Category Archives: BIRDS

MORE WILDLIFE OF MADAGASCAR

Comet Moths

Comet Moths image www.pythonjungle.com

www.techniverse.net

How beautiful are these moths?! They are also known as Madagascan moon moths, and are some of the biggest silk moths in the entire world. How big do they get? Some wing spans can reach eight inches across. That’s a big moth! Sadly, once they reach adulthood, the moths only live for 4 to 5 days, which makes sightings a rare and special occurrence.

Flat-Tailed Geckos

Flat-Tailed Geckos image www.pythonjungle.com

www.wired.com

Can you even believe that thing is real? It’s hard to even see this gecko, which we guess is the whole point of its design, to stay incognito and safe from predators. There are more than 10 species of flat-tailed geckos, and all of them indigenous to Madagascar and its surrounding islands.

Aye-Ayes

aye-aye OF MADAGASCAR IMAGE www.pythonjungle.com

www.exoticanimalsforsale.net

We think it should be spelled eye-eyes because, well… look at those eyes. You can’t NOT stare at them. These guys are nocturnal primates and have opposable big toes which, along with their incredibly long tails, allows them to easily swing through the trees. But what’s even cooler is how they eat. They use their long middle fingers to tap on trees and listen for wood-boring insect larvae. They then use that same long finger to scrape that larvae out.

Aquatic Tenrecs

Lesser_hedgehog_tenrec_Echinops_telfairi_360w image www.pythonjungle.com

Sweet jumping jelly beans these things are ridiculously adorable. They must not think so though because they like to stay under the radar. In fact, they are among the most elusive species in the entire world. The biggest of these creatures is only a little over 6 inches in length, which doesn’t make them easy to spot. Their little webbed feet make them great swimmers and they look for bugs and tadpoles in the shallow waters.

Panther Chameleons

panther-chameleon image www.pythonjungle.com

Okay, this is quite possibly the most beautifully cool and awesome creature we’ve ever seen, but don’t tell our cat that. These chameleons, like other chameleons, change their color depending on their mood. They are usually very brightly colored, especially the males when courting, who want to impress the ladies with their dazzling color display. But wait, these animals get even cooler, they can rotate and focus their eyes independent of one another so they can look at two objects at the exact same time. Easier to spot and strike at their prey.

Madagascar Pochards [Worlds rarest ducks]

Madagascar_Pochard rare ducks image www.pythonjungle.com

www.tropicalbirding.com

Well right off the bat they have a super cool and exotic name. Pochards happen to be the world’s rarest ducks. What makes them completely amazing is that, up until 2006, these ducks were thought to be extinct, but then a small population of them showed up on a lake in Madagascar. Then, thanks to an extensive breeding program, these numbers have climbed and more ducks have been released into the wild. Let’s hope they can survive and thrive.

Fossas

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) Kirindy Forest, West Madagascar

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) Kirindy Forest, West Madagascar

www.bbc.co.uk

Another cool name, another cool animal. Look how cute this thing is, but what is it exactly? Kind of looks like a dog and a cat combined. Fosass are actually one of the few predators that live in Madagascar. Until very recently people always did assume they were from the feline family, but they are actually members of the mongoose family. They are nocturnal hunters and the majority of their diet consists of those adorable lemurs. But, when push comes to shove, they will also eat birds and reptiles.

Malagasy Leaf-Nosed Snakes

madagascar-leaf-nosed-snake-image www.pythonjungle.com

www.allposters.com

How handy would it be to have one of these snakes around? You could open cans, take out staples, and pick your teeth with its pointy nose. These are one of the most unique snakes that live in Madagascar. When they lie very still ready to pounce on their prey, their long noses blend in with tree leaves and they remain hidden quite well.

 

 

 

 

This Is What A Giant Python Eating A Kingfisher Looks Like

They say you’re supposed to chew your food before you swallow: an age old piece of advice that this ravenous python appears to have ignored.

These incredible pictures show the moment a large python spent half-an-hour trying to wolf down a kingfisher in one gulp.

If you’ve never seen a python devour its prey before, it’s quite a sight to behold – especially after digestion.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (4)

The ravenous snake caught the bird in Kruger National Park, South Africa, when it was hunting for dinner up in the trees.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (5)

Attempting to figure out the best way to devour the brightly coloured bird, the reptile constricted the poor bird before positioning its body to ensure the best angle for entry.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (7)

Contrary to popular belief that their jaws can dislocate, Pythons instead have extremely elastic jaws which allow them to spread their mouth wide when consuming large prey.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (6)

Observing proper table manners, pythons take their time when swallowing food, savouring ever last morsel and slathering it with saliva sauce.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (1)

With the bulk of the kingfisher’s body swallowed, the snake compresses its own vertebral column into a series of concertina-like waves to force the bird in its mouth, all in one go.

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python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (2)

It may have eyes bigger than its belly, but once the python figured out how to get the bird down its throat, the entire meal was over in seconds.

python snake eats kingfisher bird images www.pythonjungle (3)

The pictures were captured by UK photographer David Bough, who spotted the python snake in the tree while on a safari at Lake Panic in the Kruger National Park.

He said: “Lake Panic always seems to deliver fantastic viewing opportunities.

“We had been told that there was a python somewhere near the hide and had been there for an hour or so and not seen it, but then we managed to catch a glimpse.

“We watched for about an hour and a half as the young Python worked out the best way to eat such a large snack, folding the head and beak back over the body to enable it to devour the bird.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Why Do Hundreds of Macaws Gather at These Clay Banks in Peru?

macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (1)

Brightly colored parrots of the western Amazon basin display a behavior not seen anywhere else

macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (3)

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macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (2)

Along exposed river banks in the western Amazon basin, within the borders of Peru, macaws and other parrots in rainbow hues flock by the hundreds. They come to gather clay that they’ll later eat in nearby trees. It’s a dazzling sight for human onlookers, but it’s been a bit of a mystery for science. Why would various types of macaws and other parrots want to gorge on clay when normally they eat plant matter?

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle.com

At first, studies hinted that the clay might help remove toxins, such as naturally occurring tannins, that the birds ingest from plants. When animals in general consume clay, it can help neutralize such toxins through the process of absorption, in which the clay binds to the tannins before the gastrointestinal tract can absorb them. The toxins then get excreted alongside the clay. (Some humans also eat or drink clay to combat stomach problems and other issues, and many pharmacies around the world sell activated charcoal, another adsorbant that can bind with toxins or drugs to prevent them from being gastrointestinally absorbed.)

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (5)

But more recently, as Wired reports, studies show that the birds in Peru may be “using the reddish-brown muck to help augment a sodium-poor diet.” Donald Brightsmith, who directs the Tambopata Macaw Project in the lowlands of southeastern Peru, points out that parrots in other regions around the globe consume foods that contain toxins, including those with tannins, and yet it’s only those in the western Amazon basin who visit these clay banks, also called salt licks or clay licks. Brightsmith argues that there’s a connection between this clay-eating and the fact that the western Amazon basin is lacking in salt.

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (1)

As a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains, sodium supply varies by region. The farther an area is from the ocean, the more its rain may lack salt. Plus, in inland areas with high rainfall, sodium may leach out of the soil. So Brightsmith and his research team, Wired explains, are testing the importance of salt intake in the overall health of macaws.

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (4)

Brightsmith’s team has studied the local population of large macaws during an unstable time for the birds. As the Tambopata Macaw Project explains on its site, large macaws drastically decreased their use of the clay licks in 2009, possibly due to changes in vegetation and soil conditions. In early 2010, the team joined forces with the Peruvian government in an attempt to manage the clay banks and help restore the birds’ usage. The birds face other ecological concerns, too, including “imminent threat from the paving of a highway through one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions.”

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (3)

Several areas in Peru provide tourists an especially good view of the birds and their clay banks, including Tambopata National Reserve in southeastern Peru, along the same Tambopata river where Brightsmith does his work. Tambopata, according to the Macaw Project, has the “the highest concentration of avian clay licks in the world.”

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (2)

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two-macaws.image www.pythonjungle.com

Another good place to spy the birds feasting on clay licks is at Manú National Park and Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage site that Unesco calls the most biologically diverse place on Earth. Manú boasts “more than 800 bird species and 200 species of mammals” that scientists have identified, including six species of macaw.

Still, as majestic as Manú is, Tambopata may be more tourist-friendly. As the Macaw Project writes, there are several options for visitors to the Tambopata area, including the Tambopata Research Center lodge, which is just 500 yards from the largest-known macaw clay lick in the Amazon.

Even better, guests at the lodge can often accompany researchers as they work with macaw chicks—little ones who’ll soon sprout rainbow feathers of their own.

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Henry Sapiecha