Joel Sartore- Photo Ark @joelsartore avatarJoel Sartore- Photo Ark

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Endemic to southeast Asia, long tailed porcupines like this one at @wrs.ig are the smallest of all Old World porcupines. They reach just 48 cm (18 in) in length and look more like rats with spines than porcupines. Incredibly, this rodent’s tail has the capability to break off if a predator has a hold of it, potentially saving the animal’s life. Once it’s fallen off, the tail does not regenerate, so sometimes these porcupines are seen without one.

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No, these creatures didn’t just escape from Jurassic Park, but they do have a resemblance and a link to dinosaurs that roamed the earth millions of years ago. Scientists from Oregon State University and the Natural History Museum in London discovered the oldest known fossil of a gecko in 2009, a 100-million-year-old specimen preserved in amber! The fossil provides evidence that geckos were definitely in Asia 100 million years ago. Today, there are more than 1,200 species of geckos in the world. Not only do they resemble creatures of another time, they have some unbelievable abilities. Geckos can stick to any surface except for dry teflon, thanks to thousands of nanoscale hairs that line each of their toes. Unlike other lizards, geckos are able to vocalize, they make clicks, chirps, and other sounds to communicate with other geckos. They are able to drop their tails as a response to stress, infection or to escape from predators if the tail itself is grabbed. They drop their tails along a pre-scored line, a design that allows a gecko to lose its tail quickly with minimal damage to the rest of its body. Most amazing of all, the tail literally wiggles for some time after breaking off just to confuse the predator even more! Another unique feature is that more than fifty species lack eyelids. Instead, they have a spectacle, or a clear scale over their eyes instead of an eyelid. Perhaps the best analogy is that a gecko’s tongue acts as a windshield wiper and the spectacle a windshield. Geckos lick their eyes to keep them clean and keep it from drying out, similar to the function blinking serves for human eyes.
| All from the private collection of Nathan Hall @coldbloodedcamera
Geckos pictured are as follows in order: A vulnerable kuroiwa's ground gecko, Wyberba leaf-tailed gecko- the tail will grow back and a Koch’s barking gecko.

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The Java flying treefrog is an endemic species in Java, Indonesia. As their name suggests, this frogs uses its webbed feet to glide a bit through the air, allowing for a bit more controlled descent from high jungle trees. The Java flying treefrog lives in lowland, mountainous and even disturbed forest. They breed in streams and the females can contain up to 180 eggs.

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Meet the Tanzanian tailless whip scorpion. You might remember this kind of animal from the Harry Potter films when, in the Goblet of Fire, it demonstrated the unforgivable curses.
Whip scorpions use their long, modified legs to sense the world around them. They like to stay in one spot but can move quickly if disturbed. The species photographed here is from the Butterfly Pavilion at the Albuquerque BioPark in New Mexico and is one-year-old, although they can live up to ten years. The Pavilion is working to bring more attention to understudied and misunderstood arthropods and arachnids in order to create empathy and concern for their habitats around the world. To see a photo of this whip scorpion visit @natgeo.

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This fire shrimp, native to the Indo-Pacific, is known as a species of "cleaner shrimp". They get their
names from their delightful habit of setting up cleaning stations to remove dead tissue and parasites from fish that offer up themselves. The fish just swims up, parks it for a while and lets the shrimp do all the work. The fish then pulls away, clean as a whistle. This symbiotic relationship gives both a real advantage; the fish gets better health and the shrimp gets a tasty meal. Some species of fire shrimp can even go inside a fishes mouth without being eaten! This shrimp was photographed at Nebraska Aquatic Supply in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Although an often unwelcome summer visitor, wasps are very important pollinators. They also keep ecosystems in balance by feeding pest insects to their larvae! This species feeds on nectar from a variety of flowers and like all species of wasp, carry pollen on their heads or backs, often between their wings. Wasps are among a small handful of species that are responsible for pollinating the flowers of orchids. #pollinatormonday

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Happy Father’s day! The pacific spiny lumpsuckers like this one photographed at @montereybayaquarium can be found off the coast of Washington, up into the Aleutian Islands, and all the way to the northern islands of Japan. As their name suggests, these fish are usually found attached to solid objects by the sucker protruding from their abdomens. Males of this species do most of the parenting, anchoring themselves next to their brood for 3-8 weeks and defending their eggs from predators. These dads will also use their fins to fan water over their soon-to-be babies, ensuring that the eggs get enough oxygen before they hatch. They’re tiny (just 1-3 inches) and not very graceful swimmers, so they’re generally seen near the ocean floor where they blend in more easily.

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Trinidad chevron tarantulas, like this one pictured at @theomahazoo , are tree-dwelling spiders that build funnel-shaped webs. Although the species isn’t typically known to be very aggressive, they can and will bite if they are provoked. Researchers have found that the venom of this species is similar to capsaicin, a compound that activates heat-sensitive sensory neurons. This compound is also found in chili peppers, and is the reason you experience a burning sensation while eating that spicy food.

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This is a heart crab photographed at @alaskasealifecenter. They have strong claws and sharp tips on their legs that allow them to grip stone walls and cling to surfaces. Heart crabs are colorful after molting, but quickly have a growth of diatoms and other organisms on their surface that dim their color and allow them to hide in their habitat for protection. This species is a predator to sea urchins, barnacles, tunicates and sponges. The Alaska SeaLife Center must be careful where these crabs are displayed since they could eat other exhibit animals. Heart crabs have been known to crack open snail shells occupied by smaller hermit crabs and eat them. In turn, they are vulnerable to some fish like wolf eels, which are not fazed by crustacean shells.

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Though it has the long, slender body of an eel, this is actually a violet goby, a fish native to the Atlantic coast of North and South America. In the wild, violet gobies can grow up to 24 inches (61 cm) in length, with fins running down almost the entire length of their bodies. These fish may look like fearsome predators, but they’re primarily scavengers. Their main method of feeding is scooping up mouthfuls of gravel from the seabed and sifting out anything edible. They also have highly specialized teeth used to scrape algae off of rocks. This fish was photographed at @aquarium_de_paris in Paris, France. To see another image of this fish visit @natgeo.

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These two Standing’s day geckos (a juvenile on top and adult) were photographed at the Plzen Zoo in Plzen, Czech Republic and are one of the largest day gecko species found on the island of Madagascar. Most adult day geckos become dangerous predators to their offspring, which can lead to cannibalism, however, the Standing’s day geckos are an exception. Warning colours visible on the baby geckos allow them to live together as a happy family without mom becoming highly aggressive.
Although native to southwest Madagascar they are rarely seen in the wild due to habitat loss, conversion of land to agriculture, and the international pet trade. The Plzen zoo is hard at work, protecting this species. More than 25 Standing’s day geckos have been born at the zoo since 1997, when the first one arrived.

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This adorable creature is a Western European hedgehog photographed at Centro Fauna Selvatica “I’ll Pettirosso” in Italy. The rescue center receives an average of about 350 hedgehogs every year. These tiny mammals give birth twice a year, at the end of spring and autumn. At birth, baby hedgehogs have a coat of soft, white spines which are underneath their skin to protect the mother during birth, but then emerge after a few hours. A second coat of dark spines emerges after about 36 hours, and later on a third set develops. In general hedgehogs are good swimmers, can run fairly quickly, and known for their habit of rolling into a tight ball when threatened. These hedgehogs do not hibernate but during cold periods can sleep for many days.
In Europe, people often find a nest of very young hedgehogs and immediately assume they are abandoned even though the parent has likely just gone to look for food. So young hedgehogs should never be moved from the place where they are found unless visibly injured as they will lose the ability to find food from their natural points of reference. If found, it is best to observe the nest for a few days until one parent returns, then if there is no sight of mom or dad, the babies can be taken to a rescue center. This is very important as it is difficult to hand-rear small hedgehogs and they easily imprint on humans and then make it difficult to return to their natural habitats. This photo shoot was possible thanks to the @greenteenteam

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