Object of the Week – 31/01/13

Can you guess what the object of the week is? Somewhere on the first floor you will find this curious animal.

This isn't a duck with a mutation for five toes


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila)

The Kakapo is undoubtedly the star of the museum and an interesting bird for many reasons. It is the heaviest parrot in the world, the only nocturnal parrot and also the only flightless parrot. In early 2012 there were only 126 individuals left in New Zealand, where they live on the South Islands in several small populations.

The Kakapo is an example of Island gigantism. Animals that live on isolated islands can grow to much larger sizes compared to individuals of the same species that live on the mainland. They find themselves in a habitat without the selection pressures that keep their size in check like an absence of predators or competition.

Just like the extinct Dodo that lived on Mauritius, the Kakapo population started to decline when humans arrived on their island. As well as hunting the Kakapo for food they brought with them dogs and other animals that the Kakapo had never encountered and did not try to hide from. The Kakapo has little in the way of survival instincts; they have a very strong smell, freeze when caught unawares and the males make loud booming calls long into the night.  Later in the 19th century further predators were introduced and large areas of their habitat were cleared for farming.

The good news is that Kakapo numbers are now on the increase. Each bird has been given their own name and fitted with a radio transmitter so they can be monitored.

Object of the Week – 24/01/13

Every week we will post a close up of one of the objects on display. If you don’t know what this is you can always come along on Sunday afternoon and hunt for it. 

What colourful creature is this?


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

European Chubb (Squalius cephalus)

Last week the object was a European Chubb (Squalius cephalus) from our display of fish found in the Thames. The picture really doesn’t do justice to the way the light reflects off the golden scales.

The Chubb is a freshwater fish common in this country but was not present in Ireland before 2004 where it is an invasive species.


Object of the Week – 17/01/13

Another object on display in the museum. Who do these beautiful golden scales belong to?

Object of the week


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Pearly Nautilus cut open to show the chambers inside the shell

The Pearly Nautilus (genus Nautilus)  is a marine mollusc that lives far out in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They can dive to depths of several hundred metres and are never normally seen near the surface.

Nautiluses have been around for about 500 million years and have changed very little. They feed on crabs and fish which they catch with their strong tentacles but will also eat any any dead animals they find. By altering the concentration of salt in their blood they can draw water in and out of the chambers in their shell and so alter their depth in the water.

Object of the Week – 10/01/13

 Another close up of an object on display in the museum. Which secretive animal is this?

Object of the week


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was?

Well done if you recognised this was one of the corals on display from the Moncrieff collection. This particular specimen is a perfect example of Fungia danai.

Corals are marine animals in the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes jellyfish. They are colonies made up of many individual polyps, which are tiny animals which have a mouth surrounded with a ring of tentacles.

The skeleton secreted by the polyps is all that remains of the dead coral – when alive the animal can be brightly coloured in shades of purple, brown, green or blue.

Object of the Week – 03/01/13

Happy New Year!

Looking for something to do this Sunday? Come and see if you can find our object of the week…

Object of the week. What could this be?


Did you know what last week’s object of the week was? 

Duckling with four legs

If you’ve ever been to the museum you’ll probably have known straight away what this was.

“Stumpy” the duckling was born in 2007 with two extra legs, the result of a partially divided embryo. He is one of the stars of our display on genetic mutation on the first floor of the museum.

Follow the link to read the news story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/6371901.stm