One of two exhausted house guests
"In the day, when the frog is asleep, a gold membrane creeps over its eyes. It lets in a small amount of light, enough so that if a predator approaches, the non-poisonous frog can wake up, show its bulging red eyes and present its yellow feet in a bid to make the would-be attacker think twice."
William James Webbe, The White Owl, 1856
This painting was recently discovered hidden in an attic in Hampshire, England, and eventually sold for £589,250 (nearly a million dollars) at Christie’s auction of Victorian art.
Absurd Creature of the Week:
Foot-Long, Sex-Crazed Snails That Pierce Tires and Devour Houses
by Matt Simon
Ah, the innocence of children. So free of corruption and cynicism, so sweet and sincere. Laughing and playing and introducing supremely destructive monster snails to Florida, where the beasts eat almost anything that’s green and then crap all over houses — quite literally laying waste to whole neighborhoods.
This actually happened in the 1960s, when a boy vacationing with his family in Hawaii had pocketed a few giant African land snails (Lissachatina fulica), a mollusk that grows to a foot long and a full pound. Hawaii had been battling the pest, and so too would Florida, where the boy returned with his new friends. Once home, he quickly grew bored of the snails and handed them over to his grandmother, who set them free in her backyard.
What ensued was an invasion by rapidly reproducing critters that have over the last century spread out of their native East Africa into tropical climes all over the world, from Asia to South America, as stowaways on ships or as pets brought home by people with a thing for snails. In Florida, eradication took seven years. Other places, like Brazil, have not been so lucky in their efforts…
(read more: Wired Science)
the southern grasshopper mouse eats scorpions and howls at the moon. happy new year! (at southern california to texas)
From the genus Magnapinna, the Bigfin Squid's long tentacles can grow up to four and six meteres (13-29 feet). Their purpose? Scientists speculate that they run them along the sea floor to snatch prey.
Rare Giant Salamander Bred in Captivity
by Tim Hornyak
Imagine an amphibian up to 5 ft (1.5 m) long that can weigh 80 lbs (36 kg) and snap chunks off your finger in a split second.
The Japanese giant salamander is one of the largest of its kind in the world: a mottled, slimy, living fossil that has changed little in millions of years. Being nocturnal and mostly aquatic, these super-salamanders are rarely seen. They lurk in cool streams in mountains and foothills. Though once caught for food, they’re now protected as a national treasure in Japan.
Hunting, pollution, and river damming brought their conservation status to “near threatened,” but now a nature center says it has made progress in breeding the giant salamanders.
“Although this is the second captive breeding in Japan, it’s the first in an indoor display tank,” said Akihiro Ito of the Hanzake Nature Museum of Mizuho in Shimane Prefecture. “It took us five years.”…
(read more: National Geo)
photo by Joel Sartore, National Geographic