Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cobra (A quiver)

It seems unfairly menacing that a snake that can literally "stand up" and look a full-grown person in the eye would also be among the most venomous on the planet, but that describes the famous king cobra.

King cobras can reach 18 feet (5.5 meters) in length, making them the longest of all venomous snakes. When confronted, they can raise up to one-third of their bodies straight off the ground and still move forward to attack. They will also flare out their iconic hoods and emit a bone-chilling hiss that sounds almost like a growling dog.

Their venom is not the most potent among venomous snakes, but the amount of neurotoxin they can deliver in a single bite—up to two-tenths of a fluid ounce (seven milliliters)—is enough to kill 20 people, or even an elephant. Fortunately, king cobras are shy and will avoid humans whenever possible, but they are fiercely aggressive when cornered.

King cobras live mainly in the rain forests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia, and their coloring can vary greatly from region to region. They are comfortable in the trees, on land, and in water, feeding mainly on other snakes, venomous and nonvenomous. They will also eat lizards, eggs, and small mammals.

They are the only snakes in the world that build nests for their eggs, which they guard ferociously until the hatchlings emerge.

King cobras may be best known as the species of choice for the snake charmers of South Asia. Although cobras can hear, they are actually deaf to ambient noises, sensing ground vibrations instead. The charmer's flute entices the cobra by its shape and movement, not by the music it emits.

Clam (A bed)

Interesting Facts About Clams

You might think that most facts about clams are boring, but clams are actually quite remarkable! The name clam can be used in reference to a number of mollusks, mussels, and oysters. For the most part, clams are masses of tissue and are completely invertebrate—meaning they have no bone structure. Instead of bones, clams of all sorts have some form of shell to protect them from the elements and predators such as birds, fish, and humans. In the science world, clams are known as bivalves—which basically means two-shells.

Physical Characteristics

Although clams are usually thought of as one soft mass—and they are, in a sense—they do actually have body parts. That’s right, clams have a head, foot, and radula! The foot is located at the front where the shells open. The foot can be pushed through the opening of the shells to swim or help burry the clam in the sand. In addition to a foot, they also have a tongue-like part called a radula. The radula collects bits of food and helps to break them down. Clams also have “systems” just as we humans do. In fact, they have a reproductive system, allowing them to procreate, a digestive system to break down food, nervous system, and a circulatory system which pumps blood through closed vessels like we humans have. A clam’s shell is one of the best known facts about clams. What some people aren’t aware of is the fact that the clam actually has an inner and an outer shell (going back to the “bivalve” thing). But the interesting part is that the inner shell isn’t really a shell-like material as you would imagine, but more like a really strong muscle-like tissue. This muscle is attached to both the outer shell and the body of the clam, which is how clam shells are able to remain closed (and often times require a special tool to crack them open).

Impressive Facts About Clams

The biggest clam ever recorded was around 750 pounds in weight! It was discovered in Okinawa, Japan in 1956. The oldest living—at the time—clam was a quahog found near Iceland. It was estimated to be about 405 years old and could possibly have been the oldest living marine animal! A clam’s age can be told by cutting into the shell and counting the “rings” present there. These rings develop over the years and there should in fact be one ring for every year of the clam’s life. Each ring is usually different from the others because of the environmental factors that took place that year, such as temperature of the water, available food, and how oxygenated the water was.

Cooking with Clams

The French used to make a stew-like dish out of clams and salted pork called chaudree. This stew was brought to Canada when the French immigrants took residence there. As you can imagine, the recipe soon traveled south across the Canadian-American border. Coastal areas in New England took a fancy to this dish because they had an abundance of clams. The recipe changed a little over the years and what was once a hearty French stew turned into the famous New England clam chowder dish! The Italian culture uses many types of clams in a number of traditional seafood and pasta dishes. American coastal areas also use clams as main ingredients or accent flavors in a wide variety of dishes. Clams are often boiled, steamed, fried, baked, or sautéed, however they can be eaten raw if one has the palette for it!

Chicks (A clutch or chattering)

Caring for baby chickens is a full-time endeavor. Proper housing, a heat source and the ability to meet their nutritional needs should be considered before bringing chicks home, whether you are seeking a pet or starting your own flock.

Chicks usually hatch after a 21-day incubation period. While in the egg, the chick grows to take up all the room inside except the air cell.
Need for Heat
Chicks need warmth until they are feathered. A common heat-ray lamp kept 15 to 20 in. above the chicks is an inexpensive choice for a small flock.
Feed and Water
Chicks should be fed as much as they will eat of a special commercial diet. They need fresh water offered in a pan that will not tip over easily.
Chicks are susceptible to predators and disease. Housing should be safe from outside animals. All surfaces should be disinfected before the chicks arrive and at regular intervals afterward.
Growth and Maturity
Female chicks are called pullets until they are 1 year old. At age 6 months, they begin to lay their own eggs.
Fun Fact
Baby chicks can breathe before they hatch. An eggshell may seem solid, but it actually contains about 8,000 pores large enough for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Chicken (A brood or peep)

On average, a hen lays 300 eggs per year.

Nine egg yolks have been found in one chicken egg.

A mother hen turns her egg approximately 50 times in a day. This is so the yolk does not stick to the shell.

To produce a dozen eggs, a hen has to eat about four pounds of feed.

The largest chicken egg ever laid weighed a pound and had a double yolk and shell.

A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs, and a chicken with white earlobes will produce white eggs.

A chicken is 75% water.

In the U.S., approximately 46% of the chicken that is eaten by people comes from restaurants or other food outlets.

Hens will produce larger eggs as they grow older.

A chicken loses its feathers when it becomes stressed.

A chicken once had its head cut off and survived for over eighteen months, headless.

Cattle (A herd or drove)

Top Ten Facts About Cattle:
Dogs and cats drink by lapping water with their tongues while cattle and horses make use of a sucking action.

Other than beef, cattle provide important by-products for pharmaceuticals, bubble gum, crayons, candles, toothpaste, paper, plastic, perfume, antifreeze, glue, tires, paints, and much more!

Female cattle are cows, males are bulls, and babies are calves.

Cattle are very curious and they have a tendency to investigate anything.

Cattle only have one stomach but with four compartments to help digest grasses and grains.

Cows often have their ear pierced for ID tags.

A cow grazes for about 8 hours every day.

Cows regurgitate their food and re-chew the cud to help digestion.

The average dairy cow gives 200,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.

Texas has the most cattle - 13 million.

Caterpillar (An army)

Insect. Butterflies and moths spend their childhood as caterpillars, called the larval stage. Caterpillars eat constantly. They outgrow their skin and shed it several times. After the last shedding, the caterpillar fastens to a branch and enters the pupa or chrysalis stage; moth caterpillars use a silk thread from their silk glands to spin a protective cocoon. Inside the cocoon, the pupa goes through a process called metamorphosis. The caterpillar's six front legs transform into the adult insect's legs, the other “prolegs” disappear, wings grow, and the insect emerges as a beautiful moth or butterfly.

Scientific Name Lifespan
Larva 3-4 weeks until pupation

Herbivore. The majority of caterpillars are herbivores, and eat mostly leaves, though some species eat all plant parts, fungi and dead animal matter, including other caterpillars.

Predators and Threats
Wasps, birds, parasites, and humans.

You can find caterpillars almost everywhere from sandy beaches to meadows to mountain forests, worldwide. There are even caterpillars in some Arctic areas.

Cat (A clowder or clutter)

Cats are born with blue eyes. They change at approximately 12 weeks of age.
Sometimes your cat will find it difficult to find the treats you throw him on the floor. The reason is because cats can't see directly under their own nose.
Cats can jump between 5 & 7 times as high as their tail.
Ailurophobia: the hate or fear of cats
80% of all cats, big and small, have the same reaction to catnip, due to their feline genes. Cats that are younger than 6 months and tigers however, do not react to catnip.
A cat uses it's whiskers to tell if the space they are contemplating entering is big enough for them.
Cats not only walk on their toes but they have 5 toes on their front paws and 4 toes on the their back paws.
Killing a cat was punishable by death in acient Egypt.
Just like fingerprints on humans, the nose pad of cats is rigid in a pattern that is completely unique.
Sir Isaac Newton is credited for inventing the cat door.
Start a garden inside your home. Cats love to eat grass, parsley, catnip, and sage. However, consult your Vet before planting a garden for your cat to eat. Many plants are harmful or even fatal to cats.
Pet owners live longer, happier lives with less stress and less heart attacks.
Cats prefer their food at room temperature.
Don't put your cat's collar on too tight. Make sure you can slip 2 fingers between the collar and the cat.