Monday, September 12, 2005 :::

hwoarang the hamster

  • Hamsters typically live no more than two to three years in captivity, less than that in the wild. Because of their short life expectancy, hamsters mature quickly and can begin reproducing at a young age (two months). Left to their own devices, hamsters will produce several litters a year with several babies in each litter. Male and female hamsters are therefore usually kept in separate enclosures to prevent the addition of unwanted offspring.

  • It is often said that goldfish have a memory span of only a few seconds, but this is not entirely true. Goldfish have what could be called a selective memory; that is to say, they have some kind of consciousness of what has happened on previous occasions, but may not be sure exactly what it was. They can learn to eat from a certain ring inside their tank, or even from their caretaker's hand, because they will remember that there is something good in that area, but might not remember what. This behavior, or type of learning is an example of classical conditioning. If a predatory animal such as a heron is around, they will likely hide away for quite a while, but they probably do not know what it is they are hiding from; they simply know it is worth avoiding. Goldfish have a sense of time, and in captivity may be able to recognize a set feeding schedule, becoming excited before food even appears. Contrary to the notion that goldfish have poor memory, they will respond to a visit by a predator such as a raccoon, which may completely trash a small pond traumatizing the resident goldfish, by remaining extremely shy and jittery to any approach thereafter.

  • In their wild state, Guinea pigs are found on grassy plains and occupy an ecological niche similar to that of the cow. They move together in small groups (herds) eating grass or whatever other plants they come across. They are crepuscular, tending to be most active during dawn and dusk, when it is harder for predators to spot them. If startled they can run for cover with surprising speed. Domesticated guinea pigs have developed a different rhythm, and have longer periods of activity followed by short periods of sleep in between. Activity is scattered randomly over the 24 hours of the day.

  • When ferrets are especially excited, they will perform the weasel war dance, a frenzied series of sideways hops.

  • In Canada and the United States, the Betta is sometimes sold in a vase with a plant, with the erroneous claim that the fish can feed on the roots of the plant. Betta species are carnivorous, though, and an appropriate food must be provided, such as dry "betta pellets" or live or frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp. When kept in a small container such as a vase, the fish need frequent water changes, and the container must be kept in a warm room. A larger tank with a heater will provide better living conditions. Wherever the fish is kept, water must be treated with an appropriate water conditioner before use.

  • In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, white mice are pan-dimensional beings who commissioned the construction of a giant computer, the Earth, that would provide for them the question of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. This is revealed after the earth is destroyed by a Vogon construction crew five minutes before the question is finally calculated. The mice re-appear to commission a second earth and discover Arthur Dent, the sole survivor of earth's destruction, and offer to buy his brain , expecting it to contain the question which they seek.

  • Most other lizard species are utterly harmless to humans (most species native to North America, for example, are incapable even of drawing blood with their bites). Only the very largest lizard species pose any threat at all; the Komodo dragon, for example, has been known to attack and kill humans and their livestock. The chief impact of lizards on humans is positive; they are significant predators of pest species; numerous species are prominent in the pet trade; some are eaten as food (for example, iguanas in Central America); and lizard symbology plays important, though rarely predominant roles in some cultures (e.g. Tarrotarro in Australian mythology).

  • Many species of frog (and toad) have deep calls, or croaks. Frog noise tends to be spelt (for English speakers) as "crrrrk" in Britain and "ribbit" in the USA. This difference is due to Britain and the USA having different species of frogs (e.g. Rana temporaria in Britain and Rana pipiens (leopard frog) etc in the USA.) The croak of the American bullfrog Rana catesbiana is sometimes spelt "jug o' rum". The Ancient Greeks (for example Aristophanes) spelt the croak of the usual Greek species of frog as "korax" or "brekekekex co-ax co-ax": that species is probably Rana ridibunda. Small tropical frogs tend to have higher-pitched calls. Rigveda book 7 hymn 103 describes frogs with different calls (gom?yu = "having a voice like a cow's" and ajam?yu = "having a voice like a goat's") calling when the rains bring the breeding season.

  • The toes of the gecko have attracted a lot of attention, as they adhere to a wide variety of surfaces, without the use of liquids or surface tension. Recent studies of the setae on gecko footpads demonstrates that the attractive forces that hold geckos to surfaces are van der Waals interactions between the finely divided setae and the surfaces themselves.
    That these kinds of interactions involve no liquids (or no gases) is important; in theory, a boot made of synthetic setae would adhere as easily to the surface of the International Space Station as it would to a living room wall.

  • Chinchillas are unique and charming pets. In captivity they live up to 20 years, but they usually do not live for more than 10 years in countries with a climate that they are not adapted to.

::: posted by tinafish at 2:47 PM :::