, 76, rigged ropes across the pond which encouraged the bats to drink from a certain point. Then, using special sensors designed by himself, he managed to get the perfect shots.

“These photos were taken with a digital camera using a device that listens for the ultrasonic squeaks”.

An infrared beam was then set to trigger flash lamps whenever a bat dipped down to scoop up a mouthful of water. [Daily Mail]

Th bat in the photo above is probably a Brown Long-Eared Bat. They weigh abot half an ounce and are no bigger than your hand.

And Taylor managed to shoot it flying at 20mph at night beating its wings faster than the eye can see.

Via Pharyngula.

Yeah, who wouldn’t want a Spider-Man lizard for a pet?

Posted in Nature Attacks! on September 23, 2009 by Gustav

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that pet-lovers in Britain has a new favorite, and it’s this Spider-Man look-alike:

Spider-Lizard

That’s the Mwanza Flat-headed Rock Agama which can be found all-over the Sub-Saharan Africa. The Daily Telegraph writes:

Agamas like the Spider-Lizard, as it has become known make good pets, as they become tame and docile if handled regularly. However, they require specialist equipment in the UK to maintain their temperature.

It can grow up to a foot long, and the squeamish may find it a problem to feed – a balanced diet for an agama includes locusts, crickets, mealworms and waxworms.

If only it could shoot webs! (It can scale vertical walls, though.)

Roundup: nightmare animals, laser dancing and wildlife photography

Posted in Humour, Images & Videos, Nature Attacks! on September 22, 2009 by Gustav

List-based comedy site Cracked count down “13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares“, among them the Deep Sea Holothurian:

Deep Sea Holothurian

This charming video explains how lasers work and use dancing people as illustration:

New Scientist has a set of wildlife photos from the Thrive! exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Here’s a Peacock Mantis Shrimp:

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Meet Raptorex, the amazing miniature T. rex

Posted in Nature Attacks!, The Ancient World on September 18, 2009 by Gustav

Raptorex and T-rex

In northeastern China, the fossil of a new dinosaur, named Raptorex kriegsteini that lived 125 million years ago has been uncovered.

The Raptorex had an oversized head with powerful jaws for biting, long legs for running and tiny arms that did nothing – it was basically an earlier version of Tyrannosaurus rex, who lived 35 million years later.

The Raptorex, however, was about the size of a human.

The scientists are sure that the new mini tyrant is not just a juvenile. Bones in animals tend to fuse in sequence, providing a key to an animal’s maturity level.

Raptorex’s pelvic girdle was completely fused and its scapula and shoulder blade were nearly so, indicating that it was an adolescent at the end of its growth. [Wired]

The stunted arms of T. rex has previously been thought by many to have evolved has a consequence of T. rex being so big. But the Raptorex shows that the basic body plan of T. rex was already present in its earlier ancestors – it just got bigger.

But why the big head and small arms? Paleontologist Paul C. Serano tells the New York Times:

Raptorex, like T. rex, would have killed animals with its teeth and jaws. The forelimbs would not have been the primary means for attacking prey.

In fact, Dr. Sereno said, the forelimbs would have gotten smaller as the head got larger. “This is an agile, fast-running animal,” he said.

“By adding a lot of weight at the top, something has to give way. What gave way was the forelimb.”

Via 80beats.

Links: Dinosaurs for sale, wildlife photography, robotic surgery and devilish predators

Posted in Health & Disease, Humour, Images & Videos, Nature Attacks! on September 14, 2009 by Gustav

Samson the T. rex

You want a T. rex? What am I saying, of course you do. Wired reports that dinosaur fossils are up for auction. Take a look at Wired’s gallery of the skeletons for sale.

New Scientist have a gallery of the science-fictiony future of robotic surgery.

Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science have a gallery of photos of the furry woodland creatures of British wildlife.

Humour site Cracked lists, “Nature’s Most Diabolical Predators“. Two word: assassin bug.

A few more words:The assassin bug cloaks itself with debris from the surroundings to  infiltrate the nests of its prey. When it has killed its prey it suck out its innards so it can use the lifeless husk to lure more prey to it.

Tongue-eating parasite does not harm fish by eating its tongue

Posted in Nature Attacks! on September 12, 2009 by Gustav

A rare isopod parasite has been found off the coast of Jersey inside a weaver fish.

The isopod attaches itself to the tongue of a fish and eats it. After a while the fish’s tongue is completely gone and the isopod takes over the function of the tongue.

Whatever you do, do not imagine this happening to you!

Whatever you do, do not imagine this happening to you!

Marine researcher Paul Chambers, from the Société Jersiaise, who was among the team who found the parasite, told the BBC:

“When we emptied the fish bag out there at the bottom was this incredibly ugly looking isopod.

“Really quite large, really quite hideous – if you turn it over its got dozens of these really sharp, nasty claws underneath and I thought ‘that’s a bit of a nasty beast’.

Don’t worry about the fish having a nasty parasite where its tongue should be, is does just fine:

“Apparently there’s not too much ill effect to the fish itself except it’s lost its tongue.”

Via The Loom.

Great tits bite head off sleeping bats

Posted in Brain & Behaviour, Nature Attacks! on September 9, 2009 by Gustav

Headless BatIn a cave in Hungary the birds with the funny name, the great tits, have been caught sneaking up on hibernating bats and biting their head off.

This very surprising behaviour of a small bird that usually only eat caterpillars and such. The great tits are thought to only resort to anti-bat violence when food is otherwise scarce.

“The birds don’t kill the bats before they start eating them,” says [bat ecologist Björn] Siemers, “but the bats eventually die when the birds peck open their brain case.”

As the bats are still very cold, only a degree above ambient temperature, they are extremely slow and easy for the birds to subdue. Nevertheless, it is a considerable feat for the tits given that a pipistrelle weighs approximately 5 grams and a great tit only four times as much. [New Scientist]

There’s anecdotal evidence that the great tits in that cave have been doing this for more than a decade. If this is true it suggests that the birds Ozzy Ozbourne impersonations have been passed on culturally through the generations.

Blue tits in Britain famously exhibited such learned behaviour when one of them learned to open milk bottles and the trick spread through out the country.

Also, “great tits” is the best name for anything, anywhere. Just wanted to say.