Its Christmas day and we thought what better way to celebrate Christmas at Zoo Nation then to highlight some animals. Animals and Christmas go hand and hand. From commercials featuring polar bears to camels and donkeys at the manger, animals are as part of Christmas as Santa. There are many animals that get our focus during the holiday season, but did you know that there are also some animals with Christmas inspired names? Below are animals that are either featured during Christmas or have a Christmas inspired name that you may never have even seen before.
Camels are even-toed ungulates that have been domesticated. Everyone knows that camels come in two different varieties – one hump or two. While there are only two true camel species, the Camelidae family actually includes four New World camelids (llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña). Camels can also run up to 40mph as short bursts, but can maintain speeds of 25mph. Although it is commonly believed that camels store water in their humps, this is a huge misconception. By concentrating their fat in one area (the hump(s)), it minimizes the insulation in other areas of the body allowing camels to survive in arid environments. They have a cool adaption that allows them to retain more water. Their red blood cells are actually oval. The cell shape allows them to withstand osmotic pressure variation without rupturing cells when they drink large amounts of water. A camel can drink 200L (approx.. 53 gallons) of water in three minutes. These adaptions allow camels to withstand changes to body temperature and water consumption that would kill most animals.
Pinecone fish are named for their plate-like scales called scutes. They are typically yellow or orange and their scales are outlined in black. . This gives them their unique look. They have a bioluminescent organ on the lower jaw that is illuminated by a photophore and symbiotic bacteria within the organ producing a varied colored light depending on ambient light levels. Pinecone fish are nocturnal schooling fish and can be found 10-200 meters deep. The photophore is thought to play a role in the attraction of zooplankton for feeding.
While most people recognize this bird as a symbol of peace, they mistakenly believe that it is its own unique species. Doves are actually pigeons and the name can be used interchangeably. They are found all over the earth except for extreme environments such as desserts and the artic. There are many species that have increased their ranges due to the dependency of human activities. For example populations of birds live near parks and cities because there is ample food. Other species of pigeons have become threatened, endangered, or unfortunately succumbed to extinction.
Snowflake Moray Eel
The Snowflake moray eels are from the Indo-Pacific and are commonly found in saltwater aquariums because they are well suited in captivity, but watch out because they are known as excellent escape artists. They can grow up to 25-40 inches in length and feeds on crustaceans.
Penguins are one of the most recognized birds. Penguins are flightless birds that live mainly in the southern hemisphere. There are many penguin species ranging in size from the 16 inch tall little blue penguin (also known as the fairy penguin) to the almost 4 foot tall Emperor penguin. While most people think penguins only live in cold environments, some species actually live in warm climates such as the Galápagos penguin and the Magellanic penguin. There are 17 different species of penguins.
Candy Cane Prawn
The Candy cane prawn also known as a candy cane shrimp are found in the Indo-Pacific and are only 1-2 inches long. They also have a few different common names, but their scientific name is Alpheus randalli. They get their name form their white bodies and red stripes. They make clicking sounds with their claws to ward off predators.
Often a staple in holiday Coke commercials, these bears are projected as cute and cuddly. While they are amazing animals, they are not as cute as they appear in commercials. Polar bears have flexible diets and eat a variety of food ranging from crustaceans, to seals, and even reindeer. They are an apex predator that has become vulnerable to climate change and hunting. Habitat loss is their greatest threat. As artic waters warm, icebergs break away and leave polar bears left stranded without a source of food. Scientist predict that 2/3 of the population will disappear by 2050.
The harp sponge (Chondrocladia lyra) is a carnivorous deep-sea sponge that lives at depths around 3,000 meters (11,000 ft.). It is a filter feeder and anchors itself to the sea floor. It is found in the northern Pacific Ocean and it gets is name from its shape. This animal was just recently discovered in 2012.
How could Santa get around without his reindeer? Reindeer live in the tundra, boreal, and mountain regions of the Arctic. In North America they are known as Caribou. Reindeer can vary in color and sixes, but their most distinctive feature is their antlers. Both males and females have antlers. Reindeer are ruminants because they have a four-chambered stomach. They feed on mainly lichenins and grasses. They travel in heards and during the spring migrations, heards can join together creating a superheard with 50,000-500-000 animals.
Sea Angels are unique animals. They are gastropods that do not have a shell. They are swimming transparent slugs that flap their wing-like parapodia in a rowing motion to swim. They are found all over the world in a variety of ocean environments.
Christmas Tree Worms
Christmas tree worms are annelid worms and belong to the Polycheata. They have spiral structures for feeding and respiration. The feather like projections on the spirals called radioles have cilia that helps trap their prey by filter feeding. They are found in tropical oceans all over the world and are sedentary residents of coral reefs.
From all of us at Zoo Nation we hope that you have a very merry Christmas and a fantastic New Years!