Ants, Nature’s Most Incredible Engineers

May 18, 2010

Red imported fire ants are extremely resilient and have adapted to contend with both flooding and drought conditions. If the ants sense increased water levels in their nests, they will come together and form a huge ball that is able to float on the water like a raft, with the workers on the outside and the queen inside. Once the ball hits a tree or other stationary object, the ants swarm onto it and wait for the water levels to recede. To contend with drought conditions, their nest structure includes a network of underground foraging tunnels that extends down to the water table.

Orangutan Players

May 12, 2010

Orangutan Players

Cat And Monkey Love

May 6, 2010

Apparently, cat and monkey love is some sort of phenomena I wasn’t made aware of.

Giraffes Fight In The Wild

April 27, 2010

Tourists on safari in Tanzania caught this battle between two male giraffes who use their heads like clubs against each other. Giraffes fighting is not unusual; from Wikipedia

Males often engage in necking, which has been described as having various functions. One of these is combat. Battles can be fatal, but are more often less severe, generally ending when one giraffe surrenders to the other. The longer the neck, and the heavier the head at the end of the neck, the greater the force a giraffe is able to deliver in a blow. It has also been observed that males that are successful in necking have greater access to estrous females, so the length of the neck may be a product of sexual selection.

After a necking duel, a giraffe can land a powerful blow with his head — occasionally knocking a male opponent to the ground. These fights rarely last more than a few minutes or end in physical harm.

The Island Of Drunk Monkeys

April 24, 2010

On the Caribbean island of St. Kitt’s, alcoholic monkeys roam the beaches waiting for vacationers to leave their drinks. Yes, you read that right, there is an entire island of drunk monkeys:

The green vervets were introduced to the island as pets in the 17th century when they were brought over with slaves from Africa. The wild vervets had developed a liking for alcohol in the form of fermenting sugar cane in the fields of the rum-producing island.

When they spotted a drink that had been left unguarded or unfinished, the monkeys would sneak down from the trees, jump on the tables and start drinking. They were tasting the drinks to see which ones they liked.

The drunk monkeys phenomenon has become so common place that there is now research being done on the monkeys to test the effects of alcohol on primates with interesting findings related to human alcoholism:

A controversial research project that involves giving alcohol to 1,000 green vervet monkeys has found that the animals divide into four main categories: binge drinker, steady drinker, social drinker and teetotaller.

The vast majority are social drinkers who indulge in moderation and only when they are with other monkeys – but never before lunch – and prefer their alcohol to be diluted with fruit juice.

Fifteen per cent drink regularly and heavily and prefer their alcohol neat or diluted with water. The same proportion drink little or no alcohol.

Five per cent are classed as “seriously abusive binge drinkers”. They get drunk, start fights and consume as much as they can until passing out. As with humans, most heavy drinkers are young males, but monkeys of both sexes and all ages like a drink.

More Videos Of The Drunk Monkeys In Action

If you enjoyed reading about the island of drunk monkeys, check out the most bizarre oceanic creatures and the world’s seven weirdest animals!

Ants Are Nature’s Most Amazing Engineers

March 4, 2010

Red fire ants are extremely resilient and have adapted to contend with both flooding and drought conditions in the Amazon. If the ants sense increased water levels in their nests, they will come together and form a huge ball or raft that is able to float on the water, with the workers on the outside and the queen inside. Once the ball hits a tree or other stationary object, the ants swarm onto it and wait for the water levels to recede. To contend with drought conditions, their nest structure includes a network of underground foraging tunnels that extends down to the water table. Also, despite the fact that they do not hibernate during the winter, colonies can survive cold conditions as low as 16°F (-9°C).