Did you know that...

... a blanket with zebra stripes can protect a horse from horseflies?

... the Hanuman langur can jump 4 to 5 metres high?
...fish can engage in play?

...interesting insect products can now be ordered on the Entowarehouse website?

...even among sharks there are various personality types? Some sharks are very gregarious and have many social contacts, and some sharks keep to themselves.

...the archer fish literally shoots its prey out of the air? Read about it in this newsletter.

...the birth of a Sulawesi macaque at Diergaarde Blijdorp (Rotterdam Zoo) was a big surprise? The male, Puzzle, had been thought to be sterile because in all his fourteen years, at Blijdorp, and in a zoo in England, he had never fathered offspring.

...hibernation may last much longer than the winter? Some ground squirrel species - especially those in areas with a harsh climate - hibernate for more than six months at a time.

...the arctic ground squirrel holds the world record for hibernation? This animal hibernates for nine months of the year. The other three months are spent gathering food, eating and raising young.

...the gorilla twins at Burgers' Zoo are already a year old? This memorable event marks a European primeur: this is the first set of gorilla twins in Europe to be raised solely by their mother. She did it on her own, without the help of the animal keepers.

...you can read more on humans' ambivalent attitudes towards animals in the book 'Some we love, some we hate, some we eat'? This book was featured in an earlier edition of this newsletter.

...animals in the zoo often get ice-lollies in warm weather? These are healthy treats: vegetables, fruit or pieces of fish, frozen into a lolly or block. The frozen snacks are primarily given as a means of enrichment: they keep the animals busy for a nice, long while.

...young gorillas have a lock of white hair on their bottoms? It disappears when the young animal is no longer dependent on its mother. This bit of white is a signal to the other gorillas in the group, like a sign that says, “I am still learning”. The other gorillas accept mischievous behaviour from a toddler as long as it has this white lock.

...maras are monogamous? They mate for life, which is rather unusual for rodents and lagomorphs.

...the longest bill or beak among the world’s birds belongs to the Australian pelican? Its bill can be 34 to 47 cm long.

...white-crowned mangabeys often communicate by flashing their conspicuous white eyelids? These animals also use their tails, posture and facial expressions as means of communication.

...two female black-crowned night herons are raising a chick together? The young bird, which wasn't getting enough food while with its biological parents, has been lovingly adopted by the female couple that had already built a nest together.

...the chicks of the wandering albatross take the longest to learn to fly? These late bloomers don't fly out of their nest until they are an average of 280 days old. The parent birds are thus able to raise young only once every two years.

...the common tenrec holds the record of the most young ever born to a mammal in one litter? The record birth took place in 1972 in the Netherlands' Wassenaar Zoo: 31 young! In the wild, a litter of 20 is not uncommon. The mother has as many as 29 nipples - more than any other animal.

...there is a whole range of very small lizard species? The smallest is the dwarf gecko, only 1,6 cm long with a tail about the same length. This tiny animal was discovered in the Dominican Republic in 2000.

...in relation to its size, the sword-billed hummingbird has the longest beak? The beak is 9 to 11 cm long: longer than this tiny bird’s entire body, including its tail! Having such a long beak allows this hummingbird to collect nectar from very deep, trumpet-shaped flowers.

...young mallee fowl, a species of megapode, can fly very soon after hatching? Only one hour after emerging from the egg, these chicks can run; after two hours they can flutter 10 to 15 metres above the ground. At 24 hours old, mallee fowl are already accomplished at flying.

...rats' eyes can jiggle in and out of their sockets so that they appear to be falling out? This can be seen while the animals grind their teeth when contented (and sometimes when they experience fear or pain). This eye movement is referred to as 'boggling'.

...an aardvark can dig a burrow in a snap? In less than five minutes, it can excavate a tunnel a metre long. This animal has the equipment for the job: very strong legs and shovel-like claws.

...a camel doesn't begin to sweat until it has a temperature of 40.5oC? In a human, that would be a serious fever!

...camels can go a very long time without water? While working in high temperatures, they can be without water for a week, and under other conditions for a few months. When water is again available, they can drink up to 60 litres of water in minutes.

...there are both carnivorous and herbivorous mosquitoes? Only the females drink blood and are therefore carnivores. The males are herbivores: they drink nectar.

...young vampire bats move gradually from a milk diet to a blood diet?

...bats live a relatively long life, especially in light of their size? They live an average of 5 to 8 years, but some bats reach the ripe old age of 30.

....the wild water buffalo has the longest horns? This animal is native to India, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand. One bull had horns 4.24 metres long - measured from tip to tip, along their outer curve and over the forehead.

...nearly all well-known spider species are carnivorous - that is, that they eat animal matter? Only one species of spider is known to live off of nectar: Bagheera kiplingi.

...insectivores (insect eaters) are a subgroup of carnivores? Moles and hedgehogs are well-known insectivores. The anteater is a highly specialised insectivore: it eats only ants and termites.

...during the great migration across the Serengeti includes gatherings of enormous numbers of gnus? At these times the herds can be up to 40 km long and consist of more than a million animals.

...the giant panda is the most herbivorous carnivore? Bears belong to the order Carnivora, yet the diet of most bears is mainly plant-based. The giant panda, however, is the most herbivorous of all with its 99% vegetarian diet.

...the polar bear eats mostly food of animal origin? Its diet consists mainly of seals, but walrus, beluga whale and narwhal are also on its menu. In the summer, the polar bear also consumes grass, berries and seaweed.

...the only crickets (house crickets) to make sound are the males? They are attempting to attract females. Elegantly, this chirping is called 'stridulation'.

...the female giant panda allows a male to mate with her only three days each year?

...the muscles the giant pangolin uses to control its tongue are attached to its pelvis? The animal uses its long tongue to extract termites from their nests.

...snails have a textured tongue-like structure with hundreds of tiny teeth? It's called a radula.

...the African wild dog has only 18 toes? Each forepaw bears four toes, each hind paw five. All other canines have 20 in all.

...the sea otter has the thickest fur of all mammals? This animal's coat has an average of 110,000 to 125,000 hairs per square centimetre.

...the heaviest spiders on earth are female bird-eating spiders? A female Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) was caught that weighed in at 155 grams.

...cats prefer to eat and drink in separate locations?

...the marine toad (Bufo marinus) can produce up to 30,000 eggs at a time? As the eggs are left to fend for themselves, mortality is extremely high for both eggs and tadpoles.

...a small Cuban frog (Euhyas limbatus) lays only one single egg at a time? This female frog does everything she can to help her eggs survive.

...the giant anteater eats an estimated 35,000 ants a day?

...the longest tongue of all mammals belongs to the giant anteater? It can stick its tongue out 60 centimetres.

...the largest living fish egg ever found was from a whale shark? The egg was 30.5 cm long, 14 cm wide en 8.9 cm high; it contained a living embryo 35 cm long.

...the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is also the largest fish on earth? Lengths of 17-18 metres have been reported, though the length frequently observed is 12 metres. The whale shark is a filter feeder: it eats plankton.

...a squirrel's tail plays an important role in thermoregulation? The tail can give off heat or not, depending on the need. In the cold, the squirrel can also use its tail as a blanket.

...the eye lenses of many squirrel species are yellow? This decreases the glare of bright light, and improves colour contrast. Flying squirrels have colourless lenses; these nocturnal animals don’t need the adaptation for bright daylight.

...the English animal name 'centipede' coincides with the German word, 'Hundertfüsser' -both meaning 'hundred feet'- but that the Dutch call this animal 'duizendpoot', or 'thousand feet'? Though this is the literal translation of the English name 'millipede', the Dutch call that animal... 'miljoenpoot': 'million feet'!

...these animals never have as many feet as their name would suggest? Some species have only 9 pairs of feet. The maximum is 375 pairs, for a grand total of 750 feet.

...a kitten doesn't become physically mature until a year old, and is not socially and behaviourally mature until eighteen months old? They remain kittens long beyond being little fuzzy balls of fur!

...the European black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) can hammer on a tree as many as 12,000 times a day?

...millions of years ago there were already penguins on earth? They did look different than they do today. One penguin was 1.5 m long and weighed 110 kilos!

...a puma was once seen leaping 3.6 metres up into a tree? And that's not all: at the time, the puma also had a deer carcass in its mouth!

....the name 'white rhino' is the result of a big misunderstanding between the Boer (farmer) settlers and the English in the South Africa of the last century? The Dutch-speaking farmers used the word 'wijd' (wide) to refer to the animal's broad lips; this became 'white' in English. This mistranslation was then also adapted by the Dutch.

...female cheetahs lead a solitary life? Males, in contrast, are often social and live in groups.

..elephants aren't very fast? They walk about 6 km per hour. But when angry or frightened, they can run, for short sprints, up to 40 km per hour. These grey giants are also able to swim and climb, but jumping is out of the question: landing would break their legs. And if they have to turn around, it's easier for them to walk backwards - so that's what they prefer.

...the pygmy marmoset is the world’s smallest monkey?

...AAA stands for Animal-Assisted Activities, AAI for Animal-Assisted Interventions and AAT for Animal-Assisted Therapy?

...not only dogs, but also horses and dolphins - and many more animal species - help care for humans? There are, for example, care assistants among donkeys, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and farm animals.

...the axolotl, even as a mature adult, retains the appearance of its larval stage?

...cats prefer to drink their water from a large, wide bowl because they don't like their whiskers to touch the sides?

... rabbits used to be considered rodents, but are actually members of the order Lagomorpha: relatives of the hare?

...giraffes have the same number of neck bones as humans?

...a tick can drink and store a great deal of blood - up to 600 times its own weight?

...there is a chicken breed without feathers on its neck? It's called the Transylvanian naked neck.

...Arctic terns fly, during their annual migration, from their breeding ground in the Arctic all the way to Antarctica - and back?

...during its life a gray whale travels as far as 800,000 kilometers kilometres during its migrations?

...the weasel is the smallest predatory mammal in the world?

...the fennec might be the smallest member of the fox family, but it has the largest ears relative to its body size?

...one dog- or cat-year is not equivalent to 7 people years? The development in the first two years in the life of a dog or cat is more rapid than for humans, and then it slows down.

...rats prefer familiar food? Early in life they learn the differences between strange and familiar food through the composition of the mother’s milk and by taking food from the mouth or paws of other rats, which older animals always allow.

...only 10% of all snakes are actually poisonous?

...a snow leopard can leap as far as 15 metres? In comparison: the world record for long jump is 8.95 metres (Mike Powell, 1991).

....that the bamboo eaten by giant pandas in European zoos comes from a bamboo nursery in the Netherlands?

...that a bird's sex is often determined using a DNA test?

...that American black bears are most definitely not always black? Besides jet-black, the bears can be dark brown, light brown, cinnamon-coloured, blonde and even white.

...that the wooly spider monkey is also called a muriqui?

..there are 36 different cheetah species?

...rats can mould? This doesn't mean they actually go mouldy: it's the term for the partial or complete disappearance of body markings. The effect is especially pronounced in the markings of husky rats.

...cheetah young have long, grey fur? This camouflages them well in the grass. Their coat also misleads predators by making them resemble honey badgers.

...sharks use a tooth for only 14 days? Their teeth grow in many rows, and they go through as many as 800 teeth a year.

...a rat's tears can seem like blood? In fact, this isn't blood, but a substance called porfyrine, which is secreted when a rat is sick or not feeling well.

...there are frogs that are smaller than the tadpoles from which they have developed? The adult Pseudos paradoxa is a third of the size of its own larval stage.

...camels don't sweat until their body temperature rises above 40,5 degrees Celsius? This is an adaptation to their life in the desert.

...many reptiles hibernate or are inactive in the winter? Sometimes this is simulated in captivity, in a refrigerator or cellar. Hibernation must be induced very gradually.

...the number of molars in rodents can vary widely from one species to the next? They can have, beside their 4 incisors (and 0 fangs), anywhere from 4 to 24 molars.

...camel dung is so dry that it can be immediately used for fuel? Excreting dry dung prevents unnecessary water loss.

...that there are now special computer games for cats? They can catch fish or hunt for treats on an iPad or Android tablet. See it for yourself on www.gamesforcats. com

...that a chameleon’s tongue can be 1,5 times the length of its body? This long tongue can be shot out very quickly to catch insects with its sticky tip.

...that the gestation period of a wolverine is 30-50 days, but the time between the conception and birth of the young can be 270 days? This discrepancy is due to delayed implantation.

...that sloths eat, sleep, mate, bear young, and locomote while hanging upside-down? Even some of their fir grows 'the wrong way'. Climbing and defecating (on the ground), however, are accomplished right-side up.

...a baby kangaroo (just like a baby wallaby) is called a joey?

...newborn bear cubs are very small, hairless and helpless?

...that hummingbirds are experts at hovering: the art of remaining still in mid-air? In an experiment, one hummingbird hovered for 50 minutes.

...that the lion is one of the few wild members of the cat family with a social lifestyle? Most cats are solitary, yet a pride of lions usually consists of five to fifteen females with their young and one to six males.

...some quail species are already fertile at five weeks of age? The birds then still have their juvenile feathers; they don't get their adult feathering until five to seven weeks later.

...the smallest lizard -- and smallest reptile -- in the world is a dwarf gecko? The head-body length is 1.6 cm; the tail is just as long.

  • A kangaroo can nurse two young of different ages at the same time? She can produce two kinds of milk: less concentrated for the younger one and more concentrated for the older of the two.

  • Hummingbirds eat roughly one and one-half times their own weight each day? The mainstay of their diet is nectar. These small birds have a very high metabolic rate.

  • Many cats love valerian root? It has a relaxing effect and can be given unlimitedly.

  • A cheetah is the fastest animal on land? It can reach up to 120 kilometres per hour, but it can keep this up for only about 30 seconds.

  • Rats can behave like a hedgehog? They can make their fur rise, like a hedgehog raises its spines. This makes the rats look bigger and allows them to impress their adversaries.

  • Pigs and humans are the only mammals that get sunburned?

  • Spiders do not have a larval stage? They hatch from the egg as a small spider. Then some skin peelings follows before they are fully grown.

  • The term 'cold-blooded' is not really appropriate for reptiles? A better term is ectotherm: The animal uses external influences to heat up or cool down.

  • Cats like to have several high and low spots to retreat to?

  • There is a species of moth that has a 28 cm tong? The Xanthopan morganii is a moth living on Madagascar that sucks its nectar from an orchid that has a very deep flower.

  • The hooded seal has the shortest known lactation period of all mammals? After only four days the young is weaned. The birth weight of about 25 kg has been doubled by then.

  • The male emperor moth can detect the scent of a female at a distance of 11 kilometres? The chemo-receptors on the antennas of the male moth are so sensitive that they can detect a single molecule.

  • Rats are very susceptible to obesity?

  • Female votsotsas do not become sexually mature before they are two years of age? Until then they stay with their mum and dad.

  • Crows sometimes use tools to get food? There have even been reported cases of crows bending their tools in the right shape first.

  • Some species of tarantula defend themselves by shooting off urticating hairs? The hairs have small barbs and are very irritating to the mucous membranes in our nose, mouth and eyes.

  • In England young cranes also attend school? They attend a Crane School.

  • The tongue of a polar bear has a blue-purple colour?

  • The Malay tapir is the only species of tapir in Asia?

  • The aardvark tongue can become up to 30 cm long? The long, sticky tongue is used to fish termites out of a termite nest.

  • The largest tarantula in the world can become up to 30 centimetres long (legs included)? This is the Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi).

  • There are rats that sway their head back and forth? They do this to estimate distances. This is called motion parallax. It is mainly seen in red-eyed rats.

  • Besides the blue-footed booby, there is also a red-footed booby?

  • There are rats that have eyes of two different colours? This is called an odd-eyed rat.

  • The emperor penguin can dive deeper than any other bird? It can dive almost 500 metres deep.

  • Cockatoos originally live only in Australia and on its neighbouring islands?

  • When hippos yawn, they do this as a threat? It intents to show their formidable teeth. In zoos the animals also do it to beg for food.

  • A Yemen chameleon prefers to drink (or lick up) water in the form drops? Still standing water is not always recognized as water.

  • The polar bear is the largest of 8 bear species?

  • Japanese macaques sometimes bathe in warm water wells to stay warm during hard winters?

  • The School Shark is from the family of Triakidae?

  • Capybaras are also called Water-hogs?

  • Some bird species have one big moulting period and others replace their feathers almost all through the year?

  • The 'casque' on the head of the male Veiled chameleon can become up to 8 centimetres high?

  • The young of a red ibis have a grey-brown colour? They obtain their beautiful red colour later.

  • Cats in the wild eat about 15 small prey a day? That is why it is so important to play with the cat (=to imitate hunting).

  • The Blue Whale is the largest living mammal on earth? The largest confirmed specimen was over 33 metres long, but usually their length lies between 21 and 27 metres.

  • The Red panda is also known as the Lesser panda?

  • The eyes of the giant octopus can become up to 25 centimetres wide? These are the largest eyes in the animal kingdom.

  • Alligators are good moms? They stay with their young for a year after they hatched.

  • Meerkats like to take a sunbath?

  • The radiated tortoise is considered one of the most beautiful tortoises?

  • Eagle rays are ovoviviparous?

  • Maleo's are superprecocial? The young birds emerge from the egg fully developed and have to take care of themselves right away. They can fly, they have to look for food and protect themselves against predators.

  • Bramble leaves are on the diet of almost all stick insects?

  • Gentoo penguins can obtain speeds under water of up to 27 kilometres per hour?

  • The beard of the bearded dragon is a throat sack, which is inflated in case of danger?

  • Grey parrots can get up to 60-70 years old?

  • Fur seals can walk on all fours?

  • Some fish spend their entire life in pitch-dark caves underground?

  • Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world?

  • Tuataras are also called living fossils?

  • The shingleback skink looks like it has got two heads? Its tail is long and wide in order to confuse predators.

  • The grey nurse shark eats its brothers and sisters while still inside the uterus?

  • The tongue of a chameleon is larger than its own body?

  • The North American forest frog can survive being frozen?

  • The Iberian lynx is the most rare feline species?

  • Poison dart frogs are protected internationally by law?

  • Rodents lack canines? They do have incisors.

  • Rodents do not always have the same amount of molars? The number varies between four and 24.

  • The giraffe is an ambler, just as the camel?

  • An ostrich can live up to sixty years?

  • A Kirk's Dik-dik is a very small kind of antelope?

  • The smallest scorpion is about nine millimeters in size? This so called Typhlochactas can be found in Mexico.

  • Ostriches walk on only two toes, while other birds walk on four?

  • Most insects have two pairs of wings, but the fly and the mosquito have only one pair?

  • Tree-kangaroos descend from the trees with their tails down?

  • White whales used to be called canaries of the sea due to their large repertoire of squeaks, clicking sounds and whistling sounds?

  • The animal with the most legs is called a millipede (Illacme plenipes)? Its total amount of legs comes down to 750 (375 pairs).

  • The male infants of black howler monkeys are not black at all, but in fact blond? Black hairs will only appear when they are three years of age.

  • Penguins do not have any teeth? They swallow their food in one go.

  • A bluetongue skink can let go of its tail to escape a predator?

  • Pigs have a poor sight? They're usually short-sighted.

  • Many snails are hermaphrodites? They have both male and female reproduction organs.

  • Bush-crickets have ears in their front legs?

  • The okapi can clean its ears with its tongue? Not many mammals can pull off this trick!

  • The largest moth in the world is an Atlas moth (Attacus caesar, wingspread 32 cm)?

  • The platypus and the echidna are the only two mammals that lay eggs?

  • Chinese dwarf hamsters are no vegetarians?

  • Lions mate around 30 to 40 times a day during the mating season?

  • When ostriches run there is about 2,5 to 3 meter between every step?

  • The contents of an ostrich egg is equivalent to the content of 25 chicken eggs?

  • The antlers of an elk can weigh up to 45 kilograms? Still they are shed each year.

  • Squirrels bite out the embryo of the acorn to stop it from sprouting?

  • Meerkats use their long nails as tooth picks?

  • The stripes of a zebra cool the animal down?

  • Ostriches can reach speeds of 65 kilometres an hour, making them the fastest bipeds of the animal kingdom?

  • Living lobsters are not red but blue? They only become red when being boiled.

  • Winnie de Pooh owes its name to a real bear called Winnie, who lived in London Zoo?

  • An octopus has three hearts?

  • It is the male seahorse that becomes pregnant?

  • The tongue of a blue whale weighs as much and is the same size of an adult elephant?

  • The sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) travels more than 65.000 kilometres a year?

  • A newborn elephant weighs 120 kilos?

  • Mosquitos have teeth?

  • This week you can read why not so brave rabbits have a positive effect on vegetation?

  • Falcons are being used to chase flocks of birds at airports?

  • This week you can read why ducks are better off without bread?

  • A walrus can eat over 10.000 molluscs in two days time?

  • Hedgehogs die because they become stuck in McFlurry cups?

  • The English edition of the EZNC newsletter is starting its second year of publication in 2007?

  • Hedgehogs have a long muscle alongside the abdomen, with which they can roll themselves into a ball?

  • There are bats that are able to recognize poisonous frogs by listening to quacking males?

  • The number of subscribers to the newsletter keeps rising?

  • Pigs are real creatures of habit and like to be fed on fixed times?

  • Dogs eat grass when they feel nauseous, which occurs more often if they are fed once a day?

  • The opening of a koala’s pouch is aimed downward?

  • With seahorses it is the male that becomes pregnant?

  • The Chinchilla’s most common health problems are caused by a wrong feed?

  • Hibernation is regulated without external stimuli with the Eastern chipmunk?

  • The White garden snail flees when beetle dung points to recent snail glutton?

  • The Quokka is a browser that is fond of eating leaves and flowers?

  • The biggest part of the feed is not digested by the horse itself but by microorganisms in the intestines?

  • Tree hyraxes hardly ever come down to ground, causing them to sometimes eat plants which are extremely poisonous for humans?

  • Manatees are herbivores which also occur in salt water?

  • More than 2000 people read the newsletter?

  • The horse’s predecessors (Eohippus) preferred a diet of leaves and soft vegetation, and the animal was also capable of digesting fruit and seeds?

  • A walrus can eat more than 10.000 clams in only two days?

  • There is not evidence that bird flu can spread through food, but that it’s not out of the question either?

  • as from today, the EZNC newsletter will appear on Wednesdays?

  • the brain of an Ostrich is smaller than its eyes?

  • elephants are able to smell their fellow elephants from a distance of 3 miles?

  • The Abstracts of the Nutrition Conference in Leipzig are available on the EZNC website?

  • Chocolate is toxic to pigs?

  • Galvanized bird cages can cause sink poisoning in birds?

  • The Abstracts of the Nutrition Conference in Rotterdam are available on the EZNC website?

  • Mice are creatures that sing in the presence of mates?

  • A ferret is a predator and not a rodent?