Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Facts Friday ~ Small But Mighty

Do you sometimes feel like you’re too small? You can’t reach things that are high up or you’re always picked last for the team? Even though this may be frustrating for you, there’s some creatures that do just fine being small. Check out these amazing animals and the wonderful things they achieve every day.

A Tiny Builder – The African Pygmy Mouse

This little guy is only 30 to 80 mm (1.2-3.1 inches) long and weighs 3 to 12 grams – that’s less than an ounce! They can be found living in the sub-Saharan of Africa and are considered to be one of the smallest rodents in the world. It has small, rectangular ears and can be grey to brick-red in color with a white underbelly. These animals are nocturnal, are very social and like to live in large groups.

However, being small doesn’t stop this mouse from doing something amazing - building a pebble-pyramid. Every evening after the mouse awakens it stacks pebbles in front of it’s den. Why? As the night wears on dew collects on the pebbles. Then before the mouse goes to sleep for the day, it will lick the water from the tiny rocks. This is its main source of water in this ultra-dry region.

Not Your Normal Pea - The New Zealand Pea Crab
This teeny, tiny crab may be the size of a pea, but it’s mighty in the way it survives. The pea crab is known as a parasitic creature. It will find a common host like the green-lipped mussel and lodge itself onto its gills. Once in place it begins to steal a small portion of the food the mussel takes in.

The female pea crab ranges from 9.3 to 20.2 millimetres (0.37 to 0.80 in) wide and has a soft, see-through body. The male pea crab has a hard, white shell with orange markings and ranges from 3.2 to 11.8 mm (0.13 to 0.46 in) wide.
The males shell needs to be tougher as they move from host to host in order to find a female. However, female pea crabs may spend their entire life with the same host.

The Honey Possum – It Feeds on Nectar!

We know that certain birds and bees feed on nectar and pollen, but what about a tiny marsupial?

The Honey Possum lives in Australia and is 6.5–9 cm long and weighs only 7-11 grams for males and 8-16 grams for females – about half the size of a common mouse.

The Honey Possum is one of the few mammals that are truly nectarivorous. Like a hummingbird, the Honey Possum has a super long tongue with a brush-like tip on the end for gathering the pollen and nectar. The tail of this animal is longer than it’s body and head combined and is used to support the possum. It’s like having an extra arm!

This little guy is nocturnal and will find an abandoned bird’s nest, a hollow in a tree, a rock cavity or any safe place to sleep away the daylight hours.

So the next time you feel like you’re too small to do something, just remember these tiny creatures. They truly are natures “small but mighty.”

For more articles and fun stories check out;

Wonder Words

~ Nocturnal – Sleeps all day and is active at night.
~ Parasitic – a relationship between two different species where one is benefiting (parasite) while the other suffers (host).
~ Nectarivorous – an animal that eats the sugar-rich nectar produced by flowering plants


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