One morning we heard impala alarm calling close to the river, which signalled a predator in the area, and our first instinct was to suspect that it was a leopard or a lion. However, when we reached the area, we noticed that these impala were staring at the ground. It was then that we noticed a small impala lamb lying motionless. Wrapped around its fragile body was an African rock python that was at least four metres in length.
A few minutes later the herd moved away leaving the snake with her prize, but we watched fascinated as she continued to squeeze despite the lack of life left in the poor lamb’s body.
The mother impala returned and came close to her baby’s body, distraught and calling in alarm. When the snake was confident that the lamb was dead, it released its grip. It then locked its jaws around the lamb’s nose and efficiently moved it into the undergrowth out of our sight.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Someone should tell that to the Pisonia tree, a ruthless plant that kills birds just for the heck of it. You may be asking, “Why?” Well, the tree should respond, “Why not?”
Oh Murder Tree, Oh Murder Tree!
If you didn’t think a plant — a tree, no less — could be a jerk, think again. Found in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, the Pisonia tree fits the bill as one of the most unnecessarily cruel plants in the planet. While it’s not uncommon for plants to have built-in defense mechanisms, those things are usually there to keep the plant safe from preditors. But scientists have yet to uncover any benefit the Pisonia tree could possibly receive for luring birds in only just to murder them.
Here’s what happens at the crime scene: the Pisonia tree produces sticky seedpods that trap insects, luring in hungry birds with the promise of an easy lunch. These seedpods are so sticky that they’ll latch onto any bird that flies into them, either trapping it in the tree’s branches or weighing the bird down stosuch a extent that it’s completely unable to fly. As a result, you’ll see a blanket of bird carcasses littering the roots of the Pisonia tree. There are sometimes even mummified bird corpses up in the branches that look like, as Washington Post describes them, “macabre Christmas tree ornaments.”
Ecologist Alan Burger at the University of Victoria first heard of the Pisonia in the 1990s and went to the archipelago of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean to work out why these slaughterous trees seemed to kill just for the hell of it. Until then, no one had looked too hard into the Pisonia tree, but there were two main theories as to why they were bird-tormentors: either the tree’s roots got a nutrient bump from the dead birds, or the seeds attached to the dead birds because they required the corpse as fertilizer in order to grow. After 10 months of research with the Pisonia seeds, Burger published his findings in 2005.
The conclusion? Pisonia trees are just out & out ruthless. “The results from my experiments showed quite convincingly that the Pisonia derived no obvious benefit from fatally entangling birds,” writes Burger. But not only did dead birds not benefit the tree in any way, but the droppings of living birds would also help the trees survive by enriching the soil. It turns out, then, that killing birds isn’t necessarily the goal. Birds flying away from the tree with sticky seeds attached helps keep the tree species alive by spreading the seeds far and wide. It’s just one of those evolutionary whoopsies that the seeds sprout in clusters — heavy, self-sabotaging, bird-murdering clusters.
A lakeside baptism ceremony ended in disaster when a large nile crocodile leapt from the water and mauled the pastor to death, it has been reported.
Docho Eshete was allegedly grabbed by the crocodile soon after he started a mass baptism for 80 people on the shores of Lake Abaya in southern Ethiopia.Africa.
“He baptised the first person and he passed on to another one,” local resident Ketema Kairo told the BBC.
“Suddenly, this huge crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed onto the pastor.”
Pastor Docho was said to have been savagedly ravaged on his legs, back and hands.
As his horrified congregation looked on, local fishermen reportedly struggled to rescue him. It was said they succeeded only in using their nets to prevent the crocodile from taking the 45-year-old’s pastors body into the lake, near the city of Arba Minch.
Lake Abaya, Ethiopia’s second largest lake, is quite beautiful, but the Lonely Planet travel guide warns: “It has a very large population of crocodiles, which are known to be aggressive towards humans and animals because the lake has few fish, which is their preferred food option.”
It is more than likely that the reptile that killed Pastor Docho was a Nile Crocodile. Some Nile Crocodiles can grow to be up to around six metres (20ft) long while weighing as much as 1,000kg (1 ton), and some estimates suggest the species is responsible for more than at least 300 attacks on people in Africa every year.
It is believed to be responsible for more attacks on people than any other crocodile species, and it has been said that the Nile Crocodile causes the third highest number of large-animal-related human fatalities in the African continent, after hippos and lions.
One study has noted that for the Nile Crocodile, “an opportunistic, ambush style predator”, humans are “less powerful and slower in water than any similar-sized wild mammal and therefore a much easier prey.”
Male dark fishing spiders pass on nutrients to their offspring after being cannibalized by the mating female
For the males of many spider species, sex equals death. The dark fishing spider is one of many arachnid species where the female cannibalizes the male after sex, and new research suggests these male spiders have evolved ways to turn their post-coital demise into a good thing for their kids.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Gonzaga University found that the offspring of dark fishing spiders that cannibalized their mates were about 20 percent bigger and 50 percent longer-lived than the children of females that didn’t get to dine on their partners. Cannibalizing females also produced almost double the children as those who missed out on the opportunity to eat their mate.
The researchers don’t yet know what conferred these benefits to the offspring, but it appears to be more than the females getting a hearty meal after sex. When females were given a cricket to eat after sex, their offspring didn’t see the same benefits as those whose mother had eaten their father. It’s possible males carry some kind of nutrient or nutrients that they pass onto their children when consumed, but further study is needed to know for sure.
What does appear clear is that males looking to reproduce will initiate behaviors that will kill them, even if the female doesn’t end up devouring them. Let’s go back to the mechanics of spider sex. “They insert one of their two reproductive organs, it expands, and it kind of locks into the female,” Gonzaga researcher Steven Schwartz explained to Vocativ. The expansion of that organ, the pedipalp, can have lethal consequences for the male.
“You’ve got to put everything into it,” he said. “And everything into it involves expanding that pedipalp to its maximum, which then has a drastic effect on the rest of the body, i.e. the male curls up its legs and dies. The male that put everything into it were the ones that won. They fertilized the most eggs, and of course that would be passed on, that effort.” That kind of reproductive self-destruction ensures the most offspring in the long run, which also means the best chance of their genetics spreading throughout the population. Survival of the fittest genes can also mean the death of the males who carry them.
But still, why wouldn’t male spiders have adapted to father offspring with multiple females, as is the case with so many other species? “If a male didn’t die in the process of mating, he would potentially go on to reproduce with additional females, which would benefit him, but they don’t,” Schwartz said. “So when you have the development of these weird behaviors, the question comes up, ‘Okay, how is that maintained in the population? How is that better than an alternative mating strategy?’”
The answer likely lies in what’s known as first-male sperm precedence, where the first male to mate with a female fertilizes the majority of her eggs. This biological reality creates a strong incentive for males to mate exclusively with females who have not yet had sex with other spiders in order to pass on their genetic material, and it also means there’s less good reason to live on and seek out other potential mates. This also means males have good reason to pursue larger mates – females can be nearly twice as big as males – as larger females can produce a greater number of offspring. But that also means the males are at even greater risk of being consumed by their large, hungry mates.
There’s no single explanation for why sexual cannibalism is so widespread among spiders, so there’s also no single reason behind how male spiders appear to have adapted ways to make the most of their fates. In at least some species, escaping a female’s clutches before being devoured also means passing along less reproductive material. For many male spiders, ensuring lots of children means having sex long enough to be devoured.
“Like I tell my students, all life needs to do two things, survive and reproduce,” Schwartz said. He recalled a recent conversation where someone pointed out these male spiders weren’t surviving. “No, they survive, they survive and reproduce, and if the act of reproduction causes their death, it doesn’t matter. They reproduced. They did those two things, survived and reproduced. In terms of reproducing, those genes, that individual genetic information is passed onto the female in the form of sperm and lives on in the next generation in their offspring.” It might well be more accurate to say life needs to survive until it reproduces. Anything after that is irrelevant.
After all, a male that has lots of big, healthy, long-lived offspring is going to pass on far more genes than one that survives but only produces relatively few offspring with multiple females. That the first male in that example dies right after sex is irrelevant, because evolution doesn’t care about the survival of an individual. It just “cares” about which genes get passed on from generation to generation, as that determines which adaptations endure in the species.
What killed the dinosaurs? It’s a question as old as – well the dinosaurs themselves, and one that everyone from school children to scientists have been asking for decades. Movies like Jurassic Park and the Land Before Time only heighten that sense of wonder and raise the stakes behind that question. Now according to a new scientific study, it seems that black gold may have been the source of the dinos’ demise.
Japanese researchers at Tohuku University and the Meteorological Research Institute authored a recent study in the research journal Scientific Reports suggesting that a meteor impact 66 million years ago on an oil rich region of Yucatan Peninsula led to the death of the dinosaurs. When the asteroid hit the vast oil deposits of Mexico, it sent thick black smoke into the atmosphere, changing the climate around the world. That soot blocked out the sun leading to a significant cooling of the planet. Equally importantly, it also led to a substantial drought around the world.
The asteroid in question was roughly 6 miles wide and its impacted created the 110 mile wide crater that exists in the Yucatan today – the third largest crater on Earth. The impact was the equivalent of roughly 1 billion atomic bombs of the equivalent power to what struck Hiroshima at the end of World War 2.
The researchers calculate that the amount of soot released would have lowered sunlight exposure by 85 percent and reduced rainfall by 80 percent. That would have had a significant impact on plant growth, which in turn would have limited food options for most dinosaurs. In addition, the soot cooled the Earth by 16 degrees Celsius (about 28.8 degrees Fahrenheit) over the course of just 3 years. Think of the event as the reverse of global warming – and on steroids.
Against this backdrop it is not surprising that dinosaurs all died out. Only smaller mammals that could live underground would have survived. In fact, the fossil record suggests that only 12 percent of the pre-asteroid life was able to survive after the impact. It was not just dinosaurs that died either, contrary to myths about the Ice Age – around 93 percent of mammal species were killed off as well, according to a separate research study by scientists at the University of Bath. The largest animals that would have survived the extinction event were about the size of a house cat.
Still, life bounced back “fairly quickly” researchers say, with about twice as many species existing 300,000 years after the event versus before it. Of course, given that the course of human history only goes back around 25,000 years, three-hundred thousand years is still a long period of time. It reflects the reality that the asteroid strike had a significant enough impact that its effects took tens of thousands of years to dissipate. It was the adaptability of mammals after the strike versus various reptiles that led the mammals to ultimately come to dominate the planet. Dinosaurs were in decline for millions of years before the asteroid strike, but that event aided by the oil rich soil of the Yucatan finished them off.
It’s ironic that oil, so fundamental for modern human life was ultimately the catalyst that wiped out the dinosaurs. Had the asteroid stuck in a less oil rich region, back of the envelope calculations suggest its impact would have only been around one-third as devastating. It’s impossible to say if that would have allowed any of the dinosaurs to live or not, but it is at least a possibility. Perhaps if not for the existence of oil, none of us would have cars, but maybe we would all have a pet brontosaurus.
1. An elderly woman from Thailand died after leaping into a crocodile pit at the Samut Prakarn Crocodile Farm & Zoo.
2. Australia’s saltwater crocodiles are the largest and deadliest creatures on the continent. Residents of the Northern Territory got a reminder of why the large carnivores deserve their respect, when a fisherman was eaten by a crocodile named Michael Jackson.
3. When animals attack: A 24-year-old Australian man was killed in a horrifying attack by a five meter saltwater crocodile while swimming in front of friends in the Mary River in Australia’s Northern Territory.
4. A 50-year-old fisherman from central Uganda lost his eight-month pregnant wife when Nabire went down to the banks of Lake Kyoga to fetch water and was snatched by what Ugandan wildlife officials said was a 1,300 pound, 25-foot long crocodile.
5. One quick-thinking mother saved her daughter from a crocodile’s clutches in northwestern India. After a 10 minute struggle, the crocodile gave up and left its prey with minor injuries to her legs
A MUST WATCH VIDEO
YET AGAIN IF YOU MESS WITH CROCS & GATORS YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE
Police say an alligator dragged a small boy into a lagoon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, defeating the father’s efforts to save the child.
The parents of a two-year-old boy tried desperately to pull their son from the jaws of an alligator that dragged him into a lagoon at a Disney hotel in Orlando, Florida.
The boy, whose name was not released by authorities, was attacked by the reptile at the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
There are no-swimming signs at the lagoon but the alligator grabbed the boy as he played at the edge of the water on Tuesday evening while his family, on holiday from Nebraska, relaxed on the shore nearby, sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson said at a news conference.
Child taken: An alligator seen here in a file picture. Photo: Wolter Peeters
The boy’s father rushed into the water after the alligator struck and struggled to release his child from the alligator’s grip, Mr Williamson said.
“The father did his best,” Mr Williamson said. “He tried to rescue the child, however, to no avail.”
The father suffered minor cuts on his arm in the struggle, Williamson said.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Google Earth
A lifeguard on duty also was unable to reach the boy in time, he said.
“He was too far away, apparently, and the gator swam away with the child,” Williamson said.
Walt Disney World has closed its beaches as law enforcement officials hunt for signs of the boy Wildlife officials captured and euthanised four alligators from the lagoon to examine them for traces of the child after the Tuesday night attack but found no evidence they were involved, said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, on Wednesday.
More than 60 sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officials were expected to search for the boy on Wednesday, using sonar technology, helicopters and divers.
Disney has closed its beaches “out of an abundance of caution,” CNN reported, citing a Disney spokesperson.
Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters the alligator was thought to be between 1.2 and 2 metres long.
Alligators are not uncommon in the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made lake reaching 4.2 metres in depth, Wiley told reporters.
Williamson said he hoped daylight would help searchers, who were hindered by dark and murky waters during their overnight rescue attempts.
“We’re going to keep searching until we find something,” Williamson said.
A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World Resort said everyone there was devastated by the tragic accident. “Our thoughts are with the family and we are helping the family,” she said.
Intact Body of 2-Year-Old Boy Recovered After Alligator Attack at Disney Resort
Published on Jun 15, 2016
The body of the 2-year-old boy snatched by an alligator at a Disney resort in Orlando has been recovered. The body of Lane Graves, who was visiting the resort with his family from Nebraska, was “completely intact” when it was found by a dive team Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Sheriff’s Jerry Demings said. Police and a Catholic priest delivered the heart-breaking news to the boy’s parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, who were visiting the resort with Lane and their 4-year-old daughter.
An employee at the Palm Beach Zoo died in a Malayan tiger attack while performing a routine procedure on Friday afternoon, a zoo spokeswoman said.
Zoo officials confirmed tiger handler Stacey Konwesier was killed by a tiger.
Zoo worker killed by tiger
Palm Beach Zoo worker Stacey Konwesier died on Friday after being attacked by a Malayan tiger during a routine procedure in the tiger’s enclosure.
Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said Konweiser was preparing a male tiger for a show at the zoo called Tiger Talk just before 2pm when the attack happened.
Konweiser, a three-year veteran of the zoo and tiger expert, was doing normal procedural actions with the tiger when it attacked her. Her husband also works for the zoo.
“Stacey was an expert,” Carter said. “She dedicated her life to her mission of protecting tigers.”
The male tiger was quickly subdued, allowing officials to reach Konweiser. She was taken to St Mary’s Medical Center, where she died.
“This is a family who is in mourning right now,” Carter said of the zoo employees. “We all, myself included, doubled over. We’re a close-knit group here at Palm Beach Zoo. There were tears.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be investigating the death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and grief counsellors were at the zoo.
“It’s very new and all the details are still coming in,” said Carol Lyn Parrish, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission. “Because it’s an active investigation for us, we are not releasing any information.”
Malayan tigers are “an endangered species – less than 250 in the wild. Four live here at Palm Beach Zoo,” Carter said.
Zoo keepers help breed the tigers to make sure they don’t go extinct, Carter said. “So that’s what was going on with this keeper here today, and this is just an unfortunate situation,” she said.
At no time was any guest at risk of injury, and immediately after the attack, all guests were escorted out of the zoo, Carter said. The zoo remains closed.
“The tiger never escaped,” Carter said. “We have safety protocols for when incidents like this occur. We initiated those safety protocols.”
Officials put the zoo on lockdown and were conducting security sweeps to make sure the zoo’s 500 animals are in their rightful places, Carter said.
Alena Rodriguez, 25, said she was at the zoo with a friend when she heard of an emergency underway. As the emergency unfolded, there was a commotion of the tiger potentially being on the loose, she said.
“We were trying to exit and they forced us into the gift shop,” she said.
Rodriguez and about 25 people, eight of them children, were herded into the gift shop, she said.
“It was very sporadic,” she said. “People didn’t know what was going on.”
Rodriguez saw the tiger at its exhibit at 1pm and decided to come back for the scheduled 2pm feeding. She came back to the tiger cage at 1:50pm and saw a trainer run by and say, “We need to evacuate.”
Rodriguez said that she and her friend tried to exit the zoo and were told to stay in the gift shop. She said she didn’t know what was going on, but she heard sirens. She wasn’t frightened, but was worried for the children, she said.
Then 20 minutes later, she heard from a zoo employee that the tiger was secure and the zoo was closed for the day. The zoo gave attendees a free pass to go back.
Ever spot something cool while you were on a bike ride? Probably nothing quite as interesting as this massive python that was spotted by a cyclist on June 14th. The snake, engorged nearly to the point of immobility by a mystery animal that bulged in its gut, was spotted next to a trail in the Lake Eland Game Reserve in South Africa.
The cyclist uploaded photos of the snake to social media.
This pic, and others, generated a lot of curiosity from locals. The snake drew lots of visitors to the park, to gawk and wonder what it could have possibly swallowed.
The python was thirteen feet long.
Believe it or not, that’s just over half as long as they can grow under perfect conditions. They’re capable of growing up to twenty-three feet long. They can also live up to twenty-five years. Even so, it’s unbelievable how wide the python can expand when consuming. That’s one fat snake!
People speculated about what it could have eaten.
Some guessed that it had swallowed a young impala (the animal, not the car). Others thought it might have been a warthog. When I first saw these images, the best thing I could come up with was a baby deer. We were all wrong… very wrong. Something no one would of guessed.
Researchers found its body, and here prepare to dissect it.
It was found dead beneath a rocky ledge. Chances are, it fell off the ledge and was internally damaged by its former meal. They were eager to discover what kind of prize lay within it. Although it may appear that the snake bit off more than it could chew (so to speak), the snake’s body can accommodate this kind of mass without pain.
The mystery meal ended up being an enormous porcupine.
After a slit is cut with a razor, the snake’s distended flesh peels back to reveal the partially-digested corpse of a very large porcupine. The brown objects appear to be vertebrae. Yet, even at this stage, you really can’t tell what that thing is… To me it still looks like a lump of flesh with thick fur.
The porcupine weighed thirty pounds.
Believe it or not, that’s not really that huge for a Cape porcupine. The really big ones can grow to be over fifty pounds.
Pythons are actually known to eat porcupines.
Though you wouldn’t think it, porcupines are regular prey animals for pythons. Although it was possible that the undigested quills punctured its internal organs and killed it, the most likely scenario is that the force of the snake’s fall from the rocky ledge led to internal wounds. Who would of thought your meal would end up killing you?