Category Archives: Uncategorized


TORTOISE!!!!, originally uploaded by Two years of travelling.

Giant tortoises are characteristic of certain reptilian tropical island wildlife. They occur (some species are now extinct) in such places as Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, the Galápagos Islands, Sulawesi, Timor, Flores and Java, often reaching enormous size. However, giant tortoises also once lived on the mainland of Asia, as follows from fossil finds in the Siwalik Hills in India.



Santa Cruz – wild Galapagos tortoise, originally uploaded by Steve Makin.

These animals belong to the most ancient group of reptiles, appearing about 250 million years ago. In the Upper Cretaceous, 70 or 80 million years ago some already became gigantic and about 1 million years ago these reptiles reached the Galápagos Islands. Until 100,000 years ago most of the gigantic species began to disappear for unknown causes and only 250 years ago there were at least 20 species and subspecies in islands of the Indian Ocean and 14 or 15 species in the Galapagos Islands. From those, only one of the species of the Indian Ocean survives and 11 in Galápagos.



“Hey Baby, Come here oft…?” “Go Away Creep!”, originally uploaded by ARKNTINA.

They are commonly known as the world’s longest living animals, with an average lifespan of 177 years.



slow love, originally uploaded by KCA.



140894, originally uploaded by Andre Boffin.



Open Wide, originally uploaded by Picture Taker 2.



Do NOT lower your windows, originally uploaded by Tom KS.


The baboons are some of the largest non-hominid members of the primate order; only the Mandrill and the Drill are larger. In modern scientific use, only members of the genus Papio are called baboons, but previously the closely related Gelada (genus Theropithecus) and two species of Mandrill and Drill (genus Mandrillus) were grouped in the same genus, and these monkeys are still often referred to as baboons in everyday speech. The word “baboon” comes from “babouin”, the name given to them by the French naturalist Buffon. Papio belongs to family Cercopithecidae, in subfamily Cercopithecinae.


Eritrea Erythrée Lafforgue 83, originally uploaded by Eric Lafforgue.


All baboons have long dog-like muzzles (cynocephalus = dog-head), close-set eyes, heavy powerful jaws, thick fur except on their muzzle, a short tail and rough spots on their rear-ends, called ischial callosities. These callouses are nerveless, hairless pads of skin which provide for the sitting comfort of the baboon (and other Old World monkeys). Males of the Hamadryas Baboon species also have a large white mane.

There is considerable variation in size and weight depending on species, the Chacma Baboon can be 120 cm (47 inches) and weigh 40 kg (90 lb) while the biggest Guinea Baboon is 50 cm (20 inches) and weighs only 14 kg (30 lb).

In all baboon species there is pronounced sexual dimorphism, usually in size but also sometimes in colour or canine development.

Baboons are terrestrial (ground dwelling) and are found in savanna, open woodland and hills across Africa. Their diet is omnivorous, but is usually vegetarian. They are foragers and are active at irregular times throughout the day and night. They can raid human dwellings and in South Africa they have been known to prey on sheep and goats.

Their principal predators are man and the leopard, although they are tough prey for a leopard and large males will often confront them.

Baboons in captivity have been known to live up to 45 years, while in the wild their life expectancy is about 30 years.



Young baboons, Serengeti, originally uploaded by Bob Duck.


Most baboons live in hierarchical troops of 5 to 250 animals (50 or so is common), depending on specific circumstances, especially species and time of year. The structure within the troop varies considerably between Hamadryas Baboons and the remaining species, sometimes collectively referred to as savannah baboons. The Hamadryas Baboon has very large groups comprised of many smaller harems (one male with four or so females), to which females from elsewhere in the troop are recruited while still too young to breed. The other baboon species have a more promiscuous structure with a strict dominance hierarchy based on the female matriline. The Hamadryas Baboon group will typically include a younger male, but he will not attempt to mate with the females unless the older male is removed.

Baboons can determine from vocal exchanges what the dominance relations between individuals are. When a confrontation occurs between different families or where a lower-ranking baboon takes the offensive, baboons show more interest in the exchange than exchanges between members of the same family or when a higher-ranking baboon takes the offensive. This is because confrontations between different families or rank challenges can have a wider impact on the whole troop than an internal conflict in a family or a baboon reinforcing its dominance.



“Does my bum look red in this?”, originally uploaded by Brian Ritchie.


Baboon mating behavior varies greatly depending on the social structure. In the mixed groups of savannah baboons, each male can mate with any female. The allowed mating order among the males depends partially on the ranking, and fights between males are not unusual.

There are however more subtle possibilities; males sometimes try to win the friendship of females. To garner this friendship, they may help groom the female, help care for her young, or supply them with food. Some females clearly prefer such friendly males as mates.

A female initiates mating by presenting her swollen rump to the male. But ‘presenting’ can also be used as a submissive gesture and is observed in males as well.

In the harems of Hamadryas baboons, the males jealously guard their females, to the point of grabbing and biting the females when they wander too far away. Despite this, some males will raid harems for females. In such situations it often comes to aggressive fights by the males. Some males succeed in taking a female from another’s harem. This is called a ‘takeover’.

Females typically give birth every other year, usually to a single infant, after a six month gestation. The young baboon weighs approximately one kilogram and is colored black. The females tend to be the primary caretaker of the young, although several females will share the duties for all of their offspring.

In mixed groups males sometimes help in caring for the young of the females they are friendly with, for instance they gather food for them and play with them. The probability is high that those young are their offspring. After about one year, the young animals are weaned. They reach sexual maturity in five to eight years.

In baboons males leave their birth group, usually before they reach sexual maturity, whereas females are ‘philopatric’ and stay in the same group their whole life.



Singer, originally uploaded by chi liu.


There are five recognised species of Papio, although there is some disagreement about whether they are really full species or subspecies. They are P. ursinus (Chacma Baboon, found in southern Africa), P. papio (Western or Guinea Baboon, found in Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea), P. hamadryas (Hamadryas Baboon, found in north-east Africa and into south-western Arabia), P. anubis (Olive Baboon, found in central African savanna) and P. cynocephalus (Yellow Baboon, found in Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia). Many authors distinguish P. hamadryas as a full species, but regard all the others as subspecies of P. cynocephalus and refer to them collectively as “savanna baboons”. This may not be helpful: while behaviorally and physically distinct from other baboon types, the Hamadryas baboon is known to hybridize with olive baboons, and recent phylogenetic studies of Papio show Hamadryas baboons to be more closely related to guinea and olive baboons than to chacmas.[2]

The traditional 5-form classification probably under-represents the variation within Papio. Some commentators[3] would argue that at least two more forms should be recognized, including the very small Kinda Baboon (P. kindae) from Zambia, the DRC, and Angola, and the Gray-footed Baboon (P. griseipes) found in Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and northern South Africa. However, current knowledge of the morphological, genetic, and behavioral diversity within Papio is too poor to make any final, comprehensive judgments on baboon taxonomy.



Dangerous Yawn, originally uploaded by Deeble.


Baboon information from Wikipedia

USPS info for posting to Australia

Country Conditions for Mailing – Australia

Prohibitions (130)

Coins; bank notes; currency notes (paper money); securities of
any kind payable to bearer; traveler’s checks; platinum, gold,
and silver (manufactured or not); precious stones; jewelry;
and other valuable articles are prohibited.

Fruit cartons (used or new).

Goods bearing the name “Anzac.”

Goods produced wholly or partly in prisons or by convict labor.

Perishable infectious biological substances.

Radioactive materials.

Registered philatelic articles with fictitious addresses.

Seditious literature.

Silencers for firearms.

Used bedding.


Meat and other animal products; powdered or concentrated
milk; and other dairy products requires permission to import
from the Australian quarantine authorities.

Permission of the Australian Director-General of Health is
required to import medicines.


Duty may be levied on catalogs, price lists, circulars, and all
advertising introduced into Australia through the mail,
irrespective of the class of mail used.


Letter-post Rates

Weightnot over




Weightnot over




Weightnot over




1 $0.84 12 $8.85 44 $19.95
2 1.80 16 10.20 48 21.40
3 2.75 20 11.60 52 22.85
4 3.70 24 12.95 56 24.35
5 4.65 28 14.35 60 25.80
6 5.60 32 15.70 64 27.30
7 6.55 36 17.15 blank blank
8 7.50 40 18.55 blank blank
Weight Limit: 64 ounces (4 lbs.)


Parcel Post Rates

Weightnot over




Weightnot over




Weightnot over




1 $16.00 16 $86.15 31 $153.35
2 20.80 17 90.65 32 157.85
3 25.80 18 95.10 33 162.30
4 31.35 19 99.60 34 166.80
5 36.90 20 104.10 35 171.30
6 41.35 21 108.55 36 175.75
7 45.85 22 113.05 37 180.25
8 50.35 23 117.50 38 184.70
9 54.80 24 122.00 39 189.20
10 59.30 25 126.50 40 193.65
11 63.75 26 130.95 41 198.15
12 68.25 27 135.45 42 202.65
13 72.75 28 139.90 43 207.10
14 77.20 29 144.40 44 211.60
15 81.70 30 148.90 blank blank
Weight Limit: 44 lbs.

Note: Ordinary air parcel post includes indemnity at no cost based on
weight. For an item not over 1 pound, the indemnity is $62.84, and the
indemnity increases $3.03 per pound or fraction up to a maximum of
70 pounds, which has an indemnity of $271.91. (See 280.)

Country Conditions for Mailing – Australia

Check the above link to see more information!

Surfers’Tribute to Steve Irwin

Raptor! Australia’s Diurnal Birds of Prey Part I

There are 6 main groups of birds that take prey during the day: ospreys, kites, hawks, eagles, harriers and falcons.  This post deals with the first three of that list. I’ve tried to find photos of these animals in their wild state whenever possible.

Osprey!, originally uploaded by Nikographer [Jon].


The osprey or fish-hawk is found everywhere except Antarctica and migrates to south America every year.Note the long arched wing and the dark line through the eye and down the neck. Numbers of these magnificant birds has decreased over the years thanks to pesticides contaminating the environment.



Black-shouldered kite 3 / Australian Kite, originally uploaded by aaardvaark.


The Australian Black-shouldered Kite is one of two hovering kites with the letter-winged kite being the other. They look very similar and you can only make a definite distinction during flight by checking the underwing.



Crested Hawk or (Pacific Baza) (Aviceda subcristata), originally uploaded by topend.

The Crested Hawk is Australia’s Cuckoo Falcon. It tends to eat insects, invertebrates and frogs despite its name.


Milhafre Negro – Black Kite – Milvus migrans, originally uploaded by JulioCaldas.



Brahminy Kite 3, originally uploaded by The World Through My Eye.



Whistling Kite, originally uploaded by W & S Roddom.


The Soaring Kites are rather longlived birds which are found worldwide except for the Americas They are definite scavengers. Note the long broad fingered wings.


Christmas Island Goshawk, originally uploaded by Rob Hughes.

Also known as the Australian Goshawk or Brown Goshawk and unfortunately the Chicken Hawk.


COLLARED SPARROWHAWK Accipiter cirrhocephalus, originally uploaded by beeater.


Also otherwise known as a chicken hawk. What is it with some people?! These are two of Australia’s three goshawk species. The collared sparrowhawk is a rather small bird which is a little larger than a dove.


Steve Irwin at the Footy Show