Boa Constrictor is a large non-poisonous snake which is endemic to the North and South America. Boa Constrictor, monster of the forest can also be compared with large species of Python and Anaconda due to their massive size. They can obtain the average length of 6-8 feet, but in the most suitable conditions of their growth, the Boa Constrictors are also observed of 3-4 meters. The female Boa Constrictor is much larger, especially in the captivity. However, the size and weight of Boa Constrictor vary on the location and availability of their prey.
Boa Constrictor By Andre Boffin ( Location: Amazon )
Boa Constrictors are found in the exquisite color patterns depending upon their habitats. However, they are mostly seen in brown, creamy, gray patterned with brown or red saddles. Boa Constrictors are tough climate resistant as they also live in the semi desert environment, although most of them prefer to live in the humid and tropical rainforests. Boa Constrictor becomes adult at the age of 3 years and the average life span of Boa Constrictor is from 25-30 years.
BoAa Constrictor ( Image by Paulo Noronha )
Boa Constrictor is a deadly predator and wraps its body around the victim and literally constricts it till the prey dies. Their prey includes small mammals, bats, birds, mongoose and amphibians. The size of the prey item will increase as they get older and larger. Boa constrictor, monster of the forest can hiss very loudly in case of feeling any danger. Even their hiss can be heard up to 100 feet away. Almost all of the sub-species of Boa Constrictor are called with the same name and red-tailed Boa Constrictor is preferred to keep as pet. Boa constrictor species are now considered as endangered animal species as they are excessively hunted for their exotic skin.
A very beautiful big cat lives in the deep Sunderbans regions of Indian Sub continent, which is known as Bengal Tiger. Bengal Tiger, the beautiful big cat of South Asia is scientifically known as Panthera tigris tigris and it is famous for its unique light orange coat and dark brown stripes. Although it not the biggest big cat of the world, yet it is a huge animal which might weigh up to 600 pounds. Bengal Tiger has a very elegant body structure with the legs that are slender. The surface of the fur of Bengal Tiger is very soft and fine. This is the main reason for its brutal hunting especially during the last century.
Bengal Tiger is scientifically known as Panthera tigris tigris
The estimated population of Bengal Tiger is hardly of 3000 in number at present according to the recent calculation. Out of which the majority is found in India and Bangladesh while some number of Bengal Tiger is also found in Bhutan and Nepal. Male Bengal tigers had a total length, including the tail, from 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in), while females range from 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in). Tails are 85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in) long, and height at the shoulders is 90 to 110 cm (35 to 43 in). The Bengal tiger becomes adult at the age of five, and the average life span of the tiger is about 13 to 15 years. The couple mates with each other about any time of year. The female Bengal tiger may give birth up to four cubs. The cubs of Bengal Tiger don’t hunt for themselves until they are at least 18 months old. Then they go hunting with their mother. The gestation period is about three months and ten days.
A mother Bengal tiger and her cub ( Photograph by Michael Nichols )
Bengal Tigers have the surprising ability to swim between the islands of the mangrove and tropical habitats of Sunderbans. The diet of Bengal tiger includes wild oxen, monkeys and boars etc. Although they are able to hunt buffaloes, chital, nilgai and sambar like animals. This frightening predator normally preys at night.
A cute Bengal Tiger cub. Image by Brian Dobbins ( flickr )
Bengal Tiger, the beautiful big cat of South Asia has been classified as endangered byIUCN. The biggest threat is its massive hunting by the illegal traders in order to get its precious body parts and its poached skins. This is also generally thought that the eyes, bones, and even whiskers are very commendable to researchers who are making medicine to treat or cure human ailment, and to give people a longer life. The governments of India and Bangladesh have classified many areas which are the habitats of Bengal Tiger as the protected areas. Although this policy has produced some helpful achievements to eliminate the poaching and for restoring of their habitats, yet for the proper conservation of Bengal Tiger more practical strategies are required.
You’d be excused for thinking ‘how can an almost tropical island like New Zealand have penguins’, but once again New Zealand surprises everyone by having their own Native Penguin. We call it ‘HOIHO’ which in Maori means ‘noise maker’ due to its rather shrill vocalization. Hoiho is also known as the Yellow-eyed Penguin, which can be found along the South East of the South Island, smaller islands off Stewart Island, as well as Stewart Island itself, and on the Auckland and Campbell Islands of the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic.
Hoiho: The Yellow-eyed Penguin
The Hoiho is a ‘endangered’ species and several conservation programs are in place to protect and help numbers of these wonderful birds climb in the wild. I was lucky enough to see two Hoiho in the wild during a recent trip to The Catlins in the South Island. Viewing was strictly from a hide building on the ridge of a cliff overlooking pristine water and a beach. Well hidden from view we didn’t have to wait long before the first penguin emerged rather clumsily from the water’s edge and made its way up the beach where it sat and preened itself. A mere few minutes later it was joined by a second Hoiho. We couldn’t believe our luck. We had been told there were Hoiho in this area but the normally shy Penguins don’t always arrive on cue and where they are supposed to turn up, so we lowered our voices as we whispered our ‘oohs and aaahs’ at the sight of these amazing birds. The Hoiho is considered the world’s rarest penguin (with a population of an estimated 4000), and may also be the most ancient of living penguins, so these precious moments watching these two was very special.
HOIHO – The New Zealand Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)
The Hoiho is a fairly large penguin, about 65-80cm long (26-32 in) and weighs between 5-8 kg depending on which time of year it is. Heavier before moulting than afterwards. The males are larger than the females but both have pale yellow heads, with paler yellow iris. The chin and throat are brownish-black. And off course the distinctive bright yellow ‘band’ running from its eyes around the back of the head. The juvenile has a grayer head with no band and their eyes have grey iris (adult plumage is achieved at 14 – 16 months of age).
The Hoiho are relatively long living penguins, some living to 20 years of age, with the males generally living longer than the female. These birds usually nest in the forest or scrub, among Native Flax and Lupin which are on slopes or in gullies. Sometimes they’ll nest on the shore itself, facing the sea. Although a group of 4 to 6 may come ashore together, the Hoiho keep to themselves while nesting and choose nest sites out of sight of each other. Pairs form long term partnerships after they reach the breeding age of 3-4 years. The incubation duties are shared by both adults after the nest site is selected in August and the eggs are laid in September. Incubation period is between 39-51 days and there are normally 2 eggs. For the first six weeks after hatching the chicks are guarded during the day by one parent while the other is at sea feeding. The foraging adult returns at least daily to feed the chicks and relieve the partner. After the chicks are six weeks old, both parents will go to sea to supply food for their off spring who are at this stage growing rapidly (but still covered in brown downy feathers). The chicks usually fledge in Mid February and will be totally independent from that time onwards. The fledglings will weigh between 5 and 6 kg by then.
The Maori Call this Penguin the Hoiho Because They are so Noisy
The Hoiho will forage between 7 and 13 km off shore (that’s about 4-8 miles) and will travel an average 17 km away from the nesting site. The birds will leave at dawn and return the same evening while raising chicks but will spend 2-3 days at sea at other times. The average dive is 34 m (112 ft). Their diet is made up of fish mainly with cephalopods such as arrow squid for a tasty treat, and these penguins will pursues prey in 20-60m deep dives.
An onland reserve protecting more than 10% of the mainland population at Long Point in The Catlins (South Island) was established in 2007 by the Department of Conservation and the ‘Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’ and our famous Hoiho appears on the reverse side of the New Zealand $5 note, as well as in numerous television advertisements and print advertising. To see these gorgeous and unique Hoiho, the Yellow-eyed Penguin in the wild will rank high up on the ‘most favorite moments’ in the minds of those who have been lucky enough to see them.
About the Author :
Monica Toretto is a writer, painter, photographer and blogger. She lives with her two young sons in Invercargill near Bluff. She has travelled widely in Canada and the US and worked as a veterinary technician before returning to New Zealand. Her work has appeared in several magazines in the UK and New Zealand. She has also authored a book of poetry and photography called ‘Words’.
Kokako(Callaeas cinereus wilsoni) is a rare bird which is found in the island territories of New Zealand. Kokako is also enlisted in the red list of IUCN and it is considered as highly endangered species. The South Island Kokako is also called as the Orange-wattled Crow and it is presumed extinct. The species of Kokako which is found in the North Island is known as the Blue-wattled Crow which is also so rare now on the mainland, barely surviving in small patches of native veg here and there. The population of Kokako was eliminated rapidly due to the predations of mammalian invasive species such as possums, stoats, cats and rats and their range has contracted significantly. In Newzealand , Kokako is also famous as “The New Zealand Crow”, although it only resembles with crow somehow.
Kokako (Callaeas cinereus wilsoni). Photo : David Cook
The vocalization of Kokako is also very amazing. Kokako sings a beautiful songs which can be heared from miles away. Perhasps this is also the second reason for the easy predation of Kokako and the first reason is the poor flying ability of Kokako. Kokako is very exceptionally observed as flying more than 100 meters. The government of New Zealand has formulated many strategies for the conservation of Kokako, the New Zealand crow and especially in some new offshore islands Kokako populations has been flourished by establishing prey animals free zones.
Arabian Oryx , the unicorn antelope is rebounded from extinction with the efforts of IUCN through their captive breeding program and now their population is almost grown back with almost 1000 individuals. There was a time when Arabin Oryx was found largely throughout the Middle East. But they were ruthlessly hunted by Arabian princes in the start of the 19th centuries and till the 1980’s they were almost extinct. Arabian Oryx love to live in gravel desert or hard sand and now they have been reintroduced in the hard sand areas of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.
The Unicorn Arabian Oryx is known as re’em in Hebrew and their diet mainly consists of vegetation like trees, buds, herbs, fruit, tubers and roots. The adult Arabian Oryx may be of 65-75 KG and normally they prefer to live in groups consisting of 8 – 20 animals. But Arabian Oryx have also been reported in herds of up to 100. The female Arabian Oryx is mature enough to give birth between the ages of 25 and 46 months. No particular season for birth of young Arabin Oryx is observed. The female Arabian Oryx may produce a calf yearly under favorable conditions. The average age of Arabian Oryx is 20 years. The Arabian Oryx are socially compatible with each other and they pass the hotter part of the day lying and resting under the tree shades.
Arabian Oryx , the unicorn antelope which was already extinct from the world due to over hunting and they were classified endangered on the IUCN Red List ,even now the reintroduced wild Arabian Oryx is under the extreme threat of poaching. In the late 1990’s almost 200 of reintroduced Arabian Oryx were killed again by hunters in Oman.