This tiny “one bite watermelon” is grown in South Africa and is officially smallest watermelon sub-specie in the world.
The animal kingdom is full of fascinating birds, mammals, sea creatures and reptiles, each with their own set of distinct traits and habits. Learning some interesting animal facts is a great way to explore the natural world around us.
Here are just 10 strange but interesting animal facts you probably didn't know:
1. Flamingos are pink because of the food they eat. Shrimp is one of their main sources of food, so their skin takes on that pinkish color.
2. Most snakes never stop growing. This is why they're always shedding their skins, and can grow to be several feet long depending on the species.
3. A pot-bellied pig by the name of Kotetsu set a world record for the highest jump by a pig. Kotetsu jumped 27.5 in. in August 2004 at a farm in Japan.
4. The black bulldog ant is one of the few insects that can k*ll humans. It's found in Australia and is considered to be the most dangerous ant in the world. It can sting and bite people and animals alike.
5. Crows like to play pranks. One of their favorite games involves sneaking up on a sleeping cow, rabbit, pig or other farm animal, and making a loud noise to startle it. Talk about a wake-up call.
6. The bird-eating spider of South America is about 3.5 in. long and has a 10-in. leg span. That's bigger than the size of your hand.
7. The bug-eyed tree frog has to use its eyes to eat with. When swallowing food, the frog closes its eyelids and then presses down on the food with its eyeballs to lower the mouth and force the food down into its stomach.
8. Black cats are considered to be unlucky in the United States, but are considered to be a sign of luck in Britain.
9. Lobsters can live for up to 100 years. One of their most important survival skills is the ability to grow back a claw or a leg when they lose it.
10. A chameleon's tongue is almost as long as its body. It's also one of the few animals that can change color to match its surroundings.
Read up on some of these interesting animal facts before a road trip or simply to pass a rainy day . Learning about the natural world is a fun and educational activity that everyone in the family is sure to enjoy.
From over 2 million alligators in the United States, only about 40 are albino. This 14 year-old albino alligator (Alligator mississppiensis), named 'White Diamond', was born in Louisiana in the U.S. grew up at the St. Augustin-Alligator Farm in Florida, and is now part of a travelling reptile show called 'Land der Reptilien'.
Albino frogs are actually fairly common. These 19 identical male albino frogs were prepared by nuclear transplantation into unfertilized eggs of the dark green female frog, as part of an experiment on animal cloning.
This one-in-a-million albino African penguin chick was hatched at Bristol Zoo on 2002. The chick, named Snowdrop, was born alongside its black-and-white sibling and keepers suspected it was a first among zoos.
This albino Pygmy Marmoset monkeys were born at the Froso Zoo in Ostersund, on 2006. Both died just hours after they became the first albinos of their breed to be born in captivity. The Pygmy Marmoset monkeys are the world's smallest, growing up to just 35cm and weighting barely 100 grams.
'Moby', the all white whale, was first observed by Paul Hodda from the Australian Whale Conservation Society in the early 1990's. Since then he has been spotted at least 30 times. Moby is believed to be male, is probably an albino and is the first white whale for many decades not destined to meet the likes of Captain Ahab.
Only 10 in every one million squirrels are born with albinism, and have a very short life expectancy because they are easily seen by both predators and prey due to their obvious lack of camouflage.
At the foothills of the Erzgebirge Mountains in eastern Germany, this snow-white deer with pink eyes and skin was found by hunters. An albino deer is one in 100,000 according to by zoologists.
Albino Kangaroos are extremely rare, and found almost exclusively on Australian Zoos. Everyday the Kangaroo's care giver puts sunscreen on them, so they won't get sunburn.
This albino pelican was found at Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.
This Albino Type II Tiger Pythons sell for $15,000 each. An extremely rare breed, these pythons showcase a co-dominant tiger pattern.
This is the horrifying moment a fully grown leopard pounces on a forestry department official in a village in deepest India. The big cat mauled six people after it strayed into the village from a nearby national park and became startled by the curious humans.
The forest guards eventually managed to corner and successfully tranquilise the beast but not before it attacked one of their own men.
These pictures show the amazing scene as it unfolded in Prakash Nagar village, near Salugara on the outskirts of Siliguri, in Assam, north-east India.Perched on corrugated rooftops and walls, the villagers watched the action in a mixture of horror and excitement.
Kanchan Banerjee, a forest ranger of the Sukna Wildlife Range, told The Hindu newspaper: 'It was spotted near a house in the morning by villagers who raised the alarm, and this startled the leopard.
'With the villagers trying to chase it, it tried to flee and injured five of them in the process.'Then, the leopard took shelter in an abandoned house.' During the forest guards' attempt to capture the beast alive, the leopard - which weighed up to 198lb (90kg) - critically injured one as he tried to tranquilise it in the house.
It then fled into the bushes. Three policeman armed with batons and knives eventually caught the animal after it leapt on rangers as they approached it.
The guards eventually get the beast under control and tranquilise it. It then makes its way to an alley before falling into unconsciousness
The leopard was tranquilised and fell into unconsciousness as it made its way into an alley. It was taken to a veterinary centre in Sukna but died from its injuries.
Forest department officials believe the animal wandered into the village from either the Mahananda forest reserve or the Baikunthapar range.
Prakash Nagar, which is surrounded by national parks, sits in the slim section of India between Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
These aren’t flowers you’d give to your mother. Some smell like feces or rotting corpses, some are incredibly ugly, some are de*dly while others are just strange. These 7 extreme flowers include the world’s largest, smallest, stinkiest and most dangerous. Stunning examples of the incredibly unexpected wonders that nature can serve up, the world’s most bizarre blooms entice, amaze and disgust.
Like a mutant toadstool crossed with man-eating flowers from another planet, Rafflesia arnoldii is red with white speckles and can reach up to three feet in diameter. Oh yeah, and it smells like a de*d body. From the time this bizarre bloom forms a bud, exposing the pink undersides of its petals, it is disturbingly flesh-like. Then it opens to reveal itself in all of its glory, emitting an odor of decomposition to attract the flies that will pollinate it and help it spread.
Rafflesia arnoldii is found only in the rainforests of Benkulu, Sumatra Island, Indonesia and Malaysia. It’s the largest single flower on earth, and grows as a parasite on a particular species of vine, wrapping thread-like strands of tissue around its host in order to bleed it of water and nutrients.
The flower is both intensely fascinating and utterly repulsive – especially once you get close enough to notice just how mammalian it really looks, with pimply flesh covered in little hairs and pollen-producing parts that look like pustules.
It’s hideous, looking like something that died out to sea and washed up on the beach. It’s bizarre. It’s also extremely rare and incredibly unique. The Weltwitschia mirabilis is a flower – that’s right, a flower – found only in the Namib desert within Namibia and Angola. In fact, it’s the latter country’s national flower. Considered a living fossil, weltwitschia is thought to be a holdover from the Jurassic period, when such plants – called gymnosperms – dominated the landscape. Over millennia, similar plants disappeared, but welwitschia managed to survive despite drastic changes to the climate of its environment.
This plant may look like a messy pile of leaves, but it actually only has two, which continue growing throughout the life of the plant, reaching lengths of up to 12 feet. These leaves tend to become ragged and frayed over time, split by the wind and sand to resemble a larger quantity of leaves.
At first, the Hydnora africana looks like a stone, blending in on the desert floor. But then it rises and opens its terrifying maw and you know you’ve come upon something outrageously unusual. What you see of the parasite Hydnora is just the flower of the plant, most of which is hidden underground, interweaving itself among the roots of its host plant, the succulent Euphorbia. The bloom opens in three sections called sepals, revealing a cavity that stinks like feces, luring in dung beetles. This cavity becomes a temporary trap, keeping the beetles inside long enough to enable pollination. The inside of the cavity is pinkish-orange, fleshy and covered in tiny downward-pointing hairs that prevent the beetles from climbing out. Eventually, the bloom opens enough so that the beetles can escape.
Nope, that’s not algae, nor is it any ordinary aquatic plant. Wolffia, commonly referred to as watermeal and misidentified as duckweed, is officially the world’s smallest flower, with each bloom weighing about as much as two grains of sand. It takes about 5,000 of these teeny-tiny flowers to fill a thimble, and they’re amazingly small when seen against the grooves in a human fingerprint. Woffia sometimes grow in colonies that form a dense-looking mat on sheltered waters. The only way to identify the exact species of a wolffia flower is to view it under a microscope.
Each wolffia flower has a single pistil and stamen and produces the world’s smallest fruit, called a utricle. It has no leaves, stem or roots, floating freely in quiet freshwater lakes and marshes. Woffia is highly nutritious, serving as food for fish and waterfowl in nature and occasionally cultivated for use as livestock feed or even human cuisine. It’s eaten as a vegetable in Burma, Laos and Thailand.
Stunningly beautiful, magnificently strange, the black bat flower – Tacca chantrieri – is definitely one-of-a-kind. Not only does it produce black blooms, which is highly unusual in itself, but those blooms are decidedly animalistic with bat-like petal ‘wings’ as well as long ‘whiskers’ that trail up to a foot long. Also known as the devil’s flower, presumably because of its color and strange appearance, the black bat flower also produces odd-shaped blooms in shades of green and purple. This tropical flower can be found in Africa, Madagascar and northeast South America.
There’s a reason that Atropa belladonna is commonly called ‘de*dly nightshade’. While it may not hold the official title of de*dliest flower in the world (there’s no consensus on that topic), and other flowers like oleander are similarly dangerous, belladonna is notable not only for its ability to k*ll but for its history and unusual appearance. This perennial herbaceous plant, native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, has been used for centuries as a medicine, cosmetic, poison and hallucinogen. Both the foliage and the very juicy and tempting-looking dark purple berries of this plant are highly toxic. The scientific name ‘atropa’ is thought to be derived from that of the Greek goddess Atropos, one of the three fates, who was responsible for determining a man’s de*th. ‘Belladonna’ is Italian for ‘beautiful woman’.
Ingest any part of the de*dly nightshade and you’ll be swallowing atropine, hyoscine and hyoscyamine, substances that cause a series of worsening symptoms from dilated pupils to slurred speech to hallucinations, delirium, convulsions and possibly de*th. The pupil-dilating part was once considered desirable, hence the name ‘belladonna’, though prolonged usage was known to cause blindness. In Ancient Rome it was used as a murder weapon.
It’s not enough that the titan arum stands taller than an adult male human, or that its stamen is so crazily large and weird-looking that it has earned the flower the scientific name Amorphophallus titanum (essentially, ‘giant misshapen penis’.) No. This insane flower – which also happens to be incredibly beautiful – also has to smell like the rotting corpse of a mammal left too long in the sun. Say hello to what may just be the single weirdest flower in the world.
The titan arum, which grows in the rainforests of Sumatra, is often cultivated in botanical gardens for guests to gawk and gag over. The spadix of the flower, which is the tallest part, is covered in pollen at the top and dotted with bright red-orange carpels, or ovule-producing parts, at the bottom. It has a single petal called a spathe that is pale green and white on the outside and deep burgundy-purple on the inside. Like many other species, the flower emits the scent of rotting meat to attract pollinators.
The tallest bloom in cultivation, grown at the zoological garden Wilhelmina in Stuttgart, Germany, reached 9 feet 6 inches in height.