Washington, Sep 8 (ANI): It's not just humans who need to work hard in order to earn a living, many wild animals too have to toil themselves throughout the year to survive.
However, some animals work harder than others, and the National Wildlife Federation has compiled a list of the hardest working members of the animal kingdom, and they are:
Each fall, adult salmon migrate back to the river where they themselves hatched, swimming against strong currents, dodging hungry bears and even leaping up waterfalls. For Pacific salmon, it's a one-way trip. They exert so much energy fighting the to get upstream that after spawning, they are completely spent and die.
There are thousands of ant species in the world and they eat a lot of different things. Some are carnivores, eating any insect or animal they can subdue. Others gather millions of plant seeds and store them in underground granaries, and some are even farmers, using gathered leaves to grow fungus to feed upon. Regardless of the species, all ants are incredibly strong, able to lift loads that weigh 10 to 50 times their own weight. They put that strength to good work hauling food and defending their colonies against enemies.
They have to work so hard because flower nectar is mostly water. An individual bee has to work 10 hours a day for six days to gather enough nectar to create just a thimbleful of honey. It's not just the workers that are busy either. A queen bee can lay as many as 1,500 eggs in just one day.
Lionesses do most of the hunting to feed the pride, and do all of the work to raise the young. Working together they can tackle animals many times their own size, including water buffalos, giant eland and sometimes even elephants and giraffes.
An average 40-pound beaver can fell trees several stories tall and use them to build lodges and large dams that stop swift-flowing streams.
The ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds that visit your feeder flap their wings an amazing 40-50 times per second. Some species flap even harder.
Migration is hard work, and the Arctic tern has the longest migration of any bird. The 22,000-mile journey to and from Antarctica takes the bird 90 days each way. The birds migrate over sea and are rarely seen on land except during breeding season. Considering an Arctic tern might live up to 30 years, a single bird may travel more than 650,000 miles in its lifetime!
Shrews are tiny mouse-like mammals that feed on insects, worms, snails and other small animals. They have an incredibly fast metabolism and are constantly on the move searching for food. In order to fuel that metabolism, a shrew pretty much never stops working. It needs to consume two to three times its body weight in food each day just to survive.
These legless invertebrates tunnel in the ground, ingesting minerals and pulling decaying plant and animal material below the surface to eat. The end product is a nutrient-laden "casting" which they deposit on the surface, creating rich topsoil. In doing so, a healthy earthworm population can rotate 20 to 40 tons of earth per acre in a year.
One rabbit female can produce as many as seven litters of four to six babies per year. Rabbits work so hard at making more rabbits they've actually become a pest in some places. (ANI)