Who are you calling big nose? The bizarre 'unicorn fish' that looks almost human


The spotted unicorn fish has a long horn that protrudes from the top of its head, just like the re-fuelling tube on the front of the RAF spy planes. It recently arrived at the Sealife Centre in Weymouth, Dorset.

One of the most unique looking fish on the planet, the 'unicorn fish' has a very human feature - an unusually large nose.
In fact, its entire head looks uncannily like a disgruntled human face.
However, the fish also has another amazing ability - it can change colour.
The spotted unicorn - Naso brevirostris in Latin - has recently arrived at the SeaLife Centre in Weymouth, Dorset.
The 'nose' is actually horn, which can appear in different places in different animals.

'Nimrod', a unicorn fish which has recently arrived at an aquatic centre in Weymouth, is being used by staff as an early warning system. The strange fish change colour if the water quality of the tanks is not up to scratch.

Another of the fish has even been named ‘Nimrod’ after the military plane to which it bears an uncanny resemblance.
The spotted unicorn fish has a long horn that protrudes from the top of its head, just like the re-fuelling tube on the front of the RAF spy planes.
And although the seven inch long tropical fish has an amazing ability to change colour, it takes on a shade of ‘Nimrod’ grey most of the time.
Matthew Fuller, display supervisor at the attraction, said: 'Nimrod does look quite like the plane with his unusual appearance.
'No one knows why they have the long horn at the front of their heads.
'It isn’t used as a weapon or swimming aid, I suspect it might be used during courtship as a way to attract other fish.'

An RAF Nimrod patrols above the waves, with its refuelling nozzle clearly visible.

Even other unicorn fish don't have the unique looks of Nimrod.
'Not all of the spotted unicorn fish have the horn shape and it makes no difference if they are male or female.
'We have had Nimrod for a few months now.
They are microscopic when they are born, but Nimrod is currently seven inches long and his horn is two inches long.
Keepers have been using his talents to keep check on the quality of water in their tanks.
'He changes colour and goes a much darker shade to show anger or environment changes such as stress against other fish and when the water needs to be changed.'

source: dailymail

Too late to enter the synchronised swimming? Diver seals friendship with playful pup who can’t help showing off for the camera


Ice to meet you: A playful grey seal comes up close to greet photographer Dr Alex Tattersall in the waters off the Farne Islands in Northumberland

Despite baring razor-sharp teeth and being the UK's largest carnovores , the creatures, which number around 4,000 in around the shores of Farne, are renowned for being friendly to humans.
During Dr Tattersall’s expedition, another diver, Peter Bardsley, had his entire leg hugged by a playful pup.
Although, the animals are also somewhat prone to chewing rubber flippers.
Briton Dr Tattersall said: ‘They are very playful and love nibbling your fins.

The seal deal: The young pup shows off his graceful aqua acrobatics skills in the island waters that are the home to 4,000 other grey seals

‘I’ve never heard of any incidents with them, but sometimes the big bulls will bark at you if they are not happy which produces an extraordinarily powerful noise underwater.
‘Most of the playful ones are the pups. They love yellow fins or gloves.
‘It is without doubt the best underwater interaction with any wild animal that I’ve ever had.’

Colourful character: Swimming along the kelp-strewn seabed, this seal is quite a camera star

There are thought to be between 117,000 to 170,000 grey seals living on Britain’s shores and they live for between 20 and 30 years.
Their numbers have doubled in the last 50 years and marine biologists believe they are still increasing.

Coming up for air: A grey seal rises to the surface as he is surrounded by cliffs of the Farne Islands

The male seals can grow up to 11 feet long with the females a lot smaller at just over six feet.
They can dive up to 230 feet looking for their staple diet of small fish, octopus and lobsters but love playing with divers in the chilly murky waters.
Dive instructor Mr Bardsley, 49, who lives near Penrith in Cumbria, travels to the Farne Islands every year to dive with the seals.

Coming up for air: A grey seal rises to the surface as he is surrounded by cliffs of the Farne Islands

Peter said: ‘I’ve been diving with seals around the UK coast from Scilly isles, West Wales to the Hebrides for years and have found that the Farne islands is exceptionally special.
‘It’s the biggest seal colony, so there’s more chance of seeing them in the water and the North Sea is clearer on this part of the coast.
‘You need to stay still and let the seals come to you. Often they play hide and seek and will sneak up on you from behind and nibble your fins.
‘The first thing you notice is your foot being tugged.’

Coy: A more shy-looking seal seal swims past the diver who is positioned a few feet away on the seabed

Close-up: This seal nuzzles the diver's glove as it happily shows off for the camera

Describing how he got his shots, he added: ‘I was busy photographing lobsters when I first noticed.
‘My fins were left dangling in mid-water while I tried to get the perfect shot of the lobsters under a ledge.
‘The seal pups took advantage of my situation and grabbed onto the fin. I looked around and took the shot whilst the pup hugged my leg.
‘Sometimes the seals mimic you but they wouldn’t play if it wasn’t fun for them, as we’re no threat at all and vice versa.

source: dailymail

They grow up so fast, don't they? Mother takes baby cheetahs out for a spot of exercise


Mother Dubai sticks close to her young cubs after venturing out their den for their first time

Like any doting mother, Dubai the cheetah stuck close to her young cubs as they ventured into the unknown for the first time.
But thankfully for these 12-week-old cubs there were no predators in sight, as their new surrounding was a safe enclosure at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
A set of endearing pictures shows the moment the litter of seven gingerly took their first steps for their public debut at the Zoo's Cheetah Rock today.

The dozy-looking cheetahs, who are only 12-weeks-old, are getting used to their new surroundings

But the cubs, which are yet to be named, soon found their confidence and were seen playing with mum Dubai, jumping over rocks and chasing each other.
Each with five or sex brothers or sisters to play with it, was a whole new world of fun for the sextuplets who still had some reassuring affection from mum throughout the day.

Protective mum Dubai keeps a careful look out while her litter get used to their new environment

It was the first time the youngsters had been allowed outside after spending their first few weeks in the safety of their den.
The 12-week-olds are the second litter of the Northern cheetah, an endangered species, to be born at the zoo.

The cubs cower next to here and she susses out the enclosure for the first time with her young

But the young cubs soon show their mischievous side as they investigate a fallen tree

Senior keeper Marie Brown said: 'All seven are extremely playful but mum's very patient with them all and is doing a great job of bringing them up.'
The births comes two years after Dubai gave birth to her first cubs, which were the first litter of Northern cheetah cubs ever born in the UK.
It means the cubs are a cause for great celebration for both the Zoo and the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), who in 2010 estimated that there are less than 250 of the critically endangered subspecies remaining in the wild.
ZSL works in Algeria to help protect the cheetahs in the wild, and conservationists from ZSL were the first to record camera-trap images of the elusive species in 2009.

Copying mum: The young cub tries to show his aggressive side but still manages to look cute

But despite the freedom of the enclosure, the youngsters show there is still nothing better than some reassuring affection from mum

It is the second litter of cubs for cheetah Dubai, who had the UK's first litter of Northern cheetah in 2010

source: dailymail

The pocket-sized puppy: Britain’s smallest dog Mini born weighing just 1.3oz and is so tiny she can sit on top of an iPhone


Mini was so small she could comfortably fit on a iPhone when she was born, weighing just 1.3 ounces

A little puppy born so small that her owner feared she wouldn’t survive is believed to be Britain’s smallest dog.
Mini, a Yorkshire terrier Chihuahua-cross, weighed no more than an egg and just 1.3ounces at birth – overshadowed by her brothers and sisters who are at least three times her size.
Her owner, Emma Williams, was so worried the cute puppy wouldn’t live for more than a few days that she began a dedicated feeding regime in a desperate bid to raise her weight.

Owner Emma Williams, 29, carefully holds what she believes is Britain's smallest dog. Over the last week she has devotedly feed Mini every two hours

As well as Mini feeding from her mother, Emma gives her a milk formula every two hours through a tube to boost her chances of survival.
Now one week-old, the tiny dog has reached 1.9 ounces, allowing her to rejoin her siblings.
The average weight for a puppy of this type is 4.5 ounces and they can weigh up to 15 pounds when fully grown.
Emma, 29, a senior accounts manager from Sandbanks in Dorset, is planning to sell the litter of seven when she is satisfied that they are all healthy.

The little puppy rest on one of her normal-sized siblings, who is around three times bigger than her

Owner Emma Williams believes little Mini, a Yorkshire terrier Chihuahua-cross, is the smallest dog in Britain

Pictures of Mini being cradled in her owner's hands left, and on top of a food tin, right, shows the delicate size of the little puppy after it was born that weighed no more than an egg

She said: ‘Mini was the second puppy to be born so at first I thought she was a normal size and the other was big and chunky.
‘But as the others came out it became apparent she was so dinky, I couldn’t believe it when I saw just how small she was, the others were at least three times her size.
‘It was a surprise because her parents Bella and Bodie aren’t small for their breed, but then it’s all new to me as I’ve not had a dog that has had puppies before.
‘I took her to the vets and they hadn’t come across a puppy so small, and when I researched online I couldn’t find one either.

Mum Bella picks up the tiniest one of her litter, who was as light as half an apple when she was born

'At first I wasn’t sure if she would make it because she is so small and she kept being pushed out of the way by the others, but she’s a strong little thing.
‘Mini is feeding from her mother but I also give her formula milk every two hours via a little tube, it’s like having a baby.
‘The others now weigh eight ounces and put on about an ounce a day, but Mini is putting on just 0.1 ounces.

In the palm of my hand: The cute little puppy curls up for a nap on her owner's outstretched hand

Just half the size of her brothers and sisters, tiny Mini, third from left, feeds from mum Bella alongside her six siblings

‘I’ve got her up to 1.9 ounces now and she’s doing really well, but I would love to know if she is the smallest dog in Britain.
‘The vet thinks she will only be about 1.5 pounds when she is fully grown.’

source: dailymail

First class Fido: Dogs get their OWN £1,250 seats so they can sit beside their owners on airliners


Ready for takeoff: Finally there is a way for owners to treat their pooches to a dignified mode of flying

The passenger in the seat next to mine yawns contentedly as we taxi along the runway. He hardly stirs when the engines start to roar and the plane accelerates before lifting into the sky.
By the time our sleek, six-seater jet reaches cruising height his head has dropped and his eyes have closed.
During the two hour hop to Palma, on the island of Mallorca, where his family has a holiday home, my neighbour eschews his complimentary glass of Moet and Chandon champagne and is tempted neither by the inflight entertainment or the pile of glossy magazines.

Dogs have long travelled alongside their owners - but only if they are fortunate enough to be owned by someone with their own jet - but is is all about to change

He looks every inch the high flyer – prosperous, self-assured, and remarkably well-groomed. My fellow passenger, Dylan, is a dog.
He belongs to a new breed of pampered mutts who, rather than being confined to cages in the hold along with the cargo, sit in their own leather-upholstered seats in the cabin next to their owners.
The service is being offered by Victor - a private jet charter company. It isn’t a cheap option.
Dylan, an eight-year-old miniature Schnauzer, is being charged £1,250 for a seat on a Victor flight to Palma, exactly the same as it costs humans using the service.

The service is offered by a private jet company and it allows owners to travel alongside their beloved dogs

And a seat is what he gets, not a space on the floor at the back of the plane near the lavatories, not a dedicated mat next to the exit.
At one point, Dylan stares out of the window of the Lear40 jet and seems genuinely enthralled by the wispy cloud formation gathering a few hundred feet below.
He enjoys the landing, too, as we soar over the Mediterranean and as buildings come into focus as the pilot makes his descent.

Happy flyer: Eight-year-old miniature Schnauzer Dylan enjoyed the flight to Palma, Mallorca

Family member: It's not a proper holiday without the dog, says Dylan's owner Isabelle Frank

'How can you have a proper family holiday if you don’t take the family dog with you?' asks Dylan’s owner, Isabelle Frank, who live in Putney, south-west London.
'In the past we have put him in the hold but the trauma was terrible for both of us. It used to break my heart seeing him in a crate on the runway waiting to be hoisted on board.'
Apparently Dylan didn’t care for it much either. Mrs Frank says he began to panic as soon as he saw empty suitcases being brought out of the cupboard.
'We tried putting the cage in the house for a few weeks before travelling in the hope that he would get used to it, but he never did.

Strapped in safely: Dylan pictured before takeoff and during the flight wearing a seatbelt

Happy dog: Dylan definitely preferred flying in his own seat to taking the cargo route in a cage

'In fact, he would run in the opposite direction and was clearly in distress just at the thought of it. Look at him now. He’s his normal happy self.'
He certainly looks chirpy. Before disembarking, he pauses momentarily at the top of the plane’s steps and I half expect him to pull on a pair of flashy sunglasses or doff a Panama hat to the flight attendant.

Dog days are over: Despite the high cost the company believes many owners will jump at the chance to bring their pets on board

Private flights: No commercial airline allows dogs or cats to travel in the cabin with their owners and many charge high fees for cargo travel

Of course, some dogs have long traveled in this kind of luxury. The American socialite Paris Hilton, heiress to the hotel empire, has always taken her various chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers on trips aboard her private plane.
In this respect she took after the Hollywood actress Zsa Zsa Gabor who was at one time married to the heiresses’ great-grandfather Conrad Hilton.

source: dailymail

Get off... I saw it first! Pair of hummingbirds battle it out over a banana flower


Sticky beak: The green buff-tailed coronet spots its rival approaching, left, and hovers with its beak facing up in the air to try and keep the purple hummingbird away, right

These spectacular images show a hummingbird literally bending over backwards to try and fend off a colourful rival that is eyeing the exotic flower it is feeding from.
The two hummingbirds were photographed getting into a flap over the desirable banana flower, which only had perching room for one.
The series of images show the green buff-tailed hummingbird hovering upside down to try and ward off the approaching competitor - a velvet-purple coronet. But despite its best efforts to protect its prize, the buff-tailed hummingbird eventually admits defeat and flits away, leaving the victorious velvet-purple to take its place on the petals of the flower.

Back off: The green buff-tailed hummingbird hovers upside down in a valiant attempt to deter its persistent rival

The contest between the vibrantly coloured hummingbirds was captured by photographer Nate Chappell in Mindo, Ecuador - a paradise for tropical birdwatchers.
'The species here are the velvet-purple coronet and the buff-tailed hummingbird, two of the 150 or so species of hummingbirds that occur in Ecuador,' Mr Chappell said.
'When it [the buff-tailed] notices [the approaching velvet-purple] it turns towards him, and then rotates upside-down to defend the flower.'

All in a flap: The vibrantly coloured birds battle it out over the banana flower

Victory: The buff-tailed coronet eventually admits defeat and prepares to flit away as its purple rival replaces it on the banana flower

But the green bird's defensive manouevres were not sufficient to see off its rival.
'The buff-tailed has moved back to the top of the flower and in the final image he is about to fly away as the velvet-purple has landed on the flower,' said the photographer, who set up the scene to entice hummingbirds to be captured on camera.
'In this instance I placed a banana flower on a clamp and inserted sugar water, the kind used in hummingbird feeders, into it,' he explained.

source: dailymail

Snapshots of an ever-changing world: The incredible moments in nature that will shock and delight


Get off my lunch: This eagle was eating a carcass in Bulgaria's Sinite Kamani National Park when the fox tried to snatch the meal. But the bird was having none of it

These incredible photographs show nature's beauty and brutality in equal measure.
Some will delight, others will shock, but all capture the stunning variety that exists in the animal kingdom and the interactions that go on there.
In one, an eagle lunges at a hungry fox, while another shows a terrified baboon struggling to free itself from its shackles among a group of children.

Fly-by drinking: This picture of a bat swooping on the water's surface for some much-needed hydration was commended in the endangered species category of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition

Sad: A tiger and its two tiny cubs walk among the tourists at a Buddhist forest monastery and animal sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province in Thailand, now better known as Tiger Temple

Others provide a snapshot of intimate moments between two cheetahs surveying the savannah for lions and two flies appearing to kiss.
They are among more than 100 pictures commended in the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition which were shortlisted from more than 48,000 entries from 98 countries.

In the heat of battle: Two neriid long-legged flies appear to kiss, but are in fact engaging in a combat dance before flying off to mate with nearby females

Jim Brandenburg, chairman of the judging panel, said: 'It amazes me to discover new and startling moments that have never been seen before.
'Secret moments in nature combined with a talented eye have given us rare photographs that we will truly be enjoyed forever and I am honoured to play a role in such an important competition.’

High-quality: The pictures are among more than 100 commended in the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition which were shortlisted from more than 48,000 entries from 98 countries

Duel: Around 30 of best images from the contest, co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, will debut in the acclaimed London exhibition in October, before embarking on an international tour

Some also cast a light on our ever-changing relationship with the natural world.
One of those was taken by African photographer Jabruson who exposes the shocking cruelty that some wildlife face in our hands as a terrified baboon vies for freedom from a group of children.

In the spotlight: A lion poses up a tree in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, in one of the more artistic offerings in the shortlisted images for the competition

Jabruson explains: 'This young animal was caught during a troop crop raiding on the highway in north-eastern Mozambique. I realised that if I could take an image I could help highlight the situation.'
From the opposite corner of the globe, a cheeky fox learns his lesson as an eagle attacks it for attempting to steal its prey, while Klaus Tamm's Sizing up appears to depict the intimate caress of two flies.

How cheeky is that! A bird tries to snatch a fish from the jaws of its dining rival in a snapshot that reveal just how competitive nature can be

The two male neriid long-legged flies were, in fact, engaged in a combat dance which finished with them stretching up to their full height, before flying away and mating with nearby females.
Tamm said: 'I was so impressed by the harmony in the combat dance that I ended up photographing them for several hours.'
The competition is open to photographers, both professional and amateurs alike, and is judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals.
Around 30 of best images from the contest, co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, will debut in the acclaimed London exhibition in October, before embarking on a UK and international tour.
Overall winners are expected to be named in October.

source: dailymail

Deep purple... diver's photographs reveal the brilliant colours of the lion's mane jellyfish underneath Russia's arctic sea ice


Jelly and I scream: The jellyfish is beautiful, but deadly

It is a freezing landscape of ice and snow.
But venture a few metres under the surface, as diver and photographer Alexander Semenov did, and you enter the dream-like world of translucent 'lion's mane' jellyfish.
The marine biologist Alexander Semenov has spent more than two years in the hostile environment of the ultra-remote White Sea Biological Station, on the western coast of Russia.
Whenever he gets down-time, he floats his way beneath the surface, to capture images of the beautiful, if occasionally painful, creatures of the deep.

Russian biologist Alexander Semenov's 'Underwater Experiments' series follows the colourful and majestic beauty of the lion's mane jellyfish ('Cyanea capillata')

T lion's mane jellyfish is the largest (known) species of jellyfish in the world - and has been seen to grow seven feet in length

The underwater photographer breaks through arctic sea ice dropping into a cold -2C water - although still warmer than the -30C world up above.
Located in the north east Atlantic Ocean it is twice the size of Denmark and is only recently being explored by divers attracted by its crystal clear waters that allow divers to see an astonishing 40 metres underwater.
He has documented striking differences between these species who have evolved cut off from their cousins that live in warmer waters elsewhere in the world.

One of the lion's mane jellyfish comes up to the surface: In general the jellyfish remain within 20 metres of the surface

Although these jellyfish pack a sting, generally they just cause a swelling pain their stings stings are not generally known to be fatal

source: dailymail