Monday, December 11, 2006

A Week On The Wild Side, December 10th, 2006

Some things I've noticed in the past week.

The Year's Best Video Nasties
Ever seen an anaconda swallow the world's largest rodent, the south American capybara, or a giant octopus lock tentacles with a shark? Ever witnessed a puffer fish outwit an otter or a black mamba snacking on a squirrel? Didn't think so. Well, feast your eyes on National Geographic's top ten video clips of 2006. Just the thing now that Planet Earth has come to an end on the BBC.

Frosty The Ice Frog
The Australian Sunday Telegraph has been having great fun reporting on how a small frog that had been accidentally turned to ice in a freezer was successfully defrosted, at least for a while. This isn't quite the surprising news it seems. In fact, some types of frog - in common with other species - deliberately place themselves in a state of frozen, suspended animation so as to survive the Winter each year.
The common wood frog, for instance, is able to withstand the Arctic Winter by turning itself into an ice cube. The frog allows two thirds of its body water to freeze, thereby stopping its heart, brain and breathing functions and slowing its metabolism to a crawl. As long as its body temperature doesn’t drop below about 20° Fahrenheit (–6° C) its body will survive on the glucose in its system until the Spring thaw.
Similarly, some breeds of American alligators can survive the winter by freezing their snouts in ice, leaving their nostrils to breath for months on end.

Why Kitty Gets So Forgetful
Scientists at Edinburgh University may have explained why cats get so scatty in their old age. The rather disturbing truth is reported on the New Scientist's excellent daily blog.

All Together Now, Aaaaaaaah
Can't resist cute film footage of pandas? Then here's an early Christmas present, courtesy of Atlanta Zoo and the Associated Press.

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