Fun Facts about Plants from Your Friendly Botany Major
• Cacti are some of the only plants to photosynthesize from their stems. Their needles are really just modified leaves.
• Avocados are only around because people pollinate and disperse them by hand. The large seed is indigestible to small mammals now. It was originally eaten by giant sloths who would poop them out far away from the parent tree so they can grow. This is called an evolutionary anachronism.
• Banana candy does not taste like bananas because it was designed to taste like the Gros Michel banana which was eaten in the pre-1950s. It was wiped out by a fungus called panama disease. Since bananas are asexual all of them are genetically identical making it easy to wipe them all out at once. However fungus is sexual so it evolves more quickly. This means eventually we may lose the modern banana, the Cavendish, to it as well.
• There are actually three different types of photosynthesis: C3, C4, and CAM. Which type is used depends on the aridness of the environment, and are increasingly more efficient as listed.
• Moss is amazing. The fuzzy part of the moss is called the gametophyte stage and it is haploid meaning it has one set of chromosomes like a sperm or an egg cell in humans. If you look closely, sometimes you will what look like little tiny seeds on stems coming out of the main body. This is the sporophyte stage and it’s diploid, or has two sets of chromosomes, like our body cells. Moss is the oldest type of plant.
• You can usually tell what animal pollinates a plant by the color and shape of its flowers. Red flowers are hardly ever pollinated by bees because bees cannot see red well. Butterfly flowers have long deep centers. Bird pollinated plants can bear weight and are wide and open. Bat pollinated plants usually smell strongly and are darkly colored.
• Almost all American native elms and chestnut trees are extinct because of fungi. Asian chestnut and elm have replaced them, because they are resistant to the strains.
• There is a type of fern that has over 1200 chromosomes. For reference, humans have 46.
• If you shine consistent low level red light on a plant it will grow extremely tall, because red light tells the plant it is being shaded by and competing with other plants. If you shine consistent green light on a plant it will not sprout or die (if already sprouted) because plants absorb red and blue light to use. This is also why plants are green, because the unused green light is reflected back out.
TLDR; Plants are frickin cool and should get as much love as our animal friends.
Some colours on the Banjo Kazooie sketch I did back in Feb. Love this game, and can’t wait for Yooka-Laylee to come around since Rare’s abandoned the Banjo ship. Gonna polish it up more before I’d ever sell it as a print, but this is what I’ve got for now.
Aries:Born in an underwater volcano, their scales are made of freshly formed stone, their heated bodies glowing a brilliant red and orange. The fastest swimmers, and some say the oldest lineage of mer. They have no natural enemy, as nothing can bare the heat of its touch. When too many gather in one place, the water may boil and kill any living creature too close. Taurus:Guardians of the strait, their bodies decorated with tribal tattoos and scars. Some bare spears and brilliant gold armor, others wielding nets and dawning decorative gems and shells. The strongest of the mer, no man has ever passed their lands to learn their secrets. Gemini:When the sky over the sea turns black and the storms take ships by surprise, these mer rise. The tricksters and shapeshifters, they thrive in the chaos. They board the confused ship, throwing over and assuming the forms of shipmates. From there they slowly overthrow from the inside, until they can crash the ship itself into to sea for the mer to reap their rewards. Cancer:The rarest and most beautiful of the mer. Hiding in springs and rivers nestled deep in the mountains, they live their lives as one with nature. They teach the birds their songs, and bring fish for the bear and deer. They help the beavers build their dams and show lost turtles the way. On the full moon they must hide, for man seeks them for their own selfish gain. Leo:These mer are known for their hunting prowess. Living in saltwater and decorated in bright vivid greens, blues and purples, they dominate entire lagoons and coasts. When they are full from the hunt, they lay their bodies out on the rocks and bathe in the sun. By nightfall, they are glowing and can light up the murkiest parts of the water to find their prey. Virgo:In unsuspecting ponds across the world, a fisherman may meet his brutal end at the hands of these mer. Rich brown, thin and boney, their bodies are perfect creating elaborate underground tunnels and rooms. They eat their prey, and take their treasures back to their secret lairs. Here they trade and barter with one another in one large room. Lore says this is the world’s oldest market place. Their unspoken diplomacy is unexplained. Libra:Living by a tall sharp cliff nested full of harpies, these mer have developed a symbiotic relationship. Storms bring ships off the sea, where the harpies kill the crews leaving the ships to crash into the rocks and sinking. These mer seize this chance and collect every jewel and gold they can find. They construct elaborate jewelry, crowns, spears, and more. Once a year they gift beautiful pendants to their partners in the sky. Scorpio:Baring a striking resemblance to a shark with long pointed fins and sharp sandpaper like skin, this mer lurks in dark lagoons and swamps. They have a reputation as ‘evil’ and were once almost hunted into extinction. Ever since they have lived solitary lives in the waters man dare not tread. In all reality, they are herbivores, and pose no threat to man or beast. Contrary, they will do anything they can to save a lost or wounded soul. Sagittarius:Every year thousands of humans gather to watch the mass migration of mer up the rivers of South America. Their scales are a radiant Grey that reflects the rainbow in the light. The light show that they create as they jump hundreds of feet to scale waterfalls is an equal match to the aurora borialis. Once they reach their goal, they find their mates for the first time, hand in hand one week later they dive off the falls back into the sea. Capricorn:Deep in a trench lies a civilization of the most technologically advanced mer to ever live. While man was discovering fire, they were cresting technology to leave the ocean and fly through the skies in water filled disc ships. They have no need to leave, they as a race have reached a point of enlightenment. Fitting for their gold scales and glowing white eyes. Sightings of these mer are often equated with meeting a God. Aquarius:Sewer mer are the most unique of the species. They have no eyes, instead they navigate with echo location making clicking noises. Their skin can blend into its surroundings, so they can catch humans unsuspectingly passing by. As evolution has taken its course, they have gained an immunity to disease, poison, and a skin impenetrable by most mortal means. They will not always live in the dark and dank, the future will be theirs, and man will fall to their power. All in due time. Pisces:The most well known mer are the oasis born. Why? Long ago, a prince found himself lost in the desert, he and his two men pulling a giant box of gold. With their mortality in front of them, an oasis appeared on the horizon as if a gift from the heavens. Perched on a rock in the very center, braiding her hair and humming to herself sat the most beautiful half woman half fish. This was the first time one of his people had seen any mer. He asked her to come back with him, pouring all his gold into the oasis and filling it with water so she could make the journey home with her guidance. She agreed. He died the first night they were wed, and so did his father both of a mysterious disease. She ruled the land with a fair but iron fist for 146 years until she once day dissappeared, some say to return to her gold filled oasis.
I watched Zootopia, talked to friends and then this happened. Some of my (and other friends’) characters as Zootopia-esque animals, ignoring the “no birds no reptiles”-thing. @beastlyart did some lovely ones of some of her characters too.
Left to right: Lauriel (wood mouse), Rélean (white hare), Saffran (Egyptian fruit bat), Nita (iguana), Tege x2 (I couldn’t decide if she was a llama or a swan), Joel (moon bear) and Liam (secretary bird). I might do more. Maybe bugs.
Lauriel belongs to Fia and Rélean to @xhakhal, the rest are mine
One of the best enrichments for hands-off birds is simply giving them new things to interact with.
The vast majority of hands-off birds are this way because they’re fearful. To get them to gain confidence, you have to teach them that not everything is going to kill them, and interacting with new things can be rewarding! The most people have with this is they go too fast, you need to start small and advance at the pace your bird is comfortable with.
Before Bjorn and Ursula were in my care, they never had change. They had the same flock, enclosure, food, perches, everything; their life was static. Suddenly everything was turned upside down and they were shoved in a box and thrown into a scary place with birds they’ve never seen and surfaces they’ve never stood on!! This made them extremely fearful, because they simply did not know how to react to new things. So I had to give them space for a while and let them settle down.
Now that they are starting to relax around me and even eating out of my hands, I need to get them confident to get them to progress further. I do this by putting new objects in their enclosure. Nothing too scary, start by putting things they can see outside of their enclosure everyday. For example, there’s a useless little brick that just chills outside the yard barn. It’s small, about the size of my hand, barely big enough to perch on. All I did was put it in their cage without anything to entice them to begin with. This was easy for them, Ursula responded positively and was down with this brick right away! She hopped on it and called Bjorn so they could both spin in circles and coo on the fun new texture.
Next step is something a little more scary, a rock. These birds are used to polygonal shapes so a round, lumpy rock was WEIRD. Luckily the stone brick helped them get used to the texture, so once they got passed the stretching their necks out and turning their head every which way stage, the coolness didn’t freak them out too much. Pigeons really enjoy having unique things to stand on, so I still wasn’t using treats to entice them at this point.
After I’ve given them multiple rocks to interact with with varying size and color, I’m going to move onto an earthly-colored cloth on a rock. Then I can try putting in bright colored cloths to help them be okay with any clothes someone might wear that would be bright. Eventually I’ll move onto something like say, a metal spoon, and put treats in it to encourage them to interact with it. This will help lead up to enrichment toys that they have to work to get the food out.
It’s really important to put yourself in your bird’s shoes, er, feathers. Think of all the things that are completely normal to you, but are new and foreign to them. Don’t be like “but it’s just a cup! How can you be afraid of a cup” because how are they supposed to know? Try to think of when you were little, maybe you went to the zoo and saw an animal like a sloth you’ve never seen before. It might’ve freaked you out! Maybe your parents had to calm you down and insist that it was fine. But with birds that don’t know they can trust us, we can’t do that, we have to let them figure it out themselves. Be mindful that a hands-off bird will typically be happier and more confident with a feathered friend that they know and love- it’s safer in numbers.