i am physically incapable of not reblogging this
The spaniel looks like my Lola!
Red-sided garter snake (North America - Discovery Channel)
When you are a young and curious sea lion, playing up to an underwater camera comes as second nature. These adorable pups preened and posed for pictures when photographer Michael O’Neill plunged into the sea. At one point, he found himself surrounded by a pod of up to 40 sea lions including a suspicious bull which swam round him before deciding he was a friendly creature. Michael, a professional wildlife cameraman, took the stunning images at South Australia’s Hopkins Island near Port Lincoln. He is now planning to publish them in his new book about marine wildlife. The 45-year-old American from Florida, said: ‘The pups were mostly playing in the shallows and the adults were basking in the sun, which had been absent for days. ’The minute I jumped into the water from a boat, all the pups raced towards me - they were followed by a big bull who made a few passes to check me out. ’All of the animals, including the bull, were friendly and were mesmerized by my underwater camera. ’The pups played and chased each other, picking up rocks and dropping them and occasionally blowing bubbles. ’They followed me around for about two hours before they started to lose interest and swam away towards the beach.’
The animals are highly endangered with only 10,000 to 15,000 left despite the fact they have been protected from hunting for the last 40 years. Experts believe a variety of factors are negatively impacting sea lions, including food shortage, entanglement in fishing equipment and high pup mortality. They are also under threat of predation from sharks, human disturbance and even bullying by New Zealand fur seals which are taking over their territory.
Animal of the week!
This week’s animal is the Galapagos Fur Seal, aka adorable cuddleball. (That should really be the scientific name, I mean look at these guys.) These seals live on the shores and off the coasts of the Galapagos islands. They are an endangered species. They’re small compared to other seals, with males usually reaching 4 feet 11 inches in length and weighing about 140 pounds. Females are much smaller, coming in at 3 feet 11 inches in length and usually weighing 60 pounds. They have a grayish brown fur coat. Compared to other seals, these guys spend most of their time on land, with about 70% of their time being spent out of the water (most other seals average a 50/50 split of time on land and in water). These seals don’t have any constant predators; occasionally a shark or an orca will feed on one, but that’s pretty rare. The seals feed on mostly fish and octopuses/squids, and they usually feed at night and close to shore. They are a protected species, so even though they’re listed as endangered their numbers are stable and rising.
Animal of the week! Trigger warning for arachnophobia.
This week’s animal is the six eyed sand spider. I just saw a few videos of sand spiders and I immediately fell in love with these little guys. This spider can range up to 50 millimeters (about 2 inches) from leg tip to leg tip. They live in deserts and other sandy areas in southern Africa. They have only six eyes—rather than the eight eyes spiders usually have—and have a brown or sandy coloured, flattened body that helps it blend in with the sand around it. In order to get food, rather than using a web, this spider flattens itself and buries itself in the sand and waits for prey that happens to wander too close. They eat other insects and scorpions. If the spider can tell that a human or other animal larger than itself is walking too close, or if it’s disturbed, it will just run a few feet in a random direction and bury itself again. While this spider is very shy and typically doesn’t come into contact with humans or even bite humans, its venom is particularly powerful (some sources put them in the top ten most venomous spiders lists) as it breaks down blood cells and causes tissue death.