WildCreatures

Giant fish follows scuba divers to get his chin rubbed48s

Giant fish follows scuba divers to get his chin rubbed

Cassanova is a wild Nassau grouper, but he has become very fond of humans. He lives in a marine park off Little Cayman Island and he sees scuba divers on a daily basis. Because groupers are highly intelligent, he has quickly caught on that scuba divers do him no harm and are gentle creatures. Being inquisitive, he is also very likely to follow divers, just to see what they get up to on his reef. He has even become fond of having his chin scratched or his belly rubbed. Perhaps groupers see this as grooming and a potential way to rid themselves of parasites. It's also possible that it's a social thing. Another theory about why he follows scuba divers is that it has to do with an association that he makes, connecting humans with food. Feeding groupers, or any other wild animal on this reef, is strongly discouraged because it alters behaviour of the animals and it creates a dependency on people. It can also upset the delicate balance of the ecosystems, having unpredictable consequences. Scuba divers have been working hard to remove a dangerous and invasive predator, the Pacific lion fish. These creeatures were introduced to the Caribbean and have been devastating reefs with their voracious appetites. They have venomous spines and no natural predators in the Atlantic waters. Groupers will eat them if they are injured, but they cannot avoid the venomous spines of an uninjured lion fish. Groupers have learned that scuba divers occasionally spear the lion fish, leaving them vulnerable. For this reason, they follow divers. Capable of interspecies communication, the groupers will actually signal divers when they have located a lion fish in a crevice. For this reason, Nassau groupers will occasionally perceive humans as a means to get a free meal. Whatever the reason, Cassanova's friendly personality makes him very endearing, and a welcome member on any dive adventure.

Amazon night hikers meet fascinating and terrifying creatures1m52s

Amazon night hikers meet fascinating and terrifying creatures

The Amazon rainforest is a mysterious and fascinating place in the day time. Its creatures are all part of a delicate balance where they can be predator one minute and prey the next. The jungle is alive with life and there are creatures in almost every square inch of it. With an abundance of plants, humidity, sunlight, warmth, and food, the Amazon rainforest is home to the greatest abundance and most diverse life on the planet. Stretching through Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, it is the largest rainforest in the world. But as fascinating as it is by day, it is even more fascinating by night. It is also a terrifying place to explore, with many strange and scary creatures appearing in the darkness, after remaining hidden during the heat of the day. Canadian tourists journeyed by plane, boat, canoe, and then on foot to reach the remote Sacha Lodge off the Napo River in Ecuador. Local guides treated them to a late night tour of the rainforest to see the creatures of the dark up close. Being careful to follow the path, and listen to the instructions of the guides, they were completely safe. But they were also warned that most creatures, even the smallest had defences that could be a risk to humans, if they were not treated with caution. Guests at the lodge were shown giant spiders and tarantulas, snakes, katydids, walking stick bugs, millipedes and venomous centipedes. They were shown leafcutter ants on a nightly forage for the leaves that they cut and then carried to their underground farms where they would be used to grow a fungus that the ants thrived on. They were shown bullet ants, which looked like giant versions of the ants we are accustomed to. These bullet ants have a venom which gives them one of the most painful stings in the animal kingdom. We can see one carrying a large inchworm effortlessly on its way back to the colony. Tarantulas, which hide by day, are on almost every banana tree at night. Large and hairy, they blend in perfectly with the brown leaves and trunks on which they lie in wait. Also packing a powerful venom in their bite, they can be dangerous to humans if they feel threatened. Guests were strongly advised to wear high rubber boots, protective clothing and head gear, and they were also warned not to touch anything they saw. As frightening as the jungle can be, it is also thrilling and beautiful. Even the sounds of the jungle are beautiful and intimidating. Tree frogs call to each other, loud enough to be heard almost a mile away. The sounds and sights remind us that we are guests in a domain where we do not truly belong.

Brilliant Nassau grouper fish finds unusual spot to ambush prey38s

Brilliant Nassau grouper fish finds unusual spot to ambush prey

Giant barrel sponges are the oldest known living creatures on the planet. Older than even the giant redwood trees of Western North America, they can grow to an impressive 6 feet across and survive as long as 2300 years. They are animals, despite living a life fixed to the coral or ocean floor, as a plant would. They are a crucial part of the reefs and ecosystems in almost all tropical waters. Providing habitat for creatures both large and small, as well as food for fish and Hawksbill sea turtles, they are important to the survival of many species. They also filter water, removing plankton and bacteria, which they feed on, contributing to ocean cleanliness and clarity. This Nassau grouper has taken refuge in this large barrel sponge. He is also an impressive creature, that can grow to a length of 3 feet. Full grown, he might weigh as much as 55 pounds. At this size, there are few creatures on the reef, aside from sharks and humans that pose any threat to him. Barrel sponges have large hollows and this one makes the perfect place to hide. Possibly to rest, or else to wait in ambush for a fish to swim past, the Nassau grouper was sitting motionless in this sponge when divers drifted past. Crabs and lobsters, a preferred food of the groupers, will occasionally take refuge in barrel sponges and it is possible that this grouper is hoping one will climb inside with him. This marine park off the shore of Little Cayman Island is home to many Nassau groupers, even though their numbers have dwindled worldwide. The groupers have become accustomed to respectful divers and they do not fear humans. They will even follow or approach scuba divers curiously. The grouper is a highly intelligent fish that has even been known to communicate with moray eels for the purpose of hunting in a cooperative manner. This interspecies communication is very rare in the animal kingdom and shows a level of understanding far greater than we would expect from a fish. On this occasion, a scuba diver slowly approached the barrel sponge and was treated to a very close look at the grouper before he swam off, wanting to be alone. The diver continued along and the grouper returned to his hiding spot on the sponge a few moments later.

Clydesdale horses run free in meadow and roll with joy1m12s

Clydesdale horses run free in meadow and roll with joy

Horses are one of the most beautiful and majestic animals. To see them run at a gallop is a sight to behold. There is a beautiful farm near Peterborough, Ontario called The Mane Intent. It is home to a herd of magnificent and wonderful horses. They have come from different places and different lives, but they have all found their way here, and they have all found a new purpose and a higher calling. The horses here are all have very unique personalities and unique skills and they work magic with people who come here for a variety of reasons. Some come to learn about themselves, others to learn about teamwork and leadership. Some come to learn about communication. The herd at The Mane Intent also works with first-responders, veterans, and with people who have experienced trauma. These are people who come here to heal or to deal with their grief and emotions. The human/animal bond works wonders with people, especially those for whom trust is difficult. Horses are exceptionally perceptive and they also respond to and react to a person’s body language, breathing, mood, and subtle behaviors. They invite connection. The relationship created with a horse gives people the opportunity to look within themselves and to understand how they can connect with other people. These connections reassure those with trauma that opening up and forming relationships is safe. To watch these horses work their magic with people is awe inspiring. And to watch them run freely in their meadows under the warm sunshine is simply breath taking. These horses are enjoying a day of leisure and they have broken into a full gallop as they enter their lush, green pasture. As they slow at the top of the hill, Belle, a beautiful giant Clydesdale with ice-blue eyes stops and begins to roll among the flowers. She is experiencing true joy in the moment and her happiness is obvious. In fact, watching her, it’s easy to share her joy as she flings her hooves high in the air in delight.

Strikingly beautiful & strange creature spotted 100 feet beneath the waves45s

Strikingly beautiful & strange creature spotted 100 feet beneath the waves

The underwater world is beautiful and alluring. The vibrant colors and the peaceful serenity create a realm of wonder and tranquility. The mysterious and fascinating creatures that can be found there never cease to amaze those who strap on tanks of air and slip into this near silent paradise. Animals with incredible adaptations and indescribable beauty wander freely far beneath the surface. Scuba divers visiting the Great Wall Dive Site off the north side of Little Cayman Island leveled off at a depth of 100 feet and drifted along the coral, taking it all in. With a sheer drop of 3,000 feet behind them and a near vertical coral and rock wall in front of them, the sensation was what one would imagine it would feel like floating weightlessly in space. Drifting close to the coral to look at a slowly moving creature, they discovered a gorgeous blue Leopard Flatworm working its way over the wall. Approximately 8 inches in length and completely flat, it moved with an undulating motion that was mesmerizing. Resembling a large sea slug, the deep purple body with vibrant blue edges and red and yellow spots were stunningly beautiful. It moved as if with a purpose, trying to cross a gap in the coral. These creatures are very rare and extremely difficult to spot. Divers with cameras are thrilled to capture their beauty on video. Scuba diving allows people to enter a world where they truly do not belong. Every creature here is adapted to life in the water and has developed to live in harmony with a delicate balance of nature. Almost every creature is both predator or prey, and the roles can change in a heart beat. Humans are keenly aware that they are guests in this domain and they must be extremely careful and respectful of their place here. Improper behavior can have harsh and immediate consequences. Scuba diving is very safe when the rules are adhered to and proper training is obtained before venturing into the deep. But it is not a world for the feint-hearted or the unprepared.

Giant barracuda startles scuba diver on sunken Russian warship42s

Giant barracuda startles scuba diver on sunken Russian warship

This sunken Russian warship makes a spectacular place to scuba dive. Submerged in the Cayman Islands in 1996 for recreational diving, the World War II Russian gunship attracts diving enthusiasts, looking for underwater adventure. It's a good idea for tourism to submerge old ships, but it's even better for creating habitat for the ocean creatures. The irregular surfaces become home to corals, sponges, sea anemones, and barnacles, which in turn attract other wildlife such as fish. The smaller fish school around the corals and live in the shelter of the ship's hull. Amazingly, this ship has also created a food source for Hawksbill Sea Turtles that come to eat the sponges and the algae. The Hawksbill is a critically endangered turtle that can be found around this wreck. A scuba diver exploring this fascinating wreck got an unexpected treat when he rounded a corner at the base of the ship's rear gun turret. A Great Barracuda, measuring more than five feet in length came out from under the structure to meet him face to face. The barracuda is one of the top predators in these waters, and at this size, only a shark would pose a threat to it. Curious about the diver, and possibly acting territorial, this large fish swims close and gives him a close look at his impressive teeth. The scuba diver cannot out-swim the beast, and he has no interest in charging toward it. Instead, he chooses to keep the camera between himself and the barracuda and he remains still as he drifts along over the surface of the ship. Barracuda rarely attack humans. Unless provoked, or in the rare cases where a barracuda charged nearby fish and mistakenly bit a human, there have been no serious barracuda related injuries. That doesn't stop the scuba diver from being startled, however, by the sudden close pass and brazen fearlessness of this fish. Scuba diving is a thrilling sport that allows people to see incredible animals in their natural environment. A scuba diver is wise to remain respectful of the wildlife and it pays to remember that we are in their domain when we enter the water. Incorrect behavior in this realm can have immediate and serious consequences. Most creatures are both predator and prey in a delicate balance, and very few are without a means to defend themselves.

Girl has magical encounter with critically endangered sea turtle1m18s

Girl has magical encounter with critically endangered sea turtle

Serena, a young, but experienced scuba diver was exploring the coral reefs around Little Cayman Island when she met a beautiful Hawksbill Sea Turtle. The two were cruising along in the same direction and they met like two friends with a common destination. Moving slowly and matching the pace of the turtle, she found that it was not only accepting of her presence, but also curious and welcoming. As they cruised along for more than ten minutes, the turtle turned occasionally to look into her eyes. Drifting slowly, it made no attempt to distance itself from her. It even turned in her direction to close the distance when she moved farther away. This was a dream encounter for Serena, who is also a biology student and a true animal lover. Their journey continued until the turtle eventually rose to the surface for air. Serena watched it go and she turned and made her way back to the dive boat to end her dive. Such a magical experience with a creature so rare and beautiful is breath taking and unforgettable. Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered. Although they live in tropical waters all around the world, their population has dwindled, making it one of the rarest sea turtles in the world. Also considered to be the most beautiful of all sea turtles, due to their beautifully colored shells, encountering the Hawksbill sea turtle is a delight for scuba divers. They have a long beak and narrow head, resembling a bird, which is how they got their name. They feed almost exclusively on sponges that grow among the coral. The algae that grows on sea sponges contains a toxin that accumulates in a Hawksbill's body, making the meat of this turtle potentially poisonous for humans. These turtles can grow to 200 pounds and reach a length of 3 feet. Their massive and beautiful shells have been the primary cause of the drastic reduction in their numbers. In the last century alone, they have declined more than 80 per cent due to the trade in their shell. Hairbrushes and jewelry have been made from the shells and are actually called tortoiseshell. Hunted to near extinction, especially for trade in Japan, they are now illegal to hunt or harvest. Despite this, their is still a heavy black market trade for their shells. They are also threatened due to pollution and habitat destruction, coastal development, fishing, and the harvesting of turtle eggs. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle plays an important role on the reef, consuming sponges that would otherwise overpopulate and cause suffocation of thee corals on the reef. One Hawksbill can consume up to 1,000 pounds of sponges per year. Without them, the delicate ocean balance will be threatened, which could lead to coral loss and ultimately, a loss of fish and other ocean creatures that rely on the coral for food and survival.

Giant barrel sponges are the longest living animals on the planet1m18s

Giant barrel sponges are the longest living animals on the planet

Giant barrel sponges are actually animals, despite the fact that they grow fixed to the reef or the ocean bottom, giving us the impression that they are plants. They are impressive in their size and their presence in the underwater world, but the facts about them and their importance to the health of the reef and the ocean is truly surprising. Scientists estimate their life span can be well over 2000 years of age. The oldest known living creature was a barrel sponge that died only a decade and a half ago, with an estimated age of 2300 years. Compared with the Galapagos tortoises at approximately 200-250 years of age, or blue whales at approximately 200 years of age, they easily exceed the life span of any known animal on the planet by many times. Even the giant redwood trees of British Columbia and western United States have been recorded to only 2000 years. Aside from some strains of bacteria, these sponges are oldest known living things we have ever seen. One of the most amazing things about these animals is that their cells are not specifically limited to one purpose like most animals. All cells of the giant barrel sponges are capable of serving the purpose of any other cells. For this reason, they are capable of regeneration and regrowth. In laboratory settings, sponges that have been pulverized in a blender showed the ability to reform into a barrel sponge again. Learning how this is done may some day play a vital role in our own healing and regeneration. These barrel sponges were filmed on the wall and reef surrounding Little Cayman Island. Barrel sponges are filter feeders that play a crucial role in the ocean and the environment. Removing bacteria and contaminants from the ecosystems, they are essential to the health of many other reef inhabitants. They can live in shallow water or in depths of up to 400 feet. Prominent in most tropical waters, they provide a service to a large part of our planet. They grow to six feet in diameter and are habitats for fish, crabs, shrimp and many other tiny organisms. Spectacular sights for scuba divers, they are a source of fascination and wonder for those who venture into the underwater realm. Few experienced divers have not paused at one time or another to admire the majestic giant barrel sponges and wonder just how long they have been alive, as well as how long they will be alive after we are gone. As robust and resilient as they are, human-caused changes to the environment are not seriously affecting them and becoming a threat to their survival. Without them, the survival of the reefs and our entire ecosystem is unlikely.

Scuba diver has close-up experience with beautiful stingray53s

Scuba diver has close-up experience with beautiful stingray

Stingrays are a very misunderstood and greatly feared animal. They have a deadly barb that carries a toxic venom. They are very capable of defending themselves against threats, but they are almost harmless to humans. They eat crustaceans, shellfish, and occasional squid and they have absolutely no reason to attack a human, unless they perceive that they are being attacked themselves. On rare occasions, swimmers can mistakenly step on a stingray and their natural reaction is to arch their tail up, exposing the barbs that have evolved to protect them from sharks attacking from above. The barb leaves a vicious wound and injects poison that will cause extremely serious and painful injuries, but the sting is rarely fatal. Despite the very low incidence of injuries to people, the stingray has an undeserved reputation for being a vicious and fearsome killer. This was made worse by sensationalized coverage of the death of the beloved showman and conservation advocate, The Crocodile Hunter. He was jabbed in the chest and his heart was pierced by the tail barb of a stingray. This was not an intentional attack, and the likelihood of someone receiving a similar wound is very low, unless a person unwisely tried to handle a wild stingray. This is a southern stingray in the Cayman Islands. Normally shy and reclusive, most stingrays will avoid close contact with humans and they are capable of rapid retreat when they perceive danger. But, as with most animals, a slow and respectful approach can sometimes reward a scuba diver with the opportunity to observe a stingray close up. Taking several minutes to let the animal get comfortable, Serena approached the stingray from the side, keeping herself low so she would not appear as a threat from above. She kept her hands tucked in and even controlled her breathing so that she made no sudden exhalation of air. This is a loud sound underwater and can be a signal to an ocean creature that an attack is about to begin. Serena followed this stingray and watched as it cruised over the sand, using thousands of electrical sensors in its wings to detect the tiny, buried creatures that it eats. They are a wonder of nature and a joy to watch as they gracefully glide along the bottom of the ocean. As with all animals, approaches should be made carefully. If the animal shows any sign of stress, the distance should be increased.

Big, friendly fish follows scuba diver for chin scratch46s

Big, friendly fish follows scuba diver for chin scratch

Groupers are large fish that live in most waters in the Caribbean. They are highly intelligent and although they are capable predators, they often work in groups, and even with other species to catch prey. They are so smart that they have learned to follow scuba divers in the hope that they can benefit from the humans spear fishing lion fish, an invasive species that is destroying reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. Groupers are also very curious and often, very friendly. They have the ability to recognize individual divers and will occasionally approach and greet specific people, as if they are happy to see them. This grouper has gotten to know the divers in this group that is cruising along the top of the reef on the north side of Little Cayman Island. The grouper, known as "Gary" by those who see him regularly, has followed his friend, Dave and kept approaching to look at him and swim around him. Dave decided maybe Gary wanted a little attention and he reached out with his hand. Gary swam up and sniffed and Dave scratched under his chin. After Gary repeated this a few times, Dave turned on the video camera and recorded what was happening. Gary seemed to enjoy the interaction and he stuck close to Dave for the rest of the dive, until Dave made his way over the coral reef and back to the shallows. But Gary will be waiting the next time Dave and his fellow divers visit this dive site. He's a regular at this site and he usually finds the divers to check them out. Gary is a Nassau Grouper. They grow to a size of 30 pounds. Although there are many Nassau Groupers around the waters of the Cayman Islands, they are actually critically endangered. Seeing a grouper like Gary is always a treat, especially when they come close and interact as he does.

Customers share salad leftovers with chickens in outdoor restaurant40s

Customers share salad leftovers with chickens in outdoor restaurant

Chickens and roosters are fascinating and entertaining creatures. If we are lucky enough to visit a farm where they are kept, we can see them running, clucking, scratching the dirt and investigating their surroundings. They are curious creatures and they are always in high speed mode. Like turbo charged wind up toys, they race around looking for food and pecking at almost everything they can find. But the place that you would least expect to find them is in a restaurant. Yet, that's exactly where these chickens live. It's an open air restaurant outside the parking lot of the Grand Cayman Island airport. The chickens are wild, although they are more than comfortable with humans. They run freely in and out of the parking lot and under the tables. If they get a chance, they even hop up on the chairs and the tables, although the staff will quickly chase them away. Amused customers, especially from North America, where this is unusual, excitedly watch the chickens and take pictures. They even sneak them food, a practice that is frowned upon by the staff, because it encourages bold behavior from the roosters. But the staff seem to understand that people can't resist sneaking them a treat or a few leftovers. This family from Canada had more Caesar salad than they could finish and they saw that the chickens were hungry. They couldn't resist sharing and the chickens were thrilled. They gathered around and gobbled up the vegetables like they were starving. The truth is that chickens will eat all day long and these ones were actually quite well fed, but their excitement was fun to watch. Of course, the irony of feeding chickens a Caesar salad, especially so close to a restaurant grill, was not lost and there were many jokes being made about this being an easy way to create a chicken Caesar salad. These chickens are smarter than we might think and they had learned the difference between customers who were waiting for food and those who already had food. They watched the waitress and followed her to tables where she was delivering trays of food, and they definitely understood where they were more likely to get some scraps. They even seemed to understand how to determine when people had stopped eating, their best opportunity to get the leftovers. They gathered around the tables of customers who had finished their meals, possibly to get leftovers, or possibly to hop up on the tables in the moments before the waitress came to take the plates away. Either way, these chickens were amazing and the restaurant experience was a unique one with all of these birds running around between tables.

Honeycomb cow fish extremely irritated with unwanted sucker fish56s

Honeycomb cow fish extremely irritated with unwanted sucker fish

Honeycomb cowfish are adorable, but very unusual fish that can be found cruising along the reefs in most tropical waters. They are clumsy swimmers, with a body that is triangular in shape, and seemingly much too large for their tail. They are flat-bottomed and have rigid, inflexible bodies. Most of the propulsion is actually done by their pectoral fins. Watch them move, they resemble triangular balloons that float through the water rather than swim like most fish. They have small, round mouths that they use to shoot a jet of water into the sand to uncover small creatures such as crabs or shrimp, their preferred diet. Their faces are highly unusual and they have small horn-like protrusions from their fore head, which is how they came ti be called cow fish. As expected, their pattern resembles the combs found in a honeybee hive. They are able to change color and contrast to help blend in with their surroundings. Once camouflaged, they may remain motionless until the threat has gone. The fish that is swimming under and around this cow fish is a baby remora. Bothersome fish, they are agile and persistent. They latch onto almost any larger fish to allow them to travel without expending their own energy. They attach with powerful suckers that are on the top of their heads. They are comfortable being attached sideways, or on top of another fish or turtle, but they prefer to be attached to the underside of their host so that they are upright. Difficult to dislodge, the remora will stay on a host for weeks or months if they are so inclined. They can detach at will to swim briefly away to get scraps of food. They are also known to eat the feces of their host animals. They can swim quickly back to their host and reattach to await the next feeding opportunity. It is rare to see such a small remora, and equally rare to see one trying to attach to such a small host. It seems to be having difficulty finding a large enough surface to attach to and it swims rapidly around the slower moving cow fish, causing obvious annoyance. The cow fish flinches and tries to put on rapid bursts of speed, but it will not rid itself of the remora. Rays, turtles and fish will often swim close to another large animal in the hope that their remoras will abandon them for a more tempting host. Although they use suction and do not cause injury to the host creature, they create obvious water drag and can be irritating. This is made even worse when a remora such as this one swims around the face and eyes of the creature that it is trying to attach to.

Divers explore mysterious underwater world by night in the Galapagos Islands1m10s

Divers explore mysterious underwater world by night in the Galapagos Islands

Scuba diving is a thrilling experience for those adventurous enough to strap on tanks of air and slip beneath the waves. The underwater world is mysterious and beautiful, fascinating and intimidating, and those who experience it by day are often compelled to explore the same depths by night. This is a vastly different experience, as the reef is a completely different world in the dark. Some of the creatures of the ocean become more active, emerging from hiding spots to hunt for food. Other creatures that are seen by day will go into hiding at night, hoping to survive until daylight. Divers see with the aid of powerful lights but their vision is limited to what is in the beam of their lights. This creates an even greater sense of vulnerability as much of the water around them is a dark void. Animals with greater vision and perception swim all around, moving silently past, and often very close to the divers. These scuba divers in the Galapagos Islands first encountered a Moorish idol, a beautiful black and white fish with long and graceful fins. They came across a spotted eel, slithering between the rocks on a nightly hunt. These eels have poor vision, but an excellent sense of smell, and they move stealthily through narrow gaps and under rocks to ambush fish and octopus seeking shelter. A beautiful and graceful Pacific green turtle swam among the divers, possibly curious about their lights. It appeared out of complete darkness, startling the diver with the camera before bumping into him. After a moment’s inspection, it slowly swam off into the darkness as gracefully as it had come. A hermit crab with a shell covered in barnacles blends in perfectly with the rocks over which it climbs. These scavengers feast on decaying plants and animals, leaving the oceans and reefs cleaner in their wake. They will retreat into the shell that they carry at the slightest threat of danger. A spotted puffer fish drifts clumsily over the rocks. It’s a beautiful fish with a unique adaptation that allows it to inhale water and increase its size by many times, making it difficult to swallow. A long trumpet fish drifted past, within inches of the scuba diver. These fish can blend in with plants and sea fans by tilting their bodies vertically to hide among the stems. To explore this mysterious underwater world is a rare privilege by day, or by night.

Scorpion fish has deadly sting and near perfect camouflage34s

Scorpion fish has deadly sting and near perfect camouflage

The scorpion fish is only a foot long yet it packs a sting powerful enough to cause severe illness and even death. They are a bold fish that can hide in the open with their near perfect camouflage. Their skin and fins are colored to blend in with the stones and coral where they live. They hide under rocks and in crevices during the day, but can occasionally be found lying on top of rough surfaces where they remain motionless. This makes them almost invisible. These divers in the Cayman Islands were drifting over the coral on their way back to the boat at the end of a dive. Found on the top of a coral head in less than 30 feet of water, it did not move, even when approached. A sharp-eyed dive master noticed the scorpion fish and called the group over for a close look. They are a rare find for scuba divers because there are very few on the reef. Spotting them is an even rarer occurrence because they lie motionless and blend in so well with their surroundings. Only the slight eye movement gives this fish away. The spines of the scorpion fish are covered with a venomous mucous that contains a powerful neurotoxin. Anything foolish enough to touch this fish would be met with a very painful sting. This is followed soon after by intense burning and swelling, headache, abnormal heart rate, cramps, shortness of breath, vomiting, paralysis, and possibly death. Most human contact with scorpion fish is accidental. Their camouflage makes them so difficult to see that a scuba diver is most likely to put their hand on one, mistaking it for coral. The scorpion fish is an effective predator, coming out of hiding at night to hunt of smaller fish. They lie in wait for their prey to swim close and then they lunge and inhale sharply to draw the fish into their mouth. The scorpion fish is a perfect example of how the ocean is a complex world full of beauty and danger. We are wise to always remember that we are guests in the underwater world and we must be respectful and careful at all times. Improper behavior in this domain can have immediate and severe consequences.

Mother cow's emotional show of gratitude after stranger helps her baby2m44s

Mother cow's emotional show of gratitude after stranger helps her baby

Flo is a very sweet cow who lives on a beautiful farm made up of lush, green meadows, rolling hills and small ponds. There are about 70 cows in Flo’s herd and they wander freely. Life on this farm is very good for the animals. It’s referred to as “ethical farming” and it’s as close to nature as life can be. This started as an ordinary sunny, spring day for Flo. She was pregnant, but she wasn’t due to calf for at least another day. But, during the early afternoon, Flo was near the fence at the pond and it was time to have her calf. The ground is sloped and it seems he slipped under the electric fence when he was born. Now, the fence prevented Flo from getting to her baby, and it prevented the baby from getting the milk and the collostrum he needed from his mother. Dave is a man who lives nearby. It’s a small town and he knows who the farmers are but they have yet to meet. Dave is also an animal lover and a videographer. He stopped here a few days earlier and filmed the first wobbly steps of another newborn who came into the world near the fence. Now he has stopped again because he saw the cows in the pond and he wanted more footage for a video he was working on about the first newborn. For Flo, it was a very lucky thing that Dave stopped. When Dave reached the fence, he put a GoPro on the fence post, aimed at the cows in the water. He also used a hand held GoPro to record them beside the pond. Flo began pawing at the dirt while facing Dave. Dave thought Flo was agitated by his presence near the fence and he wondered if she felt blocked in. He turned his camera on the fence to record her unusual antics and he stepped farther away, hoping she would relax. Instead, Flo walked back to the fence behind her and stared out. She mooed, she paced, and she pawed the dirt. After a few minutes, Dave realized that she was looking at something outside the fence and she was looking at him. What appeared to be aggression now looked more like distress. The camera on the fence post continued to record as he discovered that Flo was looking at a newborn calf in the long grass. Dave knew that mother cows could be protective. The thin wires of the electric fence would not hold Flo back if she thought that Dave was trying to hurt her baby. If it cried out, or if it tried to run on the road, Dave would have to restrain the calf and Flo wouldn’t be happy. The truck that was usually at the farmhouse was gone. There was no gate nearby. Dave had to try to put the calf back on the other side. He was well aware that Flo could trample him if she burst through the fence as he crouched near the calf. He lifted the wires with a stick and pushed the calf under the fence. The calf and Dave both received several small jolts in the process but Dave didn’t dare react and the calf didn’t make a sound. As he worked away, Dave could see Flo becoming less agitated. she seemed to understand that her calf was getting help. Dave could also see now that the calf had a fresh umbilical cord and there was blood on the ground. The calf could have been in the sun for about an hour before he arrived. Dave got the calf through and Flo reacted with surprising relief. She watched Dave with interest and displayed what appeared to be gratitude. The farmers came along as they returned home, and Dave explained what happened, as well as the video recording of the newborn calf a few days earlier. Dave offered to help catch the calf so it could be checked and tagged. The calf had his umbilical cord treated with iodine and his ear tagged with F20, although he would be called “Sparky” by those who heard the story of his early experience with the electric fence. Dave talked to the farmers about how they ran their farm. They refused to produce veal, for ethical reasons. They provided the cows with the best life possible. They spoke about the cows affectionately and the response of the animals to their presence was proof that the cows were treated very well. Dave knelt down in the meadow near Flo and Sparky. To his surprise, Sparky walked towards him. Flo stared at him with great interest. She seemed to almost nudge Sparky forward and the two came right up to Dave for a sniff and a long gaze that seemed to be recognition and gratitude. In this moment, and then later while watching the footage, Dave put it all together. Cows are obviously more intelligent than we give them credit for. Flo recognized that a stranger could help her baby and she successfully communicated her request. She also recognized Dave soon after and reacted to him in a way that suggests she remembered his good intentions. But most of all, Flo clearly demonstrated a protectiveness and a love for newborn that shows her capacity for emotion. Even Sparky, as young as he was, seemed able to understand a little bit and he showed that he had already learned trust and love for his mother. If these animals are capable of such intellect and emotion, surely they deserve our respect, as well as the most ethical treatment we can provide them.

Bizarre hogfish puts on close-up show for scuba divers1m29s

Bizarre hogfish puts on close-up show for scuba divers

Scuba diving in the Cayman Islands is a spectacular experience. The waters are crystal clear and the animal life is beyond beautiful. White sand stretches between walls of breathtakingly beautiful coral. Scuba divers come from all over the world to see the abundance of underwater life. On a large sand bed fifty feet below the waves, these divers met up with a large hogfish and had the rare treat of a close up experience as it dug in the sand for food. Aptly named because of its long snout that it uses to root in the sand, its feed habits are fascinating. There are several unusual things about the hogfish. The first is that it grows to a length of three feet and can weigh 25 pounds. This is a large reef fish that cruises these waters with little fear of anything here aside from sharks. The second unusual thing is the manner in which it eats. As we can see, the hogfish scoops up huge mouthfuls of sand with its specially adapted scoop-like jaw. It has an upper jaw that closes around the lower one, allowing it to force the sand through its mouth and out the gills. It filters out crustaceans and other tiny creatures that are its food. Occasionally, it will flare its gills out wide in n effort to flush sand and other particles from them. This is an incredible sight to see. The hogfish is a prized food source, especially for spear fishermen. The meat is claimed to be the most delicious of all reef fish, and it is said that it is even as rich as scallops with the firmness of grouper. Possibly for this reason, hogfish are usually wary of humans. It is highly unusual to get a close look at a hogfish for more than a moment and even more unusual to have a hogfish curious enough to completely circle a scuba diver, or to swim straight up to one to look, as this one did. Incredibly, the hogfish even changes sex during its life cycle. This is one of the most bizarre characteristics of the hogfish. It begins life as a female and changes to male at approximately three years of age. Each male with have a harem of females, breeding with them and even protecting them from other predators as they grow and mature. These scuba divers were thrilled to have such a close up show of a very relaxed hogfish eating on the sand bed near Little Cayman Island.

Scuba Diver Has Incredible Moment With Two Critically Endangered Sea Turtles1m34s

Scuba Diver Has Incredible Moment With Two Critically Endangered Sea Turtles

Hawksbill sea turtles are one of the most beautiful turtles in the world. They are also one of the most endangered. Hunted to near extinction in the past 50 years for their beautiful shells, these turtles declined to less than 20 per cent of their numbers. Fishing and catch nets also took their toll o the turtles, as did habitat destruction, pollution and egg harvesting. Extremely rare, these turtles bring a lot of delight to divers who are lucky enough to meet up with one of them on the reef. Chris is a biology student with a love for all animals, especially turtles. As he hovered over the coral in Little Cayman Island watching a large female Hawksbill grazing on small sea sponges, he was thrilled to be enjoying such a close look. The turtle was undisturbed by his presence and it calmly went about feeding while he drifted almost motionless, only a few feet away. Unbelievably, this smaller Hawksbill turtle that we see descending from the surface, swam over and joined the larger turtle on the bottom. The two had a brief interaction with the smaller turtle seeming to actively seek contact with the larger one. It also seems unsure of whether it was being welcomed completely and it swam in a lazy circle before deciding that the larger turtle was OK. Chris drifted in carefully and used two fingers to grip a stone in order to prevent himself from being pushed by the ocean surge and going too close to the animals. This is when the most incredible part of the encounter happened. The smallest turtle drifted toward Chris, stared at him briefly and then began nibbling at the coral right below him with her back fins in contact with Chris' hand. Responsible scuba divers will not actively seek physical contact with marine animals, but when it happens in cases like this, they can't conceal their excitement. Chris is reluctant to move his hand and startle the turtle but he sneaks a glance at his father who is recording this and his grin is obvious, even with the regulator in his mouth. After a few more seconds of observing these two beautiful creatures, the two scuba divers slowly drift upwards and away, ending the encounter. To meet two such rare and beautiful creatures at once is a moment to remember forever.

Scuba diver literally forgets the most important thing before diving in the ocean44s

Scuba diver literally forgets the most important thing before diving in the ocean

Scuba diving is an exciting experience, especially when you are in a world as beautiful as the Cayman Islands. The sand is white, the water is strikingly blue and the breeze is a warm caress. With the sun shining down and the ocean creatures waiting, Dave has put on all of his gear and has lined himself up at the back of the boat to enter the water with his group. He has planned his dive, talked to his dive budy and has been given the "go ahead". Dave has been diving for ten years and has logged well over 300 dives. In the dive world, that's pretty seasoned and you would expect him to have remembered everything that is important. But today is a little different for Dave because he's got his camera on his selfie pole and he wants a little footage of an entry into the ocean for his video memory collection. Eager to get in the ocean, he stepped to the back of the boat, took a deep breath, surveyed the area to make sure the other divers have cleared and he put his hand over his mask to hold it as he took a giant stride to get in. This is the point where an observant person who scuba dives might expect Dave to catch on to his glaring error. But no, he continued in and was even smiling as he looked at the sand and coral below. Still not catching on, he began to descend, leaving his boat behind him as he slowly sank. Bubbles could be seen coming from Dave's mouth as he exhaled to deflate his lungs and help him sink more quickly. After six full seconds of bliss, Dave eventually caught on to what he had forgotten. The air tank on his back was full but it would do him no good if he can't breathe the air in it. Dave unbelievably forgot to put the regulator mouthpiece in his mouth. It has dangled behind him and drifted back as he slipped lower to the ocean floor. He realized this suddenly when he began to breathe in and figured out that there would be no air for him until he solved the problem. A diver has a secondary (backup) mouthpiece at his side, clipped to his vest in case anything goes wrong with the first one. Dave was also shallow enough that he could have swam back to the surface, although his buddies on the boat would have all been laughing at him. Dave smoothly grabbed his secondary mouthpiece, took a few breaths and then switched to the primary mouthpiece. But he couldn't believe his forgetfulness and he can be seen shaking his head and laughing at himself throughout. If anybody asks, Dave will tell his dive buddies that this was a fully planned simulation to sharpen his skills in case the regulator mouthpiece is unexpectedly pulled from his mouth during entry. He will also ask that everybody keep his secret. Did you notice what was forgotten the first time you watched?

Rare albino grouper fish found on reef in Cayman Islands35s

Rare albino grouper fish found on reef in Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands boast some of the most spectacular scuba diving sites in the world. It’s crystal clear water offers incredible visibility, even while diving deep. In the shallows, the colorful ocean life creates a show that is a feast for the eyes and a wonder to behold. But these scuba divers got an unexpected and extremely rare treat when they were cruising along the reef at the top of the coal wall surrounding Little Cayman Island. Nestled into the sponges and sea fans was an albino grouper. Albinos exist in many species of animal. What makes them albino is the complete absence or severely muted color pigment, making them either completely white or extremely close to complete white. There are many species of grouper, each with different coloration and stripe patterns. They vary between creamy brown to black and even a vibrant yellow-gold. These fish reach lengths of 2-3 feet and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Active on the reef, even during the day, they allow close approaches by people who move slowly enough. They spend a good deal of their time at “cleaning stations”. These are locations on the reef that have a group of yellow wrasses or even shrimp that are willing to swim around the gills and teeth of the groupers, removing parasites and food particles that can cause trouble for the larger fish. This albino grouper had found one of these cleaning stations and was suspended in an angled position with his gills flared and his mouth open. This is a signal to the cleaner fish that they can trust the grouper to not eat them as they do their work. Communication between species is rare, but these fish are all able to understand the agreement that will never be broken. The smaller fish trust the grouper with their lives as they swim into the cavernous mouth to get food. As the diver approaches, the grouper watches, reluctant to leave the cleaning station. He eventually swims off slowly to shelter and the scuba diver takes the hint that the encounter is over. As the diver moved away, this fish returned to the cleaning station immediately to have the job finished.

Osprey viciously attacks another osprey over nesting site40s

Osprey viciously attacks another osprey over nesting site

Osprey, also known as fish eagles, are Canada's second largest bird. Only the bald eagle has a slightly longer wingspan than the osprey. They are ferocious predators, able to catch and carry off large fish that venture too close to the surface of the water. Their talons are razor sharp and they are barbed for holding onto their catch. These talons are not solely for gripping food. They are also used in self defense, which is a not uncommon during nesting season in the spring. The osprey in the nest is the female in a nesting pair that have built this particular nest. They return to it each spring. They have rivalry from a nearby nesting pair that occasionally come to this nest to fight over food or to have a territorial fight. The lady of the house was watching with a keen eye while her mate was off gathering food at a lake nearly one kilometer away. Instead of her mate, she saw the approaching female of the rival pair. This female swooped in from the left, circle back and came at the female in the nest in a vicious attack from above. She had her talons open as she swooped and she closes them less than an inch away from the nesting female's neck and spine. Thee female in the nest senses the attack and she drops low at the last second with lightning quick reflexes. It is a very near miss and it could have been fatal if she had not dodged just in time. As the attacking osprey skids past, the female in the nest launches herself to gain height. She must rise higher than her attacker to avoid the talons. The attacking female swoops again with her claws out. The defending osprey actually flips over onto her back so that she can raise her own talons to defend herself. The attacker decides not to try again and she turns to fly back toward her own nest. The nesting female gives pursuit to run her off. These fights are not unusual between birds of prey. Such squabbles ensure that hunting and nesting grounds are not over populated, as they encourage new arrivals or weaker pairs to seek a nesting site elsewhere.

Veterinarian is shocked to find bullets in injured duck55s

Veterinarian is shocked to find bullets in injured duck

An injured duck was found near the side of the road in Peterborough, Ontario. The good Samaritan knew the duck needed held so she called the local police who responded right away. An officer with the Ontario Provincial Police gathered the duck up in a box and took it to the Kawartha Vet Emergency Service in Peterborough. They are known for their extreme love of animals and also their commitment to assisting even wildlife. This is done at their own expense. Most veterinarians are happy to use their skills to help vulnerable creatures, such as this duck that was named "Molly". As they examined and treated Molly, her story became very fascinating. It appears that Molly had been flying and she dropped out of the sky, landing on a country road. It was here that she was discovered. But it wasn't clear if she had been hit by a car or attacked by an animal. Molly was x-rayed by Dr. van der Meulen and her staff, and it was then that they discovered two interesting things. It appeared that Molly was a mother, with two eggs developing in her womb. Although it was difficult to say for certain, it appeared that two eggs had started to form. The second thing that the x-ray revealed was a bigger surprise. Molly had two small pellets or bullets in her hip. Molly had been shot. She had some blood coming from her mouth, suggesting an internal injury. This was also consistent with being shot through the lung. With this information, it seemed logical that Molly was shot by a hunter as she flew over but she managed to fly a short distance to land hard on the roadside. Sadly, Molly succumbed to her injuries the first night, but she died peacefully in the safety of a warm place, as opposed to dying at the side of a noisy road. This was a heart warming story of a small group of people who tried their best to rescue a poor, injured duck.

Adorable baby cows become fascinated with action camera1m17s

Adorable baby cows become fascinated with action camera

These calves are living the good life on a beautiful farm in Millbrook, Ontario. Known as ethical farming, the cows are free to roam over lush pastures with ponds and trees and a rolling expanse of meadow full of green grass and wild flowers. The herd is small and the cows socialize well. This farm is part of a growing trend to avoid veal as a food source due to the controversial and unfair treatment of calves in the process. They also provide top notch veterinary care and maintain excellent herd health. The cows are treated very well and they enjoy a very natural life. A GoPro camera was left on the ground near a gate in the meadow to see what the calves would do. Naturally curious, and much more intelligent than people give them credit for, the calves quickly made their way over to see what this new object was. They completely understood that it was different when it was placed and they wasted no time in checking it out. They were hesitant to approach closely, with Fiona being the bravest of the bunch. She did make her way up close and had a sniff and a few licks before moving back. Then the other calves in her herd followed her lead. they gathered in a line and looked curiously, taking turns sniffing and licking the camera. Their snorts and grunts can be heard as they put their big nostrils right up close and breathe heavily. Eventually, they decide that there is nothing spectacular about this object and they move back. An older cow then came up to have a sniff as well. As inquisitive as a young child, these calves show their curiosity in the most adorable way. But, in doing so, they are more than just cute, they are demonstrating that they are actually capable of fairly complex thought. If we understood cows better and actually looked closely, we might see a lot of good reasons for supporting those farms that treat the cows properly, as opposed to supporting factory farming. They are easy to find almost anywhere in North America. Another bonus is that these farms require less antibiotics and and disease control efforts. Direct trade with the farmers also just makes sense.

Porcupine has funny interaction with man in the woods25s

Porcupine has funny interaction with man in the woods

Porcupines are slow moving and docile animals. They don't harm anyone and they are no threat to other animals, unless they are attacked. Armed with thousands of sharp quills, their only defense is to bristle their quills and swing their bodies to jab an attacker in the mouth. Contrary to the widespread myth, they cannot shoot their quills. They can't even move quickly so they would be easy prey without them. Their natural reaction is usually to stand their ground or to slowly walk away. They will climb a tree if given the chance. Porcupines eat plants and bark, scraping off the tough outer bark to get at the soft and tasty inner bark of trees. They will also chew on wood, especially if it has been coated in salt, such as the posts at the side of a highway. They are adorable creatures with a furry face that resembles a beaver. Even their large teeth are similar to those of a beaver. Humans don't normally get a close look because these animals are shy and will retreat or move higher in a tree. Tom was out in the wilderness near Sault St. Marie when he came across this very fat porcupine happily chewing on a sapling. Tom was taking his dogs for a walk on the trail, but saw this creature in the tree. He secured his dogs and then decided to walk over and see the porcupine close up. Expecting that it would climb or walk away to safety, he believed his approach would prevent a meeting with his dogs. Instead of retreating, the porcupine looked at him calmly and then chattered his teeth. Tom is a friendly fellow and he began recording and speaking with the porcupine in a hilarious fashion, asking for a repeat of the teeth chattering. As if happy to oblige, the porcupine actually did what was asked. Tom, ever the gentleman, thanked the porcupine for being so agreeable and ended the recording. The result is a very unusual conversation and exchange between a man and a wild porcupine.

WildCreatures
Published: December 29, 20182,653 plays$75.51 earned
Guilty dog adorably smiles through Grandma's reprimand1m02s

Guilty dog adorably smiles through Grandma's reprimand

Lily is a one year old mix of golden lab, poodle and terrier. She’s an adorable and energetic dog with an intelligence that gets her into trouble. She also has a mischievous side, and despite being well trained and very obedient, she knows when she is not being watched. She knows when she can get away with mischief, and she also knows that her adorable guilty eyes can melt even the coldest of hearts. She relies on these eyes and the wagging tail to bail her out whenever she is confronted with her misdeeds. She will climb up on the counter and take cookies, meat, and even bananas to snack on. Nothing is out of reach for Lily. Her owners have learned to accept this side of her, knowing that the only solution is to try to stay one step ahead of her. But it’s easy to forget that this stealthy little dog sees and smells everything. Lily’s Grandma left a package of beef on the counter and left the room, but it was only supposed to be for a moment. Unfortunately, the moment turned into several and Lily didn’t miss her chance. While she alone, Lily made her way onto the counter without making a sound. Silently, she grabbed the package and hopped down. She had a full tray of beef and she knew she had only a brief time to take full advantage of it. Normally, Lily carries her treasures to her bed and eats them silently while she is out of sight. But with this treasure, Lily ate it right there on the spot. It was either too good to resist, or she knew that she was wasting time by carrying it farther. When Grandma returned to the kitchen, the beef was gone from the counter. Lily had her best guilty look and tail wag going and the evidence lay on the floor at her feet. Begging for forgiveness, she put her ears back and stared at Grandma with what appears to be a sheepish grin. She threw in the right amount of reluctance to make eye contact, looking away often, surely feigning shame. But the smile on her face gives her away and you can tell that she’s thinking a few minutes of scolding is a very fair price for the delicious treat that is now in her belly. You can’t help but admire this lovable dog for her determination to melt Grandma’s heart!

The magical underwater world of the Galapagos Islands2m11s

The magical underwater world of the Galapagos Islands

Scuba divers from all over the world flock to the Galapagos Islands. Many enthusiasts claim that it is the home of the most breath taking diving in the world, and it is for good reason that they say this. Home to some of the most diverse and unique life on the planet, the Galapagos are strange and fascinating, as well as strikingly beautiful. Described by early explorers as harsh and barren, they were surprised to find such an abundance of life thriving there. The Galapagos were made famous by Charles Darwin when he studied the animals and plants on these islands in 1835. His discoveries led to some of the most groundbreaking ideas and theories of any biologists. His theory of evolution was inspired by the birds and other creatures here. Those same theories changed the way we look at our planet, the animals, and even ourselves. This video takes you on a voyage under the waves, providing you with an up close look at a few of the magnificent animals that scuba divers are likely to encounter. Entering the water near Kicker Rock, divers were surrounded by salema, a small, but plentiful bait fish that congregates near the surface. A sea lion cruised under and around the bait ball, eager to catch a few for a meal. These fish feed on plankton and krill that are brought through these waters by three distinct ocean currents that converge here. It is these currents and the food source that they bring that supports all life in the Galapagos. Pacific green sea turtles also thrive here, feeding on algae and plants that live on the volcanic rock that has formed all of these islands. Manta rays, now referred to as mobula, cruise through these waters, filtering to catch their food. They are peaceful and gentle, posing no threat to humans or any large animals. Their only means of defense is rapid flight from danger. They are graceful and beautiful and always a highlight for any scuba diver. Surprisingly intelligent, they are believed to be self-aware. They have huge brains and are thought to be capable of problem solving and communicating with each other. The ocean bottom is made up of volcanic rock that was forced to the surface. Among these rocks, octopus roam, using their long arms to search for food hiding in the crevices. Also highly intelligent, they are even able to change their color and texture to make them nearly invisible to predators. Sea lions are one of the octopus’ biggest predator and they patrol the waters, looking in the rocks, even at great depths. These divers were met by a colony of hunting sea lions fifty feet from the surface. Hammerheads school in great abundance in these waters, cruising along in the current. They are actually able to alternately rest one side of their brain at a time, allowing them to swim and avoid danger while reducing brain activity to achieve a state that is similar to sleep. Although hammerhead sharks pose little threat to divers, sitting in the rocks as they school above is sure to give even the most seasoned diver a thrill. The Galapagos Islands are beautiful above the ocean, but the underwater world around the islands is as mysterious and alluring as any place on earth.