Meerkats live mostly in the Kalahari desert, that is in southern Africa. A cool linguistical quirk is that a group of meerkats is called a “mob”. Despite their cute appearance, meerkats are carnivores. They mostly eat insects, but also lizards, snakes, scorpions, spiders, plants, eggs, small mammals, millipedes, centipedes and sometimes even small birds. They are immune to a number of venoms, including Kalahari scorpion venom.
Like all other social species, meerkats exhibit altruistic behavior. Only the alpha pair ever reproduces but other females of the mob (usually some 20-30 in strength) babysit the young and also often lactate to keep them fed. They always post sentries when looking for food and the sentry not only is the one in most danger but also won’t be able to forage for food for itself. And not only that but they also engage in sports like wrestling and running races.
Parrots consist of nearly 400 known species in 86 genara. They are among the most intelligent birds and they are most known for their ability to mimic human speech. They have spread naturally pretty much everywhere beneath the Equator (not including Antarctis of course). Their most noticeable feature is their huge beak.
Allow me bring you back to the topic that makes me geek out about parrots; their intelligence. Some parrots have a brain-to-body size ratio that is comparable to that of higher primates. The African Grey Parrot can actually understand the meanings of words and form simple sentences on its own. The Kea parrot is especially adept at using tools and solving puzzles but all parrots are better than average birds at both.
P.Z. Myers has long had an Anti-Caturday post coming up every Saturday (more or less) to combat the ubiquity of cat images on that day. Today I would like to join the fray simply because I myself am firmly a dog person.
Meet the Cuttlefish (Sepia Officinalis). It’s an incredibly cool cephalopod; it changes the colour of its skin for camouflage and communication. But what’s more Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and University of Washington researchers have found that their skin contains gene sequences usually only found in eyes! Now how cool is that? Tell me that’s not better than a kitten.