… That the Rocky Mountain goat, is a large hoofed mammal endemic to North America. A subalpine to alpine species, it is a sure-footed climber commonly seen on cliffs and ice. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus that includes all other goats, such as the wild goat from which the domestic goat is derived.
Both male and female mountain goats have beards, short tails, and long black horns, 15–28 cm (5.9–11.0 in) in length. The horns, just like trees, contain yearly growth rings. Mountain goats are protected from the elements by their woolly white double coats. Their fine, dense wool of the undercoats is covered by an outer layer of longer, hollow hairs. Mountain goats molt in spring by rubbing against rocks and trees. There seems to be a system in this as the adult males shedding their extra wool first and the pregnant females last. Their coats help them to withstand winter temperatures as low as −50 °F (−46 °C) and winds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h).
A billy (the male mountain goat) stands about 1 m (3.3 ft) at the shoulder to the waist and can weigh considerably more than the nanny (the female mountain goat). It varies around 30% more in some cases. Male goats also have longer horns and longer beards than females. The weight is anywhere between 45 and 140 kg (99 and 309 lb), and billies will often weigh less than 82 kg (181 lb). The head-and-body length can range from 120–179 cm (47–70 in), with a small tail adding 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in).
The mountain goat’s feet are well-suited for climbing steep, rocky slopes with pitches exceeding 60°, with inner pads that provide traction and cloven hooves that can spread apart. The tips of their feet have sharp dewclaws that keep them from slipping. They have powerful shoulder and neck muscles that help propel them up steep slopes. If you have spent time in the mountains you most likely have seen mountain goats in action. Most likely from far. I always found it amazing to watch them climb with ease.
And now you probably wonder what made me share all of this about mountain goats. Well, honestly this scene form “Brother Bear”. And a discussion we had about mountain goats the other day in the car…
… That brumation is a term used for the hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals utilize during very cold weather. On the other end of the spectrum is a state known as aestivation, which like brumation, provides a way for reptiles to handle temperature extremes.
… That the arctic is now expected to be ice free by 2040? That is not that far away anymore and rather scary. It’s time to wake up…
The last piece of summer sea-ice in the Arctic is expected to melt away in just 23 years, three decades earlier than previously expected. Read more here…
… That according to a Australian study 35% of women spend 81 days of heir lives searching for things in their purse. And only 3.7% of women said they knew where to find everything in their handbag!
I’m sure I’m one of the 35%… Can you relate?
… That a bumblebee is theoretically not able to fly as the ration body to wings is completely off? But it flies anyway and this should be an inspiration to us as well. But here are some other cool facts about bumble bees:
Maybe it’s because we live in Australia and everything seems so far away that often you hear “if only we could drill through the center of the Earth and just go through there”. So I wondered what would actually happen if we would… And I found:
“… That the farthest you can travel from home (and still remain on Earth) is about 7,900 miles (12,700 kilometers) straight down, but you’ll have to journey the long way round to get there: 12,450 miles (20,036 kilometers) over land and sea.
… That one of my first presentations I did in school was about the Bermuda Triangle? I know, I know… who cares and why is this worthy of one of my “Did You Know” posts? Maybe I just want to let you know how much the Bermuda Triangle and all the myths around it has fascinated me over years. It still does. So I thought I might list some “facts” about the Bermuda Triangle.
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid “Red Centre” and probably one of the must sees if you visit Australia.
The stargazers are a family of perciform fish that have eyes on top of their heads (hence the name). The family includes about 51 species (one extinct) and are found worldwide in shallow and deep salt waters.
In addition to the top-mounted eyes, a stargazer also has a large, upward-facing mouth in a large head. Their usual habit is to bury themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey that pass overhead. Some species have a worm-shaped lure growing out of the floors of their mouths, which they can wiggle to attract prey’s attention. Both the dorsal and anal fins are relatively long; some lack dorsal spines. Lengths range from 18 up to 90 cm (giant stargazer).
Stargazers are venomous; they have two large venomous spines situated behind their opercles and above their pectoral fins. Some species can also cause electric shocks and have a single electric organ consisting of modified eye muscles, while other species have theirs derived from sonic muscles. They are some of the few marine bioelectrogenic bony fishes, the other being the striped catfish.
Stargazers are a delicacy in some cultures (the venom is not poisonous when eaten), and they can be found for sale in some fish markets with the electric organ removed. Because stargazers are ambush predators which camouflage themselves and some can deliver both venom and electric shocks, they have been called “the meanest things in creation”…
Now, originally I didn’t want to write about stargazer fish. I wanted to touch base on star gazer babies. I’m not even sure if it is a thing in English but when my son was born or better during birth of my son, he sort of got stuck on my pelvic bone while on his way out. He was what they called a star gazer baby and lifted his head up in a way that is not part of the normal movement a baby goes through during birth. This then led to his head getting stuck and in the process we needed a little bit of help to get him out. I loved the description they gave it as it made things so clear but also gave it kind of a nice touch.
“A Posterior baby (Occiput Posterior, or OP) means that the baby is also head down BUT the back of its head is towards mom’s back and baby is facing towards mom’s front. Other names for the OP position include “stargazer” or “sunny side up” because the baby seems to be looking “up” at the sky when mom is lying down.”
So while I was trying to find the right way of describing it on Google I also found the stargazer fish and it’s pictures made me share it as a Did You Know post…
A to Z Challenge 2017