Elusive Wildcat Photographed For The First Time In Siberia

An exceedingly elusive (and extremely adorable) wildcat has been captured on camera in the snowy hills of a Siberian national park — offering exciting confirmation that the species still inhabits the region.

Pallas’s cats (Otocolobus manul), who are roughly the same size as domestic house cats, are a secretive feline living mostly out of sight in grasslands and rocky mountain steppe regions across Asia. The notoriously camera-shy species has been so rarely seen, in fact, that grainy images from remote camera traps are often the only evidence researchers have to go on that they are indeed around.

According to the Siberian Times, rangers from Saylyugem National park recently managed to snap these crisp, clear photographs of a Pallas’s cat — the first time the species has been the subject of a photographer’s camera in Siberia…

(read/see more: The Dodo)

photograph by Denis Malikov

The decoration on this jar, one of a pair, represents the East Asian motif of the “Three Friends of Winter”: pine, prunus (plum), and bamboo—plants that symbolize integrity and perseverance because they flourish in winter.

Covered Jar (one of a pair), c. 1752-1758, Made by Chelsea porcelain factory

Fanged “Vampire Deer” Explained

These Asian deer are actually shy and harmless.

by Liz Langely

"Fanged deer" is a loose term that refers to male deer with visible canines, including water deer, musk deer, muntjac, and tufted deer.

"The ancestors of all deer were small and had tusks and antlers," said Jen Webb, Zoo Atlanta's carnivore keeper. She is also keeper of the American Zoological Association's muntjac studbook, so she's “responsible for the pedigree, geneology, and geographic history of the species' population” in her area.

During evolution, taller deer species “grew larger antlers and lost the tusks, while smaller deer retained the tusks but kept small antlers,” explained Webb.

Keep reading for cool facts about the four fanged deer species…

(read more: National Geographic)

image: Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis)
photograph by Michael Rose, Alamy

The Hot Spring Snake (Thermophis baileyi)

… is an aquatic snake that lives at higher elevations than any other snake species in the world.

It is found in and around hot springs in the High Himalayas of Tibet, to an elevation of around 4350 m. It is a mildly venomous rear-fanged snake (in the Colubrid subfamily Xenodontinae), and feeds primarily on fish and frogs. This species is believed to be ovoviparous (retaining the eggs internally and “giving birth” to the young as they hatch fromt he egg membranes). They reach a length of up to 2 1/2 ft (76 cm).

photograph via: Herpetological Bulletin

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Buddha’s Hand - Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis

This strange fruit is commonly known as Buddha’s Hand and also as Fingered Citron. It is a citron variety scientifically named Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis (Sapindales - Rutaceae). 

The 6- to 12-inch fruits split longitudinally at the end opposite the stem, as the carpels separate into segments that look somewhat like human fingers, hence its common name. The fruits are similar to lemons, but with flesh that is less acid and peels that are thicker and more fragrant. 

While the actual location of origin is unknown, it is believed that Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis originated in Northeastern India and was possibly the first citrus to be brought to Europe by Greek and Roman explorers.

In China the Buddha’s Hand symbolizes happiness and long life, and in Japan is a popular gift at New Year’s, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alan Buckingham | Locality: Isole di Brissago Botanic Garden, Ticino, Switzerland, 2014 - [Top] - [Bottom]