Last week, Alex and I were in Birmingham and we decided to visit the National SEA LIFE Centre. Originally, we weren’t even scheduled to go there – but then we learned that it had recently become the home of the UK’s first – and only – pair of sea otters.
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.
Almost a quarter of all UK households own at least one dog. They are easily the most popular pet in the world and they come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. By and large, wild members of the dog family – also called canids – are not quite so varied, but there are still a few oddballs in the group. Read on to find out about five really weird wild dogs that we share our planet with.
In the ‘Lost Forever’ series of articles, The Nature Nook will be looking at animal species that have become extinct in the past 500 years or so. Now, I should first point out that extinction is a perfectly natural process. It has always taken place throughout the history of life on Earth. Just as every individual that is born will die, every species that evolves will eventually become extinct. In fact, some 99.99% of all species that have ever lived on our planet are now extinct.
The weasel is small. Really small. Much smaller than most people realise. It is not only the smallest mustelid, it’s also the smallest carnivore in the world. Growing to between 13 and 26 cm in length and weighing as little as 25 grams in some cases – about the same as an AA battery – it is a mere 0.0025% of the weight of the planet’s biggest terrestrial carnivore, the polar bear.