Can Bats See Objects With Their Eyes After All?
It has long been thought that bats function entirely without the sense of sight. The phrase “blind as a bat” has immortalized bats as animals that are blind, but is this fair? Is it true that bats cannot see any objects at all with their eyes? Why do bats even have eyes?
It is becoming better known among the public that bats navigate the environment by means of an ability that is unique to bats. This ability is known as “echolocation”. The term itself is rather self-explanatory in that bats navigate by taking cues from echoes that bounce of objects. These echoes come from sounds that bats make themselves, so what else would a bat need to get around?
Despite what we have all been told since preschool, bats can indeed see. More than that, bats can also choose when to use sight or when to use sound in order to navigate their environments. For example, one study shows that bats prefer to use sight over sound when hunting prey. Some fruit bats do not use echolocation at all. Those fruit bats that rely solely on sight actually possess eyes that are far superior to the eyes of any human. For example, some fruit bats possess a power of eyesight that is so acute that they can make out ultraviolet rays.
There are over thirteen hundred different species of bat, and some species are markedly different from others. Bats are a remarkably diverse family of animals. Some bats prefer to eat insects, while other bats cannot stand insects and instead choose to feed on flowers. All three of the Latin American species of bat suck blood exclusively for sustenance. So not many bats able to see better than humans, but there also exists a wide array of adaptations among the bat family that most people are completely unaware of except for you.
Were you ever under the impression that some types of bats suck human blood?
More Raccoons May Mean Less Songbirds
Songbird populations that are native to North America are now decreasing dramatically, and it is likely the fault of raccoons. Raccoons love to chow down on eggs. Just about every type of egg you can think of would make a raccoon very happy. However, many citizens are becoming concerned about growing raccoon populations in the US and the negative effect that large raccoon populations have on songbird populations.
Older studies have already demonstrated that high raccoon populations grow in inverse proportion to songbird populations. Ever since the 1980’s, researchers have been keeping a close look on how raccoon populations affect other wildlife populations. For example, Illinois might be losing more songbirds than it produces. So do raccoons hate songbirds or something?
Raccoons do not prey on songbirds in particular, but raccoons do enjoy climbing trees, and this has proven to be a problem for songbirds that are nesting on a tree’s lower points. Raccoons rarely climb high enough to reach birds nests, but songbirds do show a tendency to build their nests where raccoons have access to the parent songbirds, as well as their eggs.
According to a study conducted by Kenneth Schmidt of Texas Tech University, raccoons began proliferating in astronomical numbers during the 80s. Since then over seventy percent of low nesting songbirds have died out. Contrast that with the fifty percent decline in high nesting songbirds. The stats are pretty close, but a twenty percent difference is significant.
Naturally, as the raccoon population increases, the diversity of lower nesting songbirds decreases, while the diversity of higher nesting songbirds increases. Researchers are only now beginning to shed some light on raccoon behavior by means of retrospective studies. Researchers believe that the sudden and dramatic increase in raccoon populations during the 80s and after was driven by the eradication of more successful carnivorous mammals.
Could raccoons cause any serious problems for humans that would result in the indirect death of humans? If yes, what sort of disasters could raccoons cause, besides outbreaks of rabies?
The Insects That Are Killing All Of America’s Maple Trees | Exterminators in New Jersey
Gloomy scales are insect-pests that love to feed on trees that are already stressed from abnormal environmental conditions. The GS insects don’t just feed on maple trees; they also reproduce, live and altogether, thrive on these trees. According to researchers these insect-pests have been know to reproduce in much higher numbers when the trees are already deprived of its nutrients as a result of heat and drought.
A recent study conducted by Adam Dale, an entomology professor from the University of Florida, has succeeded in shedding more light on how and why these bugs choose to feed and thrive on maple trees. Dale’s research is important as city planners will need to know where to plant maple trees in order to minimize insect-pest issues that may result from the trees presence. Maple trees are well-liked aspects of many modern parks, mostly because these trees produce a lot of shade.
To be more specific, Dr. Dale wants to figure out which factors can lead to the worsening of GS insect-pest issues, and what factors could save more maple trees from GS insects. Strangely enough, the more hot and dry a particular maple tree was, the more GS insects it had feeding on it. You would think insects would be more attracted to trees that were healthy and full of nutrients.
According to Dr. Dale, these nasty insect pests can severely damage and kill the trees that it feeds on. Also, GS insects are far more devastating to maple trees that exist in urban rather than rural areas, which clearly takes away from the benefits maple trees have to offer to the public. The negative environmental effects that result from artificial warming, and drought are far worse in the city, which makes city-dwelling maple trees the most at-risk group of trees.
Have you ever had a tree in your front yard that was eventually killed off by insect-pests?
Scientists Are Reversing Mosquito Genders To Fight Dengue Fever
You may or may not know that while mosquitos are the dastardly villains behind such horrible and possibly fatal diseases as dengue fever and yellow fever, it is only the female of the species that can actually pass them on to humans through their bite. The reason for this is that females are the ones that need to bite humans for our blood in order to provide for their baby mosquitos growing inside their eggs. Thus, male mosquitos don’t even seek out humans to provide them with the bloody meals the females go after, and aren’t a threat to humans.
One group of researchers found a way to take advantage of this different between the sexes to fight back against the tropical diseases the Aedes aegypti female mosquitos in particular inflict on millions of humans every year. This one species of mosquito is responsible for transmitting not only dengue and yellow fever, but also chikungunya and the Zika virus, the current epidemic spreading throughout the world because of these pests.
Researchers from the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg discovered the gene responsible for determining the sex of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The study involved them injecting mosquito embryos with the gene, and seeing what happened. Amazingly, more than two thirds of the females they inject ended up developing male genitalia, including testicles. The opposite occurred in the males they injected, with them developing female genitals.
So, why are scientists so excited about this discovery? With this new technology it is now possible to change would-be dangerous female mosquitos into harmless males. This also opens up the possibility of getting rid of most of those deadly females altogether; leaving enough to still produce more mosquitos so the ecosystem isn’t irrevocably damaged, but controlling their numbers. This could possibly be the answer to all of our mosquito problems.
Do you think eliminating a large percentage of the female mosquito population could have ecological consequences that we simply haven’t thought of yet? Would an imbalance of the sexes possibly solve one problem but cause another one, and what kind?
A Blind And Orphaned Opossum Finds A New Family | Animal Removal New Jersey
One day Georgette Renner and her husband were out walking around the neighborhood when they spotted a lone baby opossum being attacked by buzzards. Sadly, Renner had found that the baby opossum had sustained several injuries from the buzzards. The injured areas included her face, back and tail, and those were only the most severe wounds. Renner and her husband then started to treat the opossum, which they named Lucky, to baby formula, since he was still too young for more solid food, and the Renners treated Lucky’s wounds until they healed.
Later the Renner’s learned that Lucky’s mother was killed when Lucky was a newborn, so it is a miracle that lucky is alive today. The Renner’s claim that taking care of lucky is similar to taking care of a baby in that Lucky will cry for her milk formula, and she has to be fed twice an evening in order to fall asleep. Unfortunately, after Lucky’s wounds had all healed, she was still missing most of her vision, and for that reason Lucky is not safe returning to the wild. However, on the bright side, Lucky gets to spend a lot of time outside and she is probably receiving better care than she ever could have elsewhere thanks to the loving embrace of the Renners.
Have you ever spotted an injured animal outside? Did you do anything to help the animal?
Even Moles Deserve a Little Love on Valentines Day
For the most part when you hear someone talking about moles, they don’t describe them in a very flattering light, painting them as terrible lawn pests. Now, it is true that moles do love to dig dozens of tunnels all around your yard, especially at this time of year, but they’re not all bad. Moles do have some good qualities and things they do that help nature and us in return. So, at this time of love and good cheer let’s give a little love to moles.
Did you know that moles are actually pretty good at helping you with pest control? Moles are really big eaters, as in they eat anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of their weight in food every day. Most of what they are eating is grubs and earthworms they dig up while tunneling away. Many of the grubs and earthworms they eat are really bad for your garden and yard, destructive pests that can spell death to your plants.
Even their tunneling actually helps the environment. By moving tons of the soil every year, they are aerating it, which is really good for plants. They also help fertilize the ground with their mole doo doos.
Moles have even made their way into classic literature. “Mole” from the 1908 classic novel “Wind in the Willows” is the first character in a book to ever be a mole. And moles are littered throughout mythology and folklore, generally depicted as main characters in numerous folklore traditions that are strong and help protect the earth. I’d say these funny little creatures deserve a second glance. They appear to be more than simple pests.
Have you ever seen tunnels dug by moles in your yard? Did what I taught you here make you like moles just a little bit more?
New Jersey Pest Control Reviews | Pest Control New Jersey
The Predictions Of The World’s Most Famous Groundhogs Do Not Agree | New Jersey Wildlife Removal
Well Groundhog Day has finally arrived, but the groundhog has since retired after making his prediction in front of a crowd that was wide eyed with anticipation to learn of the groundhog’s predictions regarding the future weather. Even with sophisticated weather gauging technology, the weather cannot be predicted accurately if the supposed weather conditions occur more than a week or so ahead of the present.
When the Groundhog Day celebrations were in their infancy, the charismatic Punxsutawney Phil became known as the groundhog that could share future weather conditions with human beings. Not only that, but the groundhog was often correct, which makes sense since the chances of the groundhog predicting the length of the winter accurately would seem to be a good fifty percent.
However, a lesser known, but still famous weather predicting groundhog disagreed this morning with the famed, and probably very spoiled, Punxsutawney Phil. So which groundhog, if any, will be correct about the weather conditions during the late winter and early spring? Who knows, but one thing we do know is that Phil is correct thirty nine percent of the time, while his more mysterious counterpart, Chuck from Staten Island, is correct about eighty percent of the time. Personally, with odds like that, I think that I would stick by Chuck.
Have you ever traveled to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to witness the groundhog make its prediction? Or have you been to any of the smaller and lesser known Groundhog Day festivals around the United States?
Vampire Bats Discovered Drinking Human Blood
So, unlike actual vampires, vampire bats don’t drink human blood, right? Wrong! For years scientists have believed that vampire bats do not ever consume human blood, but a recent study revealed they do choose to snack on a human every now and again. These blood-sucking bats eat by puncturing the skin of their prey and lapping up the blood that oozes out, which is helped by the bat’s saliva that contains an anticoagulant. Doesn’t that sound pleasant?
While studying the dung of vampire bats in Brazil, scientists discovered evidence of other two legged animal blood in some bat doo doo they found. That blood belonged to – you guessed it – humans! The scientists believe that the bats may have widened their range of food sources because the birds they usually eat dropped in numbers and were harder to find. As the birds in that specific region are very sensitive to human activity, researchers believe that is what led to the bat’s normal food supply growing scarce. Researchers are most concerned about the possibility that with bats feeding on humans there is a higher risk of rabies also being transmitted during their meal.
Have you ever come across a bat in the wild? What do you think of these flying rodent-like creatures?
Could A Spider Be Living In Your Hair? | New Jersey Spider Control
There is an urban legend, though not as common today as it was before the 1980’s, that told about a person with a bushy hairdo having a family of black widows nesting within his or her locks. There are also plenty of stories about spider eggs hatching in some guys Afro. So have spiders been found to dwell within human hair?
There is probably not even a grain of truth to these stories, and as you can guess, spiders do not find the human scalp, with its rows of hair, an ideal place to lay their eggs. Even if the stories about black widow eggs hatching on a person’s scalp were true it would not matter much since black widow spiderlings do not have enough venom to make bite victims notice that they have been bitten. Even bites from adult females rarely result in fatal consequences if proper treatment is found in time.
Have you ever felt paranoid about having spiders in your hair?