Keep up to date with the latest wildlife news in the UK and abroad right here……
A yellow lump, found on Morecombe beach, could be whale vomit (yuck) – worth a small fortune!
Called ambergis, the solid, waxy substance actually comes from sperm whales’ stomachs. (It is made up of food whales can’t digest.) Ambergis is used to make perfume.
The ‘vomit’ is very rare and is nicknamed ‘floating gold’ because perfume-makers will pay a lot of money for it.
stars in their eyes
Dung beetles (who feed on poo – ew!) use the stars to navigate, scientists have learnt! The tiny insects (also known as ‘scarabs’) craft dung into balls. They then follow the glow of the Milky Way (our galaxy), in a straight line, away from the dung pile… therefore avoiding any dung beetle thieves! The dung beetle is the first insect, scientists know of, that use the stars in this way.
beetle ‘hitches a ride’
A beetle, thought to be extinct, has appeared in South Devon!
The Mediterranean oil beetle was last seen in Essex in 1906. It was spotted between Bolt Head and Bolt Tail, on the coast. The beetle is matt-black and about 2-to-3 centimetres long.
Oil beetles’ larvaes rely on ground bees (whose numbers are slowly falling). Scientists believe a larva may have been carried across the English Channel on the back of a bee!
two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!
Despite fame (in the carol The Twelve days of Christmas), scientists are worried about turtle doves and partridges.
It’s believed there are only 14,000 turtle dove pairs and 43,000 partridge pairs in the UK. This may be due to a fall in the number of hedgerows (for nesting) and a drop in weed seeds (for eating).
But, hopefully, this isn’t the birds’ last Christmas! Conservationists are hoping to reintroduce them back into areas where they’ve disappeared.
that’s a lot of legs!
Scientists have researched the rare illacme plenipes millipede… and found out its secrets!
Normal millipedes have about 62 legs. But, the illacme plenipes (whose name means ‘plentiful feet’ in Latin) has many, many more. The females have 750 legs, and the males have 560!
Found in a small area of California, USA, the millipede is only 1 to 3 centimetres long. It has surprised scientists by having body hair that can make silk, and large antennae.
koshik the talking elephant
A 22-year-old elephant, from South Korea, has amazed scientists by ‘speaking’!
Koshik, who lives in a zoo, can say ‘hello’, ‘no’, ‘lie down’, ‘sit down’ and ‘good’ in the language of his country, Korean. By putting his trunk in his mouth, he can match human sounds. However, like parrots (who copy human speech), it’s not thought Koshik understands what he’s saying. But scientists are not disheartened. They believe Koshik’s skills could help us learn how animals make sounds.
dolphins’ sleepy brains
Dolphins can stay active for over 2-weeks, scientists say. The clever sea mammal can keep half its brain awake, whilst the other half sleeps. When humans sleep our whole brain ‘switches off’.
Experts think this skill is important to the dolphins’ survival. It means they can surface to breathe, and watch for sharks.
Researchers in California, USA, tested two bottlenose dolphins (called Nay and Say), recording their responses, as they swam around a pen.
invertebrates in danger
According to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), one-fifth of the world’s invertebrates are in danger of extinction (being wiped out).
Invertebrates are animals without a backbone/ spine. These include molluscs (snails and slugs), crustaceans (crabs and lobsters), spiders and worms. As humans, we rely on their input to keep the world healthy and balanced. (Worms, for example, recycle nutrients in the soil, helping plants grow.)
80% of the world’s animals are invertebrates. It’s believed that pollution, disease and foreign species are the reason for possible extinction.
say hello to the Lesula!
A new species of monkey has been discovered.
Locals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), West Africa, call the monkey a Lesula. The monkeys have blond hair, and the adult males have a blue bottom! The lesulas live in the thick, unexplored DRC forest. They feed on fruit, flower buds and leafstalks.
Conservationists are calling for the area to be protected. Biologists hope the forest may be home to more unidentified species.
make your nature count
It’s not only us who haven’t enjoyed the cold, wet summer! The RSPB’s Make your nature count survey has shown a drop in robins, blackbirds and thrushes. It’s believed the weather may have made it hard for adult birds to find food for their chicks. The Make your nature count survey gets its data from members of the public who count the wildlife in their gardens. See what birds you can spot out of your window!
giant python found
A record-breaking python has been found in Florida, USA. Weighing in at 164lbs, the Burmese python was an amazing 17-foot long! (A normal adult’s height is between 5 foot and 6 foot.) The snake was pregnant with 87 eggs – that’s a lot of babies!
The Burmese python is not native to America (they come from southern Asia). Officials have blamed them for a decline in mammals in the Florida Everglades National Park, as pythons like to eat rabbits and foxes… but also hunt larger animals – such as alligators and deer!
turn it off!
With the help of Bill Oddie, our friends at www.dontdothedodo.com have put together another catchy song called TURN IT OFF!! You can show your support and remind people to save water by downloading their free ringtone. By spreading their message you will help preserve our species and environment, whilst having some fun on the way!
become a hedgehog champion!
Hedgehogs need your help! Our prickly little friends are struggling to cope with warmer winters, modern gardens, changes in farming and more cars on the road to name just a few dangers. You can take action to help wild hedgehogs by making your neighbourhood or school hedgehog friendly. Join over 25,000 other hedgehog lovers and sign up for your free champions pack at www.hedgehogstreet.org. Thank you!
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