Interesting facts about dinosaurs, rhino horn and bloodsucking vampire bats

On #DidYouKnowFriday we’re sharing interesting information about dinosaurs, rhino horn and bloodsucking vampires.

Did you know?

So far, scientists found about 700 species of dinosaurs all over the world. The latest discovery was in the Free State, South Africa, last year where they found a 12-ton dinosaur fossil. Scientists named him Ledumahadi mafube, which is Sesotho for ‘a giant thunderclap at dawn’. It is believed that there are many more dinosaurs waiting to be discovered. The 40m Argentinosaurus was the longest dinosaur, while the Lesothosaurus was the smallest – about the size of a chicken.

Did you know?

Due to rhino poaching, many rhinos have been dehorned for their own safety and they’ve managed to survive without a horn. A rhino’s horn, which is made of keratin, serves many purposes, from digging for water in dry riverbeds to breaking branches and uprooting plants. It is also used for behavioural functions, such as fighting with other males, defending themselves and their young, and guiding their babies.

Did you know?

Vampire bats eat blood, and they are the only mammals who survive purely off blood. But the feeding process is a little more civilised than you might think. During the day, they spend their time sleeping in pitch-black caves, hanging upside down from the roof. When the night is at its darkest, they come out to hunt, usually targeting sleeping cattle and horses. They do this by approaching their prey from the ground, on all fours. A sensor on the nose helps them to find a spot where blood is flowing just beneath the prey’s skin. Then, they do not simply dig in and suck, like your typical vampire! Instead, they use their razor-sharp teeth to bite the animal, after which they lap up the flowing blood with their tongues. A substance in their saliva prevents the victim’s blood from clotting. They do not take enough blood at a time to harm their prey, but the bites can cause infections and diseases.

After feeding, bats can almost double in weight, as they have distensible stomachs – almost like a mosquito. This can make it a bit difficult for them to take flight again, but they have springy forelimbs to assist with this problem. These can propel the bat into the air at a speed of around 2m/s.

 

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