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Zhu Jianqiang (Strong-Willed Pig)

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A pig born with just its two front legs has become an unlikely celebrity in Henan Province, China. The 10-month-old animal, known by villagers as Zhu Jianqiang, which means Strong-Willed Pig, was born with only two front legs, which it now uses to walk on. The 10-month-old animal was one of a litter of nine piglets. Several days after Zhu's birth Wang decided to train the two-legged female piglet to walk by lifting it up by its tail. 'I trained her a while each day. After 30 days she could agilely walk upside down.' Its owner says: "My wife asked me to dump it but I refused as it's a life. I thought I should give it a chance and unexpectedly it survived healthily. Wang said his home has been besieged by visitors since the birth of the pig, which currently weighs 110 lbs. A circus even offered a high price for the pig, but he refused to sell. (2010 - Reported on Asian TV and by UK newspapers)


Have aliens finally landed!

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Acorn worms (left image), and fluorescent jellyfish (right image) were just two of the many types of strange fauna observed at a potential mud volcano site dubbed Twin Peaks, at a depth of 4829m. Photographed 30 June 2016, Dive 13 (Photo credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deep water Exploration of the Marianas) If you want to know more about NOAA's Ocean Exploration and Research and, see videos of exotic deep sea creatures click on the following link:
- NOAA Ocean Explorer -

exo_pollution_beer_can.jpg Contrary to popular belief, the deep sea – the largest ecosystem on our planet – is not immune to human impacts. The depth and remoteness of the deep seas have led to purposeful dumping in the past, not just of trash, but even pharmaceutical waste and munitions. For the scientists aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, the dives were often sobering. exo_pollution_spam_can.jpg The deep sea should only be pristine environments, but unfortunately that isn’t true. During their 5,000-meter dive in Sirena Canyon, along the Mariana Trench wall, the science explorers saw multiple pieces of marine debris. A soda can, a food tin, and a piece of rope all accompanied the fish, corals, rocks, and including several plastic bags and a piece of clothing. Even here, in one of the deepest places on Earth, humans have left their mark.


Butterflies and Moths

exo_butterflies_400.jpg Butterflies and moths belong to the order Lepidoptera. Lepidos is Greek for "scales" and ptera means "wing" and they are the only insects that have scaly wings. Lepidoptera is a very large group; there are more types of butterflies and moths than there are of any other type of insects except beetles. It is estimated that there are about 150,000 different species of butterflies and moths (there may be many more). Butterflies can only fly if their body temperature is above 86 degrees. The average lifespan for an adult butterfly is 20 to 40 days. Some species live no longer than three or four days; others may live up to six months.

The Atlas Moth

Atlas moths are the largest species of moth in the world. The females have bigger, heavier bodies than males and larger wingspans too, ranging from 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches), with a surface area of at least 400 cm² (62 sq in). exo_atlas_moth_350.jpg Despite their huge size, the moths do not eat anything once they hatch from their cocoons. Both males and females lack fully-formed mouth parts; they rely on the sustenance they build up as caterpillars, for stored energy. They only live as hatched moths for two to three weeks. The natural habitat of the atlas moth, is Southeast Asia, particularly around the Malay archipelago. They do not fly far from where they hatch, since they are very inelegant fliers and do not have enough energy stored for long journeys. The atlas moth caterpillar has to eat a huge amount of food, to store enough fat for life as an adult moth.



The Coconut Crab (6 ft and up to 30 pounds)

Exo_Crab_Coco_Big.jpg Birgus Latro of the family Coenobitidae). Coconut crabs live in the Indian and Central Pacific Oceans, with a distribution that closely matches that of the coconut palm. Christmas Island has the largest and densest population of coconut crabs in the world. Its large size and the quality of its meat and, supposedly aphrodisiac qualities, mean that the coconut crab is extensively hunted with the consequence that the species' survival is threatened. The coconut crab reaches sexual maturity around five years after hatching. They reach their maximum size only after 40 to 60 years as the world's largest land-living arthropod at up to 6 feet and weighing up to 30 pounds. The coconut crab has gills but they are modified to function as lungs and is one of the most significant adaptations of the coconut crab to its habitat. So, except as larvae, coconut crabs cannot swim, and they will drown if in water for more than an hour. Coconut crabs mate frequently on dry land from May to September. They spawn in the sea and the young pass through their larval stage there and inhabit abandoned shells. exo_crab_coco_black.jpg The coconut crab lives underground during the day, often taking over the burrow of other land crabs (hence the name "robber crab."). They have an excellent sense of smell and can detect rotting meat, fruits and, of course, coconuts. It is a skilful climber and will scale coconut trees right to the top. Its sharp claws tear off the coconut husk and puncture a hole in the nut and extract the white coconut meat with its smaller pincers.

By the way, should you try and make friend with a coconut crab and then it pinches your hand, it will cause pain and its unlikely it will release its grip. So, an interesting trick used by the Micronesian's people to get a coconut crab to loosen its grip is as follows: a gentle titillation of the under soft belly parts of the body with any long light stick (NOT …with the other hand) will cause the crab to loosen its hold - good luck! Exo_Crab_Coconut.jpg

Coconut crab populations in several areas have declined or become locally extinct due to both habitat loss and human predation. In 1981, it was listed on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species, but a lack of biological data caused its assessment to be amended to Data Deficient in 1996 (meaning we don't know exactly how many are left but that the numbers are most likely low). Conservation management strategies have been put in place in some regions, such as minimum legal size limit restrictions and a ban on the capture of egg-bearing females. Capture of non-egg-bearing adults above a carapace length of 30 mm (1.2 in) may take place in September, October and November, and only under licence. There is a bag limit of 5 coconut crabs on any given day, and 15 across the whole season.


Arapaima - Biggest Freshwater Fish in the World

Exo_Fish_Arapaima.jpg On 6 March 2011, Steve Townson an amateur British man has caught a giant wild arapaima weighing about 250 pounds (113 kg) in the Essequibo River in Guyana, South America. The wild arapaima is the largest freshwater fish in the world. Steve Townson took a piranha weighing two kilos as bait (brave man). The arapaima is a protected species. Steve Townson said that he was respectful of the environment and that the arapaima was soon released in the water. However, Steve Townson has not beaten the record of the biggest arapaima ever caught - that is held by another amateur's fishing, with an arapaima of 339 pounds.


Chiamydosaurus Lizard

exo_frill_necked_lizard.jpg Chlamydosaurus is capable of moving bipedally at various speeds because it is able to pull its upper body further back, and place its head over its hind legs. This allows these lizards to maintain balance at a variety of different speeds. When frill-necks eat, they gorge. One stomach flushed female was found to contain an estimated 1250 termites. Frilled dragons, like most iguanians (Iguanoidea), are sit and wait foragers. The majority of their time is spent clinging to trees, looking around for likely food items. Lizards rarely spend more than 5 minutes on the ground at any one time. As they stand right now, frilled dragons are considered to be "secure", according to the Nature Conservancy. That means these guys are doing pretty well, and are not in any current risk of extinction, or endangerment.


2009, A new tarantula, discovered in Sri Lanka

exo_spider_sri_lanka.png A new tarantula, discovered in Sri Lanka, is named Poecilotheria Rajaeia, belongs to the colorful, venomous tiger spider group, and was discovered in an old hospital. With a leg span of 8 inches (20 centimeters) and enough venom to kill mice, lizards, small birds and snakes. The discovery was published in the British Tarantula Society‘s journal. Editor Peter Kirk told Wired: “This species has enough significant differences to separate it from the other species. I absolutely would love to see DNA sampling done — on all the species of Poecilotheria." The newest tarantula, as part of the Poecilotheria genus of arachnids (sometimes called "Pokies" or tiger spiders), is a tree-dwelling spider. All the Pokies, known for being colorful, fast and venomous, are found only in India and Sri Lanka. The spider was first seen in 2009 after the discovery of a dead male specimen, on which scientists noticed a unique pink abdominal band. "In order to establish if this really was a new species to Sri Lanka and to the world, the authors carried out intensive and extensive surveys in the northern part of Sri Lanka to establish the distribution and ecology of this new species," the scientists write in the British Tarantula Society journal. "But what was lacking was a female or any other specimen of the same type. Days of extensive searching in every tree hole and bark peel were rewarded with a female and to our satisfaction several juveniles too." -- Website: www.livescience.com
NOTE: Scientists have described about 43,000 species of spiders but Norman Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History's "spiderman," estimates that just as many remain to be discovered!!!


Leatherback Sea Turtles

exo_spider_sri_lanka.png Leatherbacks are the largest turtles on Earth, growing up to seven feet (two meters) long and exceeding 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) with a lifespan of 45 yeras. These reptilian relics are the only remaining representatives of a family of turtles that traces its evolutionary roots back more than 100 million years. Yes, they were around when
T-Rex was alive! Once prevalent in every ocean except the Arctic and Antarctic, however, the leatherback population is rapidly declining in many parts of the world.

While all other sea turtles have hard, bony shells, the inky-blue carapace of the leatherback is somewhat flexible and almost rubbery to the touch. Ridges along the carapace help give it a more hydrodynamic structure. Leatherbacks can dive to depths of 4,200 feet (1,280 meters)—deeper than any other turtle—and can stay down for up to 85 minutes. Source: http://www.nationalgeographic.com


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The World's Smallest Monkey

exo_pygmy_marmoset.jpg The Pygmy Marmoset habitat is in the Amazon Basin (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru). The pygmy marmoset is one of the world's smallest primates, and is the smallest true monkey, with a head-body length ranging from 117 to 152 millimeters The average adult body weight is just over 100 grams. It has many adaptations for moving in trees - it can leap up to five meters between branches). It can rotate its head 180 degrees).


The World's Smallest Chameleon
on a thumb

exo_chameleons.jpg A species of chameleon small enough to easily perch on a match head has been discovered on a tiny island off Madagascar. Adult males of the B. micra species grow to only just over a half-inch (16 millimeters) from nose to bottom, making them one of the smallest vertebrates ever found on Earth. A team of scientists found the tiny reptiles in Madagascar's wild northern regions during expeditions between 2003 and 2007. For three of the species, "we immediately identified them as new species," said Glaw, a veteran herpetologist and curator at the Museum of Natural History in Munich. The researchers warn that at least two of the newly-discovered chameleon species are extremely threatened because of habitat loss and deforestation in Madagascar.

The Camel Spider

exo_camel_spider.jpg The camel spider also known as the wind scorpion or sun spider is in fact a member of the solifugae family and not a spider at all. It’s of the arachnid family but not actually a spider. They are very large for an arachnid and can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length. They’ve become a huge internet sensation of late since rumors of their bloodthirsty nature began to spread online. During the Iraq War in 2003 many recruits claimed these spiders were half the size of human! Myths about the camel spider have circulated for many years. Middle Eastern tales have purported the camel spider to be a huge venomous predator able to eat large mammals. All these tales are untrue; it could not possibly eat a soldier or grow to half the size of one! The spider does thrive in desert environments inhabiting nearly all deserts cross the earth excluding Australia.



False Black Widow
(Steatoda Nobilis)

exo_false_black_widow.jpg As reported by the UK media (2013)
The false widow spider became a bit of a tabloid sensation in 2013. The false widow spider that has received most of the attention is S.Nobilis, the noble false widow. A man from east London has been attacked by a venomous spider, known as a false widow. Ricki Whitmore claims the creature bit him, causing his leg to swell by the time he got home. He ended up in hospital on an antibiotic drip. He was told he needed an operation to remove the poison, or face losing his leg. He has lost a large portion of muscle from his thigh, and all need six months of physiotherapy to be able to walk again. exo_false_black_whitmore.jpg Widow spiders sometimes eat their male spider after mating hence their name! The false black widow has long been a resident of Devon, arriving from the Canaries in the 1870s on boats carrying bananas. But with climate change the population has spread across the south of England, and has even been spotted in Scotland.

October 2015 - A trainee plumber was outside gathering washing from the line when a pain tore through him from the back of his head, sending him screaming indoors. Mr Dade's brother squeezed out all the poison he could but a huge section of his skin turned black - covering the full width of his neck and measuring more than six inches from top to bottom. Exo_false_black_neck.jpg The blackened skin peeled off over a week later, but the area is still red-raw and is making sleeping and turning his head difficult. The name false widow immediately provokes fear, even though false widows are "nothing like as dangerous as black widows," according to Lawrence Bee of the British Arachnological Society.


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