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Mexican Critters #2

17 Apr

I was absolutely stunned by these beautiful photos and fabulous descriptions by zoologist, photographer and author Cherie Pittillo. I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of this bird when we settle in the Yucatan. What a character! To read the full piece please click on the link below.

http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2013/04/backyard-birding-in-merida-and-beyond-what-bird-is-that-groove-billed-ani-2/

All photos and quoted text by Cherie Pittillo

Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris, Garrapatero Pijuy (Spanish) and ch’ik bul (Mayan)

Groove Billed Ani

“Upon closer look, that Jimmy Durante-like schnozz, which is actually its upper bill, is unforgettable. It is a short, thick, large, curved bill with ridges and grooves. Groove-y!”

Groove-billed-Ani-in-sunshine-672x1024

Groove-billed-Ani-in-sunshine

“The Groove-billed Ani is common in tropical lowlands as it ranges from S. Texas and Mexico down to N Chile and N Argentina. It frequents lawns, pastures, haciendas, fields, roadsides, orchards, forest edges, and even marshes.”

Groove Billed Ani

“Besides that grooved bill, its flight is characteristic as it rapidly flaps its wings a few times and then glides a short distance down to another tree or bush. It pauses for awhile and may call before it advances in the same manner. This pattern is repeated. When it arrives to its desired tree, it may hop up sideways from limb to limb until it reaches its target perch.”

Mexican Easter Bunny? The Tehuantepec Jackrabbit

31 Mar

The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is the most endangered hare species in the world (2)(5) (6), and, like other hares (Lepus spp.), is recognised by its long legs, large hind feet and huge ears (2) (7) (8), which can measure up to 12 centimetres in length (2). The hair is coarse (2), and the feet are well furred (7). The upperparts of the body are a rich ochraceous buff, washed through with black, and the back of the neck bears a buffy stripe, which separates two narrow, black stripes that extend backwards from the base of each ear. The ears are buff coloured, with whitish tips, while the throat is yellowish and the underparts and flanks are white. The legs and rump are pale whitish to grey, and the tail is grey below and black above (2) (5). In spring, the fur may become more worn, with the upperparts faded to a more yellowish colour and the black stripes on the neck visible only as black patches behind the ears (2).

Image

To read more about the go here

Cute Mexican Critters #1

13 Mar

Axolotl

The axolotl is a type of salamander, native to Mexico. It’s scientific name is Ambystoma mexicanum. The common pet or laboratory Axolotl refers exclusively to A. mexicanum, although in Mexico the term Axolotl is used in reference to several species of Ambystoma, and is considered an edible food source!

The Axolotl is neotenic, meaning that it doesn’t routinely undergo metamorphosis from the larval to adult form, as happens with most other salamanders. Instead, the larval form (with gills) becomes sexually mature and reproduces, maintaining a strictly aquatic life style. Under some circumstances, the Axolotl can undergo metamorphosis into a terrestrial from, although this can be stressful on the animal.

The Axolotl has amazing regenerative abilities – if injured, even to the point of losing a body part, the Axolotl will heal readily and even regenerate lost bits. They are fairly hardy creatures that can be expected to live up to 10-15 years with attention to proper care, particularly with respect to water quality. Their skin and gills are very sensitive and quite soft, so handling is not recommended.

Juvenile axolotls can be cannibalistic towards each other, so they are best raised in separate enclosures. Adults can potentially be housed together but watch for cannibalistic tendencies. Of course, if a body part gets bitten off by a tank mate, an axolotl can regenerate it over time.

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