Animals That Overfulfill Their Job

Animals That Overfulfill Their Job

a section of a83 highway in western
scotland is a high-risk area since 2007
it has witnessed at least nine major
landslides more than 110 million dollars
has been invested in strengthening the
soil and other measures but none of the
projects have proved to be effective all
because they had to fight not the
natural phenomena but animals
back in 430 bc the ancient greek
historian herodotus noticed how a small
bird calmly went into the mouth of a
crocodile and remained unharmed in his
work the histories herodotus wrote that
as crocodiles live chiefly in water they
are constantly covered with leeches and
cannot get rid of them on their own so
they need the help of birds that eat
parasites sounds logical and everyone is
happy herodotus knew what he was talking
about of course this is not the only
example of a mutually beneficial
relationship in the wild but if you look
at the bigger picture the problems get
more serious too leeches and a couple of
dozen crocodiles that’s nothing
according to a 2018 study texts target
80 of the world’s cattle population can
you imagine how much that is if ticks
and livestock have not coexisted in the
same area for a long time then infection
can lead to death in other cases the
cattle could get sick lose weight give
less milk have trouble reproducing and
so on it’s almost impossible for animals
to get rid of ticks on their own they’re
too small and burrowed too deep into the
skin and what can you do when you only
have hooves tail whisking is clearly not
enough and so they come to the rescue
oxpeckers are small birds with colorful
beaks they love sitting on large mammals
both wild and domestic ones and eat
parasites they consume anything ticks
small insects gadfly larvae in short it
looks like a classic example of a
partnership oxbeckers even help rhinos
warning them about the approaching
humans although black rhinos have a good
sense of smell and hearing their vision
leaves a lot to be desired it’s so bad
you can sneak up on them unnoticed if
you stay downwind of the animal but
thanks to birds rhinos managed to avoid
humans and even escape from poachers
oxpeckers have good eyesight and make
hissing alarm calls when danger
approaches ah punchers
false alarm now get off me please so
it’s a win-win for everyone birds get
food mammals stay safe from predators
parasites and diseases sincere mutual
help okay i wouldn’t ask these questions
if it was that simple for a long time
scientists thought that relations
between oxpeckers and their owners were
a textbook example of mutualism that is
a perfect symbiosis though in fact birds
do not help anyone but themselves they
may even be saving rhinos for their own
benefit and i don’t mean oxpackers are
planning to collect more parasites from
a living rhino because a dead one will
quickly become useless these birds have
long turned into vampires peter fake
no kidding oxbeckers do feed on the
parasites of mammals but they always
wait for the ticks to drink enough blood
that is they do not interfere with the
transmission of the infection by the
parasites like at all for an oxbacker a
well-fed tick is something like a
ravioli with a delicious filling of
course you can have it without any
stuffing but why would you okay let’s
say they kill well-fed ticks more often
than hungry ones but we’re looking at a
bit more here oxpeckers really love
blood so they are ready to open old
wounds of animals or as rumors have it
even make new ones for the sake of a
snack ox peckers also feed on the earwax
and dandruff of mammals but this is too
strange even for vampires if you think
about it it’s pretty frustrating a bird
sitting on you is supposed to help you
with this constant itching from
parasites but instead it puts its beak
into the wound makes it whiter and
starts drinking your blood well this
doesn’t relieve pain in any way even
black flies are not as cruel many of
them have a substance in their saliva
that works like an anesthetic that’s why
it can be difficult to notice you’re
already being eaten by some tiny
blood-sucking insect oxpeckers have no
anesthetic in their saliva beak or legs
which means everything they do to the
animal must be damn painful though if
you look at the animals that have become
targets of the winged parasite it
doesn’t seem like they feel anything at
all no i have no doubt this hurts but
why do their faces look like they’re in
the middle of a poker tournament think
of any other animals even after getting
terrible wounds they pretend everything
is fine but nature just couldn’t have
made them all insensitive to pain it
works a little differently small animals
like rabbits do not show they are in
pain not to become easy prey for
predators after all they choose the
weakest victims but the predators also
have problems any manifestation of
weakness can ruin their reputation thus
making them vulnerable when you
constantly have to fight for resources
and your position in the pack you can’t
just sit down and suffer for a while the
guys won’t understand
i mean
of course people also know how to endure
pain but in our case nature went one
step further and added some unconscious
methods of relieving pain screaming or
cursing can trigger our body’s natural
fight or flight response which reduces
pain so the next time you hit your pinky
toe on the nightstand and can’t help
cursing blame it on science but back to
the aux peckers and their prey more
often than not birds don’t really make
new cuts only expanding existing ones in
this case it’s probably better to part
with some blood than to die from some
kind of disease in the end at least some
of the ticks get eaten before they bite
right many farmers believe this is how
it works there are even calculations
that show one oxpecker can eat about 400
ticks a day which is roughly 146 000 per
year some of the ticks could probably
cause diseases so it’s a win-win no
financial losses especially since
ox-peckers work for free yes they drink
a little blood but nobody’s perfect
moreover fighting parasites with modern
methods that is with the help of
different chemicals is costly and unsafe
leaving livestock completely unprotected
is also not an option losses from a
single tick species to the whole world
are estimated at almost 19 billion u.s
dollars from one single species no
wonder farmers are willing to put up
with vampire birds to keep their farms
afloat and everything was fine until the
scientists came in 2000 paul weeks
published a study stating that oxpectors
have no effect on the tick population
weeks chased the birds off the cows for
a long time expecting that the number of
parasites would increase significantly
but this didn’t happen moreover turned
out the number of sick livestock also
did not grow but the number of wounds
dropped in short the only thing
oxpeckers do is drink blood and eat
earwax some helpers they are however all
people can make mistakes and when it
comes to wildlife it’s easier than it
seems a simple example is sheep what
could be so difficult about them they’re
not very smart but very fluffy animals
that sometimes can’t even get up on
their own but sheep are often used in
weed control where perennials like
coffee mango avocado or cocoa grow it’s
very convenient and most importantly
free because sheep like oxbeckers do not
get paid and they couldn’t care less
about blood but remember the weird
landslides from the beginning of the
video that people have been struggling
with for over a decade landslides that
nothing can stop it sounds strange but
they were actually caused by the sheep
steve what the hell you should have
cleared the weeds not caused a landslide
on the highway well do you see any weeds
no
in fact the explanation is simple the
roots of the plants hold the soil
together preventing its destruction and
landslides sheep that graze on the
slopes prevent trees and shrubs from
growing and strengthening the soil it’s
also believed that sheep are responsible
for flooding because they compact the
soil stopping water from being absorbed
and listen the way it’s going the sheep
will prove to be the one who ate that
very bat okay okay in all fairness sheep
are not the first or the last animals
that can change our planet actually it
all started a long time ago too long ago
just imagine huge multi-ton animals have
been roaming the earth for millions of
years it’d be weird if this didn’t have
any consequences and dinosaurs not only
left traces scientists are discovering
now we can say they were the first
landscape designers in the history of
the planet a large sauropod trying to
climb a steep hill could bring it down
migrations of giant lizards that
followed the same route every year
created trampled paths in the rock the
nests of transformed river valleys even
a simple walk on the dunes completely
changed them for plants and smaller
animals and their future as well oh and
here’s another interesting fact for you
do you remember birds are the closest
relatives of dinosaurs birds who like to
have funny mating dances to attract a
partner not so long ago paleontologists
discovered strange scratches on the
fossils similar to traces of a marriage
ritual and not just a simple ritual but
dancing of the allosauri i don’t think
it could have passed without
consequences for the planet
see you later

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