I thought today I would have just a little more fun. So a few fun facts about our planet and the plants and animals we share it with.
The earth weighs 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds. That’s 13 septillion pounds.
Which is a lot I think you will agree. Our planet is the largest terrestrial planet in our solar system. Its diameter is 7,918 miles and its circumference is 24,902 miles. A pretty good chunk of land to call home. 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Most of this is the saltwater from the oceans, only about 2 ½% is freshwater. There are over 320 million cubic miles of ocean water. Our atmosphere extends out about 300 miles with most of it within 10 miles of the surface. The Earth is the only planet known to have life.
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” –Ansel Adams
So what is the fastest animal on the planet? The answer might surprise you. It’s a bird. A Peregrine falcon. In normal flight, it flies up to 50 to 60 miles per hour, (mph). But when it goes into a dive it may reach a speed of more than 240 mph. Wow! You say. And you’re right to say that. Dale Earnhardt would be proud. And this is a bird, made up of feathers and hollow bones.
The fastest land animal is the Cheetah. They can reach a top speed of 70 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. Just slightly longer than our fastest cars take to go from 0 to 60 mph. They corner much better than any car. When running this fast they spend over half their time in the air. Their stride length is up to 25 feet. Very impressive you have to admit. In comparison, the fastest humans top out at around 20 to 25 mph.
So, you may ask now, what is the slowest animal on the planet? Sloths are the slowest animals in the world. The top speed of a sloth is 0.003 mph. Just about everything about a sloth is slow. Their metabolism. It can take up to a month to digest a meal. Their reaction time is one-quarter as fast as a human and they can slow their heartbeat to one-third its normal rhythm.
The thing in common with each of these animals is that they have and fill their own niche on the planet. How and where they fit in.
The definition of an ecological niche is the role and position a species has in its environment; how it meets its needs for food and shelter, how it survives, and how it reproduces. A species’ niche includes all of its interactions with the biotic and abiotic factors of its environment. We will talk about niches a lot more in future blogs.
Do a little slow Dance
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