Increase your knowledge
about the animal and bird kingdoms. Read on for answers to some basic questions.
Which is the national
bird of India?
The peacock is the national
bird of India. To be more specific, the male of the species is called a
peacock, while the female is a peahen. The female is smaller than the male.
When the male wishes to attract the female, it opens out its feathers and
dances merrily. A dancing peacock is indeed a wonderful sight to behold!
There are two varieties of peacocks: the green and bronze peacock found
in Sri Lanka and the metallic blue peacock found in India. Peacocks are
generally found in forests. They are omnivorous i.e. they eat plants as
well as animals.
What is a rabbit?
A rabbit is an adorable,
cute, furry white creature. While their bodies are tiny, their ears are
huge and pink from the inside. These large ears enable the rabbit to hear
even the faintest sound. They have a good sense of smell as well. They
run very quickly, as their rear legs are longer than their forelegs. Rabbits
are very timid by nature. They live in homes called burrows, which are
dug underground. Most of them, particularly the wild rabbits, come out
of their homes at night, to hunt for food. They eat grass and carrots!
Did you know that a female rabbit produces nearly a dozen rabbits a year?
Yes, rabbits have an excellent fertility rate, which is how this species
has survived despite being hunted down by dogs, wolves and man. Man hunts
the rabbit for its furry coat, as well as for its meat.
What is the difference
between a rabbit and a hare?
While many people confuse
the two, it is important to note that a rabbit is NOT a hare. There are
some major differences between the two animals. Rabbits are born furless,
while hares are born with a full coat of fur. Rabbits are born with their
eyes and ears fully closed, and they mature slowly. Hares are born with
their eyes and ears open, and can start running around and fending for
themselves very early. If a rabbit and a hare mate, no offspring will be
produced.However, hares and rabbits look very similar, which is why they
are often confused. One of the many similarities is that hares run just
as fast as rabbits. (Remember the story of The Turtle and the Hare?)
What is a seahorse?
The seahorse is the slowest
moving fish. It is a highly bony sea-creature that has a head shaped like
a horse's head, hence its name. Sea-horses are tiny creatures, but vary
in colour. They could be red, white, blue or yellow. A seahorse wraps its
tail around seaweed whilst resting. The position of the seahorse whilst
swimming is upright. It uses its dorsal fin to do this. The seahorse has
a queer method of reproducing. The female seahorse has a special egg-laying
organ that is placed in a pouch by the male's belly when the male and female
mate. It is then the male that looks after the eggs and they hatch in the
pouch itself. Seahorses are safe in the oceans, as they are not sought
after by predator fish.
Why are certain
species getting extinct?
Certain species are dying
out are due to environment conditions, while others are dying out do to
encroachment and hunting by human beings. One such example is the Tibetan
Antelope, which is being hunted down by poachers for its skin, which is
used to make the toosh shawl. Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest
states that man or animal has to adapt itself to the changing times, or
perish. In addition, due to increasing pollution and population around
the world, deforestation and industrialization on a large scale, animals
have had to face difficult times. However, efforts are being made to create
and preserve wildlife sanctuaries in different parts of the world.
Why does a woodpecker
the name suggests, the woodpecker is a bird that pecks at the bark of trees,
searching for food (insects). The woodpecker is adept at this. Once the
woodpecker spots its prey, he pecks away at the bark and drills a hole
in it. Sometimes he pecks away at both sides of the trunk, creating a hollow.
In America, there are nearly 25 species of woodpeckers. In Britain, woodpeckers
have a red, black and white coat of feathers. In the rest of Europe, the
woodpecker is green, red and yellow in colour.