The yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) is a land and water turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. This subspecies of pond slider is native to the southeastern United States, specifically from Florida to southeastern Virginia, and is the most common turtle species in its range. It is found in a wide variety of habitats, including slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps, marshes, seasonal wetlands, and permanent ponds. Yellow-bellied sliders are popular as pets.
Adult male yellow-bellied sliders typically reach 5–8 inches (13–20 cm) in length; females are anywhere from 8–13 inches (20–33 cm). The carapace (upper shell) is typically brown and black, often with yellow stripes. The skin is olive green with prominent patches of yellow down the neck and legs. As the name implies, the plastron (bottom shell) is mostly yellow with green spots along the edges. Adult males tend to grow darker as they age. Yellow-bellied sliders are often confused with Eastern River Cooters, who also have yellow stripes on the neck and yellow undersides, but the latter lack the green spots characteristic to T. scripta scripta and the yellow belly often has a "s" like yellow stripe on its face.
Mating can occur in spring, summer, and autumn. Yellow-bellied sliders are capable of interbreeding with other T. scripta subspecies, such as red-eared sliders, which are also commonly sold as pets. The release of non-native red-eared sliders into local environments caused the state of Florida to ban the sale of red-eared sliders so as to protect the native population of yellow-bellied sliders.
Mating takes place in the water, but some suitable terrestrial area is required for egg-laying by nesting females, who will normally lay 6–10 eggs at a time, with larger females capable of bearing more. The eggs incubate for 2–3 months and the hatchlings will usually stay with the nest through winter. Hatchlings are almost entirely carnivorous, feeding on insects, spiders, crustaceans, tadpoles, fish, and carrion. As they age, adults eat less and less meat such that up to 95% of their nutritional intake comes from plants.
The slider is considered a diurnal turtle; it feeds mainly in the morning and frequently basks on shore, on logs, or while floating, during the rest of the day. At night, it sleeps lying on the bottom or resting on the surface near brush piles, but in all cases it prefers to stay in the water. Highest densities of sliders occur where algae blooms and aquatic macrophytes are abundant and are of the type that form dense mats at the surface, such as Myriophyllum spicatum and lily pads (Nymphaeaceae). Dense surface vegetation provides cover from predators and supports high densities of aquatic invertebrates and small vertebrates, which offers better foraging than open water.
The lifespan of yellow-bellied sliders is over 30 years in the wild, and over 40 years in captivity.
The Yellow-billed Stork, Mycteria ibis, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It occurs in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. Its a medium-sized stork. Length: 97 cm; average body weight for males: 2.3 kg; for females: 1.9 kg. Plumage mainly pinkish-white with black wings and tail; bill yellow, blunt, and decurved at tip. Immature birds are greyish brown with dull greyish brown bill, dull orange face and brownish legs. The similar Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) is an Asian bird.
The Yellow-billed Stork is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
I caught this photo while riding down Erwin Road in Durham, N.C. in the vicinity of Duke Forest. I saw a glimpse of white out the corner of my eye, pulled off the road immediately, to the utter surprise of my wife and four children. Then jumped out of the car and starting running after this albino deer. I was able to take a very good picture of this remarkable animal.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), the smallest members of the North American deer family, are found from southern Canada to South America. In the heat of summer they typically inhabit fields and meadows using clumps of broad-leaved and coniferous forests for shade. During the winter they generally keep to forests, preferring coniferous stands that provide shelter from the harsh elements.
Adult white-tails have reddish-brown coats in summer which fade to a duller grayish-brown in winter. Male deer, called bucks, are easily recognizable in the summer and fall by their prominent set of antlers, which are grown annually and fall off in the winter. Only the bucks grow antlers, which bear a number of tines, or sharp points. During the mating season, also called the rut, bucks fight over territory by using their antlers in sparring matches.
Albino deer are deer that lack pigmentation and have a completely white hide and pink eyes, nose and hooves. Albinism is much rarer and may only be observed in one in 30,000 deer.
Female deer, called does, give birth to one to three young at a time, usually in May or June and after a gestation period of seven months. Young deer, called fawns, wear a reddish-brown coat with white spots that helps them blend in with the forest.
White-tailed deer are herbivores, leisurely grazing on most available plant foods. Their stomachs allow them to digest a varied diet, including leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, and even lichens and other fungi. Occasionally venturing out in the daylight hours, white-tailed deer are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular, browsing mainly at dawn and dusk.
In the wild, white-tails, particularly the young, are preyed upon by bobcats, mountain lions, and coyotes. They use speed and agility to outrun predators, sprinting up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour and leaping as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and as far as 30 feet (9 meters) in a single bound.
Although previously depleted by unrestricted hunting in the United States, strict game-management measures have helped restore the white-tailed deer population.
The White-headed Buffalo Weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli) is a species of passerine bird in the family Ploceidae native to East Africa. The buffalo part of its name derives from its habit of following the African buffalo, feeding on disturbed insects. Two subspecies are recognized.
The White-headed Buffalo Weaver is 170–190 mm (6.7–7.5 in) in length and 57–85 g (2.0–3.0 oz) in weight. In addition to its white head and underparts, the White-headed Buffalo Weaver has a vividly orange-red rump and undertail coverts. Its thighs are dark brown. Narrow white bands can be found on the wings. Both sexes are similar in plumage and hard to differentiate. The bill is conical and black. D. dinemelli has a brown tail, whereas D. boehmi has a black tail.
The White-headed Buffalo Weaver is native to the African countries of: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda. It prefers habitats such as savanna, and shrublands, but especially dry brush and Acacia thickets.
The Wattled Ibis (Bostrychia carunculata) is a species of bird in the Threskiornithidae family. It is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands and is found only in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
A large, dark ibis with white shoulder patches. Also eye is white. Thin wattle is hanging from the broad bill base. These two features, and no white line on cheek, distinguish this ibis from the close relative Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash). The average length is 60 cm.
May occur all over Ethiopian highlands at altitude range of 1500 m to highest moorlands of 4100 m. It has also been recorded from the coast of Eritrea. It prefers meadows and highland river courses. It is often found in rocky places and cliffs (where it roosts and breeds), but also in open country, cultivated land, city parks and olive tree (Olea africana) and juniper (Juniperus procera) mixed forests. It has also become well adapted to anthropic landscapes and conditions; during the rainy season it can be seen in the hotel lawns of downtown Addis Ababa. The wattled ibis is common to abundant.
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)
Description: The squirrel treefrog is a small, smooth-skinned frog that can change color rapidly, from green to yellowish brown or brown. It generally has a poorly developed yellowish stripe on each side and sometimes spotting on the back.
Habitats and Habits: Squirrel treefrogs occur in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from pine savannas to urban backyards. They are found primarily in the Coastal Plain, although they may be introduced into other parts of the state by hitchhiking on garden materials. Squirrel treefrogs are nocturnal and spend the daylight hours hiding under leaves, bark or logs. Eggs are deposited singly at the bottom of shallow, temporary pools, and tadpoles require at least seven weeks to complete metamorphosis.
Call: Breeding occurs from April to August. Their breeding call is a nasal “waaak, waaak,” repeated about 15 times in 10 seconds. They also have a “rain call,” which is a scolding, squirrel-like rasp usually performed away from water before or during rain storms. Consequently, they are sometimes called “rain frogs.”
Frog Fact: Squirrel treefrogs and other treefrogs are often seen at night around lighted windows and street lights, where they feed on insects.
Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris)
Description: The southern toad closely resembles the American toad and the Fowler’s toad but is most easily distinguished by the large knobs on its pronounced cranial crests. Color may be brown, tan, reddish, gray or blackish with a variable number of warts in each large dark spot on the back. It may have a light middorsal stripe. Males are smaller than females and have dark throats.
Habitats and Habits: These common toads occur throughout most of the Coastal Plain. In many portions of the lower Coastal Plain, they are the only large toads. Eggs are deposited in long strings. They hatch in about a week or less, and the small blackish tadpoles transform in about four to eight weeks. Shallow ponds and other temporary wetlands are preferred breeding sites, but permanent bodies of water are also used. Southern toads may hybridize with Fowler’s or American toads in areas where their ranges overlap.
Call: Southern toads breed mostly from late February to May, but they may also call later in the summer. Their call is a long trill resembling that of American toads but usually shorter in duration and slightly higher in pitch. Males also utter a chirping “release call” if handled or mistakenly grasped by another male.
Frog Fact: Small juveniles of our three large toads (American, Fowler’s and southern) are very difficult to distinguish from each other. Locality, habitat and time of year can be useful for correctly identifying them. Juveniles and adults of all three species are terrestrial, returning to the water only to breed.
Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
Description: The carpenter frog looks somewhat like a small bullfrog but may be distinguished by the presence of four buff, reddish-brown or yellowish-brown stripes — two on the back and one on each side — on a mottled greenish or brownish background. It has dark stripes on the rear of each thigh and usually dark mottling on its belly and sides. It does not have ridges running along its sides like many other members of the family.
Habitats and Habits: Found in the Coastal Plain, carpenter frogs are more often heard than seen. They are among our most aquatic frogs, seldom venturing far from water. Habitats include pine savanna ponds, bogs, beaver swamps, Carolina bays, seeps, pocosins (shrub bogs) and ditches. They are found most often in tea-colored, relatively acidic waters with abundant Sphagnum or other vegetation and are sometimes called “sphagnum frogs.”
Several hundred eggs are deposited in a flattened cluster. The tadpoles take about a year to transform and are highly acid-tolerant. Larger tadpoles have a distinct dotted or dashed line in their dorsal tail fins and may also have tiny, scattered black dots like those of bullfrogs.
Call: Carpenter frogs can be heard calling in late winter, spring and summer. Their common name refers to their call, an explosive “pa-tank!” or “clack-it!” repeated several times in succession, resembling a carpenter’s hammer.
Frog Fact: Male carpenter frogs are highly territorial and defend their territories from other males using physical interactions (wrestling) and vocalizations.
Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)
Description: The pine woods treefrog is usually reddish brown, brownish or grayish (occasionally greenish) with dark blotches on its back and small yellow, orange or white spots on the rear of each thigh.
Habitats and Habits: Pine woods treefrogs inhabit pine forests and flatwoods, as well as cypress swamps in the Coastal Plain. They are noted for climbing to the tops of the tallest trees. Breeding occurs in grassy pools, roadside ditches, cypress ponds and other temporary aquatic habitats. Egg masses are loose and sticky and are attached to vegetation at or near the water’s surface. Tadpoles hatch within three days after eggs are laid and transform in seven to 11 weeks.
Call: Pine woods treefrogs call from March to October. Singing males call from the edge of shallow water or from emergent vegetation with a very distinctive, machine-like “kek-kek-kek” call, which is sometimes described as sounding like Morse code.
Frog Fact: Like many species of amphibians that use ephemeral breeding sites, pine woods treefrog tadpoles may fail to reach metamorphosis if the wetland dries prematurely. Fortunately, large numbers of tadpoles often complete metamorphosis during wet years, which can help make up for the losses sustained during dry years.
Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii)
Listed: N.C. Natural Heritage Program, Significantly Rare
Description: Named for the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Pine Barrens treefrog is considered by some to be the most beautiful frog in the United States. It is a medium-sized green treefrog with a white-bordered lavender stripe along each side of its body and brilliant orange on the underside of each leg.
Habitats and Habits: Pine Barrens treefrogs are found in the pine forests and sandhills of south-central North Carolina. They are nocturnal and seldom seen, presumably spending their time in shrubs and trees. Most sightings occur during their breeding season. Breeding habitats include Carolina bays, pocosins (shrub bogs), spring-fed pools and bogs adjacent to pine forests. Females attach eggs singly or in small clusters to Sphagnum moss, or lay them on the bottom of the wetland. After hatching, tadpoles complete metamorphosis in seven to 11 weeks.
Call: Pine Barrens treefrogs call from April to September. Males call from the ground or from shrubs or other vegetation near the water’s surface. Their call, which sounds like a nasal “honk” or “quonk,” is quickly repeated 10 to 20 times at infrequent intervals.
Frog Fact: Pine Barrens treefrogs have a limited distribution in North Carolina, and populations are thought to be declining due to habitat destruction and degradation.
The olive baboon (Papio anubis), also called the Anubis baboon, is a member of the family Cercopithecidae (Old World monkeys). The species is the most widely ranging of all baboons: it is found in 25 countries throughout Africa, extending from Mali eastward to Ethiopia and Tanzania. Isolated populations are also found in some mountainous regions of the Sahara. It inhabits savannahs, steppes, and forests.
The olive baboon inhabits a strip of 25 equatorial African countries, very nearly ranging from the east to west coast of the continent. The exact boundaries of this strip are not clearly defined, as the species' territory overlaps with that of other baboon species. In many places, this has resulted in cross-breeding between species. For example, there has been considerable hybridization between the olive baboon and the Hamadryas baboon in Ethiopia. Cross-breeding with the yellow baboon and the Guinea baboon has also been observed. Although this has been noted, the hybrids have not yet been studied well.
Throughout its wide range, the olive baboon can be found in a number of different habitats. It is usually classified as savanna-dwelling, living in the wide plains of the grasslands. The grasslands, especially those near open woodland, do make up a large part of its habitat, but the baboon also inhabits rainforests and deserts. Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, both support olive baboon populations in dense tropical forests.