Today's Fact

Thursday, October 12, 2017


The dingo is a type of feral dog native to Australia, though it also occurs in Southeast Asia. . The dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and plays an important role as an apex predator. While dingoes are often a threat to livestock, their depredation on rabbits, kangaroos and rats can be a net benefit to pastoralists, and they are considered a cultural icon in Australia.

These golden or reddish-colored canids may live alone (especially young males) or in packs of up to ten animals. They roam great distances and communicate with wolf-like howls.

Dingo hunting is opportunistic. Animals hunt alone or in cooperative packs. They pursue small game such as rabbits, rodents, birds, and lizards. These dogs will eat fruits and plants as well. They also scavenge from humans, particularly in their Asian range.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Clouded Leopard

Clouded leopards are two species of wild cat that live throughout the forests of Southeast Asia. The smallest of the big cats, they are secretive and rare in the wild, preferring to remain alone and hidden from view.

Clouded leopards primarily live in lowland tropical rainforests, but can also be found in dry woodlands and secondary forests. They have been spotted at elevations up to 9000 feet in the Himalayan mountains. Historically, their range covered most of Southeast Asia from Nepal and southern China through Thailand, Indonesia, and Borneo. However, this range has shrunk due to habitat destruction and human poaching.

Clouded leopards are a medium-sized cat named for the cloud-like spots on its coat. These provide camouflage in the dappled light of its forest habitat. (In China the cat is known as the 'Mint Leopard' because its spots can also look like mint leaves). The cats usually stand 10-16 inches (25-40cm) tall and are 4 to 6 feet (1.2-1.8m) long, almost half of which is the tail. Males tend to be larger and weigh up to 50 pounds (23 kg), while females rank in at about 35 pounds (16 kg). Clouded leopards can live to about 17 years old in captivity.

Like all wild cats, clouded leopards are carnivores. They are thought to hunt a variety of prey including birds, squirrels, monkeys, deer, and wild pigs. It was once thought that clouded leopards hunted while climbing. Current thought, however, is that while some hunting may occur in the trees, most takes place on the ground. Trees are thought to provide resting habitat for clouds during the day.
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