Tuesday 31 January 2012

Large snakes causing havoc in everglades

Pythons linked to Florida Everglades mammal decline
By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website
Non-native Burmese pythons are the likely cause of a severe mammal decline in Florida's Everglades.A team studied road surveys of mammals in the Everglades National Park before and after pythons became common. Researchers found a strong link between the spread of pythons and drops in recorded sightings of racoons, rabbits, bobcats and other species. The national park covers the southern 25% of the original Everglades - a region of subtropical wetlands that has been drained over the last century to reclaim it for human use.The origins of Burmese pythons in south Florida are unknown, but many were imported into the US through the pet trade. As the pythons have made it from captivity into the wild, the absence of natural predators has allowed populations to balloon. Intermittent sightings were recorded for 20 years before the snakes were recognised as being established across the Everglades in 2000.The pythons are now established across thousands of sq km in southern Florida. Although there are no accurate figures for how many there are, the numbers removed from the Everglades reached nearly 400 in 2009 and has been increasing year-on-year (apart from a slight drop in 2010 due to a cold spell)."Any snake population - you are only seeing a small fraction of the numbers that are actually out there," said Prof Michael Dorcas, one of the study's authors, from Davidson College in North Carolina.He told BBC News: "They are a new top predator in Everglades National Park - one that shouldn't be there," "We have documented pythons eating alligators, we have also documented alligators eating pythons. It depends on who is biggest during the encounter."

Monday 30 January 2012

more on the Michigan Bigfoot

Possible Michigan Bigfoot encounter?
In view of a recent interesting encounter  reported in the comments section (see below) I thought I would bring this article from November 2009 to people’s attention again.
dick2577 said...
I live in Fremont, MI and in the fall of 2008 west of town I was dressed all camo and deer hunting above a swamp. I was concealed in a small group of pines and had sprayed myself with raccoon urine to mask my smell. Just before dark I hadn't seen any deer so I decided to move to a spot about 100 feet from my location. As I turn to move, about 5 yards from me behind the bushes at the top of the hill I heard one hell of a scream/howl like I have never heard before. Then whatever it was went crashing down the hill towards the swap. I could tell that it had to be huge and heavy with what felt like the ground was being trampled hard and heavy. I have hunted most of my life and never encountered anything like that before. I went straight across the field towards home instead of my usual way along the top of the hill. I got to the road and at the house across the road was the neighbor lady outside and she asked me what that sound was. She was 1/4 mile away and she heard it too. About a week later I was back hunting, this time down in the swap sitting watching a shooting lane between the trees just about dark. At about 100 yards away and at an 11:00 o'clock position I heard what sounded like someone hitting a tree with a baseball bat. No rhythm to it but 2 knocks then one then a few more. After that I heard a loud snap as if a small tree was broken in half. Remembering what happened the week before I headed straight up the hill instead of following the edge of the swamp home. I do believe in bigfoot and wish I would have actually seen it but I will always remember it. Richard Francis 318 Dewitt Ave. Apt. 4 Fremont Michigan

Sunday 29 January 2012

rare eel found in well

Jittery villagers relieved as scientists detect eel- like fish in well
T. Nandakumar
A team of herpetology scientists from the University of Kerala and the Central University, Kasargode has reported the discovery of a rare eel- like fish surviving in subterranean water sources. CSIR Emeritus Scientist Dr.Oommen V.Oommen and his team found the eels in an open well in the premises of a house at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district. Rattled by the constant presence of what seemed to be small snakes in the water, the distraught family had abandoned the well. “It was disgusting to see the writhing creatures in the water drawn from the well. We could not bring ourselves to use the water for cooking. Repeated flushing and treatment of the water with lime failed to solve the problem. Months later, we finally abandoned the well and informed the scientists”, says T.K.Sarafuddin, the house owner’s brother who lives next door.
The scientists who expected to find caecilians (limbless amphibians) in the well discovered Synbranchid eels instead. Villagers interviewed by the investigating team said the snakes had reappeared after every course of lime treatment and cleaning.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

more new species discovered

Suriname team find 46 new species in tropical forests
By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature
An expedition to a tiny South American country has revealed more than 40 species that scientists believe to be new to science. The expedition to the pristine tropical forests of Suriname was led by the charity Conservation International. The collaboration between scientists, indigenous people and students recorded 1,300 species in total. The team is now working to confirm which of these weird and wonderful creatures are newly discovered species. Among those they believe to be new to science are the "cowboy frog", an amphibian with white fringes along its legs, and a spur-like structure on its "heel". Another colourful addition to the scientific record is  a cricket, or katydid, that has been named the "crayola katydid" because of its bright colouration. One of the new finds - an armoured catfish that has bony plates covered with spines all over its body to defend itself from the giant piranhas the inhabit the same waters - was almost eaten by one of the expedition guides.
Read rest see pics here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16698776