The quintessential Christmas bird, especially if Christmas cards are anything to go by, must surely be the robin. Small, approachable and endearingly dumpy, the robin is one of Britain’s best-loved birds, regularly topping any opinion poll that is carried out to find the nation’s favourite – most recently in 2015 when it received 34% of the votes (the runner-up, the barn owl, only received 12%).
When we think of parasites, we tend to think of tapeworms within our bodies, or fleas on our pets, or perhaps even wasps that lay eggs inside caterpillars. We almost certainly wouldn’t think of plants engaging in such sinister behaviour – yet the truth is that many plants have highly parasitic lifestyles.
December is well underway now. Christmas will soon be upon us. The days have shortened and the temperature has fallen. Many parts of the UK have already seen their first major snowfall of the season. But come spring, this cold, dark time of year will almost seem like a distant memory. So spare a thought for those animals that live in really cold parts of the world, such as Antarctica and the Arctic.
Welcome to another fortnightly edition of Freaky Frog Friday! This time, we’ll be taking a brief look at the hairy frog from central and western Africa. As you can see from the taxidermied museum specimen above, this frog is named after the thick, shaggy ‘fur’ that grows across the flanks and thighs of the males during the breeding season.