I love black and white animals. Not sure why. Maybe because of their elegance?
Anyway, here are some pretty well-known black and white animals. *the photos are taken randomly from the internet unless specified*
Beautiful. The ones in this photo are Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi): they live in Kenya and Ethiopia, are endangered and have the largest ears ever! Zebras are born black with white stripes – like most horses and donkeys, their skin is black. They also all have unique markings – every zebra is different, like a human fingerprint!
The Orca Whale
Not a whale but a dolphin, the Orca (Orcinus orca) is very well known. They are highly intelligent sea mammals, with group dynamics, distinct dialects between groups and cultural transmission. There are four types of Orca, of which one might be a different species or subspecies.
Well, I obviously had to put this little critter in the list! A perfect example of an animal born to become extinct, Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) only eat one species of plant, the female goes in heat once every four years (for about a week) and, if a male manages to find her (they don’t all live together to facilitate things, nope) she will have only one offspring. Of all the pandas born in captivity, only two were released, and one of them died. Panda conservation is, objectively, the most delusional project ever.
Everyone remembers Monsieur Le Pew, right? He was a member of this extremely elegant albeit species, the Mephitis mephitis. Omnivores and crepuscular, these infamous skunks would rather not douse you with their malodorous spray as it is their best defence and can take up to a week to regenerate (not counting all resources it uses up). If you see one in the woods, pay close attention: first it will mock-attack, then it will stomp, then it’ll turn around and position its tail towards you, then it’ll look at you, aim and fire. But, if you’re careful, you have ample time to get out of the way and save the both of you time and energy!
The Snow Leopard
Endangered and difficult to find, Panthera uncia (or Uncia uncia) the Snow Leopard lives high in the mountains of central Asia. The main reason for their slow decrease is poaching and lack of food – their main prey are small mammals and mountains goats which are also the resident humans’ main prey, too. Here and here you can see amazing footage of a snow leopard hunting, and here an even more amazing video of a female snow leopard with her two cubs.
How could we leave these amazing birds, that have adapted their wings to flying under water? The ones in this photo are Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) and they’re common along the entire Atlantic coast. Obnoxiously unafraid, they’ll waddle up to humans, machines and dogs alike, driven by an insatiable curiosity that often results in their untimely death. If animals had Darwin Awards they’d certainly win most years.
The Black and White Ruffled Lemur
Varecia variegata is currently classified as critically endangered, mainly due to poaching and habitat reduction. Unlike other lemurs, females bear several offspring and both parents usually help in protecting and caring for them. Building a nest for them in forks of trees, these baby lemurs stay there while the parents forage, and don’t cling onto them. This also cause higher rates of predation from predators (such as mongoose and fossas).
“Porcupine” is a general name that covers both the Hystricidae family (Old World Porcupines) and the Erethizontidae family (New World Porcupines). I prefer the Hystricidae, maybe because I’m European myself, or maybe because a large prickly rodent climbing trees sort of freaks me out. The little porcupette (yep, that’s what the young ones are called) in this photo is most probably a Hystrix cristata, otherwise known as the Crested Porcupine, which is present in Italy, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The quills are made of keratin and no, cannot be “shot” but do break off fairly easily during a confrontation. And for those that were wondering: the babies are born with soft quills that harden during their first weeks of life!
So pretty. I’ve never seen an American Badger (first photo, Taxidea taxus), but I have seen the European Badger (last photo, Meles meles) and…wow. Really lovely to see, although the Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) is said to be the most aggressive animal IN THE WORLD. I think that they’re more interesting however because of their unique relationship with the honeyguide bird (Indicatoridae family): they’ve developed a true symbiosis in which the bird shows the honey badger, who is capable of understanding what the bird wants, where the nearest bee hive is. The honey badger then attacks the bee hive and they share the loot. An incredible and unique relationship between a bird and a mammal.
The Malayan Tapir
Tapirus indicus is an animal whose closest relatives are horses and rhinos. It lives in the Malasian peninsula and, like many other large mammals, is classified as endangered due to poaching, habitat loss and illegal trading (a young tapir can be sold for over $5000). After about a year long gestation period it gives birth to one stripy baby (not unlike wild boars’ offspring) that will spend the rest of its (hopefully long) life wallowing around the forest, foraging on more than 100 species of plants (they are not picky eaters!) and defending its territory from other members of its species.
So there were 12 known black and white albums…some time soon I’m going to publish a list of less-known black and white animals. I hope you enjoyed it!