Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Venomous Snakes Of Bulgaria

1. Horned Nosed Viper - Vipera ammodytes

The Horned nosed viper is the most venomous snake in Europe, and it lives in Bulgaria! The females are usally larger then the males. The Horned nosed viper has a small horn on it's head
which is about 5 mm long, apparently the horn is flexible!! It is an extremly calm snake and will only bite if felt threatend! They eat: Birds, Small mammals and some times reptiles.





2. Common Adder - Vipera berus

The adder is a small snake only growing up to 70-80 cm long! The adder is also quite a calm snake, only biting if felt threatend. The adder eats: mice, voles, shrews, lizards, slow worms!, frogs, newts and manny others... they have a HUGE range of stuff that they can eat! Females usally lay 7 to 20 eggs per clutch. In sweden there are around 1,300  adder bites per year! luckly only 12% needed to go to hospital!





3. Montpellier snake - Malpolon monspessulanus

It is most active during the day, it mainly eats lizards and birds. Although this snake is
venomous it has not killed any one yet and only a few people have gone to hospital. It is one of the largest snakes in Europe growing up to 2 meters long, it is the most common snake in Spain!










Sunday, 18 December 2016

Trampoline Park - Infinite Air

I have always wanted to go to a tramponline park, and today I managed to do that, and luckly it was one of the biggest trampoline parks in the UK!! It was called Infinite Air!

                                                                           
                                                                             
They have wall running, basketball, dodgeball and an enormous airbag, as well as foam pits, slackline and battle beam. There is a pakour area which unfortunately only operates in private classes. My favourite things were the battle beam and a freejump with over 40 trampolines and box sections. On the freejump it's possible to run (illegally!) and jump for a long distance giving more power for flips and twists.

I won every person I battled with!! It was winner stays on, so I was there for quite a while ;)
 Apparantly there are plans to make the park even bigger!  I loved it so much and can't wait to return when I visit Durham again.



\

Monday, 12 December 2016

Poisonous Snakes In Turkey

1. Horned Viper - Cerastes cerastes

The Horned viper grows up to 85 cm long. These snakes love sandy areas with rock outcroppings.
They love to eat small birds and rodents.Females lay 8 to 23 eggs per clutch. The Horned Viper is not very toxic, but will cause: swelling, vomiting and many other symptoms.









2. Mount Bulgar Viper - Montivipera xanthina


It usually grows to a total length of 70-95 cm long, but rarely can reach 130 cm long. This snake is highly aggressive and will bite without being provoked, and most bites will inject venom. It eats: small mammals, birds and lizards.






3. Caucasian Viper - Vipera kaznakovi

You can only find this snake in three country's: Turkey, Russia and Georgia. It is a very small snake and only grows up to 50 to 60 cm long!
It's venom is extremely useful as it is being used to stop heavy bleeding.
 
 



Sunday, 27 November 2016

My 5 Favorite Bulgarian Snakes

5.  Smooth snake - Coronella austriaca


Both males and females grow to an average length of 75 cm. The smooth snake is a non-venomous specie but will bite aggressively if felt threatened. It feeds on smaller animals than it's self, It's favorite things to eat are reptiles. It is also one of the rarest reptiles in the UK!      
 







4. Caspian Whip Snake - Coluber caspius

The Caspian Whip Snake is a non- venomous species,but is the most aggressive snake found in Europe!!! And it is also the largest snake in Europe, growing up to 200 cm long! It eats small mammals. lizards, birds and other snakes!    





3. Leopard snake - Zamenis situla


The European Rat Snake is a non venomous specie. Adults reach the length of 90-100 cm long. It usually lays 3 to 8 eggs per clutch, hatching between 50 and 73 days. It is native to: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Turkey and Ukraine.  





2. Horned Nosed Viper - Vipera ammodytes



I have only seen this snake twice and I think it is one of the most calm and beautiful snakes in Bulgaria. It is a highly venomous snake, in fact it is the most venomous snake found in Europe, but
very rarely bites, as it is so calm. They are small snakes only growing up to 60-75 cm long. Adults feed on birds and small mammals, juveniles mainly eat lizards and other small reptiles.  




1. Four- lined snake - Elaphe quatuorlineata


The Four-Line Snake is a non-venomous snake, it is also one of the largest snakes in Europe growing up to 180 cm. They eat: Rabbits, mice, squirrels, birds, lizards and tortoise eggs. Females lay up to 18 eggs per clutch!!  












Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Five Rarest Animals In The UK

1.  Black Fox.




This animal is so rare, it has only been spotted 5 times in the last 6 years! It has black fur as opposed to red fur as it carries a rare genetic defect that means that the fox retains the black color it was born with.









2. Red squirrels.



There are only 140,000 Red squirrels left in the UK. There are at least 2.5 million Grey squirrels! It is also an endangered specie in Italy and Ireland.











3. Pine martens.



They are preyed by: Golden eagles, Red foxes, wolves and wildcats! But there biggest threat is humans. They became extinct in this country in the 20th century due to pouching and loss of habitat! They are trying to bring them back into the countrysides.







4. Sand Lizard.



It is one of the rarest reptiles in UK. In fact it is so rare that the British law makes it an offence if you kill, injure, capture or disturb them or their habitat! Due to loss of habitat you can only find it on a protected heathland site in Surrey.







5. Common Cuckoos.



It has become one of the most endangered birds in the UK. Cuckoo numbers have dropped by 65% since the 1980's and the worst thing is that know one know's why!! Some people think it is because of the decreased number of prey.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - White ermine

Location 

I was walking in my garden, getting footage of a spider when I came across this wonderful moth.



Video




What is it?

Spilosoma lubricipeda, the white ermine, is a moth of the family Arctiidae. It is found in the temperate belt of Eurasia from Europe through Kazakhstan and southern Serbia to Amur Region, China, Korea and Japan. They wingspan is 34-48 mm. The wing patterns are very variable, from entirely white wings to strongly covered with black dots. These moths are not eaten by birds because  they are poisonous!! It generally flies from May to June. The eggs are deposited in large groups in summer. They hatch quickly, the caterpillars eat a lot and grow very fast. 


  





What do you eat?

The caterpillars eat: Stinging nettles, Blue weed, Alfalfa and Common broom.
Adult moths do not feed!! 

White ermine caterpillar


What eats them?

I am sorry, but I couldn't find any information on what eats them. If you know then please tell me in the comments. Thank you!




Life cycle

There are 4 stages in a moths or caterpillars life cycle, these are them. First they lay the eggs on a item,then they will hatch to be caterpillars, then they will go in to a pupal stage, and finally they will turn in to a beautiful moth or caterpillar.  



Sunday, 13 November 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - Damselfly

Location 

I was watching a grass snake hunting for a frog in my pond, when I saw a Damselfly resting on a reed.




What is it?

All damselfly's eat insects, including the nymphs. They nymphs are aquatic, living in all types of freshwater habitats including: Acid bogs, ponds,lakes and rivers. The males are often more brightly colored then females. When they mate, they form a 'heart' or a 'wheel' shape. Most species now are 7-8 cm, but a long time ago they were nearly a meter in length! The nymph will shed it's skin 8 to 16 times before turning in to an adult! There are about 2,600 species of damselfly's. They hunt for food in flight, looking for a tasty mosquito or spider. 

  



What do they eat?

Damselfly's will eat small, soft bodied insects such as: Aphids, mosquitoes, gnats and spiders. 
The nymphs will eat: Tadpoles and baby fish. I have seen this happen. The nymph had burrowed it's self in the sand, and was waiting for a small fish to come by. When it did, it grabbed it as fast as lighting, and pull it down it's burrow. It was incredible to watch.



What eats them?

Adult damselfly's have a lot of predators: Frogs, fish, bees, lizards, rodents, birds and even dragonfly's. 

I was watching a huge and beautiful dragonfly laying eggs, when a massive frog leaped out of some where and ate it. I was extremely angry at the frog!

The predators of nymphs are: Beetles, larger damselfly nymphs and fish.  
  




Life cycle

Female lay eggs in or near water, most likely on floating or underwater plants. Some species will go underwater completely to lay their eggs on a good surface! Out of the eggs a larvae called a nymph hatches. Most if it's life is underwater. This larvae stage may last from two months to three years! As it grows, it sheds it's skin. Then finally it will climb on a reed at night, the skin will split at a week spot behind the head and the adult damselfly crawls out. 

Friday, 11 November 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - Dog

Location

I have had my wonderful dog for about nine years now. He has a lot or favorite spots to rest they are all around the garden. But his favorite spot is definitely on our outdoor sofa, which was intentionally put there for him! At night he is indoors as he goes around the village at night to eat all the left overs of peoples meals out of the bin!



Facts

The US has the highest dog population in the world, France has the second highest.

The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog.

Grey hounds are the fastest dogs on earth, they can do up to 45 miles per hour!

Humans have kept dogs as pets for about 12,500 years.

The worlds smartest dogs are: one - the border collie, two - the poodle, three - the golden  retriever.

A dogs smell is 100,000 times stronger then humans!!!

Dog's scene of hearing is ten times better than human.

It has been proven that dogs can get jealous if they see their owners displaying affection!

Dogs can see four colors - Blue, Yellow, Black and White

There is a dog that can understand more then 1,020 subs!




What does it eat?

Dogs eat a lot of different stuff. As they eat lots and lots of stuff I am going to tell you what they don't eat: Chocolate, onions, moldy cheese, garlic and grapes.




What eats them?

It has been known for huge snakes like pythons and anacondas to eat pet dogs. I am sorry I could not find any more information about what eats them. If you know then please tell me in the comments



Life cycle

The average city dog lives up to 15 years, and the village dogs up to 13. Dogs go through 4 stages of the cycle of life: puppy, adolescent, adult and senior.

Organisms In Our Garden - Weevil spp.


Location

I was looking for some interesting insects In garden when I came across a beautiful weevil, climbing up a plant. 





Video

The weevil I saw is included in this video








What is it?

They are usually very small insects, less 6 mm in length! They feed on plants, meaning they are herbivorous. There are over 60.000 species of true weevil. Most weevils are consider pests to gardeners as they can damage or kill a crops.  They are commonly found in dry foods, including nuts and seeds. Two years ago there were hundreds of them eating our beans and rice, It took us all day to get rid of them all!  Most weevils are found in fields, gardens or orchards. 


What do they eat?

Weevils feed on plants in stage larvae and as adults. Most species eat different things, for example: The Black Vine weevil, will feed on hemlocks and rhododendrons. The Bean weevil will eat beans. Some species eat grains and seeds. 




What eats them?

Most weevils are eaten by: Ants, other insects, birds, spiders and parasitic wasps.  



Life cycle

The life cycle depends greatly on the what species they are. Some of them lay there eggs on the ground near a plant they can eat in spring. When the eggs hatch the larvae burrow in the ground and feed on plant roots. Most larvae spend the winter under ground and emerge as adults the following spring. The adults that emerge in summer or autumn might invade homes for shelter! 






Sunday, 8 May 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - Crab spiders

Location 

It was sitting on a beautiful yellow rose, the sun was shining right at it. It was waiting for any type of insect smaller than it to come by.  



Video





What is it?

Thomisidae is the family of crab spiders, there are over 2,200 species of crab spiders, all very attractive. As you may know they are given the name 'crab spiders' because of their ability to move sideways or backwards. Crab spiders do not build webs to catch there prey. They use another method. They will find a nice flower to sit on, most likely there own color, but some species can change their color over a couple of days. So that there prey wont be able to see them. Then they will wait until some insect comes along and grab it, injecting its poison. Some also sit on tree trunks. Like most spiders they have eight eyes. The females are larger then males, like most animals. The crab spider is a diurnal animal which means it is active in the day. Crab spiders are not aggressive, sometimes they will bite if felt threatened, but it normally is non- harmful.
 





What do they eat?

Crab spiders will eat: caterpillars, butterflies, flies, bees, hover flies and loads more. Basically pretty much any insect! There favorite foods are butterflies, honeybees and flies.
  


What eats them?

Their main predators are wasps, ants, large spiders, lizards, birds and shrews.


Life cycle

Mating seasons usually take place in summer. Females will guard there eggs until they hatch, three weeks later. She does not eat during this time. Shortly after they hatch, the female will die of exhaustion.  Crab spiders can survive up to two years in the wild, depending on the species and the type of habitat (tropical species live longer)


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Kotschy's gecko

These incredible geckos are native in southeastern Europe and the Middle east. I have only seen this species once. It's Latin name is Cytropodion kotschyi. It is a slender gecko, growing up to 10 cm in length, including it's tale. Females grow slightly larger then males. It is native to: Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Syria, Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. These gecko' s will mainly be found on tree trunks, walls, cliffs and stony areas. They are mainly nocturnal, but sometimes seen on a sunny day, especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The female lays a very small amount of eggs, usually one or two. They have been known to live nine years in captivity. According to the IUCN read list category they are not a threatened species because of its wide distribution. In Serbia it is known from only a single town, living in old houses. It forages for arthropods during the night. Reproduction starts during spring and can continue until autumn.

                                                How I Found the Gecko

 " Look at this gecko I found."I looked up and saw a boy my age showing me an open box.  I couldn't believe what I saw. A cute little gecko! At that time I didn't know there were any geckos in Bulgaria. So I was pretty shocked to see one. It looked really unhappy, in a tiny dark box. I thought it was very cruel. I snatched the box from him and ran to the bus station. I got home and went straight to a nice hot rocky wall. I let him go. He was sunbathing blissfully with his eyes closed. That was the last time I saw him.  







                                                                              


                                                                           
                                                                           


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Organisms In My Garden - Slow worm

Location

I was mulching a gardening bed with straw when I saw something from the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a worm, but after looking closely I noticed it was a slow worm - Anguis fragilis


Video




What is it?

Slow worms are legless lizards, spending most of their time hiding under objects. They are very helpful to gardeners, as they eat a lot of pests. One way of welcoming them to your garden is putting down black plastic mats or some type of metal sheet.We have done this and it works 100% for us. Like all lizards they can drop their tails when under threat so I would advise you not to hold them by the tail. These reptiles are mainly active during twilight. The females give birth to live young. You can often tell if it is a fully grown male, as they normally are much darker and normally have blue spots on their backs. Males also have bigger heads. A lot of people think that they are snakes but that is not true, there are a couple of ways to tell. The most important one is that they blink, just like all other lizards. Snakes do not. The other way of telling is that the tail falls of, just like all other lizards. Adult slow worms grow up to 50 cm long and are known to be one of the longest living lizards in the world!! Living up to 30 years in the wild and depending on how well you take of them,40 years in captivity!

What do they eat?

Slow worms eat lots of things, their main foods are: Snails, earth worms, slugs and insects.




This picture was not taken by me ;)

What eats them?

Snakes, birds, hedgehogs, badgers, foxes and cats. including our cat sad to say! 


Life cycle 

They emerge from hibernation in March, they young take 4-5 months to develop. They young are born in an egg membrane that breaks soon after birth. 

Fun facts 

As I was writing this blog I thought about a big mat we put down for slow worms, so I went to check it out, when I lifted it there were two huge slow worms. The longest to ever live in captivity was 54 years old!!!!!! 






Organisms in my garden - Dragonflies (Odonata sp.)

Location 

I was recording some tadpoles, when I saw a beautiful dragonfly larvae climbing up a water plant stem. 

Video




What is it?

A dragonfly is an insect. A year or two of their lives are spent as nymphs, living in fresh water.
Adults only fly for a couple of weeks, finding a mate to reproduce and then dying.  There are at least 3000 species of dragonfly, they are found on every continent except for Antarctica. An adult dragonfly has three body parts, the head, thorax and abdomen. It is a large insect, about 8-9 cm in length. The legs are not used for walking, but are used for holding prey and for perching and climbing on plants.     



What do they eat?

Dragonflies eat insects, particularly midges and mosquitoes. They will also eat butterflies, moths, aphids and even smaller dragonflies!!


What eats them?

Birds, spiders, frogs and larger species of dragonflies.



Life cycle


Egg, nymph then adult. 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Organisms in my Garden - Calosoma inquisitor


Location 

I found a beetle larvae under a piece of plastic in my garden that we use to attract slow worms.

Video 

Unfortunately,  I let the larvae go without recording it. But I did find beetles of the calosoma spp. which I think might be Calosoma externum. Here is a video of the beetles.




What is it?

This beetle is in the Carabidae family commonly known as ground beetles.
I searched on the internet and it appears to be Calosoma inquisitor.
There is not a lot of information about this species on the internet so I am going to give you some information on this genus, their common name being caterpillar hunters   

What do they eat?

They feed on caterpillars in oak canopy. For some reason the beetles like female caterpillars more then males . They also feed on: aphids, grubs, snails, earthworms and slugs.

What eats them?

After researching I couldn't find anything conclusive, but I assume: badgers,birds and many others. 

Life Cycle 

Like all beetles there are 4 stages of development: egg, larvae, pupa and adult. It normally takes around a year to go through this process. 

Fun Facts  

In 1905 a species of Calosoma was imported to New England for control of the gypsy moth.
One of their favourite caterpillars to eat are processionary caterpillars. If you would like to know about processionary caterpillars click here .  

Sunday, 13 March 2016

5 Strange Animals You Probably Didn't Know Exist

5 - Tufted dear - Elaphodus chepalophus

The tufted dear is a small species of deer, know by a prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead and fang-like canines for the males. Its main habitats are in damp forests at 400-500 meters above sea level. It is mainly found found in pairs. When alarmed it will let out a bark and start running. They can live up to 10-12 years in the wild.






4 - Blob fish - Psychrolutes marsidus

Blob fish are typically shorter than 30 cm.
They live at depths between 600 and 1,200.
They are often caught in bottom trawling nets,scientists fear that the blob fish will become endangered species because of deep-ocean trawling.  







3 - Goblin shark - Mitsukurina owstoni


The goblin shark is a rare species of deep-sea shark.It is the only extant representative of the family Misukurina, a lineage some 125 million years . It is normally between 3-4 meters long when fully grown, though it can grow larger. They mainly feed on teleost fishes such as rattailsdragonfishes and squid.










2.  Blue dragon - Glaucus atlanticus

It is a small species of sea slug with at least 6 common names.They float upside down by using the surface tension of the water to stay up where they are carried by the winds and ocean current. Fully grown these sea slugs are 3 cm!!! You could find it in warm waters of the oceans.

 






1. Blue parrotfish - Scarus coeruleus

There average size is around 30-75 cm in length, with a maximum length of 1.2 m! They spend 80% of there time searching for food!! They develop a large beak like other parrotfish that is used for scraping algae of rocks.




Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Five Common Garden Insect Pests


1. Aphids- Ahpididae sp.

They are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants. About 4,400 species are known, all included in the family Ahpididae.
250 species are very harmful pests for agriculture and forestry as well as gardeners. Aphids are ladybug's favourite food. If you have any ladybugs I recommend you place them where the aphids are.




2. Large white - Pieris brassicae

The large white is common throughout Europe,
 North Africa, Asia and even through the Himalayas. They are often found in agricultural areas, meadows and parkland. The large white eggs appear as a pale yellow colour. Their wing span reaches 5 to 7 cm on average.

 





 3. Whiteflies - Aleyrodidae sp.

There a more than 1500 species of whiteflies.
They are small hemipterans that typically feed     on undersides of plant leaves. The stage before     the adult is called a pupa. Though it shares little in common with the pupal stage.            






4. Garden snail - Cornu aspersum


Garden snails are one of the most common species of snails. The snail is relished as a food item in some areas, but is also widely regarded as a pest in gardens. You normally see them after a shower or a storm. The female lays around
80 pearly-white eggs. You normally find them under damp logs, or in the soil.




5. Colorado potato beetles - Leptinotarsa decemlineata


It's annoying that these beetles are such pesky garden pests, as they are very pretty insects. They are stripped in a bright yellow and orange uniform. Their favourite plants to invade are: aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. Signs of Colorado potato beetle infestations include ragged leaves and in serious cases tripped stems.






Check out my video of wildlife in February

Monday, 15 February 2016

Ladybug Update

Whilst observing the ladybug tank I noticed there was condensation all over the glass walls and there was also quit a bit of mold on the leafs and sticks. I read on the internet that ladybugs don't like damp environments. Immediately I removed all wet items that where in the tank: plants and wet soil. After I had removed the wet objects I decided whilst I was at it I might as well remove all the items and add new ones in. A couple of the objects, such as the pieces of bark with holes in them and hollowed out sticks had ladybugs bundled together already hibernating. I intend to keep a eye on the tank, to insure it doesn't happen again.
A few of my lady bugs

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Five Rarest Animals On Earth

5 - Philippine Warty Pig - Sus philippensis    

There are only a couple of  hundred left in the wild. It was formerly found in habitats from sea level up to 2800 metres, but is now confined to remote forests due to loss of habitat and heavy hunting by noose traps or trigger set bullets.





 




4 - Florida Panther - Puma concolor

In the 1970's there were estimated to be 20 Florida Panthers in the wild, and their numbers have increased to an estimated 100 to 160. In 2013, it was reported that there were only 160 left in the wild. They live in forests and swaps of southern Florida.  Their main diet is: hares, mice, white tailed dear, wild boar and even the American alligator.







3 - White lion - Panther leokrugeri

Not seen in the wild since 1994, these lions
are not albinos and are native to the Timbavati
region of Africa. It is widely believed that
these lions cannot survive in the wild.









2 - Snow leapord -   Panthera unica

A very rare sight in the wild, when two snow leopard cubs were photographed in the mountains of Tajikistan, last year it got
a lot of media attention. There are between 3,920 and 6,390 individuals in the wild. Snow leopards are slightly smaller than any other big cats.
   






1 - Giant squid - genus Architeuthis

The first video of this legendary creature was recently taken by Japanese scientists nearly a kilometer below the surface of the ocean. Recent estimates put the maximum size at a humongous 13 m for females and 10 m for males.

                





Please check out my new video :)



Sunday, 7 February 2016

Pine Processionary Caterpillers Marching

Whilst my uncle,cousin,friend and I went for a walk we came across to some squished Pine Processionary Caterpillars (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) which is unusual in February as they should still be in their nests. There were at least sixty,which was very exiting for me as I have never seen them before.

We walked a little more on when my cousin shouted out 'LOOK THEY ARE ALIVE'. I ran to them and saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, they were marching in a straight line. My dad and I have been longing to see them marching ever since we learn't about them a few years ago.
To see my previous post about these caterpillars click here



Unfortunately my dad wasn't with us, and what was worse I didn't have my camera!!! So I ran home to get my dad and the camera.
Me and my dad drove back to the place and got some video of the caterpillars marching.
The more we looked the more we found, some of them had been squished and some of the marching lines went deep back into the forest.
A couple of days later we coming back from bowling when we saw a nest of these caterpillars on a short pine tree it was easy to take off. When you see them up close they look huge!


 Here is a video I made

If you like the video please leave a like ;)
EVEN BETTER SUBSCRIBE ;)