Object of the Week – 28/02/13

Who in our museum has a toothy grin like this?









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

European Badger (Meles meles)








 The photo last week was of the claws of our European Badger (Meles meles). Badger claws are very strong – they have to be to dig out their large underground burrows called ‘setts’.

Badgers keep their sets very clean, never eating inside them and regularly changing their bedding materials. They even dig a communal toilet some distance away from the sett.

The jaws of a Badger are connected in such a way that it is almost possible to dislocate them, which means they can keep a strong hold of anything they bite. The trade off is that this limits the range of movement of their lower jaw.

Badgers and their setts are protected in the UK under the Badger Protection Act 1992.

The government has just approved a pilot Badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire. To read more about it click here.

Object of the Week – 21/02/13

Do you know who these claws belong to?

Object of the week










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

Banksia grandis seed cone

On the desk in Banks’ cabin you can see two seed cones from plant species that were named after him.

The genus Banksia is made up of flowering plants that are all found in Australia. They can reach great heights (some up to 30 metres tall) and have spectacular flower heads that produce large amounts of nectar, providing food for many birds, insects and mammals.

Banks collected the first Banksia specimens in 1770 on his voyage around the world aboard HMB Endeavour. The cone above belongs to the species Banksia grandis (Bull Banksia). It is incredibly hard and quite a size as you can see by the scale in the photograph. The large holes are where the cone bursts open to eject seeds, usually in response to a bushfire.

Object of the Week – 14/02/13

Our object this week is a little tricky to find. You can see it on the desk in the replica of Banks’ cabin.

Object of the Week


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


Last week we showed you a close up of a Scorpion pincer. Scorpions are in the Class Arachnida which includes spiders, ticks and mites.

You can use the size of their pincers to tell you how powerful their venom is. Scorpions with larger pincers in relation to their body size tend to have less potent venom and use their pincers to capture prey.

Scorpions fluoresce (glow) when exposed to particular wavelengths of UV light. There are several theories for why this trait has arisen. To read more about this click here.


Object of the Week – 07/02/13

Our animal this week would give you a nasty nip if you encountered it in the wild. Fortunately it can be viewed in the safety and comfort of our museum. What animal is this? 


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

Duck-billed Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

The photo last week was of the webbed foot of our Duck-billed Platypus. You can find it on the first floor of the museum near the Kakapo.

The Duck-billed Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), or Platypus, is found only in Australia. It is a mammal that lays eggs and has adapted to an amphibious life. It has waterproof fur, webbed feet, a tail like a beaver and a soft bill which is covered in receptors that they use to detect their prey in the water. They also have a spur on their hind leg which in the male Platypus produces venom. 

The Platypus and the Echidnas form an Order called the Monotremes which are the most primitive living mammals on the planet. Their survival is most likely due to the long isolation of the Australian continent.