Leatherback Sea Turtle

Dermochelys coriacea are the largest sea turtles with breeding locations reaching as far south as southern Brazil, the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, and New Zealand to Norway and the eastern coast of China. It swims in the tropical and subtropical oceans feeding mainly on jellyfish. Unlike other modern sea turtles where the shell is made up of scutes formed mostly of keratin, the Leathback’s shell is made up of leathery, thick skin which contains bony deposits forming as scales. To make up for its size, it has the most hydrodynamic body of all sea turtles, portraying a teardrop-shaped physique, ready with a large pair of front flippers that can propel them about 20 mph. Adults on average can measure up to 6 – 7 ft in length and weigh up to 550 – 1,500 lbs and are the fourth largest reptile. According to Inter-Research, Leatherback turtles can dive to depths of 4,200 ft and can maintain high body temperatures by constantly swimming to generate muscle-derived heat, metabolically. As an adult, it has very few predators, and is scarcely preyed on by other sea creatures; its biggest fear towards extinction is mankind. Leatherbacks commonly die from ingesting plastic bags floating in the ocean while mistaking them for jellyfish.

Peregrine Falcon

Falco Peregrinus are birds of prey that can boosts to speeds of 200mph. They are found almost everywhere around the globe excluding Polar Regions, tropical rainforests, and very high mountains for their breeding ranges span from the Arctic Tundra in the Northern Hemisphere to the Torrid Zone. According to Raptors of the World, the Peregrine is one of the most widely found bird species second to the Rock Pigeon, and is the most widespread raptor. It is a crow-sized falcon with a black colored head and face, white under parts, and a blue-gray back with females bearing a larger frame than males. It feeds on small and medium sized birds such as waterfowls, doves, hummingbirds, pigeons, waders, and songbirds, and many more including smaller falcons like the American Kestrel. The Peregrine hunts night and day where its victims also include other mammals and species including bats, rats, hares, shrews, squirrels, and voles. The Peregrine Falcon was an endangered species from the 50s through the 70s due to the wrongdoing of pretty much its only predator, mankind, by spraying the agricultural insecticide DDT. The restoring efforts and the worldwide ban of the pesticide have brought Peregrine Falcon back on the map to where it is today.

Golden Poison Dart Frog

Phyllobates terribilis thrive in the hot and humid rainforests of the pacific coast of Colombia. The golden poison frog is the most poisonous amongst all of the 175 species of dart frogs. Its skin is covered with a thick coat of alkaloid poison which is a poison commonly found on dart frogs. The poison prevents the nerves from sending signals to each other leaving the muscles and organs unresponsive and inactive, thus killing its predator; it does not use its poison against prey. According to the American Museum of Natural History, this species is the most poisonous animal on earth with the potential to kill about ten thousand mice or ten to twenty men. These poisonous creatures only boast a size of about 3.5 cm with females usually being bigger than males. Like all dart frogs, they contain their poison though their diet which consists of small insects and arthropods, but it is not clear what animal species is responsible for its deadly toxin. Then in actuality, the animal supplying the golden dart frog its high toxicity, may actually be the most poisonous creature on earth.

Jumping Cholla Cactus

Jumping Cholla Cactus

Cylindropuntia fulgida range expands from its greatest range in Sonora, Mexico where its concentration is heaviest to the Colorado Desert of California, the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada and Utah, and to the southern most part of the Great Basin Desert of southern Utah. It also reaches the islands of Tiburon and Isla Angel de la Guarda located in the Gulf of California. This cactus is a tree-like plant that anchors itself with a low-branching trunk and extends through strong, light green stems. These stems are coated with 2 – 3 cm silvery-yellow spines that darken as the cactus ages. Its stems can detach very easily if brushed upon, and stick to any human or animal giving it the name “jumping cholla”. The cactus can grow up to 12 ft with drooping branches of chained fruit that often bloom pink and white flowers in the mid-summer of the following year. These hanging chains of the pear-shaped fruit give this cactus its second name, the “hanging chain cholla”. And just in case you were still wondering, the cactus itself does not jump.

Cuban Crocodile

Cuban Crocodile

Crocodylus rhombifer are found lurking in Cuba’s Zapata Swamp, the Isle of Youth and in various zoos due to the fact that the animal is highly endangered. The Cuban Crocodile is smaller than the American Crocodile but it demonstrates a more aggressive and dominant behavior. Besides its behavior, there are other characteristics that set it apart from its counterpart, the American Crocodile. They carry a brighter and rougher layer of skin with more protruding scales, and are equipped with strong, long legs making them more agile. Although males can reach lengths of 11ft and weigh up to 470 lbs, adults are typically measured from 7-7.5 ft and weighed at 150-180 lbs. They feed off small fish, crustaceans, and arthropods as young, and upgrade to mammals, turtles, and other fish as they get older. Even though the Cuban Crocodile is a ferocious animal, its only predator, mankind has found a way to hunt this particular species nearly into extinction.