The dormouse has a famously sleepy disposition. It’s an image that was cemented over 150 years ago when a very tired dormouse appeared in the well-known tea-party scene in Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And unlike many animal reputations worldwide, this one doesn’t need exaggerating. No other British mammal sleeps for such a high proportion of the time – it can spend over half of the year asleep, from October through to April or May.
Everyone’s favourite naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, returns to our screens tonight with a brand-new one-off documentary. Called Extinction: The Facts (a follow-up to last year’s Climate Change: The Facts), it will look at how human overpopulation, rampant over-consumption, the illegal wildlife trade, climate change, overfishing, pollution and land-use change are all driving the loss of biodiversity across the world.
Large, lazy and very strange-looking – meet the ocean sunfish. This extraordinary animal is certainly very peculiarly-proportioned. Tall but vertically flattened, with a pale, circular body that seems to end abruptly behind its huge dorsal and anal fins, the sunfish almost looks as though it is simply a massive severed head with a short, frilly tail attached.
Back before COVID-19 dominated the headlines, before even the massive fires in Australia destroyed thousands of homes and killed billions of animals, another part of the world was burning. I can still remember seeing, on an online news article almost exactly a year ago, in August 2019, the almost apocalyptic images of huge fires devastating the Amazon rainforest. Smoke from the blaze, the article stated,
Today is Amazon Day and The Nature Nook will be releasing a number of Amazon-related articles. Just to clarify, we aren’t celebrating the world’s largest online marketplace – but we are celebrating the world’s largest rainforest. Today’s What Animal Is It? features a bird that not only lives in the Amazon, but – potential spoilers ahead – also has the word ‘Amazon’ in its name.