Dassie Rat

The Dassie Rat – a rodent that chews the cud

April 17, 2017 mammal 1

The Dassie Rat (Petromus typicus) is the only surviving member of it’s family. Dassie is the Afrikaans term for hyrax and as they live among the same rocks, the name stuck to this rodent too. They are related to cane rats and are unique among rodents in that they regurgitate their food and […]

Mountain Beaver

Mountain Beaver – A volcano eater!

April 15, 2017 mammal 0

The mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) is a North American rodent. It is not related to beavers but is so named because it does chew bark and leaves from trees and ferns like beavers do. I suspect it also has to do with the pelt. When furs were “the thing”, there […]

Sloth Lemur

Sloth Lemurs – giants that slowly lumbered away

April 14, 2017 mammal 0

The sloth lemurs of the family Palaeopropithecidae,  are part of an extinct lemurid clan. The common name is misleading, as these members also known in Malagasy legends as tretretretre, were not closely related to sloths, but instead to lemurs, particularly close to the Indri. There were three known species, Palaeopropithecus ingens, P. maximus, […]

Gray Whale

The Gray Whale – adventurer of the high seas

April 13, 2017 mammal 0

The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), named after the famous Danish Zoologist Daniel Frederik Eschricht, is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. Although not a very pretty beast; what with it being encrusted with barnacles and marked white in places by parasites clinging on to it, it […]

Laotian Rock Rat

Laotian rock rat – The coelacanth of rodents

April 12, 2017 mammal 1

The Laotian Rock rat is also called the Lazarus rat because the family they belong to: Diatomyidae is only known to us from 30 million year old fossils dug up in the Indian subcontinent. The name of the genus Laonastes, means “inhabitant of stone” (from Greek). This is because they live in rocky […]


Mr. Walrus – The Keystone of the Arctic

April 8, 2017 mammal 0

The Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus meaning “tooth-walking seahorse”) , is  the only living species in the family Odobenidae. The evolutionary history of this animal is not very firm as we don’t have too many fossils. They are very much related to seals and some speculation exists relating them to bears and even saber-tooths […]

Silky Anteater

The Silky Anteater – Sleeping Safely out here!

April 7, 2017 mammal 0

The silky anteater, or pygmy anteater, (Cyclopes didactylus) is the only  living species in the genus Cyclopes and the family Cyclopedidae. It is the tiniest of ant-eaters, fitting easily in the palm of your hand and weighing less than a pound. It spends almost all it’s short two-year life span in the […]

The Pygmy Right Whale – too few and too small to kill!

April 6, 2017 mammal 0

This whale is rarely seen and so the above photograph is of a beached whale in New Zealand. The scientific name is Caperea Marginata and it is part of the family of baleen whales called Cetotheriidae. The range of this small whale, 3000 lbs. and 6 meters is very small in […]

Pig-footed Bandicoot

Pig-Footed Bandicoot – Gone Down under!

April 4, 2017 mammal 0

The Pig-Footed Bandicoot or Chaeropus ecaudatus, is supposed to have gone extinct with the last sighting  in 1921. They differed from other bandicoots in that they had a caecum ( a little organ before the large intestine designed to digest cellulose, mainly found in low-nutrient vegetation like grasses). They also ran unlike other […]

African Palm Civet

African Palm Civet: I am alone but not lonely.

March 22, 2017 mammal 0

The African Palm Civet is not of the civets but has it’s own family Nandiniidae. It is closely related to Civets but the evolutionary divergence occurred between them even before the Civets(Viverridae) and the Cats(Felidae) diverged from each other 45 million years ago. In technical-ese, they are different because the […]