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December 2011

All About Reindeer

Thu 22nd December 2011 (2 comments)

Reindeer are one of the world's most northerly living large mammals that are found inhabiting parts of North America, Europe and Asia that stretch into the Arctic Tundra and further towards the North Pole. Also known as Caribou, Reindeer have adapted perfectly to the freezing conditions that surround them.

Reindeer have special hooves that adapt to the changing Arctic seasons and go from being sponge-like to give them more surface area on the damp, soft ground in the summer, to exposing the rims of their hooves in the winter which helps them to cut into the ice and therefore prevent the animal from slipping.

A Year As A Bat

Fri 16th December 2011 (0 comments)

Out of the more than 1,000 Bat species found worldwide, there are eighteen different species of Bat that are found in the UK with 17 of them actually breeding here, meaning that Bats make up more than a quarter of the mammalian species found in the country.

Ranging in size from the tiny Pipistrelle Bat (which is actually the most common species) weighing just 5g to the Noctule which can weigh up to 40g, Britain's Bat species are all vital to local eco-systems but are threatened throughout much of their natural range.

Helping Orang-Utans This Christmas

Tue 13th December 2011 (0 comments)
Festive Tree

The festive season a time of tradition with vast amounts of money being spent on small gifts and presents for friends and loved ones. However, do people really need all the extra plastic and battery powered toys that will only be used for a couple of days before they are set aside.

This time of the year is a time of generosity so why not bring a more eco-friendly feeling into your festive season by purchasing products that are not only better for the environment but also help to support animals all around the world, such as the new Good Gift Cards that have recently been released by the Orang-Utan Appeal UK.

Palm Oil Free Treats - 5. Chocolatey Toffee Brownies

Fri 9th December 2011 (0 comments)
Wild Orangutan

With ever increasing awareness about the negative effects that the palm oil industry is having on the environment, it remains a great shame that more and more everyday products seem to contain it. However, as companies are permitted to list it as "vegetable oil" in their ingredients consumers are unable to make an informed decision.

The worst thing for many consumer-level palm oil activists is not just the fact that basic products contain it, but also that those rare indulgences are now a thing of the past with palm oil found (but listed as vegetable oil) in all kinds of treats including chocolate, sweets, ice cream and numerous types of biscuit. So, at A-Z Animals we have prepared a number of palm oil free recipes for you to enjoy!

Watching Wildlife - December

Wed 7th December 2011 (0 comments)
Blue Tit

Blue Tit

At first glance the bitter month of December seems to be dull and uneventful for the amateur naturalist but, as the cold winter weather sets in there is actually a great deal going on in the wildlife world (although gloves and waterproofs are essential).

A number of our native insect species will be holding up in secure places to hibernate over the winter and the dwindling amount of small prey also gives rise to larger predators having to search further for food, so keep your eyes and ears open both in the wild and in the garden.

The Deadly Powers Of Pistol Shrimps

Fri 2nd December 2011 (0 comments)

The Pistol Shrimp is a small species of shrimp that is found in tropical waters and has a distinctive over-sized claw. The roughly 500 species of Pistol Shrimp all differ slightly in appearance and location but share the large boxing-glove claw with the other one being slightly smaller in size.

Although it may seem that Pistol Shrimps have evolved these to have a stronger claw for both hunting and fighting, it is actually designed for these things but works in a very special way. By snapping the claw shut, Pistol Shrimps are able to stun their prey before they are then safe to kill and consume it.