The Differences Between Garter Snakes and Water Snakes

  In the United States, and the rest of America, garter snakes and water snakes may be easily confused with each other. Both snakes are common, nonvenomous, growing up to between two and five-feet when they become mature. Each is found throughout a wide range in the United States, Canada and Mexico and they often occupy similar areas. In some species, their coloring and markings may even appear quite similar. However, there are several differences between them. The garter snakes belong to the genus Thamnophis. There are almost 30 species of garter snakes. The water snakes are in the genus Nerodia, and include about 10 known species. Both garter snakes and water snakes include many subspecies. Species and subspecies are sometimes categorized differently by different organizations. It should be noted that while anacondas and some kinds of boas and pythons often live in and around water, none are water snakes or garter snakes. Garter snakes have markings that resemble a garter belt, hence the name. They usually have one or three stripes running along the length of their body with checkered markings between the stripes. Garter snakes are usually more slender for their length than are water snakes. Water snakes are often brown or dark green in color, with markings of black, brown, or yellow. They have thicker, heavier bodies for their length than do garter snakes. With both water snakes and garter snakes, though, markings may be faded and blurred, making it more difficult to tell the difference between Continue Reading →

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How to Tell the Difference Between a Leopard and a Jaguar

    It has been mentioned before that a leopard, a jaguar and a mountain lion were different cats that had occasionally been called panthers, and the confusion this could cause. For a lot of people, though, it is very hard to tell the difference between a leopard (Panthera pardus) and a jaguar (Panthera onca), especially if they are seen in a photograph or see them at a zoo. Aside from the fact that both of these animals are big cats, they are actually quite different. It shouldn’t even be difficult to tell them apart, once they are compared to each other. Leopard range and diet Leopards live in the old world, primarily in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In those areas, these cats hunt for prey in grassy areas and forests alike. Besides being skillful at hunting and even fishing, leopards seem perfectly happy to scavenge. These are stealth hunters, often dropping onto prey, such as gazelles, from a tree branch or hiding motionless in tall grass until the prey comes close enough that the animal can make a sudden dash and pounce, usually breaking the neck of its victim with a single bite. Baboons are also on the dinner menu, when they are available, and the felines additionally eat rodents and reptiles, too. Leopards are usually quite willing to eat what is left of a hyena or lion kill though, if there is indeed anything left. These cats are powerful enough that they will often drag meat Continue Reading →

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The Differences Between Centipedes and Millipedes

It isn’t difficult at all to tell the difference between a centipede and a millipede. They don’t look the same, they don’t have the same traits, and they don’t have the same habits. People shouldn’t let themselves become confused by them. Centipede and millipede; even the names are extremely misleading. Still, these creatures aren’t at all difficult to tell apart. The first thing that should be addressed is the misleading part about the common names. Centipedes don’t have a hundred legs, and millipedes don’t have a thousand, as the names imply. Centipedes usually have about 20 pairs of legs and millipedes often have somewhat more than this. The first clue for identification, then, is that millipedes have more legs, normally. The bodies of both are distinctly segmented. However, centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment, while millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment. A millipede’s legs are also shorter and some centipedes have very long legs. Despite this, centipedes tend to become larger than millipedes. Most centipedes are also somewhat flattened in appearance, looking from top to bottom, while millipedes are usually more rounded. This can sometimes be an identifier even at a distance. Although there can be wide variations in the color, the most common coloration for each is also normally different. Centipedes are often light in color, often ranging from yellow to light brown and some species can be quite colorful. These can have extremely long legs. They can be quite beautiful, as much so Continue Reading →

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Differences Between Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Orangutans

I was asked what the differences are between these apes and it is actually hard to decide where to start. The three are primates, but they are quite different in many ways. They are different in appearance, eating habits and in behavior. Lets look at each. Chimpanzee There are two species of chimps, Pan troglodytes, which live south of the Sahara but north of the Congo River, and Pan paniscus, which live south of the Congo. The first species is aggressive and often led by males while the second species are usually peaceful and are normally led by females. Chimps are native only to Africa. They are also mostly vegetarian, but will eat meat and insects, too. There is a lot of difference in size between the males and females. They also look a bit different. The males normally grow to about four feet tall and weigh up to 150 pounds in the wild. The females can be quite a bit smaller. The color is usually dark brown to black. The arms are a little longer than the legs and the fingers, palms, bottoms of the feet and face don’t have hair. The nose is flat. Chimps are closer to humans, genetically, than any other primate and they are intelligent, even capable of learning a sort of sign language. They are also tool users. Chimps have little problem walking upright, though the walk is often with a swagger that swings the shoulders forward and back. Many of a chimp’s facial Continue Reading →

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Was it a Lynx or a Bobcat

Lynxes and bobcats are animals that look a lot alike and they have similar habits. They also sometimes have overlapping ranges. For this reason, many people use their common names interchangeably and don’t know the difference between them, though they are two different species of wildcats. So what is the difference between a lynx (Lynx canadensis) and a bobcat (Lynx rufus)? Lynx and at bobcat similarities First, it is helpful to see how the two wildcats are similar. There are a lot of similarities. Both have short tails, ear tufts, are medium-sized cats (larger than the average house cat and smaller than a mountain lion, jaguar or leopard) and both are commonly found in conifer forests and in mountain terrain. These cat are usually primarily brownish in the summer and grayish in the winter. They both have darker spots or elongated spots and markings and lighter bellies that allow them to blend into the background, making them hard to see if they are stationary. Both cats are also very important predators, eating mostly rabbits, hares and rodents, helping to keep mouse, vole, lemming, squirrel, rabbit and hare populations in check. They will eat birds, bird eggs, lizards, amphibians, fish and even insects on occasion, however. Both cats often hunt by pouncing on their prey, very much like a house cat does. These cats both live 5-10 years in the wild and they both typically have three or four kittens, often varying according to how much available food there is. How lynxes and Continue Reading →

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