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Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Wild Boar – Hong Kong Wildlife | 野豬 – 香港野生動物

The Wild boars (Sus scrofa) is also known as wild swine, common wild pig, or simply wild pig.

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Sus
Species: scrofa

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

野豬, 山豬

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Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Scarab Beetle – Hong Kong Wildlife | 金龜子 – 香港野生動物

Because of its glamorous metallic colors, these were the popular bugs Hong Kong kids used to spend their springs and summers finding them in the bush back in the 1970’s to 80’s.

There are over 30,000 species of scarabs in the world.

In Hong Kong, the more common scarabs include The green chafer beetles (Anomala cupripes and Anomala corpulenta)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Scarabaeidae (Latreille, 1802)

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金龜子, 金龜

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Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Jumping Spider – Hong Kong Wildlife | 跳蛛 – 香港野生動物

These teeny weeny little spiders have huge eyes! Jumping spiders have 4 pairs of eyes – 1 principal pair that is movable and 3 secondary pairs that are fixed.

There are over 6,000 described species of jumping spiders in the world, making it the largest family of spiders at 13% of all species.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Salticidae (Blackwall, 1841)

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蠅虎科

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Africa Americas Asia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Harvestman – Hong Kong Wildlife | 盲蛛 – 香港野生動物

Before you want to learn about Harvestmen (also called Daddy longlegs or Harvesters), let me explain a little about invertebrate classification – Fun fact: They are not spiders.

Because of having 8 legs, these bugs are not insects. However, it does not necessarily make them spiders. There are many other bugs with 8 legs.

They are all arachnids (class Arachnida), such as ticks, mites, spiders (order Araneae), scorpions (order Scorpiones), vinegaroons (order Thelyphonida), and together with the Harvestman (order Opiliones). There are over 10,000 described species of harvestmen in the world.

In my photo it is a Leiobunum sp of the harvestman family Sclerosomatidae with over 100 described species.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Opiliones
Family: Sclerosomatidae
Genus: Leiobunum

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

盲蛛目, 長腳盲蛛, 長腿叔叔蜘蛛, 盲蜘蛛

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Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Green Sea Turtle – Hong Kong Wildlife | 綠海龜 – 香港野生動物

Did you know that sea turtles would come to Hong Kong?

There are 7 species of sea turtles in the world, and surprisingly all of them have been spotted in Hong Kong waters. How amazing!

Our most frequent visitor is the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Young turtles are carnivores, preying on crabs, shrimps, jellyfish, and squid. Adults are herbivores, feeding on seaweed.

It is an endangered species, but can be found in all tropical oceans around the world including Hong Kong. They even came ashore! Sham Wan in Lamma Island has a small population known to nest on a regular basis. Only 2 records of nesting outside Lamma Island: Once in Big Wave Bay Beach, Shek O in 2000. Another time in another big wave bay, Tai Long Wan Beach, Sai Kung in 2006.

Oh! Those mama turtles must be surfers. They love big waves!

Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Chelonioidea
Family: Cheloniidae
Subfamily: Cheloniinae
Genus: Chelonia
Species: mydas

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你知道海龜會到訪香港嗎?

世界上有7種海龜, 意想不到7種都曾經被發現出沒過於香港水域, 真的很神奇!

我們最常見的訪客是Chelonia mydas 綠海龜, 年輕的綠海龜是肉食性動物, 會吃魚蝦蟹及魷魚。成年的綠海龜是草食性動物 主要以海藻為食。

綠海龜是瀕危物種, 但可以在所有熱帶的海洋找得到, 包括香港, 牠們甚至會上岸! 南丫島的深灣沙灘是香港唯一經常有綠海龜產卵的地點, 於南丫島以外, 只有2次紀錄。於2000年一次在石澳大浪灣, 另一次於2006年在西貢大浪灣。

噢 綠海龜媽媽們必定是衝浪者, 牠們都喜歡大浪!

Categories
Africa Americas

Why Kobe Bryant is called Black Mamba but The Snake is Not Black

One of my closest Black Mamba encounters in Ethiopia

Why did Kobe Bryant choose Black Mamba when there are cobra, viper, rattlesnake, tiger snake, krait, and 600 other venomous snakes in the world?

Let me recap a few cool things about this snake probably most people didn’t know:

Why “Black” Mamba When It’s Not Black?
Its body is not black but olive, yellowish-brown, khaki or gunmetal. It has a coffin-shaped head. When this coffin opens shows an unusually dark bluish-grey to nearly black mouth. Most other snakes have a regular pinkish mouth.

The Most Venomous?
No, the Black mamba is not the most venomous snake. Actually far from it. It’s only the 53rd most venomous snake in terms of toxicity of venom (0.264). ‭That is 264‬ times weaker than the most venomous snake (0.001).

The Largest?
No, the Black mamba is a very long snake (up to over 14 feet) but is still much smaller than the king cobra, not to mention the pythons and anaconda.

Eats Big Prey?
Not at all. It mainly feeds on small birds, bats or rodents that weigh only less than 6% of its body mass.

Then Why So Deadly?
It’s the speed. The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on earth. Even though its venom is far from the most toxic ones but still its bite can kill a human in less than 30 minutes.

I find this species harder to catch and handle than most other venomous snakes especially when in trees. Deadly offense and unbeatable defense at the same time. I’d say encountering/catching a King Cobra is a deadly experience. But when it comes to a Black Mamba in tree, IMHO, it’s an even worse nightmare…

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Americas Asia

Not All Alligators Are American

“Alligator or crocodile?” is hardly an easy game to play even for reptile lovers. The difference of the shape of snouts is not too obvious. Convergent evolution might be a bit too hard to understand. Most people’s idea is that alligators are the ones in the US and the rest are all crocodiles. Some even think that both are the same animals with different names in American and British English.

American alligator

I guess it’s safe to say that the word alligator sounds American. As a matter of fact, the origin of the name is more from Spanish. Every time when I mentioned the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) my American friends would be shocked to learn the fact that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is not the only alligator in the world. Indeed, there are two species of alligators in the world.

The Chinese alligator, also known as the Yangtze alligator (揚子鱷), is not only critically endangered but also a very little known species, comparing to its more common American cousin. In Chinese, alligator and crocodile share the same word. Thus, there’s no such trouble telling apart alligators from crocodiles in China.

Chinese alligator

 

Categories
Americas

Two Heads One Body

Siamese, conjoined and polycephaly mean the different conditions of more than a head or some parts of the body. It’s more like twins in progress but never completed. Two-headed humans are mostly identified as two persons. But for animals, it’s still under debate whether they should be considered one or two beings.

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Americas Asia

Jesus Christ Lizard

There are over 10,000 extant species of reptiles. How many have you seen? There are only two lizards known to be able to run on water. This earned the renowned Basilisk of the new world the nickname “Jesus Christ lizard”.

From the old world, there’s this lesser known Sailfin Dragon that evokes even more of my interest. Its Latin name Hydrosaurus says it all. They inhabit rainforests and can run across the river like a jet boat. Firstly described almost 250 years ago but not much has been known so far. I’ve had such a privilege to be able to handle such a beautiful adult Sailfin Dragon. Life is good.

Categories
Americas Hong Kong

From Big Game Tragedy In Ohio To Legal Killings In Hong Kong

After the fire that kills 3,000 high-end top quality snakes in a reptile facility in Colorado merely a month ago, now there is another heart breaking loss in Ohio.

R.I.P. to the 50 animals killed in Ohio. 18 highly endangered Bengal tigers, 17 lions, bears, gray wolves, and more were shot to death by the Sheriff’s deputies in Zanesville, Ohio on Wednesday after the owner of an exotic farm threw their cages open and committed suicide.

The media and animal welfare organizations are all aiming at the state regulations of dangerous exotics possession but my first question was why would they have to kill them all instead of tranquilizing? It is well understood that their job is to ensure public safety and for the deputies tranquilizer darts are not as easy to practice as shooting to death like big game. Not saying it is a fault, but there were better options.

Those animals are infamously built for the ability of taking out a human, although the possibility of them killing someone is in fact very low. The tragedy in Ohio was sad but the holocaust was somehow unblamable. But right here in Hong Kong there have been many animals being killed unnecessarily. The wild animals in here considered dangerous are mostly snakes. We do have native venomous snakes in here but in fact they are way less dangerous to people than what they are known for. I have often seen tiny little snakes being smashed to death in order to “ensure public safety” but many times those were non-venomous. Another times there were issues of wild boars attacking people then authorities allowed legal hunting. They can attack but after all they are just pigs. They don’t kill people.

Most times the authorities like to tackle problems and avoid responsibilities the easiest way for them but that is definitely the worst way. In a metropolis like Hong Kong, animals would never like to attack humans until they are forced to. Killing only generates hate. Killing endangered animals is even the worst sin that no one is able to compensate.