Open Thread - Thurs 09 Nov 2023 - An Amazing Animal
An Amazing Animal:
Recently, while going down a rabbit hole about current research into the origin and domestication of dogs (I will probably write about that later) I branched off a bit into researching hyenas and I learned about a very interesting type of hyena. It is called the aardwolf (and here's a bit from National Geographic about them) , which is, in itself, an intriguing name. It means 'earth wolf'. Aardwolves are native to south eastern Africa and live in the grass and scrublands there. They are about 20 (10-30 for outliers) lbs in weight, long, skinny, with a lovely thick tail. They are nocturnal.
AARDWOLVES EAT TERMITES. Yes, once again, they are a kind of hyena, and hyenas are generally carnivoes, but this one eats termites and is mainly an insectivore. Aardwolves don't just eat termites once in a while, almost their entire diet is termites and they have adapted to such. For example, aardwolves have a sticky tongue to grab the termites from their mound. The surface texture of the aardwolves' tongues is tough and thick, so that they can easily handle being bitten by the up to 300,000 termites they eat a night.
So here's an insectivorous hyena which specializes in eating termites in the grass lands... wait? Termites in the grass lands? Don't termites eat trees - wood? Well, not these termites. They eat dead grass and other vegetation live in grass and scrub lands.
It was so cool to learn about this wonderful animal - the aardwolf, about its food, about its life. And it was very satisfying to realize that even in my old age, I'm still learning a lot about the world if I just keep my eyes open and pay attention!
Here's a video about rescuing an aardwolf!
As an aside - another cool animal from Africa is the aardvark. I'd learned about this animal when I was a child but never though to question what its name means until now. The name means 'earth pig'. Ohh, the things one learns!
So what weird and wonderful things have you been learning about recently? What strange animal species have you learned about? What is happening in the world that you've been paying attention to recently? Obviously, I'm not that up on the wars and politics right now, but I LOVE learning from everyone. So let's hear it!