Spiders trying to ride out floods in Wagga Wagga, Australia, are coating the town in thick webs. A woman walks her dogs through a field of spiderwebs in Wagga Wagga, Australia, on March 7a€”"quite a striking shot," Matthews said.There may be hope in sight yet for human and beast alike.
Spiderwebs blanketing fields on March 6 "almost look like snowa€”it's so amazing," Matthews said.The webs appear to be the work of sheet-web spiders and wolf spiders, two species not considered dangerous to people.
Some Wagga Wagga residents have found the spiderwebs (pictured on March 7) a pleasant distraction after days of battling floods. Fewer than 250 adult Bawean warty pigs are alive todaya€”meaning they're likely an endangered species, a new study says. Humpbacks and bowheads are benefiting from less ice in polar oceansa€”and for now, at least, more food. New research shows that summer conditions are now arriving 10 days earlier in Europe than four decades ago. Scaly-breasted munias are estrildid finches native to tropical Asia and are distributed from India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia and the Philippines. Rose-ringed parakeets are very gregarious tropical Afro-Asian parakeets that have an extremely wide range.
Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds on earth with most species measuring 7.5–13 cm in length. The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States of America and appears on their Seal. Crested tits are widespread and common resident breeders in coniferous forests throughout central and N Europe and in deciduous woodlands in France and the Iberian peninsula. Goliath herons are found in sub-Saharan Africa, but have smaller populations in SW and S Asia.
Crowned pigeons are native to Papua New Guinea and the few surrounding islands, where they feed on the forest floor for fallen fruit, seeds and snails.
Indian rollers are most often seen perched on prominent bare trees or wires and descend to the ground to capture prey like insects, spiders, scorpions, small reptiles, small snakes, and frogs.
Red-Whiskered bulbuls are resident throughout tropical Asia and have been introduced in many tropical areas of the world.
Velvet-fronted nuthatches are found in S Asia from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka to S China and Indonesia, preferring to breed in open evergreen forest. Western marsh harriers are found across temperate and subtropical W Eurasia and adjacent Africa. The wolf spider is the first known spider to use a eavesdropping type of method to one-up its male rivals. I thought this article was very interesting in that it seemed strange that the spider would try to mimic the opposing spider. The National Geographic Society has released a collection of images from its 2011 photographic competition - and they're hauntingly beautiful. From the bonobo chimpanzee whose eyes seem to tell a thousand tales, to the millions of spiders that fled into the trees to escape rising water in the 2010 Pakistan floods creating cobweb tree 'cocoons', the level of skill and the results will blow you away. We think of spiders as fearsome hunters, spinners of webs and treacherous mates, but construction workers? Like the spiders, the lizards use the burrows for ambush but they also act as nurseries, cooling stations and defensive forts. Earlier studies have found that lizards readily accept artificial burrows and adding these to the local area will halt the decline of the lizard populations. Bull also found that the burrows are gradually lost throughout the year, presumably through natural cave-ins or the trampling hooves of sheep. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the survival of the bluetongue lizard depends very much on the burrowing activities of their unwitting eight-legged engineers.
A common conservation technique is translocation – moving individuals of an endangered species to fresh territories in order to establish new populations. In the future, these inflatable modules could be used to construct a space habitat, or hotel. Who We ArePhenomena is a gathering of spirited science writers who take delight in the new, the strange, the beautiful and awe-inspiring details of our world. Erika Engelhaupt is the online science editor at National Geographic and manages the Phenomena blog network. Maryn McKenna is an award-winning journalist and the author of Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. DisclaimerThe views expressed are those of the writer and are not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Physical and biological risks present an array of challenges for wildlife and other natural resource professionals, and members of the public in their pursuit of outdoor recreation.  Wildlife professionals, in particular, are often faced with natural hazards with great frequency as a routine part of their job requirements and duties. Recently, I was surprised by a colleague’s choice of attire for a rescued venomous snake reintroduction effort in India. What do wildlife professionals need to know to ensure their own health and safety when working outdoors?  What hazards does the general public encounter when they interact with wildlife and nature? Lesson number three: Know something about the behavior of poisonous or venomous animals in the areas you are working or traveling.
Many people are also afraid of spiders, all of which are venomous to one degree or another.  Most spiders are relatively harmless, but there are exceptions, such as Australia’s endemic funnel-webbed spider (Atrax robustus), a highly aggressive and venomous species. Scorpions (order Scorpiones) are another potential danger in some regions of the world, including the southwestern United States.
When diving, snorkeling, or walking on the beach in many tropical and subtropical area of the world, one must be aware of venomous marine animals.
Jordan: What about injurious species of invertebrate and vertebrate fauna that can harm wildlife professionals? Michael:  Most species of animals have some form of defense and can fight back when threatened, even the seemingly innocuous. Wildlife experts spend many years learning how to properly and safely restrain and capture wildlife for veterinary care, research, population control, and transport.  As a curatorial intern in the Mammalogy Department at the Bronx Zoo in New York in the late 1980’s, I used to go on rounds with the veterinarians. In 1988, I assisted with the capture, measurement and tagging of 2,000 Megellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) at Punta Tombo in Patagonia, Argentina.  Penguins can deliver nasty bites with their sharp bills, and fortunately, I was only nipped once during the time I was there. In my own neighborhood, I have occasionally caught large snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), primarily to get them out of a road where they could be run over by traffic. While hiking or working in grizzly bear country it is advisable to be aware and to make a lot of noise, as bears do not like to be surprised.  If there is no escape from a bear, people are advised to drop to the ground, remain motionless and protect the head (Herrero, S. You mentioned bears and big cats when you asked the question, but you didn’t mention crocodilians—large reptiles, which I believe to be among the most dangerous animals on the planet. Having taken many trips to East Africa, I have been in close proximity to lions (Panthera leo) on several occasions.
Jordan: Vector-borne diseases and other communicable diseases have been addressed in an earlier interview that you graciously participated in.
Some blood-sucking creatures do not pose a health threat, although they can be an annoyance. There are many other disease-related issues that wildlife professionals must be concerned about.  For those who work with bats and smaller carnivores, such as skunks and raccoons, rabies is a constant threat.
Wildlife professionals are at particular risk of disease when conducting field necropsies of dead animals.
Michael: In order to have access to remote sites or to survey wildlife populations, wildlife professionals often have to rely on small fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, which can be dangerous.
Can you talk about the poisonous plants that also present serious hazards to people working outdoors? In North America, people who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors must be on constant alert for poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). They are the global ambassadors that ignore borders and tell us that we are one global community without borders.
Be the first to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. They are all able to hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second. They derive their English name from the horny sheath which partially covers the upper mandible of their stout bills. For a long time it has been known that other animals such as fish and birds use eavesdropping to help themselves in mating season, but now through studies we have discovered that also wolf spiders eavesdrop in a way to win over the ladies.


I did not think that the spider was actually mimicking the other spider, I thought it was just competing with the other spider. It’s so rare that zoologists thought it extinct for over 30 years and it re-emerged in the public eye in the most unlikely way. To understand the relationship between lizards and spiders, Michael Bull from Adelaide’s Flinders University studied the fates of both species in a single hectare of South Australian land. Most of the newly constructed burrows had been made in the winter months when the lizards tend to be inactive – this season, with its heavy rainfall and damp soil, provides the best conditions for easy excavation. While spiders and lizards never co-habited, Bull found no evidence that lizards oust spiders from their homes, rather than occupying empty burrows.
The deeper burrows were least likely to be lost, either because they are inherently more stable, or because their occupants spend a lot of time in maintaining these more valuable abodes. Conservationists eager to protect this rediscovered species have two challenges on their hands – save the lizards and build up populations of the spiders they rely on. Just last month, I wrote about the success of efforts to save the Large Blue butterfly, which depended entirely on identifying their dependence on a local species of ant that they parasitised.
But this solution would only work if the right complement of conditions already exists in the new surroundings. Phenomena is hosted by National Geographic magazine, which invites you to join the conversation.
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This individual wore flat, open-toed shoes to release some of the world’s deadliest snakes back into a wildlife preserve.   Safer measures were certainly in order for such dangerous work.
Michael Hutchins who has traveled to field sites in over 30 countries to pursue his passion for wildlife management and conservation.
Can you discuss how potentially dangerous wildlife is viewed by those working outdoors in the wildlife profession?  Please include both terrestrial and aquatic species, including invertebrates and fish. A poison is typically ingested, whereas venom is injected or actively introduced into the victim’s body.  An example of the former is the cane toad (Bufo marinus)—potential predators of the toad are poisoned by toxic secretions produced by glands on the skin when they try to ingest the animal. Knowing the kinds of habitats and conditions one might usually encounter a venomous or poisonous species is an important piece of information.
Producing the toxin is energetically expensive, and the reptiles are therefore conservative in its use.
Outdoor suppliers sell “snake boots”, which are reportedly impervious to the bites of any venomous snake.   However, being knee-high and heavy, they’ve never looked particularly comfortable to me, especially in warmer weather. A single bee or wasp sting is no big deal, except of course to those who are allergic; but, when individuals are stung numerous times by large swarms of these social insects, the result can be fatal. Its bite can kill a child.  Unfortunately, the spider’s primary habitat is Sydney, which often puts the arachnid in close proximity to humans. There are many species of venomous fish and invertebrates.  As mentioned previously, I nearly stepped on a juvenile stonefish while walking barefoot on a tidal flat in Shark Bay, Western Australia.
The Indo-Pacific or Australian box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) is the most venomous marine animal known to science (Sutherland, S.
The eggs, once fertilized, turn into tiny polyps that attach themselves to rocks where they develop until the following spring. The type of danger involved depends on the weaponry a given species possesses and how such weapons are used. It was my job to work with the keeper-supervisors to capture and restrain various animals as necessary.  In this role, I handled virtually everything in collection, ranging from Patagonian cavies (Dolichotis patagonum), to non-human primates to snow leopards (Panthera uncia) to native and exotic ungulates, such as bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus), gaur (Bos gaurus) and American bison (Bison bison). Measurements and samples were then taken and the animal was tagged and released.  Great care had to be taken to avoid the dagger-sharp horns that both sexes of mountain goats have on their heads. We used specially-built, metal hooks to catch the birds by a leg and pull them out of their nests, and then restrained them by hand.  A sling held the birds in place while they were being weighed.
These animals must be carefully handled by their shell, rear feet and tail, in order to stay as far away from the mouth as possible. I have spent a considerable amount of time in crocodile country, primarily in northern Australia, Indonesia and East Africa.
Since I just got back from India, where I suspect more field biologists have succumbed to vector-borne disease agents than encounters with their study subjects such as elephants and rhino and big cats and bears, I’d be curious to hear you elaborate on some of these concerns for the wildlife professional? Suffice it to say that people who spend a lot of time in the outdoors or handling wildlife are at risk of contracting various diseases or parasites, some of them potentially fatal (Thomas, M.
Far more biologists have been killed in transit to remote, rustic and even accessible locations not far from their offices. There are tens of thousands of collisions and single car accidents annually, and hazards such as wet roads, deer (there are over 1 million deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S.
While I’ve never encountered poison oak, I’ve certainly had some horrific experiences with poison ivy.  Even the slightest contact with this plant can result in a skin rash called allergic contact dermatitis. Here are the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” drawn from the thousands of photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust for consideration every week. They discovered this by playing film that scientists have recorded of wolf spider to there mating dance in the woods. In 1992, a dead specimen of this supposedly extinct animal was found in the stomach of a brown snake, found dead on the side of a road. Over two years, his team spent bursts of two weeks, intensively searching the plot of land for signs of burrows. When spring arrived, the new tunnels were always occupied by spiders but later on in the year, the bluetongues started turning up in burrows that had previously had spidery tenants.
The two animals also have different needs – spiders are all-too-happy to live in shallower tunnels but lizards seem to have a preference for deeper ones that provide them with more shelter from scorching summer temperatures.
Their decline is probably related to the fall in spider numbers and the reasons for that are a mystery.
In the case of the bluetongue lizards, moving them to an area devoid of burrowing spiders would be utterly futile.
Michael also began handling and restraining captive and free-ranging wildlife while studying Rocky Mountain goats in Olympic National Park, WA and working at the Bronx Zoo, one of the most diverse mammal collections in the world. An example of the latter is the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), a large predatory snake that literally injects venom through its syringe-like fangs that are connected to venom glands.  Some venomous species, such as rear-fanged snakes and gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum, one of the world’s few venomous lizards) must chew in order to introduce the venom, since they have no efficient way of injecting it.
Snake bite kits, even those with antivenin, are also available for sale.  If by any chance, you are bitten by a venomous snake, medical experts now argue against cutting the wound and trying to extract the venom. Despite their fearsome reputation, only around 25 out of almost 1500 species have venom capable of killing a human.  When it comes to scorpions, the general rule is the smaller the species, the more dangerous. This fish has a sharp spine on its dorsal fin, which is attached to a venom gland.   The fin is erected when the fish is threatened. In spring, the polyps transform into tiny jellyfish that are washed downstream with the summer rains. Even the diminutive deer mouse (Peromyscus spp.) can inflict damage by biting with its large incisors. Being bitten by one of these powerful reptiles would be extremely painful, as they have strong jaws and once attached do not let go. Suffice to say, that such animals should be admired from afar, rather in close proximity (see Hutchins, M.
The closest I’ve ever been to them was in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. I must say that this sent a chill up my spine and my heart racing, as I knew perfectly well that anyone of them could have joined me in the vehicle in a split second. Standing still in the forest, one can literally see the ground moving toward you, as the leeches detect your presence and start inching toward your position. I was once hiking down a riverside trail in mid-day near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a friend.
In 2007, Eric York, a National Park Service biologist, who conducted a field necropsy of a mountain lion (Felis concolor) carcass in Grand Canyon National Park, later died from pneumonic plaque.  The Centers for Disease Control later concluded that York had contracted the disease from the dead animal (Thomas, M. These unfortunate and tragic incidents far outnumber lethal encounters with their wildlife subjects.   Can you talk about this? It is best known for the stinging hairs, which cover the whole plant and deliver a potent neurotoxin when touched.


That unexpected discovery prompted intensive surveys of the surrounding area, which found several lizards living in spider burrows. Bull suggests that it might be a natural part of their 12-18-month life cycle or due to a rise in the populations of parasitic wasps in spring.
Just as we depend on service providers to man our hospitals, deliver our post and collect our garbage, so too do wild species depend on service providers to build their homes, disperse their seeds or even raise their young. Early in his zoo career, he was responsible for the physical restraint of a wide variety of animals during veterinary rounds.  Michael has participated in several interviews for Nat Geo News. In addition, some poisons can be introduced through means other than ingestion, as for example, when someone with a cut on their hand picks up a poison dart frog, and the poison enters the blood stream through a skin abrasion. I left my colleagues behind and began walking down a gully where I was finding numerous pieces of petrified wood. Instead, they advise, washing the bite wound with soap and water, removing any tight clothing or jewelry from around the site, restricting movement as much as possible, and transporting the victim to a hospital immediately, so that antivenin can be administered. The Brazilian biologist we were with wanted us to get a good look at the tropical forest from high above the canopy. Deaths are extremely rare, with most fatalities occurring in children under the age of seven or older individuals with weak immune systems.
The bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus), an inhabitant of the Sonoran Desert, is considered the most venomous scorpion in North America.  A sting can cause severe pain in adult humans, typically lasting between 24 to 72 hours. The sting of small cones is similar to a bee sting; however, the sting of some of the larger species can be serious, occasionally even leading to death. The only treatment for a sting is to apply normal vinegar over the tentacles, which inactivates the nematocysts.  Many popular Australian beaches where box jellyfish are present have a bottle of vinegar stored on the beach next to warning signs, and this has saved dozens of lives. On one occasion, I tried to catch a large male by myself; the rope wrapped around my wrist and pulled me to the ground. Fortunately, the Serengeti lions are used to vehicles and see them as just another neutral aspect of their environment. From a distance, we saw an adult raccoon (Procyon lotor) wandering erratically during midday and vocalizing loudly. The oil is present in all parts of the plants, including the leaves, stems, flowers, berries, and roots. This collection of photographs was chosen from the largest numbers of submissions ever from the most countries around the world! When they did they did this they recorded that the spider would try to mimic and try one-up the video spider, thinking there was a female around. If the lizard population is too dense, individuals are forced to adopt less-than-ideal accommodation. About half- way up he suddenly said, “be quiet and move slowly—there is a killer bee nest on this platform.”  Fortunately for us, no killer bees saw fit to attack us, but these invasive insects, hybrids between the honey bee and an African variety, are well known for their aggressive disposition and are easily aroused to attack. Due to the presence of a neurotoxin in their venom, black widow bites are also potentially dangerous.  Besides the intense pain, this spider’s bite can cause muscles to cramp and become rigid, as well as causing nausea, respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and paralysis. Scorpion fish (family Scorpaenidae) are another venomous species from the tropical Indo-Pacific.  There are also sea snakes (family Hydrophiinae)—relatives of the cobra—who live most of their lives in the ocean, only coming on land to lay their eggs.
Even though box jellies do not favor deep water over coral reefs, they have occasionally been found there.  When snorkeling or scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, dive operators strongly suggest wearing a lycra dive skin to prevent contact with the tentacles. I was dragged for several yards over loose gravel until I hit a large rock with my back, and the rope broke. Though bites may still occur, the animals may soon lose interest and leave.  I have met two people who had been attacked by grizzly bears and survived.
That being said, no one should ever take chances with large predators, or assume that they will not act like predators if given a chance.
The sting causes extreme pain, which can last for months, and the injured area becomes covered with small, red spots that combine to form a red, swollen mass. Ants, Indians and Little Dinosaurs: A Celebration of Man and Nature for the 75th Anniversary of Natural History Magazine. There is now an antivenin to counteract the venom’s effects and that is the recommended treatment.  In the 1800’s, many unfortunate men were bitten by black widows while sitting in outhouses, accounting for nearly 80% of all recorded bites.
Fire corals have a bright yellow-green and brown skeletal covering and are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. One was a Canadian scientist who had worked on bears and was mauled while letting a bear go from a culvert trap.
Sheep, wild herbivores and rodents are the usual intermediate hosts, but humans can also be infected.
Indirect contact with these oils can also cause the rash, such as occurs when one touches clothing, pet fur, or other objects that have come in contact with one of these plants.
The second is that you tell us your views on why this information will or won't make a difference in the world. Fortunately, they are seldom aggressive, except during the mating season, and have small mouths and fangs.
Although I was not seriously injured, I was pretty beat up and had to take a few days off to recover. The egg hatches in the digestive system of the intermediate host, producing larva, which then penetrate the intestinal wall and are carried by bloodstream to liver, brain, lung or other organs. A seasoned Vietnam veteran, the pilot in question had complete command of his aircraft.   Just to illustrate how hazardous flying a helicopter is, less than a week after I flew with him, he died in a helicopter accident lifting an air conditioning unit into a shopping mall in Seattle. The recommended treatment for skin exposure is by pulling the hairs out with a wax hair removal strip.  One of the first things you learn when hiking in Queensland’s tropical rainforests is to identify the distinctive heart-shaped leaves of this plant and to avoid it like the plague. As it turns out, he was allergic to the antivenin and the essay recounts his struggle with the decision whether or not to accept treatment.
Fire corals have small nematocysts or stinging cells, similar to the nematocysts of jellyfish.
Using a combination of clothing to cover the skin, along with insect repellent and insecticides, it is possible to avoid being bitten altogether. Unfortunately, stinging trees are an early colonizing plant that is commonly found along the edges of hiking trails, necessitating constant vigilance.
Not wanting it to spend the night with us, I carefully removed it from the curtain with a magazine and released it outside.
In addition, fire corals, like many corals, possess a sharp, calcified external skeleton that, upon contact, can scrape or cut the skin.
Neither held any animosity towards the bears that had attacked them, noting that the animals were just being animals and trying to protect themselves or their offspring. Serious travelers to the world’s tropical regions often purchase a powerful insecticide, which can be sprayed on clothing to provide an extra layer of protection.
There is some truth to the story that the first one in line aggravates the snake and the second one gets bitten.  Fortunately, I looked down before moving forward and saw the snake writhing on the ground in front of me.
Consequently, chance encounters between humans and female bears with cubs are by far the most dangerous. This, in turn, can make it more difficult to offer a compelling case for their conservation. I was in Yellowstone in 2010 for an invited workshop on wildlife health in the Park.  On one afternoon, they loaded us in a bus and took us for a tour. Night is a time when mosquitos are active and netting provides extra protection during this period of increased vulnerability.
We stopped at one location and got out of the bus to look at the view.  Our host told us that this had been the site of a bear attack just a few months earlier, and subsequently recounted the story. The victim, who was a serious photographer, had gotten out of his car and set up his tripod about 50 meters from the road.  He was in the process of photographing a female bison and her newborn calf, when he suddenly looked up from his camera lens. Within seconds, the bear reared up and struck the man on the head with her huge paw, literally ripping the skin off his skull and face.  This was obviously a defensive reaction, as she immediately left the scene with her cubs.
And third, he was focused on his photography, rather than being intensely aware of his surroundings.



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