Six-eyed sand spiders make their living by hiding, burrowing into the sand where they lie in wait of passing prey. Given that, it's a bit surprising how ... cute ... the process of burrowing looks. All I could think while watching this video was, "Awww, who's a happy spider?"
Underwater, Antarctica's Weddell seals are fast-moving, graceful predators, catching and eating as much as 100 pounds of food per day. They dine on squids and fish and have been known to enjoy the occasional penguin or two.
On land, they are hilariously ineffectual blobs of jelly.
You can see that dichotomy in action in this great (and long) video made by Henry Kaiser in Antarctica. Following the adventures of a baby seal on the ice and under the water, the video is peaceful, meditative and reminds me a bit of the sort of old-school Sesame Street video that would build simple, kid-friendly narratives out of nature footage and music. (The music, by the way, was written and performed by Henry Kaiser, as well.)
Despite their poor performance in land-based locomotion, Weddell seals actually live on the ice, descending into the water to hunt and mate and swim around. They use natural holes in the ice to get from above to below and back, but they also work to maintain those holes and often use their teeth to chew at the edge of the ice and make a small hole larger. At about 13 minutes into the video, you can watch a seal doing just that — rubbing its head back and forth to enlarge an opening in the ice.
And why hang out on the ice, to begin with? Simple. In the water, seals are, themselves, potential dinners for larger creatures. On land, they have no natural predators at all and can safely bask in the sun, lying on their cute and chubby bellies for so long that their body heat hollows out divots in the ice.
Yesterday, I posted a photo of Glaucus atlanticus — a strange little creature, related to mollusks, which floats through the ocean and eats (among other things) the jellyfish-like Portuguese Man-Of-War.
In response, marine biologist Christopher Mah sent over this video, in which two specimens of Glaucilla marginata — a smaller relative of Glaucus atlanticus — nibble on the still-living flesh of a colonial organism called a blue button. This proves to be cuter than it sounds.
Part of what makes the video so mesmerizing is watching the Glaucilla marginata move around. These creatures travel in a very laid-back way. Inflating a gas bubble in their stomachs, they float around on their backs, wherever the waves will take them. That bubble seems to lead to some endearing, baby-sloth-like flips and turns as they try to position themselves to take bites out of the blue button. OM NOM NOM.
[video link]. From Friends With You, the short film "Cloudy", described as an art piece "with the purpose to transcend its viewers to a relaxed and joyous state."
This short is an exploration into the Clouds. The idea of clouds singing and performing their duties in a joyful manner show us that everything in our world has a role and a purpose.
A sweet visual soundscape that takes the viewer through a personal journey into the sky. Sing, dance and relax as you follow a sweet cast of clouds and raindrops through an entrancing adventure you'll wish to take over and over again.
What's 3,400 lbs and makes fart-noise vocalizations when asked? E.T., a 30-year-old Pacific walrus at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, WA, who is one of only 17 walruses in U.S. zoos and aquariums. He came to the Tacoma facility as an orphan from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and is named "for his wrinkled resemblance to alien in the popular 1982 movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."
I'd sure like to hear his rendition of "Trololo." [EDIT] OK. Here we go.
Livestream video link. Do you know what I'm going to do this weekend? Sit here and watch ALL OF THE KITTENS, for ALL OF THE WEEKEND. Sometimes the mommy cat is there, sometimes not. The cute little squeaky kitten sounds are the best part. (thanks, Antinous!)