Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Most venomous snake.

Photo of a Fierce Snake (Oxyuranus microlepido...Image via Wikipedia

From Australia.

The Inland Taipan, also more hysterically known as the Fierce Snake, can be regarded as the most venomous snake in the world. They have an LD50 (Lethal Dose 50% or Median Lethal Dose) of 0.025 mg/kg. This means that it takes this snake 0.025 mg of venom to kill 500 grammes worth of mice.

While their venom is certainly Fierce, the snake itself is quite shy and reclusive. There are no reports of deaths at the fangs of the Inland Taipan and all bites seem to have been inflicted on people studying them. Sure, these are people who say "hey, there's the most venomous snake in the world. Let's go pick it up" but they are also just the kind of people who carry antivenom and know how to use it. Phew!

More on the Inland Taipan and the LD50 of various snakes.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Biggest centipede.

Image source
Image by todbaker via Flickr

From western South America.

The biggest centipede in the world is the Giant Amazonian Centipede, which can reach over 30 cm (1 foot) in length. At this size insects just isn't for this predatory myriapod, lizards, mice and other vertebrates are on the menu instead.

Some of them even eat BATS! Here's a video showing that activity. It doesn't go into the gory details but believe me, some of the others do and the details really are gory!

More on Giant Centipedes.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Fastest animal.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) in flightImage via Wikipedia
Falco peregrinus, Taken on Covadonga, Asturias...Image via Wikipedia

From every continent except Antarctica.

The fastest animal of them all is the Peregrine Falcon, specifically a Peregrine Falcon diving towards the ground like a lunatic. Doing this, they can reach speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) as they plummet head first to certain death. They don't actually hit the ground though, otherwise they'd all be extinct! They actually do it to pluck other flying birds from the air.

Here's a seriously impressive video.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Longest snake.

Python reticulatus / сетчатый питонImage via Wikipedia
Image by wolfgang.wedenig via Flickr
From Southeast Asia.

The longest snake in the world is the Reticulated Python. They usually really reach 10 or 20 feet but one lady in a zoo in Pittsburgh was measured at 8.7 metres  (28.5 feet) long. She died in 1963.

As you can imagine, there have been many reports of even longer ones but none were captured and properly measured.

Despite the length and the fact that they're constrictors, Reticulated Pythons are actually slim, trim and keen swimmers. I guess we all have to watch our weight!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Heaviest snake.

Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus) being captur...Image via Wikipedia
The green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, is the l...Image via Wikipedia

From South America.

While not the longest, the heaviest snake in the world is the Green Anaconda. The biggest recorded was a female who reached 5.2 m (17 ft) long and 97.5 kilograms (215 lb) in weight.

There have been unconfirmed reports of some reaching more than twice this length and there is in fact reason to believe that they may indeed be capable of reaching something like this size in the more remote parts of the rainforest where there's more big prey and less humans messing about with everything.

They're not venomous, instead using their physical strength to overpower and suffocate anything they're capable of overpowering and suffocating. Which is most things.

More on the Anaconda.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Most abundant bird.

Red-billed Quelea in Warsaw ZOOImage via Wikipedia
Red-billed Quelea (Quelea queleaImage via Wikipedia
Red-billed Queleas form enormous flocks someti...Image via Wikipedia

From most of Africa.

The world's most abundant bird is the Red-billed Quelea. It is estimated that there are about 1.5 billion breeding adults and a full population of some 10 billion. They congregate into huge flocks when the breeding season comes round, sometimes numbering into the millions.

Now that's what I call "speed dating"!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Biggest brain, EVER!

Physeter macrocephalus.Image via Wikipedia

From oceans all over the world.

The Sperm Whale has the biggest brain of any animal ever to exist. It weighs in at some 7.8 kg (17.2 pounds), more than 5 times that of humans.

That's pretty impressive. I'd still beat them at Scrabble, though.

More about brain size.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Only frog to break its own bones.

An example of Trichobatrachus robustus, The ha...Image via Wikipedia

From Central Africa.

The Hairy Frog has an incredibly odd and rather drastic defence mechanism. When the going gets really tough, it breaks its own toes such that a sharp bone rips through its skin like a claw. This bone can later be retracted and heal over so that it can do it again some time. Crazy frog.

"If I'd do this to myself, imagine what I'd do to you!"

More on the madness of the Hairy Frog.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Biggest monkey.

Mandrill at Singapore ZooImage via Wikipedia

MandrillImage by Pickersgill Reef via Flickr

From western Central Africa.

The world's biggest monkey is the Mandrill. Males can reach more than 90 cm (36 in) in length and weigh over 35 kg (77 lb), females are quite a lot smaller.

Dominant males in particular are also extremely colourful. An extraordinary blue and red face is matched only by his, er... other end. I bet he doesn't ask the ladies if his "bum looks big in this", either!

More on the Mandrill.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Most abundant deep sea fish.

Image via Wikipedia
From deep sea oceans world wide.

With a biomass of some 550 - 660 million metric tonnes the 250 species of Lanternfish are the most abundant of the deep sea. The largest of them are just 30 cm (1 foot) in length while most are half that, yet sampling suggests they account for about 65% of the entire deep sea fish biomass.

They get their name from the abundance of light emitting photophores on their head and body. With those kind of numbers it seems that the deep sea is not so dark and bleak after all!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Biggest frog.

Image source
From a small area of west Africa.

The biggest frog or toad in the world is the aptly named Goliath Frog. It reaches some 33 cm (13 inches) in length and that doesn't include the hugely long legs.

I've never eaten frog's legs, but there appears to be a banquet for someone here!
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