Archive for August, 2007

The Large-Antlered Muntjac… Say “Cheese!”

August 30, 2007

In a previous post, we answered the question, “What’s a Muntjac?”

It turns out that a new muntjac species was recently discovered and photographed for the first time in the wild:

A little-known species of deer called a large-antlered muntjac has been photographed for the first time in the wild, according to a survey team from the Nam Theun 2 Watershed Management and Protection Authority (WMPA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The deer, previously known only from specimens collected by hunters and a few fleeting glimpses by biologists, stands approximately 25-30 inches tall (65-80 cm) and weighs up to 110 pounds (50 kilograms). Its namesake antlers are significantly larger than other muntjac species found in Indochina.

The story goes on to note that the camera traps were monitored by villagers and teams trained by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Other photographs yielded a glimpse of the Annamite striped rabbit, a rare member of the hare family. The area serves as homes to other endangered animals such as tigers and Asian elephants.

Large-Antlered Muntjac

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What’s a Muntjac?

August 28, 2007

In our Noah’s Pals collection, there’s one animal pair with a funny name that invariably leads to the same question…

“What’s a Muntjac?”

They are the oldest known species of deer and live in Southeast Asia. Muntjacs are sometimes called “Barking Deer” because they are known for their peculiar barking that can last for many hours.

Males sport small antlers that they shed in the Spring and regrow by the Fall. The females have bony knobs on their foreheads. Muntjacs are mostly solitary creatures and do not like people. They are fond of lots of types of vegetation, from grasses to fruits.

In our collection, we decided to make Mark + Michelle “Giant” Muntjacs. The adjective refers to their size compared to other members of the Muntjac family. In reality, they are pretty small… They are about the size of a large dog!

Mark + Michelle Muntjac (Giant)

Noah’s Ark Riddles

August 26, 2007

A selection of Noah’s Ark riddles for your reading pleasure…

What did Noah say as he was loading the Ark?
“Now I herd everything.”

Why did the people on the ark think the horses were pessimistic?
They kept saying “neigh.”

What animal could Noah not trust?
The cheetah.

What kind of lights did Noah have on the ark?
Flood lights.

Why couldn’t they play cards on the ark?
Noah was sitting on the deck.

Where did Noah keep the bees?
In the ark hives.

What did the blog reader say after reading the jokes above?
“Noah more!”

Keeping Track of Elephants

August 23, 2007

As our collectors know, we include an ID Card with each pair of collectible animals. Those cards provide educational information on the animals, including conservation status, habitat information, and size data.

Conservationists are now using photo IDs of real elephants to track and preserve these big and beautiful creatures.

The AP reports:

Wildlife groups have created individual photo identification cards for wild elephants in southern India to help track the effects of poaching…

By being able to specifically identify animals, researchers get a better idea of elephant numbers and movements in an area. It can also help law enforcement in the event that an elephant carcass is discovered, said the New-York based Wildlife Conservation Society, which is working with several Indian groups on the effort.

What a fantastic idea!

The story further describes that the project is centering on male Asian elephants since their tusks are often sought by poachers. The effort has documented 134 elephants using 2,400 photographs. Analysis of the pictures reveals pertinent data, including “tusk length, thickness, angle, arrangement, as well as other characteristics like ear shape, shoulder height, tail length, and scars.”

There are many more wild elephants to document in India — over 26,000 live in the country. Let’s hope this program succeeds. And maybe it will even be expanded to other vulnerable and endangered animals!

Asian Elephant

Recommended Viewing: Blue Planet on Discovery Channel

August 21, 2007

Earlier this year, Discovery Channel introduced the United States to “Planet Earth.” It is widely believed to be one of the most amazing and beautiful productions on animal wildlife ever made.

The same production team now brings “Blue Planet” to the USA for the first time. Blue Planet originally aired in the UK in late 2001 — so it’s taken almost six years to make its way across the ocean! The series is comprised of eight episodes that each deeply examine a certain aspect of marine life. Much of the footage had never been seen or captured. Blue Planet took nearly five years to make and spanned approximately 200 filming locations!

Below is a video clip from the episode on Frozen Seas:

Searching for the Endangered Mountain Nyala in the Bale Mountains

August 20, 2007

In a previous post, we noted that perhaps the most distinctive and beautiful animal pair in our collection is Nathan + Nicole Nyala (Mountain).

We just came across a nice YouTube clip of a search for the elusive Nyala in its homeland of Ethiopa. Enjoy!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine says “Very cute!”

August 16, 2007

We just received a nice review of Noah’s Pals from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine:

Meet Noah’s Pals, a new collection of toys from Caboodle! Toys. These hand-painted animal figures come in pairs (what else?), and of course there is Noah, doves, an ark, and 40 sets of animals, from the Aardvark to the Zebra, the Jackal, Kinkajou, Skunk, Muntjac, Ostrich, Snow Leopard, and many more. Each pair comes with an educational ID card and a unique serial code for collecting. The animals are all sculpted in proportion to one another, and encourage learning about animals and of course the story of Noah’s Ark. A neat “perk” too–if you collect the whole set, you earn rewards.

Very cute!

Thank you The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

Fainting Goats

August 14, 2007

There are many videos of the famous “fainting goats.” Watch the clip immediately below, then read more about these special goats…

These beautiful creatures have a genetic disorder called “myotonia congenita” — a condition in which muscles freeze after they are startled. The affliction is believed to be painless and often results in the animal falling on its side. Older goats have somewhat learned to live with the condition and can sometimes maintain balance by shuffling with stiff legs. (In other words, they look a lot like the way that I dance.)

The fainting goats are generally smaller than standard goat breeds. Like other goats, their hair can be different colors and lengths.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the breed as “threatened.” These cute creatures are popular on small farms due to their petite size.  With their friendly disposition, the goats also make nice pets.

Here’s another cute video of the famous fainting goats:

The Kangaroo Gets Away!

August 12, 2007

We have several Australian animals in our collection, including the Red Kangaroo, the Southern Koala, and the Platypus. While we have several canines in our collection (Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, Golden Jackal, and Coyote), we don’t have the Australian dingo.

Dingos are wild dogs, often found in Australia but are popular throughout Southeast Asia. They are similar to wolves and modern dogs. They often hunt in packs, but sometimes will look for prey solo. Here’s a video of a dingo eyeing a young kangaroo — but the speed of the hunted is too much for the dingo.

More Big Cats

August 10, 2007

National Geographic has more great video of jaguars — and other big cats like tigers and mountain lions.

Take a few moments to enjoy the graceful beauty of these amazing felines: