Friday, September 14, 2012

Squirrels and Vipers and Marigolds, Oh My!

Here are some more plants and animals I painted with acrylics, along with interesting facts I dug up from the all knowing internet. 

    Someday I want to see a Eurasian Red Squirrel in real life! They are the type of squirrels that I imagine populate fairy tale type settings, along with mossy trees, red mushrooms with white dots, and foxglove flowers. They are an endangered species, so eventually they may really occupy only the realm of fairy tales. A group of red squirrels can be called a dray, or even more adorably... a scurry.  (A)

    The Titan Arum is a flower that looks rather prehistoric and is the largest tropical flower on our humble planet. The large and odd appearance of this flower makes it easy to  imagine a dinosaur curiously smelling the bloom. The dinosaur would not be to happy at what it smelled, because the Titan Arum has an unpleasant odor associated with the smell of death or rotting eggs. (B)

    The Ornate Box Turtle can be found in  North America. It is much easier to discover whether a Ornate Box Turtle is a male or female than it is with most animals. The males have red irises and the females have yellowish brown irises. (C)

     The Pit Viper is a very dangerous snake with deadly venom! What makes them even more scary is that they have evolved to have special organs that act as heat receptors. This way, they know when a warm blooded animal is near. I thought they were called pit vipers because they were often found in pits. But the pits are actually the special organs, which are pits behind the nostrils. The pits are covered with a heat sensitive membrane. (D)
    The Polar Bear is a very lovable animal. Just like seals and otters, the polar bear is considered by many as a marine mammal.  The polar bear seems to be built for  navigating the sea! The mighty front paws of a polar bear are webbed, just like any half-aquatic super hero. Also, their nostrils close when immersed in water. (E)

  The Duck Billed Platypus is a very strange animal that seems to have a rag-tag combination of features from various different animals. They seem to be from a sci-fi world populated by strange scientifically created, genetic hybrids. They are semi aquatic animals with a bill, just like a duck. They have webbed feet like a frog. They growl like a lion or a dog. They burrow like a rabbit or a mole. They lay eggs like a bird. The young Duck Billed Platypus drinks it's mother's milk, like all mammals.  Arguably most bizarrely, Duck Billed Platypuses have venom like a snake and are one of the few mammals that have venom. (F)

    The Garden Marigold is bug resistant due to it's strong odor. Crafty gardeners use this to their advantage by planting them as borders in their garden. They faithfully protect less self reliant plants against insect invaders. They are like miniature and beautiful garden guards... or Guardens ... har har har! (G)

Where I found my interesting plant and animal facts:
(A) Eurasian Red Squirrel
(B) Environmental Graffiti
(C) Ehow Box Turtles for Kids
(D) Pit Vipers
(E) athropolis- Polar Bears
(F) The Animal Files
(G) Ehow Marigolds

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