Shiny Things

We have two points of interest to cover on the Wildlife Wonders blog this week. The first is an announcement about another new feature that we are adding, which is PayPal’s Bill Me Later service to the payment options on our checkout page.

And the second is this weeks article on some of the shiniest living things on the planet. While nature is known to produce some dazzling colors, scientists have recently identified the shiniest living thing.

Bill Me Later

Wildlife Wonders has recently implemented PayPal’s Bill Me Later Service. This Service is quite exciting as it allows our customers to make a purchase of $99 or more, and then make interest free payments on the item for the next 6 months. This service is especially beneficial with the Holiday season fast approaching.

In order to participate in this special offer, all you have to do is select the Bill Me Later option during checkout, answer two quick questions to determine eligibility, and once approved look for the Bill Me Later statement in your email.

You can read more about PayPal’s Bill Me Later process, along with all of the official terms and conditions on our Bill Me Later information page, or call into 1-866-528-3733 to find out more.

All That Glitters…

Almost any color you can name, and some you can’t, can be found in the natural world. However, I bet you didn’t know nature can produce living things that are as brilliantly lustrous as something you’d find at a new car dealership.

Pollia condensata

A Pollia Condensata berry

Pollia condensata

The Pollia Condensata plant

Scientists have recently identified the Pollia Condensata as the shiniest living thing on the planet. The amazing thing about these plants is that the color is a structural element of the plant, as opposed to being pigment based. The difference between these two kinds of colorings is that flowers, plants and animals that derive their coloration from pigment will eventually fade and lose their hue (wilting flowers, graying hair, etc.) but plants and animals that derive their color from their cellular structure will remain vivid indefinitely.

This means a sample of the Pollia Condensata will appear shiny decades after it is picked.

Before the Pollia Condensata was identified as the shiniest living thing, the Blue Morpho Butterfly previously held the title. The Morpho Butterfly also derives its color from the way that the individual cells that make up its wings are aligned.

Blue Morpho Butterfly

A Blue Morpho Butterfly


Blue Butterfly

Blue Butterfly Wall Sculpture

Despite being mesmerizing to look at, the shininess of the Pollia serves to attract animals to the plant, which in turn spread the plant’s seeds. However, the Pollia has one more trick up its sleeve, in that its berries contain almost no nutritional value, just seeds. So while it may look like the tastiest blueberry nature has ever produced, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Blueberry Necklace by Michael Michaud

Blueberry Necklace

As they say, all that glitters is not gold.



No comments, Admin, October 22, 2014

Alligator or Crocodile?

Most people confuse these two reptiles easily because of their shared characteristics, but while both alligators and crocodiles are some of the oldest creatures on the planet- with ancestors who shared the world of the dinosaurs – they are actually from different scientific families. If you happen to spot one in person, we don’t recommend taking a closer look… but from a safe distance you can observe many of the differences between these two fascinating creatures.

Alligators and caiman are from the alligatoridae family, while crocodiles are from the crocodilian family (that one’s easy). Starting with the most obvious (and terrifying) feature of both animals – the huge head and snout – you can easily tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile. Alligators’ snouts are broader and flatter, making a U-shape, while crocs have more V-shaped, narrow, and pointed snouts. Because of the broadness of the alligator’s jaw, an adaptation that allows it the power to crush turtles for dinner, the alligator has the stronger, more dangerous bite (though we really don’t recommend experiencing either). The crocodile is less cut-out for turtle-eating, and preys mainly on fish and mammals.

Another facial difference between the two can be seen in their bite. Alligators have wider upper jaws, so when their mouths are closed, the lower teeth are not visible – only the top teeth. Crocodiles’ bites line up so that when the mouth is closed, you can see both upper and lower teeth – twice as scary.

Alligators tend to have darker coloring than crocodiles, and while their bite may be more bone-crushing, crocodile are actually more ferocious and aggressive than alligators.

Because they have specialized glands for filtering out salt, Crocodiles can tolerate salt water better than Alligators.  Alligators actually have these glands present, but they are non-functioning, so alligators strongly prefer freshwater. Because of their higher tolerance for salt-water habitats, Crocs in the wild are found throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia, while alligators are only found in the US and China.

Now that you know a little more about these prehistoric predators, can you guess which of the below images is a crocodile and which is an alligator?

Gator or Croc - 1

Alligator or Crocodile? Click for the Answer

Alligator vs Crocodile

Alligator and Crocodile Legend

Gator vs Croc 2

Which is Which?

No comments, Admin, October 22, 2014

Birds of the Tropical Rainforest

Birds of the Tropical Rainforest: a disappearing rainbow

Home to a wide variety of tropical birds in a remarkable range of shapes, sizes, and colors, the tropical rain forests of the world are at risk, which endangers many of these precious species as their habitats are declining. While deforestation affects every organism in the delicate rain forest ecosystem, it is often the rare and exotic bird inhabitants that face the greatest risk of extinction.

Other environmental and imposed factors affect the dwindling population of these birds as well. In Guam, the Brown Snake poses a major threat to local birds. An invasive species introduced to the rainforest from its native Australia and Indonesia, the brown snake is responsible for devastating a majority of the native bird population there.

One species in particular that faces serious threat of extinction is the parrot family. Highly sought after for the pet trade, these brightly colored, intelligent birds are facing serious decline in the wild. The success of breeding these birds in captivity has furthered the wild birds’ population decrease in the rain forest. While we may not see parrots disappear from pet store cages, their brothers and sisters in the wild are facing increasing hardship and may soon disappear from the trees entirely.

Blue and Gold Macaw

Blue and Gold Macaw

African Grey Parrot

African Grey Parrot





Sulfer Crusted Cockatoo

Sulfer Crusted Cockatoo

By staying informed and getting involved we can change the fate of these beautiful creatures. Ourselves and many of our vendors have programs in place for contribution to various groups directly involved with helping save and preserve the natural world around us. When you shop with us you can rest in knowing you are helping in global conservation efforts.

No comments, Admin, October 22, 2014

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Much-loved and common songbirds with rich coloration and noisy calls, Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period. ... See MoreSee Less

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
- Marcel Proust

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Just look at the incredible horns on this wild mountain goat. The Straight-Horned Markhor's status is being reduced from endangered to the less critical category of threatened under the ESA. ... See MoreSee Less

#ESASuccess Thanks to the Torghar Conservation Program in the remote mountains of Pakistan, a key population of the straight-horned markhor, a type of wild mountain goat, has made a remarkable recovery to the point where the subspecies’ status is being reduced from endangered to the less critical category of threatened under the ESA. Watch this video to learn more and read the news release (The markhor, capra falconeri, of which the straight-horned markhor is a subspecies. Peter Hopper/Creative Commons).

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Taken by photographer/traveler John Chaney for the this incredible photograph comes with an even more touching story

Taken by photographer/traveler John Chaney for the  this incredible photograph comes with an even more touching story

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