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.
Welcome to Animal World Records! In this regular feature, we’ll be looking at animals that are the fastest, biggest or smallest of their kind. Those that fly higher in the air, or live deeper in the ocean, than any other. Those with the longest tongue, or the largest eyes, or the most number of legs.
My favourite animal changes all the time. When I was younger, I cycled through various large, majestic cats such as tigers, jaguars and snow leopards. At one point, I considered the polar bear among my favourites; another time, the hippo. But now I much prefer stranger, more obscure, more underappreciated animals. And a weird, elusive, nocturnal creature that looks almost like a walking pinecone fits that bill perfectly – the pangolin.