Fascinating Animals








WHAT'S THE DEALEO - IT'S THE MALEO

Today we are going to take a look at a bird that appears to be a football player reject. This bird is endangered. So, although we will have fun with this information, I want you to keep in mind what the term endangered means. I don’t think I have stressed this before, so this is a good time and place for it.

Endangered: Seriously at risk for extinction. Extinction! Like in Dodo!

OK, now that we have that out of the way and understood, let’s take a look at today’s Star player. 


One heck of a fancy helmet, hey!

The Maleo is also known as Maleo Megapode. The term mega in front of a word means ‘big’ and the suffix ‘pode’ means foot. So this bird’s name hints at a serious set of feet - good for kicking and digging in the sand. 


The Maleo is indigenous to Indonesia, specifically the island of Sulawesi, which is the world's eleventh-largest island. There are currently only 4,000-7,000 breeding pairs there, and this number is declining rapidly.  We’ll get to the reasons for the decline in a moment, but first let’s explore what it is that makes the Maleo such an unusual bird, and one that we want to keep around.


The Maleo is unique because of the manner in which it lays its eggs. They bury their eggs, approximately twenty inches deep in communal nests of sand, and then they leave. Yes, that's right they leave-their job is done. The eggs are about five times the size of domestic chicken eggs, and they are left to incubate, and hatch, in the hot sands (approx. 95 degrees) of Sulawesi beaches. It takes 60 to 85 days for the eggs to hatch.



The hatchlings struggle to the surface to take their first breath, and realize that they are orphans. They are on their own. No matter, these new hatchlings are flight ready!! They need no lessons. However, the Maleo would rather walk. 


Another interesting fact; the Maleo is monogamous. If a female loses its mate, she will no longer lay eggs. Also, its diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, ants, termites, beetles and small invertebrates. It's considered omnivorous. 

So what’s up with the helmet?  There is speculation that the bump aids the birds in locating the appropriate nesting site by using it to detect geothermal conditions in which to incubate their eggs. Sounds a bit sketchy to me. The jury is out on this particular theory, and it requires scientific evidence.

Threats to the Maleo include egg thieves, both human and animal. Its natural enemies include the wild boar and the monitor lizard. Forest destruction and fragmentation is another threat, which we have mentioned in other blog posts. Since the Maleo only live near coastal areas, destruction of habitat is a serious problem. Conditions for hatching are very specific, and areas with those conditions are shrinking. Since 1972, the Indonesian government has protected this species, and continues to do so. 

The Bronx Zoo in New York, is very proud to say that they have a program wherein they hatch Maleo eggs, and apparently they are pretty good at. Please watch this very interesting video. You may have to go to my blog site to see the it, but it’s worth it. 


I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog post, and will return again next week for a new one. Ya just never know whom we may meet. 

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers

My sincere thanks to:





THE RED WOLF

The wolf has been maligned in western literature to the extent that its very existence has been affected. 
That's quite the statement, but indeed the wolf has been feared and hunted extensively by man. 

Today, the Red Wolf is critically endangered and is considered one of the rarest canids (member of the dog family) in the world. It is the smaller cousin of the Grey Wolf. It is about 26 inches at the shoulder, and about four and a half feet long, including the tail.


At one time, the range of this beautiful wolf extended from Pennsylvania into Florida, and across into Texas. Today, it can only be found in parts of northeastern North Carolina. Can you see that little red dot on the map? Well, that's were there are a few Red Wolves left in the wild. 



Habitat depletion, and climate change, are major reasons for the IUCN’s ‘critically endangered’ status. Also, interestingly enough, hybrid breeding with coyotes has played a role in reducing the population of the Red Wolf.



In the wild, the Red Wolf will live approximately six to seven years.  In captivity, it has been known to live up to fifteen years.  



A breeding program in 1980 brought the Red Wolf back from the brink of extinction. An attempt to re-populate an area in Tennessee failed, but the program continues its work today. The program has also reintroduced the Red Wolf into the area noted above (N.C.), with the current population believed to be approximately +-130 individuals.



Like most canids, the Red Wolf has a complex social structure. A breeding pair, which typically mates for life, leads a small pack. They are nocturnal animals, and have intricate methods of communication that include howling, facial expressions and body postures. 



Thank you for visiting, and I hope you have learned a bit about this beautiful wolf.

Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or send a message to me by e-mail; echidna10@gmail.com

For more information to share with your children, investigate the following web sites:


Red Wolf facts for kids:

More Facts for Kids:

Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers 






BINTU WHAT? 

So this week I decided to write about an animal that I don’t know a lot about. We will learn together. So let’s get to it!

Here’s his picture. Yes, he’s a bit weird looking, but let’s not judge before we have all the facts. 


This is the Binturong, and I think I like him because he looks like something out of a fantasy. Don’t you think so?


The Binturong is also known as a bearcat, and I think you can see why from his below photo.  He has a very unusual coat. It is very black, and very course, and he his tufts of hair coming from his ears. He looks like a cat, with his long whiskers and sharp canines, but when combined with the rounded ears the best nickname is bearcat. 




He is a carnivore with a prehensile tail that is thick at the root, and then tapers off. 


Prehensile means that he is able to wrap, grasp and hold onto things with it, like branches, for instance. This tail enables him to travel high in the canopy of tropical forests of South and Southeast Asia. He does not move through the trees like some of the other primates do. His movement is slow, and methodical.  Since he does not travel too well between trees, he will occasionally drop to the ground in order to get to another tree.





The Binturong is classified as a carnivore, but it also likes to eat small mammals and insects, and also fruits, and leaves. As I stated above, he also likes fish when he can catch them. He is active in both the day and night.

They grow to about two to three feet in length, weighing about thirty pounds, and their tails will be approximately the same length as their body. Its body is quite stout, low and long and they have short legs. 






Here’s an interesting fact!  The Binturong smells like popcorn! Yes, like fresh-popped popcorn. It’s just a coincidence of course. The strong smell helps to inform other Binturongs that an area in the jungle is being occupied, and that outsiders should stay away.

According to the IUCN,* the Binturong is vulnerable. Here is the graphic, which is used to show the status of an animal’s population.


The Binturong is vulnerable due to logging, which is slowly destroying their habitat. In the Philippines, it is captured for the wildlife trade, and in some places it is also taken for human consumption. The IUCN labels them as vulnerable because their population has declined more than 30% over the last 30 years.

The Binturong is protected in Malaysia, and it listed as critically endangered in China.

Please enjoy this video. It is a good one because you will see the Binturong climbing, and then you will see him moving on the ground. You will get a good look at his thick prehensile tail, and his course coat, and watch for those tufted ears. You’ll see that he really enjoys his snack. (You may need to go to my WEB site to see the video.) 




Kids – You may want to check this web site for more information about the fascinating Binturong: 


This is a very unusual animal, and it deserves protection.

Thank you for thinking about, and learning about the Binturong with me. My thanks to ARKive.org, and A-Z Animals for their information and some of the photos.

*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers 






YOU MAY NEED TO VISIT MY BLOG PAGE TO VIEW THE VIDEO

The Wolverine – NO! Not Hugh Jackman
(but, he’s pretty cool too!)


This week, I thought, why don’t we visit someone who is not in a lot of trouble? This guy is listed as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN, * but he’s very interesting nonetheless. Big Smile Here!  ;-). So gather the kids around, and let’s talk and learn about The Wolverine. Here’s his pic-not the one up there.  :-)


In Sweden the name for the Wolverine is Järv. Järv means, bold or audacious – a perfect name for this fierce mammal, which has been known to steal food from carnivores much larger than itself - wolves, for instance! The Latin name for the Wolverine is Gulo Gulo, which means glutton. Ummm – there’s food for thought!

The Wolverine is a mustelid. As a matter of fact, the Wolverine is the largest member of the mustelid family. The members of this family have long bodies, short legs and musky scent glands beneath their tails. Ugh!  This includes skunks, weasels, otters, and one of my favorites, the badger. Here’s a picture of a badger. I think you can see the family resemblance.


As I stated above, the Wolverine is a fierce creature, which has the strength and ability to kill animals larger than itself. It has powerful jaws, sharp claws and teeth, and a very thick hide, making it remarkably strong for its size. In researching for this post, I read one account where a Wolverine clung to the neck of a polar bear until it was suffocated. I didn’t look that up to verify it, but after all that I have read, I believe it’s possible.


Wolverines live in remote parts of northern forests, primarily, northern Canada, and Alaska. It is also found in the Nordic countries of Europe and in western Russia and Siberia. The world population is not known. This may be due to the fact that there are low population densities and the animal requires a very large home range. In five hundred square miles, there may be anywhere from six to ten animals. That's not a lot. So you can see how it would be difficult to determine population. 


Unfortunately, their populations have been steadily declining since the 19th century. 

Why? Glad you asked that. 

As usual, the main suspect is range reduction and fragmentation. Changing climate has reduced its habitat as well. An interesting note here, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed giving the Wolverine Endangered Protection status because climate change is depleting its habitat in the northern Rockies. I do not know the current status of this proposal, so I have to assume it's still in the works, but it's a step toward protection. Once prolific in the lower US, the Wolverine populations continue to decline in places like Montana, the Cascade and Rocky mountains.


This is a magnificent animal is a bit of a loner, but a true survivor in habitats that are rugged, and barren.  It was not until the 90s that intense research was conducted. I urge you to take a moment to view the below video and learn more about the wolverine by visiting my recommended links. This video is amazing, and very informative. Interesting how little we know about this mustelid.  There is so much more research to be conducted if we are to be successful in helping maintain Wolverine populations. 





I thank you once again for visiting my blog, and the Wolverine thanks you for taking a moment to think about him. Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. 


*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature

Recommended links:

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers 




THE JAGUAR-WHATY?

Sorry, I’m a day late, so gather the kids around, and we’ll get right to it. Please go to my web site to fully enjoy the pictures and any posted videos. 


I love discovering and learning new things, and today I will share with you a creature that I discovered recently. I’m guessing you haven’t heard of this one either, so let’s call today 'Discover Tuesday!'

We'll learn about the Jaguarundi. That is not a misspelling, even though word check seems to think it is. The Jaguarundi is a species of cat, a most unusual cat to say the least. Here’s his pic:  




The Jaguarundi is a new world, neotropical cat. 'New world' is a name given to North and South America collectively in relation to Europe, specifically after voyages by European explorers. Neotropical refers to the area of Central and South America (excluding Chile and Argentina). However, Jaguarundis can also be found in southern parts of Texas. 

This cat is an oddball among cats, and that’s an understatement. It looks like a weasel, with its long, low-slung body, flattened short head, and its rounded ears. It has honey colored eyes, and a uniform color, which is much different from other neotropical cats like the ocelot, which has spots. However, its coat color varies quite a bit. There are black, brown or grey Jaguarundis, and they can also be red or tawny colored with light under parts. The darker of the two will be found in the more tropical forests, while the lighter will be found in drier areas.



This cat has a number of vocalizations ranging from ‘a purr, whistle, scream, chatter, yap, and a bird-like chirp. 

The Jaguarundi is diurnal. Diurnal means that it is active during the day, but they have been known to wander a night during a full moon (very strange). Their diurnal behavior helps them to avoid the ocelot, which has been know to take Jaguarundi for a meal.




For its meal, the Jaguarundi enjoys small mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as occasional amphibians, fish and larger mammals. It has been observed to jump up to six feet off the ground to swat at birds in the airAlthough they spend most of their time on the ground, they are very good climbers and are quick to scramble up a tree when pursued.

The habitat of this beautiful cat is quickly diminishing due to encroachment of human populations. Their usual habitat is now being converted for pastureland, and agriculture.


The IUCN, which I typically quote for you, is a bit conflicted over the status of this cat, and as a result they are keeping a close watch to determine accurate information. It appears as though it was once thought to be more plentiful then it currently is, thus their concern.



My thanks to Arkive, for information on the Jaguarundi, and also to the Wild Earth Guardians. 





Thank you for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment. 
Enjoy,
J.E. Rogers





THE TREE KANGAROO



Just the idea of a Kangaroo in a tree makes one stop and wonder. I assure you that there is such a thing, and I will really enjoy bringing information to you about this endangered marsupial because I had the pleasure of meeting one, and he was a beauty. Let’s first look at the information and gather the facts.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by. Have the kids gather round to explore and learn more about this unusual animal.

There are fourteen species of Tree Kangaroo. All of them live in the south pacific, specifically, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. They all wanted to be listed today, with pictures, but we only have room for a few. Everyone loves a photo-op, including the Tree Kangaroo. So here we go…

The Grizzled Tree Kangaroo is vulnerable.*



The Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo is near threatened.*



The Black Tree Kangaroo is vulnerable.*



The Huon Tree Kangaroo is endangered.*



Doria’s Tree Kangaroo is vulnerable.*



The Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo is endangered.*



Quite the list! I’ve left one out, The Golden Mantled Tree Kangaroo.* The Golden Mantled Tree Kangaroo is critically endangered. This is the one we will talk about today, because I saw this guy in person. Here’s the picture I took. Beneath that picture is a video I made, both pic and video were taken while I was at the Healesville Sanctuary in OZ.






I first want to say that this animal is beautiful. I know, the word beautiful really doesn’t say much, but it’s difficult to describe. I’ll try. The one I saw was at Healesville Sanctuary in Australia. As you can see from the pics above, he was in a glass enclosure, and at the time I saw him he was a bit peckish. This Golden Mantled Tree Kangaroo has gorgeous auburn colored fur. Running down his back is a double golden stripe, and his tail has pale rings. The fur on his underside is a pale cream color. Actually, his pictures do him more justice than my feeble attempt to describe him. He seemed comfortable and cozy in his glass enclosure, and ambled along on branches in a slow methodic manner. I was awed, and I was grateful to have seen him in person.

OK, back to the facts. The Golden Mantled Tree Kangaroo, let’s call him Fred, ‘cause it’s too long to type his formal title over and over again, was discovered in 1990 in a mountain region of Papua New Guinea. Just so you know, Papua New Guinea is located north of Australia. Fred is related to wallabies and kangaroos. He has adapted himself to life in the trees.  With the help of his long tail, and forearms, he is able to easily climb and maintain balance. He is the rarest of the tree dwelling Kangaroos, and only two populations are currently known, one in Papua New Guinea, and the other in Indonesia. 

Since he lives in trees, his diet consists mostly of leaves and fruit. Occasionally, Fred will come down from the trees to collect fruit that has fallen to the ground. He likes a varied diet, and has been know to also eat flowers, sap, eggs, young birds, and even bark.

So why is Fred, and his family critically endangered?
We have the usual suspects. First of all, local people hunt them, and secondly, they are threatened by habitat loss. Their forests are being converted to cultivated land for people, and their trees are being chopped down for lumber. When they don’t have their trees, and are forced to the ground, they are easy prey for dogs.

The World Wildlife Federation is doing their best to help protect them. Here is a list of the WWF is currently focusing on:

o   Reducing deforestation and loss of habitat caused by illegal logging, including support for FSC certified wood and wood products.
o   Raising awareness of habitat loss and the effects of hunting
o   Promoting and managing protected areas
o   Reducing illegal hunting through programs such as TRAFFIC (wildlife trade monitoring network)

This wonderful creature deserves our attention, and protection. As I say, they have no voice so we have to speak for them. I hope you will find a way to do so.

Here are some links that you might want to explore, and learn more. 


TRAFFIC link:

Healesville Sanctuary:

*The status of each Tree Kangaroo is given by the IUCN. Here’s the link:

  
Thanks for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment and come back again next week.

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers




Jaguars are not Leopards, and Panthers Don’t Exist.

So let’s explore that statement, shall we?



JAGUARS
First of all, Jaguars and Leopards live in very different areas of the planet. We’ll talk about the Jaguar first, since it lives closer to the US. Most jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, called "rosettes." However, some jaguars appear to be black, but if you look closely you will see their markings.  

Jaguars live in remote areas of South America, and Central America. I also read that they are sometimes seen in southern portions of Texas, and that they once roamed a major portion of the southern  US. They were essentially pushed out as people took over their habitat. 

In ancient native legend, the Jaguar God was Lord of the underworld. He was very powerful. I found this link to a really cool story about the Jaguar in ancient Mayan legend. I thought you might like it. 


The name Jaguar comes for the Native American word, yaguar, which means; ‘he who kills with one leap.’ How they got so many words crammed into one word is beyond me.

Many cats don’t like water, but the Jaguar is a very strong swimmer, and can collect a descent meal from rivers. They like fish, turtles and caiman (a type of alligator). They will also eat deer, capybaras and tapirs. For all you kids out there, I have given you a picture of a capybara and a tapir, because you may not have heard of them or seen them before, and they are interesting animals too. The jaguar is crepuscular, (We’ve seen this word before. It means that the animal is active at dawn and dusk.)





CAPYBARA



                                                                                      TAPIR








LEOPARDS



OK, let’s shift over to the Leopard. Leopards are the smallest of the big cats.  They live in a widespread area covering, sub-Sahara Africa, Central Asia, India and China.  Even though he is the smallest of the big cats, he is extremely strong. He will actually drag his prey into a tree so that scavengers will not be able to steal it from him. They are also known to hunt from trees, sitting in them patiently waiting for an unsuspecting victim to wander by, and then leaping on them from above. Leopards, like Jaguars, don’t mind the water, and they are happy with a meal of fish and crabs.

Most leopards are light colored with dark spots that are commonly referred to as rosettes. There are, however, leopards that appear to be black. Black Leopards are usually found in forests. Like the Jaguar, the spots can be seen if you look closely. These remarks about the color and coats of Leopards are general, because coat color and markings will vary with habitat.


So what about panthers? Well let’s take a look at the Latin name of Jaguars and Leopards. 
Leopard:  Panthera pardus
Jaguar:  Panthera onca

Interesting!  See that first word, Panthera.
The word Panthera represents a genus of large cats, which includes leopards, jaguars, lions, and tigers.  People commonly refer to leopards as ‘black panthers,’ but they are mistaken. Panthers are not a separate subspecies. So if someone asks you if you've ever seen a panther, say 'no, there are no such things as panthers.' 


Here’s a terrific video about Jaguars, and the narrator includes a bit of information about the differences between Jaguars and a Leopards. 




The IUCN lists both the Leopard and Jaguar as ‘near-threatened.’


Jaguar concerns:  If we are to ensure the survival of this magnificent species it is vital that we enforce legislation, obtain the cooperation of local people, and maintain large tracts of contiguous habitat. (www.arkive.org)

Leopard concerns: In west Asia, the leopard is almost entirely restricted to protected areas. However, while these areas may receive protection, most of them are too small to support large enough populations of this species to ensure its survival in the region, and therefore need to be expanded and connected to other areas using buffer zones and wildlife ‘corridors.’ (www.arkive.org)

Here are a couple of web sites you might like to visit, and learn more.




We share this planet with so many beautiful creatures, and there is so much to learn about them.  I hope you learned while reading this post. After all, isn't that the whole idea. 

Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers





The Mandrill



As a youngster growing up in New Jersey, it was a treat when my mother and father would take us to the Bronx Zoo. This particular monkey, which is the world’s largest monkey, fascinated me more than any other. I always wondered why their faces and rumps were so brightly colored. It seemed to me that the coloration would be a detriment for the animal in the wild. It certainly wouldn’t make for good camouflage!  I have a hunch that you probably asked the same question, so I thought we’d look it up and learn a bit about this primate.

But first some details.

As I said above, the Mandrill is the world’s largest monkey. It doesn’t have a long tail like most monkeys, but it does have one. This rather shy animal lives in the rain forests of equatorial Africa. It is a terrestrial monkey, meaning that you will find him on the ground most of the time. He moves on his long arms, foraging for insects, small reptiles, and fruits.  They’re a bit like a chipmunk in that they have pouches in their cheeks. They store food in those pouches so they can snack later. Although, the Mandrill stays mostly on the ground, it does climb trees, and will do so in the evening to sleep.

Mandrills are a very social animal; traveling in groups of up to ninety-five. A dominant male heads these large groups. However, they have been known to form multi-male/multi-female groups that can number up to two hundred individuals.

Mandrills have huge canines used for self-defense. But when they bare their teeth to other Mandrills it is meant as a friendly gesture. You certainly wouldn’t want to get this guy upset. 


So let’s get to that original question!  Why are Mandrills so colorful? Well, here’s what I’ve learned.

The more colorful a male Mandrill is, the more dominant and successful he is. The bright streak running down a male’s face is eye catching, and that is what it is meant to do – hold the attention of other members of the group. Males showing off, that's what it is. A controlling kind of thing – if you follow me. But there’s more to it than that. It is believed that the colorful rump of the animal enables the dominant male to lead his troop through the thick undergrowth of the rain forest. Sounds reasonable to me.

Here's a super video for you and your kids to watch together. 


At this point in time, the Mandrill is vulnerable. Because it travels in groups, it is very easy to hunt, and hunted it is. Local people consider it a delicacy. Their habitat, like so many other endangered species, is shrinking due to the spread of human settlements, and agricultural needs.



So what is being done to help conserve this amazing animal? Sadly, even though international trade is prohibited, Mandrills are difficult to track and monitor in the dense forest, and there are limited funds for conservation. As a result, this species is poorly protected, and may become extinct in the wild.

I do hope you Enjoyed! my post.

J.E. Rogers 




The Pallas, Cat aka Manul

This beautiful and unusual animal is widespread, but rare. It is found from the Caspian Sea into parts of China and Mongolia. Meet the Pallas Cat:






It is named after Peter Pallas, a German naturalist (1741-1811), who first described it. However, Pallas incorrectly believed that this cat was an ancestor to the Persian breeds. It is not.



Although it is about the same size of a domestic cat, it appears larger due to its stocky build and bulky fur coat. It weighs between five and nine pounds with a body length of nineteen to twenty-five inches. Its head has dark streaks along the side, and its tail has rings. The coat is very long and dense, which serves the animal well given that it lives in a cold climate and spends a lot of time on frozen ground and snow.

They live in caves and burrows, which they annex from other animals. It was believed that they were nocturnal animals, but it has been discovered that they are crepuscular. Interesting word, crepuscular! It means twilight, so this cat is out hunting during the twilight (evening) hours. They hunt for small rodents, birds and insects. The especially like a small rodent-like animal called a Pica. They have been known to wait outside the dens of animals to ambush them. He’s a very clever cat!

So why is the Pallas Cat endangered? First of all, it has been hunted heavily for its fur coat. Secondly, the Pica, which I indicated is part of its diet, is being poisoned because it is believed to carry the plague. The Pallas Cat eats the Pica, and is therefore dying of this poisoned meal. Also, as usual, its habitat is being diminished due to human encroachment.


Pica - picture thanks to bradstreks.com

There is a great effort underway to save this species. The International Species Information Service lists 117 worldwide, with 48 being in the U.S., and a species survival plan (SSP) has been put into place to help. Let’s hope the efforts to save this beautiful creature are successful.

Learn more at Arkiv.org:  The Pallas Cat

Here is an interesting video about the Pallas Cat.  It's fun to share with the kids in your house. 



I hope you have Enjoyed! learning about the Pallas Cat. 

J.E. Rogers






Back to Normal – Whatever that is!

Hi Everyone,

As you know I have returned from Australia, and before I start putting up all my pictures, and telling you about all the wonderful things I saw and did there, I thought I’d talk about a very endangered animal that I find very interesting.

The crested black macaque is critically endangered. Before we get into the reasons for this monkey’s dilemma, let’s look at some facts. But first his picture: 



As you can see from the above picture, this monkey is the punk-rock star of the macaque species. Identifying them, as a species, has been a bit hair raising (giggle) due to the fact that they have a short rudimentary tail. This short tail threw everyone off. At first it was thought that this monkey was an ape. As you all know, apes have no tails, and monkeys do. Oh, you didn't know that? That’s the main distinguishing mark between the two! There are a few other characteristics that distinguish them. One other difference is the length of the arms. Apes’ arms are longer than their legs. Monkeys’ arms are the same length or shorter than their legs. As a result of this particular difference, apes can walk upright, and monkeys move on all fours. Also, apes have larger brains, and can live a great deal longer than monkeys. Here's a video summary for you. Your children will enjoy this.  Time to share!







There are seven species of macaques, and this one is the most endangered. The crested black macaque lives on the island of Sulawesi, which is part of Indonesia. They are a very social species, and prior to their decline they formed groups of one hundred individuals or more. That is no longer the case.



For more detailed information on this primate, click on the following link;


Oh, I almost forgot. Why is it that this very unusual animal is critically endangered? Well, the main reason is over-hunting, and not by lions, tigers, and bears, Oh My! This macaque is considered a delicacy in Sulawesi. What’s more, it is suffering from shrinking habitat. So, not only are humans eating the animal, they are also spending a lot of effort in clearing their habitat for agriculture and logging. Since Sulawesi is an island, there is not much area for them to go to. 

“Captive breeding of this species has been successful at Jersey Zoo and a number of other zoos, and individuals may be reintroduced into the wild in the future. If this species is to survive, it is essential to address the problems of hunting and habitat loss on Sulawesi.” (Arkive.org)

Thank you for thinking about this primate, at least for a little while. 


J.E. Rogers 




The Bilby
(The Easter Bilby)



You have to admit, he kinda looks like a rabbit.

Rabbits are not indigenous to Australia. As a matter of fact after rabbits were introduced to Australia the rabbits promptly began to munch on food which was part of the bilbies’ habitat.  Bilbies were also hunted for their skins, and caught by accident in rabbit traps. As a result, the greater bilby, pictured above, is vulnerable, according to the IUCN. 

The name bilby comes from an aboriginal word meaning, long-nosed rat. This marsupial, which is related to the bandicoots, has become an Australian symbol of the struggle between indigenous species and introduced species. So the Aussies have taken the bilby to heart, deciding that it is the bilby and not the rabbit that should be immortalized on Easter.

Man has had some very serious effects on the world’s environment, and the bilby’s battle with the rabbit is just one of them.  I have included a link at the bottom, which gives you a closer look at the bilby and some information about the problem that it faces.

As you all know, one of my goals is to introduce fantastic and unusual animals around the world. The bilby certain falls into this category. I have included a map below, which shows where bilbies live in Australia. They are an interesting marsupial in that they have a pouch that faces backwards! Why you ask?? Because the bilby is a digger, and if the pouch faced forward the little baby bilbies would be swallowing dirt along with their meal. Aren't bilbies clever?!




The bilby is a nocturnal animal and it is an omnivore, meaning it will eat both plants and small insects, including larvae. They live in arid areas and do not drink water. They get all the moisture they need from their food. 

Please take a moment to watch this very interesting video, and do come back next week for another interesting post. 

The Bilby

Thanks for visiting! 
Enjoy, 
J.E. Rogers



Australian Quolls



There is a quoll hero in our story, The Sword of Demelza. His name is Sebastian. He has included his portrait here for you. He wants to introduce himself before you go on to read about the quolls in the wild. Sebastian considers himself to be the largest of the quoll species, but all of the quolls look pretty much alike. There's just a difference in size. Please read on to learn about quolls. They are one of Australia's many marsupials. 

SEBASTIAN


Early settlers in Australia called the quolls ‘native cat,’ native polecat,’ and ‘spotted marten.’ Since the landing of the early settlers, the quoll population has been in constant decline due to habitat loss and introduced predators, such as the fox and also cats.

Quolls are marsupials, however only the spotted-tail quoll has a true pouch. The others have folds of skin where the babies develop over an eight-week period.

There are four different species of quoll in Australia, and they are all carnivorous. The northern quoll is the smallest of the four and it is endangered. This small quoll will eat frogs, insects, and fruit.

The largest species, the spotted-tailed quoll will eat birds, reptiles and other mammals. All quolls have pointy snouts, sharp teeth, and are reddish to dark brown in color with white spots. There is also a rare black quoll with white spots.



The western quoll was once fairly abundant, but now survives only in the far southwestern portion of Western Australia. It is listed as vulnerable.

The eastern quoll is quite the hunter. He will actually take morsels of food from a feeding Tasmanian devil. Typically, it will not take this kind of risk, and will be satisfied with bugs.

Quolls spend most of their time on the ground, but also have been known to climb trees. They are solitary and nocturnal.

The Australian community has a number of programs in place to help protect the quoll populations, especially the northern quoll. 

I have attached a link to a video that I think explains a lot about the smallest of the quoll species, the northern quoll. 


My thanks to Arkive for all of the information they offer on so many different animals. 


Please visit me again next week. 
Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers



February 11, 2013

The Western Barred Bandicoot

Like many of the unusual animals in Australia, the bandicoot is a marsupial, which means it has a pouch, like a kangaroo.  However, the bandicoot’s pouch faces backwards. Yes, that is strange, but there’s a good reason for it. Bandicoots are burrowers. They dig and live in holes in the ground, called a nest. So, if they were building, or should we say digging, their nest and their pouch opening faced up, they would get all kinds of dirt and leaves all over their little babes in the pouch. Nature is really incredible, isn’t it!  So Mother Nature flipped this little guy’s pouch, making it facing toward the tail. They typically occupy their nests alone because they are a solitary species.



Bandicoots are small and they have light brown-grey fur. They have three bars of fur alternating paler and darker in color, on their hindquarters, hence their name. All bandicoots have pointy snouts and large ears. The tail is very long, making up approximately one-third of its total length.

They are nocturnal creatures, spending most of the daytime sleeping in their nests. They will meet up with another bandicoot for mating, and they have one of the shortest gestation periods of all mammals, just twelve days. The babes stay in their mother’s pouch to develop for forty-five to sixty days, and after that time, they simply go their own way.

Bandicoots are omnivorous. This means that they will eat just about anything, including insects, roots, herbs, and small invertebrates they may find while digging.



At one time, they inhabited much of southern and western Australia. Now, they have lost most of that range. They were actually thought to have been extinct, but are found on Bernier and Dorre Islands off the western cost. The decline in numbers is due mostly to predation from fox and feral cats, which were introduced to, but are not native to the Australia. Combined with human encroachment, the Western Barred Bandicoot’s populations continued to decline, and they are now considered endangered.

There are a number of conservation programs in place, and efforts are being made both to study and re-introduce bandicoots back to their previous mainland areas. That is a very good thing.

If you would like to explore more, I have added a link to a site, which will give you more information on the bandicoot. I have also added a link to a video for you that shows what some wonderful humans are doing for their fellow animals in Australia.

I do hope that you Enjoy!
Please return again, and feel free to leave a comment or question.

J.E. Rogers

Video: 

WEB page:


WEB page: 







January 20, 2012 



Gold Bug
(…and I don’t mean the Edgar Allen Poe bug)

(Photos from Ark in Space - Facebook and WEB)


So you say you don’t care for insects. Well, there are more than 800,000 species on the planet. That amounts to more than all the other plants and animals combined. Some of them are annoying, others are kinda cute, and some are poisonous as well as deadly. I have provided a couple of links below so you can investigate beetles further.  I am including a link to a cute video you might like. The beetle I highlight tonight is stunning! 

I recently pinned a picture of a beetle to Pinterest, and low and behold the little guy shows up everywhere.  When I first saw the picture I thought it was not real. It looked like a pin (literal pin) that my boss wears on her lapel. We all know what can be accomplished with a little imagination and photo shop, so I thought... To my surprise I found out that this particular beetle is real.



The flight wings of beetles are protected under a pair of ‘leathery’ outer wings. These two protective wings are called elytra. We are all familiar with the ladybug who is finely dressed in her red or yellow spotted outer wings. However, the Golden Tortoise Beetle comes from uptown and is dressed in the most impressive golden shell.

The Golden Tortoise Beetle belongs to a large family of beetles called Chrysomelidae. It is slightly smaller than a ladybug, and it is called ‘tortoise’ because it has an extended shell that covers its head and the sides of its body. Take a closer look at the picture below and the two above. 



This little beetle is common in the Eastern U.S. They like morning glories. So if you have some morning glories outside your house, you may want to take a closer look at them – when Spring comes, that is. You just might see a golden droplet on the underside of one of the leaves. However, it will probably not lead you to a buried treasure of any kind. J

Happy beetle hunting, and
Enjoy.
J.E. Rogers

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0502.htm
A gold bug video:  http://vimeo.com/2235564
http://www.arkinspace.com/2013/01/the-tortoise-beetle-amazing-mettallic.html





The African Lion 






Dear Readers,

I have mentioned the IUCN red list a number of times in previous posts. IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature. This organization provides conservation status and distribution of over 41,000 high-risk animals and plant life around the globe. The site also contains additional information relating to protection of species. When I see an article making a statement about the status of a species, I usually check with the IUCN web site to confirm.

I wanted to post today about the African Lion. I have seen articles recently stating that the lion is endangered. However, according to the IUCN, the African Lion is vulnerable. The short definition of vulnerable by the IUCN is, and I quote, “A taxon is Vulnerable when it is not Critically Endangered or Endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.” 

Although extinction is a natural part of the evolutionary process, man’s contribution to causing these extinctions is becoming common. Extinctions are increasing in occurrence particularly because of man’s effect on the environment.

I do want to mention another species of lion, which is actually endangered according to IUCN. That is the Asian Lion. Only 200 or so of these magnificent cats live in the Gir Forest of India. But, for today, we will be focusing on the African Lion.

The African Lion once roamed the entire continent of Africa. Currently, the lion is found south of the Sahara and they are now vulnerable there.
The range of the lion is being reduced due to shrinking of the savannah, which has diminished over the last half century (UK – The Guardian, Tues. 8th January 2013 – see below link for the article)


Video by the BBC

The Lion is the only social cat. It lives in groups of about 15 called prides. Prides are family units consisting of more females than males. The females are the primary hunters while the males are the protectors of the pride. The average lion is 5-8 feet in length and 4 feet high. Their live span in the wild is about 15 years.



I understand, but do not know for certain, that African nations are doing their best to join with other countries around the world to the protect the species. UK based LionAid, states in a recent article that there appear to be as few as 645 lions left in the wild.

I hope you will take some time to explore the additional information provided by the links below. Being conscious of our effect on the environment will be the best way to set forth a path to conservation.




Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers








December 31, 2012 


The Iberian Lynx






According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the Iberian Lynx is critically endangered. It is a beautiful bobbed tail cat, which is nocturnal, feeding mostly on wild rabbits. It has spotted course fur, and an unusual bearded face. Pointed ears finish its very symmetrical facial features.

Thankfully, it is legally protected in its natural habitat, which is in Spain and Portugal. Management programs have been put into place to help protect its environment. However, it is sad to report that only two breeding populations are known to remain in the wild.

Please check out the below links for more information on this magnificent cat.




The Snow Leopard




The Snow Leopard is endangered. This cat is thickly coated right down to the end of its very long tail, which it uses for balance and to wrap around itself like a blanket. It has adapted to the very cold and rugged mountains of its natural habitat in Tibet and China.

Solitary animals, they hunt mostly at dawn and dusk, and are strong enough to bring down prey much larger than they are, like sheep and goats.

There are some very aggressive conservation programs in place to protect this beautiful cat. The International Snow Leopard Trust and the Snow Leopard Conservancy are the world's two leading organizations dedicated specifically to conserving this endangered cat (Arkive.com).  Efforts are obviously hampered by the very harsh climate and region in which they live. However, local people have taken on the responsibility to help bring populations of snow leopards together in an effort to promote breeding and increase numbers.


Below is the link to the IUCN red list site. You can type in the name of any animal and it will tell you the status of their populations and whether or not it is endangered. I do hope you take a moment to thank about these two magnificent cats, and consider what it would be like to lose them forever from our planet.

Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers







Hello My Friends,

Today I am inspired to write about one of the most beautiful (weak word), and magnificent animals on the planet, and we get to share the world with them. Read through and you will find the object of that inspiration at the end of this post.

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals. They can reach speeds up to 60 mph. So what is it that allows them to run so fast? They answer is found by taking a close look at their anatomy.  Let’s start at their paws. Their claws do not fully retract. This enables them to grip the ground better during a sprint. They have a very thin frame, which supports long limbs. A very deep chest cavity allows them to bring in more oxygen. Oxygen is necessary to the function of muscles. Their large nostrils allow greater amounts of air to enter the lungs, and their flexible spin helps their legs to move more efficiently while running.  Finally, at the end, the tail offers them balance when cornering.

The name cheetah comes from the Hindi word chita, which means spotted. They hunt during the day in order to avoid competing with predators such as the lions, and hyenas. 

The cheetah, on the African continent, is classified, on the IUCN (International Union for Conversation of Nature) list, as vulnerable. However, the Northwest African Cheetah is classified as critically endangered. There is also one sub species, called the Asiatic Cheetah, which lives in Iran that is very much endangered. You can learn more about this particular species at the following web site;



Finally, here is the web site and video that inspired this post. I urge you to watch the entire video. You will have to go to the WEB site and then click on the video.  At the end you will see how the film was made. Watch carefully. You will see how the legs leave the ground and the body seems to fly. Observe the flexible spine and the rear claws preparing to grip the ground for traction. Take note how the head is almost uncannily still while the rest of the animal’s body is in motion. It’s keeping its eyes on its prey. All in all, this is a fascinating video, but when you finally see the cheetah move in real time, you will be shocked at the speed.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and will join me again next week.

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers







October 28, 2012

  In honor of Halloween, I thought we’d take a look at a couple of pretty creepy creatures.  I’ve found two that I think easily qualify as creepy – I believe you will agree. To find these creepy critters I went underwater.

  For the first critter, I didn’t go too deep. This one is found anywhere from approximately 10 to 240 feet down. This guy lives off the coast of North America on the southern California coast and grows up to 12 inches long. Oh yeah, its name sounds silly, but I’m not kidding so don’t laugh. It’s called a Sarcastic Fringehead. Yes, that right a Sarcastic Fringehead, and it looks like this:






  Yep, it’s really creepn’ freaky! Not to get freakier, but this guy is pretty ferocious. It doesn’t like other Fringeheads getting too close to it. It’s got real serious territory issues. The fish has a really large mouth, and if another Fringehead gets in its ‘face,’ LOL, then it opens its really large mouth and presses it against the other fish’s mouth (a really yucky French kiss kinda moment). The whole idea is that the fish with the bigger mouth wins; at least most of the time. It’s sort of the same with humans; sometimes the ones with the bigger mouths get all the attention (ya know what I mean). Anyway, these guys live in abandoned shells and they guard them with their lives…uh, mouths! Watch the video and then visit the web sites for more info.

Enjoy!







  Now for our next creepy critter, which is found in much deeper water than the Fringehead. This guy really freaked me out. To tell you the truth, I thought this was a joke, but it’s not. We will now dive to 2000 feet, in the South Atlantic Ocean, to meet the Promachoteuthis Sulcus. This guy (and I’m not re-typing his name) is a kind of squid. Squid! You people know any squid that looks like this?





  Thankfully, only one specimen has been caught, and it's really small (25 mm). Since we've only picked up one of these creepers, there is not a great deal of info out there. For me, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture screams ‘STAY WHERE YOU ARE!' 


  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about it, I could not find a video for you, but you can read more details about this creeper at the following web site;

Creepy Squid-like critter

Well! Happy Halloween Everyone.
Hope you enjoyed this week's creepy post. Please come back next week.

J.E. Rogers




October 14, 2012 


The Blue-Ringed Octopus





For today we will leave Australia’s land animals behind and visit a creature that makes its home in the coastal waters of Australia. However, I found that the blue-ringed octopus can be found in a fairly large area, anywhere from Australia to Japan. They especially like shallow reefs and rock pools along the southern coast of Australia. While the octopus is resting its not very unusual. It is a brownish color, hiding among the rocks of its shallow pool. When it is alarmed, or provoked the blue rings appear as a warning (this is call bioluminescence).
         Although this octopus is small, (approximately eight inches stretched out, its body the size of a golf ball), in relation to some of its relatives, he is very poisonous. With one bite from his ‘beak,’ the venom he injects is powerful enough to kill a human. Their poison is considered a neurotoxin, meaning that it affects the nervous system, thus paralyzing its victim. There is no known antidote for their venom, and so this creature is considered the most toxic of all sea creatures. If someone is bitten, the only way to save him or her is to massage the heart and continue artificial respiration until the toxin works its way out of the system.

Australia has a lot of really cute creatures. This is not one of them. 

You can learn more about this creature by visiting the below links and watching the below video.






I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and that you will come back again next week. 
Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers 




October 8, 2012 




The Peacock Spider










In honor of Halloween, today we will take a look at a creepy spider. I think the creepiness of this spider will wear off once you learn a little more about him. Then again...



You have learned along with me, that Australia is home to some of the most fabulously unusual creatures. Well, I found another one for you. It’s called the Peacock Spider. Although most of us get pretty freaked out when we see a spider, or even look at a picture of one (myself included), I think you’ll find this spider pretty interesting. It’s also known as the Gliding Spider, and a member of the jumping spider group – not something I want to find out anything about. No worries, mate! It can't fly, but I'm afraid that it can jump.








The Peacock Spider is brightly colored, as you can see from the pictures I’ve posted. They, the males only, have unusual flaps that rise from their abdomens and can be folded back down. These colorful flaps are used to attract a mate. They also have a third pair of legs that they wave about during the mating ‘dance.’  Their marvelous display is their way to impress the ladies. I have to admit I was pretty impressed myself.  The dance of the spider seems very comical at first, but then it becomes extraordinary. I have posted the video here for you. Just remember, the video may not work on your iPad. 



Hang in there with this video. It's a little long, but it's truly amazing. 








For more information on the fabulous Peacock Spider, go to the WEB sites I have cited below.



The pictures on this page are by the benefit of Ark In Space. Visit their WEB site. It's really cool. 


The Peacock Spider


Enjoy!
Hope you'll visit again next Sunday.
J.E. Rogers






September 30, 2012




Dear Readers, 

I am so sorry I was not with you last Sunday. I was in Philadelphia at a wedding. The daughter of a dear friend was married, and I was honored to witness the ceremony. 

I'm back now, and I am bringing you a bit of information on another endangered animal. This week we will talk about an Australian bird called the Gouldian Finch.

As I mention above, the Gouldian Finch lives in Australia. 

The plumage of this magnificent bird comes in different colors. They can have red, black or yellow heads. Baby Gouldians have grey feathers on their heads, necks and down their backs. They develop their bright colors as they grow. One really interesting thing I learned about this bird is that the babies have phosphorescent beads on the sides of their beaks so that their parents can see them at night. 

Gouldian Finches can be found in Katherine in the Northern Territory, but the population of this finch decreased during the 20th century. Breeding programs are actively insuring the bird survives in captivity. However, it is one thing to breed a creature to insure the survival of the species, and it is quite another to work toward protecting their habitat so they can live where intended. Their voices have been a bit quieter these days due to their natural habitat being reduced or altered. We are their voices now and must do what we can to protect their home. Wouldn’t you rather live in your home, rather than in a cage in someone else’s?

I am attaching a link to the courtship dance of the Gouldian Finch. You just have to see this beautiful bird at his loving best!  J This video may not play on your iPad. You may have to go to a computer to see it. Trust me it’s worth it. 

As always, Arkive has more information about this bird and you should explore it. Also, check out Wikipedia, which I used to learn a bit about the bird myself. The Finch Information Center has a lot of info as well. On this site, you will see many different types of finches, including the Gouldian Finch.




Finch Information Center


Arkive; Images of Life on Earth

Please come back next Sunday. I have a really exciting creature to introduce to you. 
I do hope you will join me.

Enjoy!
J.E. Rogers



September 16, 2012

The Sugar Glider






BABBLE 

         One of my favorite characters in the book is Babble. He is a sugar glider. He has a large group of friends, but his close buddies are Jibber and Jabber. These three cohorts travel high in the trees. The spy on the bad guys in the book, and tell the good guys where the bad guys are hanging out.  If you read the book you’ll meet them.
For now, let’s learn a little bit about the actual animals. I am happy to tell you all that this particular marsupial is not endangered. He is found in parts of Australia and Indonesia. There are many gliding mammals in the world; the sugar glider is the smallest. They are best described as small furry possum-like creatures with a prehensile tail. A prehensile tail is a tail that can be wrapped around things like branches. Their tail helps them move in the trees, and it also helps to steady the glider while he floats from branch to branch.
Gliders are active at night, and during the day they sleep in nests in the trees with other members of their clan, usually seven to ten in a group. They are playful with their own clan members, but do not like intruders.  During dusk, the gliders are active looking for food.  They eat gum and sap from eucalyptus trees and they will eat insects that they find among the leaves. 
They have a gliding membrane that is attached from the fifth finger on their paw to their ankle. They can glide from to 150 to 300 feet. When gliding, they use their bushy tail for stability and steering.

I hope that you will explore more info about the sugar glider at the following site:


I have also posted a video that you might like to see:

video


Enjoy! 
J.E. Rogers





September 9, 2012


The Numbat



The Numbat is a marsupial indigenous to Australia. It is also known as the Banded Anteater. They are carnivorous – they eat meat. Their favorite meal is termites or 'white ants.' It catches these insects with its very long sticky tongue, a trait that it shares with the anteater.
Numbats are gentle and solitary animals, active mostly by day. They like to sleep in an old log or fallen tree. They have a very bushy tail, which they carry erect and fluffed out like a bottlebrush. A black stripe runs along the side of their faces. It passes through the eye toward its ears. Numbats are reddish brown in color, with stripes of black and white across its back.
The most important thing my young readers need to understand is that the Numbat is endangered, and before I go any further, I would like to discuss this important fact. Like many of the creatures in our adventure, The Sword of Demelza, the Numbat is endangered.
So the first question we should ask is why. Why are they endangered? The best way to answer this question is to consider the animal’s history.  Australia is pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. It’s a big island. Many species of animals that developed there did so completely independent from other animals around the globe. They are so different; consider the kangaroo and the platypus, or our favorite, the koala. Over two hundred years ago, settlers from other parts of the world came to Australia to live. They brought dogs with them, cats and foxes. The Numbat is a slow moving animal, and unfortunately it was easily caught.
 Many people on the continent of Australia are working hard to protect this unusual creature in its natural habitat by making sure that the woodlands in which they live remain undisturbed. The feral dog and cat population must also be controlled. There is another web site that I found that I think you should explore. It lists many of the world’s endangered animals, but it also lists many that are extinct.

We should be aware of what we’ve lost and then maybe we will work harder to insure that we lose no more! 




Check out my Pinterest page. There are a several pictures of Numbats along with snippets from the book. You will also see the latest sketch of Aldon, created by Guy Atherfold.



Check out the following sites for more information on the Numbat.


Here is a video for you to watch.

I do hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Please visit again, and feel free to leave a comment or question.

Enjoy,
J.E. Rogers







The Wombat










         The wombat is a marsupial native to Australia. Most people think that wombats look like little bears. I think they look like a very hairy pig. J Let’s just say that some of them are more photogenic than others.

         Wombats are herbivores. They eat grasses and roots, and they usually graze at night. They live in burrows that can be as long as 100 feet. The average wombat is approximately 40 inches long and can weight as much as 55 pounds. They can be varied in color, from light brown, shades of grey to black.

         To defend themselves, wombats will hiss and rush, in an attempt to chase away intruders. I found it interesting to know that one species of wombat can climb and another can’t. Not sure how that happened. Maybe you can research that one, and get back to me.

         In Sunderland, Lazlo, the wombat, is a very slow, but Byrnie has traveled many miles on his back. They are dear friends. When they first meet Erik and company in the forest of Demelza, they don’t know what to make of them. Here’s a snippet from the story.



Around a bend in the path, at the very point where the low wall was broken, appeared a huge wombat. Straddled on the wombat’s neck was a black-faced kowari. The kowari held reins that were wrapped around the muzzle of the wombat. He was a fine kowari, wearing a green, pointed hat with a red band around it. A white feather stuck out of the band. The hat was tipped over one ear, nearly covering his left eye. He wore a gold velvet sash, a quiver of arrows and bow were strapped to his back.

“Whoa, Lazlo! Whoa!” The kowari pulled on the reins, and the wombat stopped with a low grumble. The kowari’s ears twitched and his nose sniffed the night air. His eyes peered into the darkness as he dropped the reins, and reached for his bow. He nocked an arrow, and said sharply, “Who’s there? Come out or there’ll be hell to pay!”













 Learn more about wombats by clicking on the below link. 








And here's a video of baby wombats that I think you'll like. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOIX-JpODcA&feature=fvsr


Enjoy! And please come back again! 
J.E. Rogers




August 5, 2012


The Great Masked Owl

The Great Masked Owl from Australia is very similar in appearance to the Barn Owl. However, the Australian species is very secretive, thus making it difficult to study. It is nocturnal, and is fairly quiet even while hunting. Its eerie call is not heard all that often. I have pasted a link below, and I hope you have a moment to play it. The sound of this owl is, indeed, very unusual, and the haunting call is mentioned in The Sword of Demelza on several occasions. If you listen to it here, when you finally read the book, it will be part of your memory and will make your reading experience richer.







Some facts:



The concave shape of the face helps the owl to detect sounds during hunting. He is a carnivore, seeking out small rodents, and

Insects. Their habitat varies from wet forest to dry landscapes. It makes its home in the hollow of trees, preferring large hollows in old eucalyptus trees.






Enjoy!  Please come back again! 
J.E. Rogers




July 25, 2012



The Australian Water Dragon plays a prominent role in The Sword of Demelza. Gorgon is the commander of the dragon lizards, and he is very large and evil. Dragon lizards are pretty much running rampant in Sunderland, causing as much mayhem as you could imagine; like burning villages, killing and injuring innocent inhabitants of the forest, etc., etc.


In actuality live dragon lizards are fairly common. The real ones are not nearly as dangerous as the ones in our story. They can be found in eastern Australia. Also, unlike many of the other creatures in the book, they are not considered endangered. As their name implies, they like to live near creeks, rivers and lakes. They enjoy basking in the sun to bring their body temperature up (reptiles are cold blooded). They have extremely powerful limbs and claws for climbing, and they are good swimmers. Males can grow as long as three feet, including their tail. An adult will eat small insects, but will also prey on small rodents. 
Here's a really nice looking photo!  :)










And here's one of the guys in the book!  






See what your imaginations can do!!!  Hope one day you will want to read the book! 



To get more info on the Australian Dragon Lizard, go the the link: http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=83



Enjoy!

J.E. Rogers





July 8, 2012





The Quoll



The spotted quoll is a marsupial found in Australia and Tasmania. This cat-like animal is nocturnal, and although it can climb trees, spends most of his time on the ground. The spotted quoll can be light brown to reddish brown with white spots running down his back to the tip of his tail. He can sometimes be found basking in the sun after a cold spell. This solitary animal is an omnivore, but its diet consists mostly of meat. They hunt at night for small mammals, and reptiles as well as a tasty insect.  Their pink nose and perky rounded ears soften their appearance, but with a mouth full of very sharp teeth, this marsupial is a top predator, second only to the Tasmanian Devil.  Please see the link below for more info.



I’m guessing that most people will not recognize an animal called a quoll. A number of them play an important role in my book, The Sword of Demelza. One quoll is a major player. His name is Sebastian. He is a strong quoll, towering over many of the other quolls in the village of Kirby-Doane. He is a leader in the village, who becomes a commander of the rebel army. Sebastian befriends Devon after Devon saves his two young sons, Basil and Samuel, from a burning building. Flitch, the demon thylacine, led the dragon lizards to the little village, and attacked. In his wake, buildings burn, friends and neighbors are injured, and the marauding lizards have kidnapped two young puggle babes. Tempers run hot amongst the leaders of the village as they discuss what should be done. Devon is dealt a horrible blow during the confrontation when he suggests that they should find the rebel army and join them.



A Snippet from Chapter 19



“We should do as Noden says,” Devon said solemnly. It all became quite clear to him. He suddenly realized that his troubles were not just his own. The trouble was bigger than what happened to him at the abbey. “Why don’t we form a band of men, go into the woods, locate and join this army? You have forged weapons. Let’s use them. You have many strong men here. We could—”

            “Why are we listening to this fox?” Pearce’s strong voice boomed in Devon’s face. “Who is he to tell us what to do? We should leave our homes for him? Put our lives at risk? For what? For a fox?”

             “I don’t understand,” Devon said, shaking his head incredulously at Sebastian.

            “Of course you don’t, Devon.” Sebastian placed his paw on Devon’s shoulder. Looking deeply into Devon’s eyes, he said, “You see, the King of Demelza is a fox.”

            Devon stood in silence for a moment, the realization hitting him hard. Then he said softly but firmly, “Do not judge us equally. Fox or not, I am leaving in the morning to find this rebel army. Anyone who wants to put an end to this, and has the courage, can join with me.”



Thank you for visiting, Australian Fantasy Adventures. Please come by again.

Enjoy!

Jeanne






















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