Red Pandas

The red panda is known as the “first panda” because it was so named nearly 50 years before the giant panda.

Even though the red panda is classified as a carnivore, its diet is almost exclusively bamboo.

Englishman Major-General Thomas Hardwicke was most likely the first to describe the red panda, but he did not publish his work for several years. In the meantime, Frédéric Cuvier did not wait as long and published the first written description of the red panda in 1825.

Red pandas, like giant pandas, live in Asia’s high forests and are bamboo eaters. However, despite these similarities, red pandas and giant pandas are not related.

Both red pandas and giant pandas have a pseudo-thumb, which is a modified wrist bone.

The name “Firefox” is the red panda’s nickname

The Mozilla Firefox logo is not a fox; it’s actually a red panda. One of the red panda’s nicknames is the red fox.

Red pandas are the only living member of the family Ailuridae.

The red panda is not actually a panda. It’s believed that its name is derived from the Nepalese words “nigalya ponya,” meaning “bamboo eater.”

A red panda eats approximately 200 bamboo shoots and leaves per day, which is about 20 to 30% of their body weight.

Though listed as endangered, the red panda is poached regularly for its pelt and beautiful tail, which is often used on hats for wedding ceremonies in the Yunnan province of China.

A red panda is also known as the lesser panda, the red bear cat, and the red cat bear.

A red panda is a bit larger than a domestic/house cat.

The red panda is the only known non-primate mammal to show a preference for the artificial sweetener aspartame.

Is the red panda a bear? A type of raccoon? Throughout the years, scientists have placed the adorable animal in either the racoon or bear family. They now classify it as the only surviving member of the family Ailuridae.

Scientists estimate that the red panda population will decline by over 10% in the next three generations.

There are fewer than 10,000 mature red pandas left in the world, and only 2,500 left in the wild. Additionally, despite being listed as endangered, their population continues to decline due to habitat loss, poaching, and problems associated with inbreeding.

The scientific name for the red panda is Ailurus fulgens, which means “red shining cat.”

The red panda is also known as the lesser panda, firefox, and red cat-bear.

The red panda is found in five countries: Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China.

Because red panda cubs are very small (3.5 ounces) when they are born, their survival rate is as low as 50%.

Due to their low-calorie diet, red pandas do little more than eat and sleep.

The red panda is considered to be a living fossil.

Red pandas are more closely related to skunks, weasels, and raccoons than they are to giant pandas.

The first known written record of the red panda is found in a 13th-century Zhou (Chou) dynasty scroll. They weren’t known to Europeans until six centuries later.

The red panda was almost named “wha” because it has a loud cry or call that sounds like the word “wha.”

According to one scientist, the red panda is the most beautiful mammal on earth.

Frédéric Cuvier, who published the first Western scientific description of the red panda in 1825, called it “quite the most handsome mammal in existence.”

A red panda named Babu escaped a nature reserve in England and spent four days on the lam. His escapades turned him into a media sensation before his recapture.

A red panda cub weighs just about 3.5 ounces at birth and easily fits in the cupped palm of a hand.

Scientists see red pandas as a critical indicator species for the health of the Himalayan ecosystem.

The character Master Shifu in the movie Kung Fu Panda is a red panda.

Red pandas have escaped from zoos in London, Birmingham, Rotterdam, and the Smithsonian Zoo. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums includes in their care package of information: “beware,” red pandas are escape artists.”

There has been a 40% decrease in the red panda population over the last 50 years.

Red pandas are typically shy and solitary, except when they are mating.



Hibiscus tree is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant with trumpet-shaped flowers. This tropical tree grows in full sun or partial shade and does best in moist, well-drained soil. With over 200 species and many more cultivars in the genus, hibiscus flowers can reach nearly 10 inches in diameter at maturity and come in a wide range of colors from white to red, pink, yellow, and orange.

Tropical hibiscus varieties (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) are perfect if you live in a warm climate or want an impressive houseplant. For those living in cooler parts of North America, opting for a hardy variety or the shrubby rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), which are both easier to grow and can withstand colder winter temperatures, will be the better choice. Regardless of variety, hibiscus flowers are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

While all hibiscus have similarities that go beyond appearance, they have some distinct care and growing requirements.

Hibiscus Care

The care you provide your hibiscus will vary depending on whether it is a hardy or tropical variety and whether it is grown indoors or outdoors.


You can grow most species of hibiscus without worrying about them getting out of control. However, rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is classified as an invasive species in much of eastern North America.1


Hibiscus love bright conditions. In northern climes, full sun is often best, but in the intense, dry heat of the south, filtered sunlight is better. If you find that your plant isn’t producing many blooms, move the plant to a sunnier location.

Indoor tropical hibiscus will need a bright spot near a sunny window but keep it away from strong, direct sunlight. If you are transferring your plants outdoors when the warmer weather arrives, gradually acclimate them to the brighter conditions.


All hibiscus do best in well-drained, fertile, moist, loamy soil. The hardy varieties are wetland natives and are a good choice for sites that are too wet for other plants.

Most hibiscus prefer a slightly acidic soil pH, but the rose of Sharon is tolerant of alkaline conditions. The color of hibiscus flowers can be affected by the soil acidity level.

Mulching around the plant base can help with moisture retention if your location is experiencing dry conditions. For nutrient-poor soil, amending with organic matter will be beneficial.


All hibiscus are thirsty plants that need to be kept moist. Indoor tropical hibiscus benefit from regular watering from spring to early autumn during the growing season. Significantly reduce watering during dormant periods. For container-grown plants, ensure the top inch or so of potting mix dries out fully before watering—saturated soil is also problematic, and make sure containers have adequate drainage holes.

Depending on the conditions, you might need to water your hibiscus daily to help it produce an abundance of blooms.

If your hardy hibiscus are not planted near a pond or in another wet area, water them on a regular basis to keep them moist.

Temperature and Humidity

Rose of Sharon and hardy hibiscus can grow in cool, temperate climates. They thrive in temperatures from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit but can handle temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and frost is a risk, bring container-grown plants indoors. However, be mindful of their higher humidity requirements—which is why bathrooms are a good location for these plants.

Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can kill tropical varieties, so they are best housed in humid locations indoors in regions where this is likely to occur.


To encourage abundant, healthy blooms with good color, feed plants with a high potassium and high nitrogen fertilizer. Fish emulsion and seaweed extract are organic fertilizers. Feed a half-strength solution just before the start of the bloom period and continue at least once every few weeks until the end of flowering.

Types of Hibiscus

There are hundreds of tropical and hardy hibiscus hybrids and cultivars available. Just a few popular varieties include:

Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus): An unusual, hardy species featuring large pinwheel-like flowers

Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis): This hardy rose mallow has large, showy flowers that open white and then change color.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Cajun Cocktail’: A tropical cultivar with striking orange and yellow ruffled blooms, giving each one a one-of-a-kind appearance.

Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Perfect Storm’:A hardy, compact hybrid cultivar that blooms late in the season.


World Otter Day occurs on the last Wednesday of May, which is May 31 this year. Otters are beautiful, playful animals that live in wetlands across the world. Species are declining due to habitat destruction, reduction of prey, roadkill, and illegal trade for fur and as pets.

There are 13 different species, 12 of which are disappearing. Seven of these species are classified as vulnerable and five are endangered. The International Otter Survival Fund founded World Otter Day with two goals in mind. First, to help raise awareness of the dangers that otters face. Second, to educate people on how to protect their habitats.

River Otters
Sea Otters


World Otter Day had humble beginnings as Otterly Mad Week, a week of events, education, and fun. Then International Otter Awareness Day was founded before becoming the International Otter Survival Day, then World Otter Day, whose singular purpose is to ensure that future generations can enjoy these charming animals.

International Otter Survival Fund began in 1993 to protect and help the different species of otters worldwide. It was inspired by observing otters in their natural habitats. The Fund is one of the world’s leading charities with various projects that protect otters. They have dedicated over 20 years of research to conserving, protecting, and caring for otters and have developed a worldwide program to encourage education on otters.

To date, they have supported projects in 44 countries and helped cubs in 33 countries.

Since 2009, they held workshops across the world in places such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and China. The workshops provide training in otter field techniques, public awareness programs, law enforcement, and general conservation issues. Some other activities include research, campaigns, training, and otter hospitals.


1. Most of them live in Alaska: About 90% of all sea otters live on the coast of Alaska.

Alaska Otters Rebound

2. They have their own tools. Otters use rocks to open clams and carry them around in case they are needed.

3. They are amazing at holding their breath. Sea otters can hold their breath for five minutes and river otters can hold theirs for eight.

4. They have a thick fur. Sea otters lack any blubber, so their thick, dense, water-resistant fur keeps them warm.

5. Their dung tells a story. Scientist believe they may be able to determine the sex, age, and reproductive status of an otter just by studying it’s dung.


Otters are cute. We don’t need too much convincing to spend the day learning about them. They are the cutest, quirky, furry animals.

Conservation is always a plus. World Otter Day focuses on teaching people about the conservation of our planet and our wildlife.

It’s a worthwhile global cause. Otters are found all over the world. They are also celebrated in over 20 different countries.

Lowland Streaked Tenrec

The lowland streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small mammal within the Tenrecidae family and are only found in tropical lowland rain forest in the eastern parts of Madagascar.

Tenrecs are odd-looking creatures that look like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog having a bad hair day, don’t you think?

The lowland streaked tenrec has a long snout and limbs, and a vestigial tail. The hair, or fur, is black with yellow stripes that run down the side of the body, and a yellowish band running from the crown to the tip of the snout.

It has a messy assemblage of quills which are barbed and detachable.

The head and body are 4.8 to 6.5 inches in length. The weight is about 7 ounces.The streaked tenrec is active during day and night, feeding primarily upon earthworms, but also on insects.During the winter (May to October), tenrecs can drop their body temperature to nearly that of the surroundings to conserve energy, but in the coldest weather, they must hibernate.Their breeding season is from October to December, although, depending upon local food supply and temperature, they may also mate at other times of the year.The gestation period lasts 58 days. The average size of a litter is 6 young. The young are weaned at 18 to 25 days.Females are reproductively active at a young age, sometimes breeding at just five weeks!

The lowland streaked tenrec lives in long, shallow burrows, usually in family groups of about 20 individuals.

The streaked tenrec communicates with other by a method known as stridulation, the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. In this case, the body parts are specialized quills on the middle of their backs which they vibrate to create a low-pitched noise. The lowland streaked tenrec is the only known mammal to have the ability to do this. It is a method more commonly associated with insects and snakes.

If threatened by a predator, a streaked tenrec will raise the barbed quills on its back and around its neck and buck the head violently to attempt to drive the quills into the attacker’s nose or paws.

Source: Animal Bliss

That Touch of Mink

The word “mink” is used for the two sole species of these animals still residing on the planet.

These semi-aquatic species are the American mink (Neovison vison) and the European mink (Mustela lutreola).

American mink roam all over both Canada and the United States, although they are nonexistent in a handful of states and regions — think Arizona and Hawaii.

European mink, true to their monikers, live all the way across the pond in nations such as Spain, France and Russia.

Although both types of mink are undeniably similar animals, they have their fair share of individual qualities, too.

The American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink but, due to variations in size, an individual mink usually cannot be determined as European or American with certainty without looking at the skeleton.

In the wild, mink are small, discreet, and most often nocturnal, and they live in close proximity to water.

The lifespan of minks is about 3 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.

The male weighs about 2.2 lb and is about 24 in in length. The female weighs about 1.32 lb and reaches a length of about 20 in. The sizes above do not include the tail which can be from 5.0 in to 9.0 in.

The body is long and slender with short legs and a pointy, flat face. The toes are partially webbed, showing the mink’s semi-aquatic nature.

A mink’s rich glossy coat in its wild state is brown and looks silky, but farm-bred mink can vary from white to almost black. Their pelage is deep, rich brown, with or without white spots on the underparts, and consists of a slick, dense underfur overlaid with dark, glossy, almost stiff guard hairs.

Minks have excellent senses of vision, smell, and hearing.

A mink can run at speeds up to 8 mph.

Minks are carnivores. The diet of mink varies with the season. During the summer it consists of crayfish and small frogs, along with small mammals such as shrews, rabbits, mice, and muskrats. Fish, ducks and other water fowl provide additional food choices. In the winter, they primarily prey on mammals.

Mink are very territorial animals. A male mink will not tolerate another male within its territory, but appears to be less aggressive towards females. Generally, the territories of both male and female animals are separate, but a female’s territory may sometimes overlap with that of a male.

Mink communicate using a variety of cues, including chemical, visual, and auditory signals. They are fairly quiet, but rely heavily on chemical signaling for communicating territorial boundaries and reproductive status.

The breeding season lasts April to May. Although the true gestation period is 39 days, the embryo may stop developing for a variable period, so that as long as 76 days may elapse before the litter arrives. Between 45 and 52 days is normal. There is only one litter per year. They may have between six and ten cubs or kittens per litter. Young are weaned at about 10 weeks, and begin tracking and capturing prey. Young begin to disperse at about 2.5 to 4 months.

Mink have few natural enemies. They are occasionally killed by coyotes, bobcats and other carnivores, but their main threat remains humans.

These creatures are related to ermines, ferrets and weasels and look much like their relatives.

The main threat towards mink survival is the continued existence of the fur market.

Mink pelts have for years been considered one of the most luxurious furs on the market. Originally all fur came from natural populations, causing a severe strain on the species.

However, starting in the mid-1900s, mink ranches were established to help bring a more consistent pelt supply to the market. Ranching was very successful, with the number of mink ranches in the United States reaching a high of 7200 during the mid-1960s.

Mink are kept in captivity primarily for the production of their fur.

Source: JustFunFacts

It’s a Bug…a Hummingbird…No, Wait…It’s a Moth!

The hummingbird hawk-moth is a species of hawk moth, which is named due to its striking similarity to hummingbirds. Hawk moths are numerous species in a family of moths, all distinguished by their agile and sustained flying ability.

They are most common across Europe and Asia, with some populations appearing in the northern countries of Africa. Like many other types of hawk moths, the hummingbird hawk moth relies on flowers as their main food source.

Hummingbird hawk-moths can be found in gardens, meadows, parks and woodlands where there are nectar-rich flowers that it diets upon. Their favorite plants are is Galium (bedstraw) and Rubia (wild madder), as well as red valerian, honeysuckle, jasmine, Buddleia, lilac, Escallonia, petunia and phlox.

Interesting Hummingbird Hawk-Moth Facts

Yes, they are a moth.

It’s easy to mistake these incredible animals as birds, but as their name (half) suggests, they are moths. But not like your usual moth that comes out at night.

They are a day-flying moth, with an appearance of tail feathers, and the ability to fly and feed like a hummingbird! They are pretty to look at, which can be unlike other moths!

They are also far more robust than your usual moth or butterfly, capable of feeding from flowers even in the rain.

They’re not the same as hummingbird mothsWhen it comes to common names, things can get tricky. However, it’s important to know that hummingbird moths and hummingbird hawk-moths aren’t the same thing!The hummingbird hawk-moth is known by the scientific name Macroglossum stellatarum. As a result, it is in the genus Macroglossum. This species in particular finds its home in the region known as the Old World, which is made up of Europe, Asia, and Africa.The hummingbird moth, however, is in a completely different genus, Hemaris. They are still a member of the Sphingidae family, though, making them distantly related to hummingbird hawk moths. This species is more common in the New World, which includes North and South America.

They’re a prime example of convergent evolution.

If you watch a hummingbird hawk-moth eat, you may notice that they’re extremely similar to a hummingbird. They use their long straw-like mouthpiece, known as a proboscis, to suck the nectar out of flowers.

This is the ability to move rapidly from side-to-side while hovering.It’s thought this ability evolved to help evade ambush predators that lay awaiting them in flowers. They can in an instant side-step any danger!

Their wings beat at 70-80 times a second. They even emit an audible humming noise as they hover over plants.

They have a routine.

Most of the time, when you see insects like moths, butterflies, and bees flying around, it doesn’t seem like they have a plan. When they land, it seems random, and they don’t appear to have a preference for certain flowers. However, that’s not always true.

Hummingbird hawk-moths do what is known as trap-lining. This means that they are thought to return to the same flower beds around the same time each and every day.

They have also demonstrated a preference for certain types of flowers.

Their favorite flowers are those with longer, tube-like shapes.

Everything is nature faces competition. This is because there are simply not enough resources to support everything. Trees have to compete for sunlight, animals for space and food – this is the circle of life in the wilderness.

As a result, hummingbird hawk-moths tend to favor flowers where they face the least amount of competition. For deeper, narrower plants, it can be difficult for insects like bees to reach the nectar inside. However, the hummingbird hawk-moth is able to utilize its long proboscis to reach the food source within.

Hummingbird hawk-moths see better with less eyes.

Like many other types of insects, the hummingbird hawk-moth has several eyes, more than the two we are used to seeing on animals.

However, as far as multi-eye insects come, the hummingbird hawk-moth is actually on the end of the spectrum with fewer eyes. Their eyes are more complex, though, allowing them to see more.

They’re named for the appearance of their larvae.

The hummingbird hawk-moth is a part of the family Sphingidae, which is made up of all types of hawk moths, also known as Sphinx moths.

This is because of the fact that young hawk-moths, before they become moths at all, look like the ancient Egyptian cat.

We know their entire genome.

Since they were discovered, genetics has also been a topic of intrigue in the science community.

The hummingbird hawk-moth was first described in the 1700s, when nomenclature, or scientific names, emerged. As of 2018, we’ve been able to completely understand their genome. This means that we know all of their genes!

Hummingbird hawk moths are considered a sign of good luck.

These tiny insects have a big message packed in their little body. Around the world, many cultures consider the hummingbird hawk-moth as a symbol of good luck.

This goes along with the usual meaning for moths overall, which can be linked to transformation and change.


Monkey Tail Cactus

This month’s weird plant offering is rather unique to say the least…the monkey tail cactus.


The stems look greenish when young and greenish-yellow when they get older and covered on the entire surface by white, long & soft hair like spines cascading downward which resembles the appearance of Monkey’s tail. They are branched to three to five stems at the bottom. The stems start drooping and become pendant after reaching a certain height. Each stem can increase in size by nearly a foot every year and reach to 3- or 4-feet length. These long protruding stems on the hanging basket makes the garden look really attractive. Their soft harmless appearance lures people to touch them but it is to be noted that the flesh of this cactus is non-edible.


The flowers of Monkey Tail Cactus produce bright red flowers that make the plant look particularly fascinating and eye-catching. After a few days, the flowers turn into fruits and disappear shortly. They are popular for blooming throughout the year with summer and winter being the main season. The contrasting features of these flowers bring peace to our soul. During winter and autumn, they undergo dormancy for some rest. This dormant period prepares the plant to bloom and grows beautiful red buds. The growth rate increases considerably during summer and spring.

Care of Monkey Tail Cactus

This cactus can thrive well in little care and doesn’t need special techniques to grow which make it popular among the people interested in house plants with busy schedules. Some caring tips for monkey tail cactus are discussed below:


They do well in areas that receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Indirect light is ideal, but this desert-native cactus can tolerate direct sunlight too. They must be kept in the area with bright indirect sunlight if grown indoors. This succulent thrives best outdoors in bright indirect sun and is used widely outdoors as a hanging basket. Their blooming frequency depends on the amount of sunlight they receive. They may not bloom as often as they do outdoors if kept indoors.


They are popular due to their capacity to withstand a wide range of temperatures. They can even withstand the temperature below freezing point as low as 20 °F during dormancy to above 60 °F.    


A well-draining organic soil mix or the sandy and loamy soils with the characteristics features like proper aeration, lightweight and quick drainage are considered ideal for this cactus. The stem suffers from water rot and many fungal infections in case of poor drainage, water stagnant and water lodging conditions. Salty soil can damage this plant. So, if Cocopeat is being used in potting mixture, they must be pre-washed in order to leach out its salt content. Perlite can be added on the soil mix to increase drainage.


Frequent watering is required only during the fast and vigorous growing phase when water drains quickly exclusively during summer and spring. The intensity of watering depends on the dryness of the ground and air temperature. The frequency is directly proportional to the warmth present in air. The watering process is completely paused during their dormancy period. Watering it during dormancy, mostly during the winter period may result in frosting and can lead the plant to death. Not a single drop of water is given to the plant cuttings after propagation and light misting can be done only after 15 days of planting.


Low nitrogen fertilizer is incorporated into the potting mixture during its active growing phase. It can be best applied by diluting the fertilizer solution with the water and spreading it as liquid fertilizer which can complete the whole year requirement at once. Since it doesn’t require any special care, application of nitrogen is enough to fulfill its nutrient requirement.

Source: Succulent Path

And You Thought YOUR Mom was Weird…

Moms — we’ve all got them, and we all need them. But some animals have a slightly different idea of what it means to be a good mother. From moms who turn their bodies into food to others who encourage their young to become cannibals, here are the weirdest mothering techniques in nature.


Chicken moms take their duties very seriously. Creating an endless amount of calcium carbonate for eggshells is a difficult task, so if chickens don’t get enough calcium in their diets, they’ll actually dissolve their own bones to make baby-housing shells. That’s one way to lose baby weight!


Cuckoos have figured out a unique way to get the neighbors to do the difficult work of raising young. Momma cuckoos will sneakily lay their eggs in another bird’s nest. In doing so, the cuckoo tricks the other bird — often a different, smaller species — into taking on the expensive burden of raising the chick. The cuckoo chick usually hatches first, and grows faster, forcing the other chicks out of the nest, where they then die. It then gets the full attention of its adoptive parents, giving it much greater chances of survival.

Blood-Sucking Ants

The tiny endangered Madagascar-based Adetomyrmaant has a strange way to show love to its kiddos. The ants practice something known as “non-destructive cannibalism.” When the colony’s queen gives birth to ant larvae, she and her workers chew holes in the tiny babies to feed on their haemolymph – their circulatory system fluid (which would be blood in mammals). Scientists can’t say exactly why these ants do this — ants have a social behavior of transferring fluids to each other, so they may be practicing a rudimentary form of that behavior. The baby ants don’t die, but sucking blood from the young is a weird way to show vampire affection.

Gray Whales

Sometimes, mothers in the wild have to go to great lengths to protect their young.

Pacific gray whales migrate thousands of miles from cold, plankton-rich Arctic waters to relatively nutrient-poor tropical lagoons off of the coast of Mexico where they give birth. While the journey takes the gray whales away from a bountiful food supply, the southern neighborhood is free of the dangerous orcas (they stick to colder waters) that otherwise hunt the newborn whales. It also gives their newborns time to feed on their mothers’ incredibly rich milk (53 percent fat!) and build a layer of insulating blubber before the must head to the icy Arctic. Like bears, the mother whales go hungry for months while still needing to produce high-calorie milk for their babies. During this time they may lose as much as 8 tons of weight.


For many spiders, the act of mating signals that their lives are about to end — remember Charlotte’s Web? For several species of the Stegodyphus spiders, motherly love goes even further than watching over the nest. Females attach their egg cocoons to their webs and watch over them until the babies hatch. Once her children have hatched, the mother continues to eat, but regurgitates most of her meals as a nutrient soup for her offspring while the spiderlings stay in their mother’s web.

When the babies are around a month old, the mother spider rolls over on her back allowing the spiderlings to clamber over her, kill her by injecting their venom and digestive enzymes into her body, and eat her. After the young gobble her up, they turn on each other and cannibalize as many of their siblings as they can before leaving their mother’s web. Thanksgiving dinners are probably pretty awkward after that kind of upbringing.

Sea Louse

Talk about a painful pregnancy. The small fish-clinging female sea louse has to deal with males that impregnate up to 25 females at one time. The worst part? By the time she is ready to give birth to hundreds of baby lice, she sits back and the babies chew through her insides to emerge into the world.Poison Frog

The teensy female poison arrow frog literally goes above and beyond when taking on the duties of motherhood. After laying as many as five eggs and watching them hatch, the strawberry poison arrow frog carries her tadpoles, one by one, on her back, from the rain forest floor up into trees as high as 100 feet. After hoisting her babes to the treetops, the frog then finds individual pools of water in leaves for each tadpole, setting up safe and individualized nurseries. That’s not the end of her super-mom duties. The mother strawberry poison arrow frog then feeds each of her young with her own unfertilized eggs over the course of six to eight weeks, thus allowing these tadpoles to grow into young frogs without having to eat each other. What, eggs again?

Suddenly my mom doesn’t seem so bad! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who read here!

Source:Katherine Gammon@ LiveScience


Garlic is a strong-smelling, flavoring herb noted for its many health benefits. It contains a powerful compound called allicin that can help to lower cholesterol. The health benefits of garlic may include easing the symptoms of the common cold, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart ailments as well as neurodegenerative disorders.

The purpose of a garlic clove is aplenty. Right from cooking purposes to medicinal uses, it is truly an all-rounder when it comes to choosing to eat healthily. Moreover, it adds a delightful flavor to all your recipes. Also, you can consume garlic in a variety of forms – such as garlic bread, garlic aioli, garlic mashed potatoes, and so on. With so many different uses, let us explore the health benefits of garlic in detail.

What is Garlic?

Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is a close relative of the onion and is native to Central Asia. The garlic bulb contains several cloves and each clove is covered with a soft translucent peel. Garlic has been used as a seasoning in food as well as a traditional remedy for over 3,000 years. Sir Louis Pasteur, the scientist who discovered pasteurization, used the anti-bacterial qualities of this herb as early as 1858. A report in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Research suggested that one clove per day may bring a vast improvement in your overall health, while two to three cloves daily could help keep the common cold at bay.


Garlic is very low in calories, saturated fats, and sodium. It has several useful minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron, and trace minerals like iodine, sulfur, and chlorine. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, garlic is a rich source of B-vitamins (folate, thiamine, niacin, and B-6), and vitamins C, A, and K. Garlic is one of the rare dietary sources of organic compounds, allicin, allisatin 1, and allisatin 2.

Health Benefits of Raw Garlic

May Ease Cold and Cough

A 2014 paper published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews cited a study that assessed 146 participants over three months to find out the impact it had on patients suffering from cold and cough. As part of the study, researchers divided the total number of participants into two equal groups. One group took a placebo tablet while the other group took a garlic tablet. At the end of the study, researchers found that people who took garlic every day for three months instead of a placebo had fewer bouts of cold as compared with the placebo group.

Might Reduce Hypertension

According to a 2014 report in the Integrated Blood Pressure Control journal, aged garlic extract has the ability to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. However, further studies are required to verify if they can be considered an alternative therapy for hypertension.

Might Help To Lower Cholesterol Levels

Raw garlic, rich in the allicin compound, can prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing. Research shows a reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides in rats consuming raw garlic. However, there is not enough research to verify this health benefit definitively.

May Boost Heart Health

Garlic has significant cardioprotective properties, which can help to prevent major heart diseases like atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, hypertension, and more. While most reviewed research supports the correlation between garlic intake and cardioprotection, per the Nutrition Journal study, further research is needed to decide proper form and dosage. One should keep a close tab on the proper use of this herb i.e. use of different preparations available, dose, duration, and its interaction with generic drugs.

May Help To Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of raw garlic may help prevent future neurodegenerative diseases. As per a study in the Libyan Journal of Medicine, garlic and its preparations can help in preventing the risk of cardiovascular ailments and stroke. However, further studies are required to identify particular garlic compounds responsible for its effects.

Can reduce the Risk of Dementia

Oxidative damage can play a huge role in cardiovascular diseases and dementia, as the risk of these diseases increases with age. Aged garlic extract (AGE) has antioxidant properties that may help reduce the risk of common brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. High doses of AGE have shown to increase antioxidant enzymes, as well as reduce oxidative stress to those with blood pressure problems.

May Help Prevent Heavy Metal Poisoning

High doses of garlic may prevent organ damage caused by heavy metals. The sulfur compounds in this herb can possibly reduce lead levels in the blood. They may also prevent the signs of toxicity, such as headaches and blood pressure, and also can aid in better absorption of iron and zinc in the blood. A 2012 report published in Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology reveals that garlic can be effective in reducing blood and tissue lead concentrations among human beings and animals alike.

Can Heal Wounds

It can act as an effective herbal remedy for the infected wound. Place 2 crushed cloves on the infected area to get instant relief.

May Improves Bone Health

Herbs like garlic and onion may impact estrogen levels in menopausal women, reducing the risk of osteoarthritis. They may also minimize bone loss and improve overall bone health in both men and women. Also according to a study in the Electronic Physician journal, garlic consumption can reduce oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of many diseases such as osteoporosis.

Might Boost Digestion

Daily inclusion of raw garlic cloves in your diet can aid digestive problems. Even inflammation or irritation of the gastric canal may be reduced using this herb. Garlic might help to clear up most intestinal problems like dysentery, diarrhea, and colitis. Its role in dispelling worms is phenomenal. It does not affect the good bacteria in the intestine but destroys the harmful ones. It not only enhances digestion but can also help to relieve stomach gas. Can Regulate Blood SugarEating raw garlic cloves may reduce blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. May Boost ImmunityGarlic has phytonutrients that can help to reduce oxidative stress, strengthening your immunity. The herb may also reduce fatigue and boost energy. A 2012 report in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines revealed a study conducted on rats to ascertain if garlic played a contributory role in enhancing immune function. Researchers discovered that the extracts significantly increased white blood cell counts and showed more immune-stimulating effects. May Aid in Eye CareIt is rich in nutrients like selenium, quercetin, and vitamin C, all of which can contribute to eye health and may also help with eye infections and inflammation.

May Help Prevent Acne

Garlic, along with other ingredients like honey, cream, and turmeric, can be used as a home remedy for acne scars and blocking the onset of acne. This herb may be effective in skin cleanser and an antibiotic substance that can help to resolve several skin conditions, including skin rashes, psoriasis, cold sores, and blisters. Additionally, it can also help in cell synthesis, protecting against UV rays, and delaying aging.

Other Benefits

Other benefits of this herb may include reducing the symptoms of asthma, increasing libido, and hair loss, among others.

Can Control Asthma

Eating boiled garlic cloves can be an effective homeopathic remedy to reduce the symptoms of asthma. Another suggested remedy is drinking a glass of milk with three boiled cloves each night before going to sleep. It can bring subsequent relief for patients with asthma. Asthma attacks may be brought under control by having crushed cloves with malt vinegar as well. However, it is advisable to check with an expert before trying these treatments at home.

May Promote Weight Loss

For years, garlic has been used as a remedy for weight loss. In animal models, it reduced the expression of genes that are involved in adipogenesis that leads to the formation of fat cells. The herb increased thermogenesis which can help to burn fat and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. This research has positive implications for reducing obesity in humans.

May Prevent Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver

Garlic is rich in S-ally-mercapto cysteine (SAMC) and antioxidants which can help prevent fatty liver, according to an animal study. These compounds may also reduce the risk of hepatic injury. Further research is needed to confirm these hepatic benefits.

Might Reduce UTI and Kidney Infections

Garlic may prevent the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen responsible for recurring urinary tract infections (UTI) and kidney infections. Fresh garlic extract can also be used to prevent the growth of candida vaginitis and E. coli infection.

May Prevent Hair Loss

The herb may help in preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth. Regular application of garlic gel or garlic-infused coconut oil may aid with conditions like alopecia. However, limited information and research on this connection exist, therefore more studies are needed to confirm the scientific association.

May Have Antibacterial and Antiparasitic Effects 

Garlic extracts may help with Helicobacter pylori infection, tick bites, jock itch, and athlete’s foot due to its antibacterial effects.

Might Prevent Peptic Ulcer

The antibacterial compounds present in the herb can eliminate stomach parasites that cause peptic ulcers.

May Relieve Ear Aches

Due to the herb’s antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties, it can be used for giving relief from earache and ear infections.

How to Use Garlic?

The herb may be consumed raw, but the taste is so potent that most people usually prefer cooking it or adding it to various dishes before eating.

  • You can chop, crush, slice, mince, or even juice garlic. Cutting it activates the alliinase enzyme that is highly beneficial to health.
  • Minced garlic gives a delicious, fragrant aroma when warmed in olive oil. This can form a base for soups, stews, and curries. It is one of the main ingredients in a good pasta sauce.
  • The herb is also an essential ingredient in various kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes as it helps prevent tooth cavities and oral bacteria.

Word of Caution: Excessive intake may irritate the digestive system. Also, garlic can cause bad breath.

Source: Organic Facts


The color green isn’t for everyone, but emeralds are in a class of their own. The stone’s hue is unmatched, making it one of the most sought-after gemstones on the market. Emerald has consistently surpassed other green gems like peridot and tourmaline with its lush blueish-green tones. But what’s an emerald without some fanciful history and lore? These quick and to-the-point emerald facts will help enliven your passion for this rare specimen, regardless of what you think about its coloring. 

Emerald Know-How

Emerald is one of the four recognized precious gemstones. The others are ruby, sapphire, and diamond.

Emerald is the birthstone of May and is the traditional gift for the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversary in the US. 

Emerald is made from beryl just like the gemstone aquamarine.

Emerald gets its green coloring from trace amounts of chromium and/or vanadium.

A 1-carat emerald appears larger than a 1-carat diamond because of its lower density.

Emerald measures between 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Though they are durable stones, emeralds are susceptible to chipping and cracking. This makes emeralds more expensive to set into jewelry due to the risk involved. 

Colombia yields the largest amount of emeralds, contributing to more than 50 percent of all emerald production worldwide.

Emerald History

The oldest emeralds are about 2.97 billion years old.

The first known emeralds were mined in Egypt around 1500 BC.

One of Cleopatra’s favorite stones was emerald, and her passion for the stone was well documented.

Emeralds were discovered in South America in the 16th century by the Spanish. They were used by the Incas well before this discovery.

The Spanish traded emeralds across Europe and Asia for precious metals, which opened up the emerald trade to the rest of the world. 

Emeralds were first discovered in North America in the Yukon Territory in 1997, though large emerald deposits in the United States and further north are very rare. 

Synthetic sapphire and ruby were created in 1907, but synthetic emeralds were not created until 1935 when American chemist Carroll Chatham successfully grew his first 1-carat Chatham emerald. This stone is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute. 

Emerald Symbolism and Lore

According to ancient folklore, putting an emerald under your tongue would help one see into the future.Emeralds were thought to guard against memory loss and enhance intuition. Want to be sure what your lover is saying is real? Emerald was believed to act as a type of truth potion, helping decipher whether the lover’s vows were true or false. The soft, calming color of the emerald helped early lapidaries rest their eyes after an extended period of concentration. Today, emerald is still thought to relax and relieve eye strain. 

 Emerald Value

Top-quality emeralds can be worth more than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

Most emeralds have some type of inclusion or imperfection, and emeralds without imperfections or inclusions are very rare. Instead of the term imperfection, dealers like to reference emerald inclusions as an internal jardin (“garden” in French). 

Color, clarity, cut, and carat weight are four factors used to determine the value of an emerald. The most important of these four is color. The best color is vivid green or blueish-green with even saturation and no color zoning. 

Valuable, high-quality emeralds are very transparent and aren’t too dark or too light. Green beryl that is too light in color may not even be considered emerald by some gemologists. 

A gemologist judges a diamond’s clarity grade by using a 10x loupe. The clarity of an emerald is often assessed with the naked eye. 

An emerald pendant necklace owned by Elizabeth Taylor sold for $6.5 million in 2011, breaking down to about $280,000 paid per carat.

The Duke of Devonshire Emerald is one of the largest uncut emeralds weighing 1,383.93 carats.


Due to the inclusions within an emerald, it is not wise to clean these gems in an ultrasonic cleaner. Instead, clean gently by hand using warm water. 

Most emeralds are usually treated by filling the emerald with oil to fill in the cracks and help prevent unintentional chipping or cracking. You can coat emeralds with baby oil as an extra care precaution to help the stone from becoming overly brittle. 

Source: Spruce Crafts