Tuesday, March 13, 2001

It was such a wonderful feeling to open my back door and feel warm air cascading in, although why it wants to come into this dark little box of a home from the warm, bright, beautiful outdoors is beyond me, but I welcomed it in. Stepping outside, I felt a need to soak up every last bit of sun I could, almost in fear someone would take it away far too quickly. Thank God for spring!

Last night while studying avian and reptile anatomy, I found myself hilighting things not because I thought they were going to be on the test and I needed to know them, but simply because they were so interresting I wanted to be able to find them again. And so, here is your very own crash-course in animal anatomy.

*Birds have only a left ovary
*Some birds of prey have asymmetrically placed ear openings that enable them to zero in on prey by comparing the sound from one ear to the other.
*Many lizards have a special feature within their tail vertebrae- a plate of cartlidge weak enough to create a fracture plane, enabling the lizard to break off its tail to escape a predator (Well, I allready knew this one, but did you?)
*The muscles that open a crocodile's mouth are weak, but the ones that close it are very strong, making it easy to hold their mouth shut, but at the same time, making the jaws strong enough to crush bones with ease (Well, THAT explains why the Crocodile Hunter never has much trouble holding their mouths shut, huh? I always wondered that..)
*Crocodiles are internally waterprofed by a soft palate that folds to allow a crocodile to keep its mouth open underwater without inhaling air.
*Most snakes have only a right lung
*A snake's glottis moves from side to side, allowing the snake to breathe while swallowing large prey
*Turtles have a large fleshy tongue, but it is attached to the floor of the mouth-- the reason you never see a turtle stick out its tongue (And I thought they just didnt have a sense of humor!)
*Chameleons can project their tongues farther than their body length to capture insects, and their tongue muscles are so long that some of them attach to the pelvis!
*Egg eating snakes have "esophageal teeth" which cut eggshells as the eggs travel down the esophagus.
*Certain lizards have the ability to squirt blood from the corner of the eye as a defense mechanism, producing a fine stream of blood that can spray a distance of four feet!

Now take notes, you never know when you might need to know these things ;-)

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