5 Fascinating Penguin Facts You Didn’t Know

Penguins are adorable birds with a seemingly clumsy nature that has melted the hearts of both children and adults. These lovable creatures are loyal and family-oriented, which just adds to the growing list of reasons why people love them so much. Fall in love with penguins even more with these penguin facts!


1. There Are No Penguins At The North Pole

Penguin Colony in Antartica

Photo Credit: pexels.com

Contrary to popular belief, penguins don’t live at the North Pole, and not all of them are found in Antartica. There are 18 different penguin species, but all of them are found almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Although, Galápagos penguins are sometimes spotted north of the equator.


2. Penguins Come In All Sizes

Little Blue Penguins

Little Blue Penguins (Photo Credit: kiwiclanger // Flickr)

Many people often think penguins are about the size of a toddler, but penguins come in many different sizes. The largest penguin species, the emperor penguin, stands about 4 feet tall. On the other hand, the smallest species is the blue penguin, coming in at 33cm – that’s about the size of a footlong Subway!


3. Penguins Are Aerodynamic

Penguins Diving

Photo Credit: nationalgeographic.com

Penguins are flightless birds that seem clumsy when they waddle on land, but they’re spectacular at swimming. Instead of wings, these seabirds have flippers, which propel them further below the water’s surface. The emperor penguin can dive as deep as 450 metres! Their aerodynamic shape also helps reduce drag and makes it easy for them to glide through the water effortlessly. They may not be able to soar through the skies, but they can definitely  “fly” through the water.


4. More Than Just Black & White

Eudyptes, Crested Penguin

Photo Credit: wikipedia.com

A penguin’s contrasting black and white coat may stand out, but it actually helps them camouflage when they’re in the water. Their black backs blend into the depths of the ocean from the top, while their white underside is hidden against the bright surface from the bottom. However, not all penguins are completely black and white, the southern rockhopper penguin has striking yellow eyebrows!


5. Penguins Care For Their Young

Baby Penguin

Photo Credit: pexels.com

For many animals, the male often leaves the female after mating, but penguins are loyal family creatures. In some penguin species, the males are the ones that incubate the egg while the female goes off to hunt for food. Additionally, male and female penguins usually pair up exclusively for the rest of their lives – such lovebirds!

Owls: 7 Facts About These Mysterious Nocturnal Creatures

Creatures shrouded in sheer mystery, owls may be cute and cuddly but don’t let their looks fool you. As not all owls are friendly or created equally, their temperaments and behaviour can be rather eccentric.

Just how you ask? Let our factual snippets on these birds unravel the unfamiliar and peculiar.

Owls Can Rotate Their Heads Nearly All Around – To Some Degree 

An Owl turning its head rather peculiarly

Image Credit: Daily Express

You probably have heard that owls can rotate their heads 360 degrees but this is in fact a myth. Owls can only turn their necks 135 degrees in either direction, giving them 270 degrees of full body movement. What gives these nocturnal creatures such a useful trait? Scientists have pinpointed that down to their unique make-up of bone structure, blood vessels with contractile reservoirs and a reinforced vascular system. This allows them to turn their heads to such varying degrees without stopping the supply of blood.

They Possess A Heightened Sense Of Hearing

An owl hunting its prey

Image Credit: New Scientist

Capable of noticing prey under environmental layers such as dirt, plants, leaves and snow, owls have various hearing receptacles at differing heights on their heads that allow them to pinpoint prey based on minute differences in sound waves. What of owls with flat faces? They possess unique feathers that are sound focused, basically turning their faces into one large ear!

Owls Prey On Each Other Sometimes

An owl hunting another owl

Image Credit: Jongsun Lee, Unsplash

Compared to their smaller frame, owls often eat prey significantly larger than themselves or rather their own kind. Take the eagle owl for instance as they have been known to even target small deers! Or the great horned owl that enjoys attacking the barred owl which in turn preys on the Western screech-owl. This owl-on-owl predation cycle is one of the reasons why the Western screech-owl population is at an all-time low.

Their Markings Allow Them To Blend In Seamlessly Into The Environment

Owls are masters of camouflage

Image Credit: Instant Shift

Have you ever seen an owl sleeping in broad daylight? Chances are that you’ll find this feat especially difficult as they have mastered the art of camouflaging to a tee. Take the African Scops Owl for example. You’ll need to look twice to notice its hidden visage amidst the surroundings.

You Won’t Want To Be Around When They Start Hissing

A barn owl in flight

Image Credit: The Ecologist

No we’re not talking about hooting, owls can also make a range of unique calls such as screeches, whistles and squeaks. Case in point? The barn owl when threatened often make hissing noises that will make the hairs on your back stand up. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

Owls Are Nature’s Answer To Pest Control

An owl on the prowl, hunting its prey

Image Credit: Victor Benard

A boon for farmers the world over, owls help keep the rodent population in check with sheer efficiency. Although masked in a small frame, a single barn owl family can eat up to 3000 rodents in just the space of four months! Many farmers practice the art of installing owl nesting boxes to attract owls to help keep out voles and gophers from their precious crops.

A single owl can consume 20 plus kilos of gophers in a just one year.

We Get Along With Them Rather Well 

Two owls at an owl cafe

Image Credit: Emiichan Blog

Since ancient times, owls have remain ever popular with humans. Showing up in 30,000 year old cave paintings in France and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Falconers have also been known to use owls during the Middle Ages. Although they are illegal to be kept as pets in many countries, their popularity remains on the rise. In Japan, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon owl cafes, where you can take pictures and even pet these furry birds!

7 Strange & Weird Animal Species You’ll Find Fascinating

Most animals are adorable, others look terrifying… But some are just downright bizarre. Discover Earth’s strangest-looking creatures, some so unbelievably weird, they may as well be from another planet. Here are 7 weird animal species you have to see to believe.


1. The Pacu Fish

Pacu Fish

Photo Credit: usatoday.com

The pacu fish may look like any other ordinary fish at first sight, but if you look closer, you’ll notice their teeth bear an uncanny resemblance to human teeth. This fish is a relative of the piranha, but they are mostly harmless to humans. Many people believe that pacus bite human testicles, but this is completely untrue.


2. Star-Nosed Mole

Star-Nosed Mole

Photo Credit: Epic Wildlife // YouTube

There is no denying that the star-nosed mole is a really weird animal species. The ‘star’ is actually their hairless nose, with a ring of 22 pink tentacle-like appendages surrounding it. These rays may look really bizarre, but it possesses remarkable sensory skills. With over 100,000 nerve endings packed in an area equal to a human’s fingertip, their rays are extremely sensitive organs. To put things into perspective, a human hand only contains approximately 17,000 nerve endings.


3. Irrawaddy Dolphin

Irrawaddy Dolphins, Thailand

Photo Credit: Naturepl.com – Roland Seitre

The Irrawaddy dolphin is known for its distinctive rounded head, which slightly resembles a beluga. Their lack of beak also makes their appearance different from a typical dolphin. In addition, their dorsal fin is blunt and much smaller compared to the usual dolphin. Sadly, Irrawaddy dolphins are a vulnerable species due to accidental capture and habitat degradation. Conservation efforts are challenging as well due to their proximity to developing communities.


4. Red-lipped Batfish

Red-lipped Batfish

Photo Credit: theverge.com

If you’ve ever wondered what a fish looks like with red lipstick, look no further. The red-lipped batfish has a striking red pout that puts Miranda Sings to shame. Even though they’re aquatic creatures, these fish are not good swimmers. Instead of swimming, they “walk” on the ocean floor with their pectoral fins. The red-lipped batfish are usually found at depths of more than 100 feet around the Galapagos Islands.


5. Jerboa

Desert Jerboa

Photo Credit: blog.nationalgeographic.org

Is it a mouse? A bird? Or maybe a kangaroo? The jerboa certainly looks like a mix of all these creatures. These tiny rodents behave similarly to a kangaroo too, and they get around by jumping on their hind limbs. Their unusually long hind limbs are almost four times longer than their forelimbs! A jerboa’s locomotion is very erratic, consisting of skips and jumps, often in a zigzag direction. As such, it takes them more energy to move around compared to other animals their size.


6. Blobfish


Photo Credit: uglyanimalsoc.com

If you’re on the Internet enough, you’ve probably seen the blobfish making its rounds as a meme. A deepsea creature, the blobfish’s features are a result of living in the depths of the ocean. The blobfish does not have bones or muscle, instead, it relies on the immense pressure for structural support. Hence, when they’re taken out of the water, their appearance looks almost jelly-like.


7. The Panda Ant

Panda Ant

Photo Credit: amazing.zone

An ant with markings resembling a panda, the panda ant is more unique than anything. Although it looks adorable, looks and name are deceiving as this insect is actually a wasp! Its sting is also extremely painful, earning the nickname “cow killer”. But don’t worry, their stings don’t actually kill cows and they only sting in defence. In fact, the toxicity of their stings is lower than honey bees.

The Gentle Giants: 5 Interesting Elephant Facts

Elephants may be the largest land animal in the world, but they’re actually really gentle creatures. Sadly, their numbers have been declining due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and poaching. Here are 5 fascinating elephant facts that will hopefully give you a greater appreciation for these animals. After all, education is the first step towards conservation!


1. Right or Left “Trunked”?

Elephant Trunk

Photo Credit: elephant.siyaset.us

Studies into animal handedness have shown that much like humans, elephants also display handedness. Some elephants display a preference of using one side of their body, their dominant side, over the other. In humans, the split is 90% right-handed and 10% left-handed, but the preference is about 50:50 in elephants. Try and see if you can spot an elephant twisting their trunk to the left or to the right. You might just figure out whether they’re right or left trunked!


2. 22-Month Gestation Period

Adult Elephant & Calf

Adult Elephant & Calf (Photo Credit: aol.co.uk)

An elephant has a gestation period of 22 months – the longest in any land mammal. On top of that, a newborn elephant can weigh anywhere between 90 to 120kg. Imagine carrying that weight with you for such a long time! Elephant calves are born blind but they’re capable of standing just shortly after birth. Sadly, their long reproductive rate is one of the reasons why their numbers are decreasing.


3. Elephants Grieve Deeply

Elephant & Dead Calf

Photo Credit: elephantvoices.org

Elephants are not the only animals that grieve but the way they grieve and display emotions are remarkably human-like. As they live in very close-knit herds, so when a member of their herd dies, the whole herd mourns their death. They shed tears and even mourn the death long after one of their herd passes on. These sensitive creatures also have their own “funeral” ritual, where they break off branches, leaves, grass and use dirt to cover the body.


4. Elephants Can Snorkel

Elephant Snorkeling

Elephant Snorkeling (Photo Credit: Carter News Agency)

An elephant’s trunk is really useful, it’s used to grab things, smell, drink and even give themselves a dust bath. On top of that, they can use their trunks to breathe as they snorkel underwater. It’s believed that elephants are able to submerge themselves completely underwater because of their special lung anatomy. Their lung tissue is denser compared to other mammals, allowing them to swim across rivers easily.


5. Elephant Matriarchy

Elephant Herd

Photo Credit: onelyhunterphoto.com

Elephants are matriarchal, so the oldest female usually leads the herd. The herds can range from 8 to 100 elephants in size and consist of mostly females. Male elephants stay in the herd until they’re 12 to 15 years old before leaving the herd. These male elephants go on to lead solitary lives or stay with other male elephants temporarily.

Interesting Facts About These 6 Beautiful & Rare Birds of the World

Birds are highly underrated creatures that don’t get enough appreciation for their beauty. But, there’s a reason why birdwatchers all around the world patiently wait just to get a glimpse of these elusive birds in the wild. Their striking and vivid colours are a beauty to behold, especially out in nature. Together with their ability to soar through the skies, it’s a spectacular sight like no other. Want to learn more about these creatures from the avian family? Here are a few of these beautiful and interesting bird species!


1. Turquoise-Browed Motmot

Turquoise-Browed Motmot

Photo Credit: macaulaylibrary.org

The motmots are a distinctively vibrant family of birds and the turquoise-browed motmot is no different. This beautifully coloured bird features two characteristic black-tipped rackets at the end of bare shafts. The bare shaft is not genetic but gradually develops from abrasions, as the middle portion of the shaft is weak.


2. Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

Ribbon-Tailed Astrapia

Photo Credit: markaharper1 // Flickr

Another bird with a unique tail, the male ribbon-tailed astrapia boasts white ribbon-like tails that can grow up to 1 metre in length! The tails contrast their sleek black bodies, and with their mesmerising iridescent heads, they’re really an unusual sight to see.  Their extremely long tails can get in the way sometimes, so they have to spend time untangling them before flight – definitely not a survival advantage, but it helps them attract the females.


3. Kakapo


Photo Credit: jonniwalkerdatablog.com

Tha Kakapo is a bird native to New Zealand, and it’s believed to be the longest-living bird in the world. Unfortunately, it’s also listed as critically endangered, with an estimated adult population of 149 as of April 2018. Their yellowy moss-green feathers with specks of brown and black help them blend into the foliage, as they’re the only species of parrots that cannot fly – truly a one-of-a-kind bird species.


4. Blue Bird-of-Paradise

Blue Bird-of-Paradise

Photo Credit: kcet.org

The beautiful blue bird-of-paradise is regarded as the “loveliest of all birds” by many ornithologists (scientists who study birds). It’s easy to see why. With brilliant blue wings, they definitely stand out in nature, and it’s partly why they’re a vulnerable species. The male’s courtship display is equally as flamboyant and impressive as their bright blue wings. To attract females, they hang upside down from a tree branch, spreading their wings and displaying their plumage in full, all while vocalising a humming call.


5. Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Photo Credit: zoochat.com

A vivid streak of colour amongst the lush greenery of nature, the male Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is a striking bird with an adorable pom-pom like plumage on top of their head. The males do not care for their offspring but instead devote their energy to performing elaborate mating rituals. The males challenge each other through confrontational displays which involves flapping their wings, jumping, and snapping their bills. This turns into an even more intense and frantic performance as the female approaches closer.


6. Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

Photo Credit: sourceofthenile.org

This stunning colourful bird is the Malachite Kingfisher. It has a remarkable metallic ultramarine-blue coat on their upper parts with a bright red-orange colour on their bill and legs. These birds are experts at catching fish, as their name suggests. Their excellent eyesight allows them to estimate depths accurately, so they can easily and effortlessly swoop down to catch their prey.

Interested in taking a look at some beautiful birds? Visit Zoo Negara’s Bird Aviary today!

Spotlight on International Zoos: 7 Animal Sanctuaries Worth the Visit

Our national zoo is a treasure and we’re proud of it, but there are outstanding international zoos too! If you’re an animal lover and going to the zoo is always your number one priority when travelling, here are a few animal sanctuaries that might interest you.


1.  Zoologischer Garten (Berlin Zoological Garden), Berlin, Germany

Arctic Penguin Dome, Berlin Zoological Garden

Arctic Penguin Dome, Berlin Zoological Garden (Photo Credit: zoochat.com)

There’s a lot to be said about the Berlin zoo. For starters, it’s the oldest zoo in Germany. It’s also the most species-rich zoo in the world, with around 1,400 different species and over 20,000 animals in this sanctuary! You’ll be able to see interesting wildlife such as Arctic wolves, king vultures, Bactrian camels and more. The Berlin Zoological Garden also features an aquarium with aquatic species like the blacktip reef shark, jellyfish, piranhas and more.

Address: Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany

Opening Hours: 9:00am–6:30pm


2. San Diego Zoo, California, USA

Hamadryas Baboon, Africa Rocks, San Diego Zoo

Hamadryas Baboon, Africa Rocks, San Diego Zoo (Photo Credit: sandiegozoo.org)

Occupying almost 100 acres of land, the San Diego Zoo is a truly amazing educational zoo that’s loved by many around the world. It was the pioneer in the open-air zoo concept, with the aim of recreating the animals’ natural habitats. Take a stroll to the Koalafornia Adventure exhibit for an Australian experience, or go to Africa Rocks to marvel at Africa’s rich biodiversity. With exotic animals from the Chinese alligator to the Galápagos tortoise and Tasmanian devil, there’s so much to see at the zoo.

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Opening Hours: 9:00am–9:00pm


3. Beijing Zoo, Beijing, China

Panda, Panda House, Beijing Zoo

Panda, Panda House, Beijing Zoo (Photo Credit: tripadvisor.com)

The Beijing Zoo is home to many interesting species that are native to China including the Chinese giant salamander,  golden snub-nosed monkey, Père David’s deer and, you guessed it – the giant panda. Moreover, the scenery and landscape of the zoo is representative of Beijing’s parks, mimicking the traditional Chinese gardens with lotus pools, rivers, and pavilions. If you want to discover the beautiful wildlife and nature of China, this is the best place to start.

Address: 137 Xizhimen Outer St, DongWuYuan, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100037

Opening Hours: 7:30am–5:00pm (6:00pm – 1st April – 31st October)


4. Singapore Zoo, Singapore

Proboscis Monkey, Singapore Zoo

Proboscis Monkey, Singapore Zoo (Photo Credit: wrs.com.sg)

Dubbed as the best Rainforest zoo in the world, the Singapore Zoo is also one of the best international zoos in the world. Featuring open-air exhibits, you can watch the wildlife roaming freely in their natural habitat. It’s also a great destination for families with kids, as the zoo runs a Kidzranger Tour, where children can learn all about being a zookeeper by feeding and grooming tame animals. Besides that, kids can ride on ponies and pet some adorable goats at the Rainforest Kidzworld.

Address: 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826

Opening Hours: 8:30am–6:00pm


5. Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Australian Walkthrough, Taronga Zoo

Australian Walkthrough, Taronga Zoo (Photo Credit: taronga.org.au)

The Taronga Zoo is located a 12-minute ferry ride away from Sydney with sweeping views of the Sydney Harbour and Opera House. Discover native Australian wildlife like the koala, kangaroo, wallabies, Tasmanian devil and more. Taronga Zoo also offers a unique experience to visitors with an overnight camp in one of their safari-style tents. It’s a one of a kind experience you don’t want to miss, so be sure to book early!

Address: Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088, Australia

Opening Hours: 9:30am–4:30pm


6. Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania, USA

Zoo360, Philadelphia Zoo

Zoo360, Philadelphia Zoo (Photo Credit: philly.happeningmag.com)

The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo. It’s home to many rare and endangered animals such as the Rodrigues fruit bat, Mhorr gazelle, Panamanian golden frog and more. Another unique feature of the zoo is its Zoo360 system, the first trail system in the world for animal travel and exploration. Zoo360 is a zoo-wide network of see-through mesh trains, which link to the animal habitats, allowing them to roam above and around the zoo. Additionally, it also offers visitors a chance to view these animals from a different vantage point.

Address: 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Opening Hours: 9:30am–5:00pm


7. Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria

Tiger Cub, Tiergarten Schönbrunn

Tiger Cub, Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Photo Credit: zoovienna.at)

Tiergarten Schönbrunn, or more simply known as the Vienna Zoo, offers one of the greatest international zoo experiences in the world. It was voted the best European zoo in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Another fun fact: it’s also the world’s oldest continuously operating zoo! Experience the animal kingdom in its glory with animals like Peruvian penguins, Egyptian vultures, and more. If you’re feeling tired, take a ride on the Panorama train and enjoy the zoo in comfort.

Address: Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Wien, Austria

Opening Hours: 9:00am–4:30pm

5 Interesting Facts About Giraffes

Giraffes hail all the way from the open savannahs of Africa, and they’re also the tallest land animals on Earth. But other than that, not much is known about them. If these gentle mammals intrigue you, here’s five giraffe facts that might interest you!


1. Giraffes Only Drink Water Once Every Few Days

Giraffes Drinking Water

Photo Credit: imgur.com

As giraffes spend most of their time eating, they consume up to 45kg of leaves a day. This is where most of their water source comes from, so they don’t have to drink water very often. Additionally, a giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. This means they have to awkwardly spread their legs to drink.


2. Giraffes Get By With Little Sleep

Giraffe Sleeping

Photo Credit: vice.com

On average, giraffes only require about 30 minutes of sleep per night! They can even get by with just 5 minutes of sleep in a 24-hour period. Giraffes sleep standing up and they rarely lie on the ground as it’s such a vulnerable position for them. This is because their height makes it difficult for them to stand up quickly if there’s any immediate danger.


3. A Giraffe’s Gestation Period is 457 Days

Pregnant Giraffe

Photo Credit: 39ishlife.com

That’s a whopping 15 months! Although the gestation period is long, typically only a single calf is born. Unfortunately, these vulnerable calves are the target of lions, leopards, and hyenas. Many of them are killed in their first few months and as many as 50% of them do not survive past their first year. 🙁


4. Female Giraffes Give Birth Standing Up

Giraffe Calf and Mum

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Newborn giraffe calves are in for a rough welcome! As females give birth standing up, this means the calf will experience an approximately 1.5-meter fall. Talk about a rough landing. Despite that, these remarkable calves are seen up and walking just 30 minutes after their birth! Amazing, aren’t they?


5. Giraffes Have Hair-Covered Horns Called Ossicones

Giraffes Fighting

Photo Credit: youtube.com

Both male and female giraffes have two protruding horns covered in hair and skin called ossicones. In newborn giraffes, these horns are made of cartilage and not attached to the skull. As they grow older, this cartilage turns into bone and fuses with the skull in a process called ossification, hence the name ossicones. Male giraffes sometimes use their horns to fight with other males, this can often escalate into pushing and shoving each other with their muscular necks.