Author Archives: Abdul Wahab

Sulfur

sulfur-symbol

  • Symbol: S
  • Atomic Number: 16
  • Atomic Weight: 32
  • Melting Point: 115 °C (239 °F)
  • Boiling Point:6 °C (832 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient times.

Sulfur (also spelled as Sulphur) is a chemical element in the periodic table having the atomic number of 16. It is mostly known for causing very bad smells, but in reality, the pure sulfur is odorless nonmetal element. The smells that irritate us are actually the compounds of sulfur, e.g. Hydrogen Sulfide smells like rotten eggs.
sulfur-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Sulfur is yellow colored nonmetal solid.
  • It has 30 allotropes (Allotropes are made of the same element, but their atoms are organized differently).
  • Sulfur can’t be dissolved in the water. However, it can be dissolved in organic liquids.

Uses

Sulfur is a widely used element across the world. Some of its uses are:

  • Sulfur is used to make sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a strong acid which is used in your car batteries. But, it has many other industrial applications too.
  • It is used for water processing, oil refining, and making fertilizers.
  • It is used for making gunpowder that is used in bullets, and hobby rockets.

Where is it found?

Sulfur is the 10th most abundant element in the universe, and 17th most abundant in Earth’s crust. Sulfur is found in many places around the world. The places where the sulfur is likely found are volcanic sites, natural geysers, hydro-thermal vents, and hot water springs. Sulfur is found in both pure forms and in minerals. Some minerals of sulfur are pyrite, barite, and gypsum.
pyrite-barite-gypsum

The largest sulfur producing country is China. Other countries that also produce sulfur are US, Canada, and Russia.

Discovery

Sulfur is available in its pure form in nature, so ancient people had known about the sulfur. Chinese had known the reactivity and uses of sulfur in medicines and black gunpowder.  They used black gunpowder in fireworks. Sulfur was considered as a compound rather than an element. It was proved by Antoine Lavoisier in 1777 that sulfur is an element.

Fun Facts

  • The 8th most abundant element in our bodies is sulfur.
  • Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas released mostly by power plants and factories. When this gas mixes with moisture in the atmosphere it causes acid rain.
  • When the sulfur melts, it is converted into a red color

Snake

Snakes are flexible reptile; they have a long body much like a rope. They are feared by the majority of the people around the world. However, some people love to stay with snakes and keep them as a pet. There are about 3,000 different species of snakes found across all over the world. Majority of the snakes are non-venomous, only 375 species of snakes carry poison to kill their prey.

How do they look like?

snake
Snakes are similar in shape to a rope. But, their body is muscular which gives a very good degree of freedom to move and turn in any direction. Their body length varies from 10 cm (4 inches) to 9 meters (30 feet). They have a wide range of colors depending on the location where they live. Poisonous snakes mostly have bright colors, whereas rest of the snakes have dull colors.

Diet

Snakes are carnivores (meat eater). They hunt down smaller animals and swallow them as a whole. They have a very slow metabolism. Once they eat food it takes a day or more to digest it. Due to this reason, they don’t come outside for hunting regularly. They mostly eat frogs, rodents, birds, and other small animals.

Habitat

Snakes are the creatures that are found on every continent of the Earth except the Antarctica. Each continent has different species of snakes depending on their climate and food availability. Snakes are cold blooded animals, and avoid to live in very cold areas e.g. Antarctica and Iceland. They are found in jungles, deserts, water, and undergrounds.
snake-habitat

Conservation Status

Some species of the snakes are declared as endangered. St. Lucia racer is a species of the snakes whose number has decreased below 100.

Fun Facts

  • Cobra snake can live for months without eating any food.

    cobra-snake

    Cobra

  • Sometimes eating a live animal proved to be disastrous for snakes, they just explode after eating. Scientists are still unaware of this fact.
  • Some sea snakes have the ability to breathe partially through their skin. It helps them to stay underwater for a long period of time.

Shark

Sharks are the largest and sharp predators that live all around the oceans. They have been dwelling in the ocean for more than 2 million years. There are 465 different species of sharks that live in the oceans. The biggest species of the sharks is called great white shark. A fully grown shark sits on the top of the ocean’s food chain. They have very few predators to avoid, which are others sharks and orca whales.

What Do They Look Like?

shark
Great white shark is the biggest of all the other sharks. They grow about 20 feet in length and can weigh as much as 4000 pounds. Their underbellies are light colored and their top is dark colored. This color difference gives them an excellent camouflage. When sharks are seen from above, their dark color blends with the dark floor of the ocean. When seen from below their light color blends with the sky. Great white sharks are equipped with 3 fins, which are dorsal fin, pectoral fins, and caudal fins.

Diet

Sharks are carnivore fishes; they eat other fishes for their diet. Sharks are very good hunters. They have a sense of smell that can detect a drop of blood from miles away. They have very sharp triangular shapes teeth arranged in 7 rows. A fully grown shark mostly eats sea lions, seals, and other sea mammals. They don’t have a tongue for tasting. Instead, their whole mouth can taste the food. Sharks can lose a couple of teeth in hunting a prey. But, the new teeth are grown very fast.

Habitat

Sharks prefer to live in cold waters in the oceans. They are mostly found close to the shores where the ocean water is cold. They are commonly live down to a depth of 2000 meters. However, they can go beyond this depth.
shark-habitat

Conservation Status

Great white sharks are considered as endangered species around some parts of oceans. Their population has reduced due to over-hunting.

Facts

  • Sharks need a constant water flow over their gills to extract oxygen for respiration. They need to constantly move with their mouth open. Even, they need to move in the ocean during sleep otherwise, they may drown.
  • Bull shark has the ability to live in both fresh water and ocean.
  • A great white shark grows about 50,000 teeth in its life time. They lose a couple of teeth in every hunt and regrow them.

Scorpion

Scorpions are considered as insects but actually, they are not. They have 8 legs and are different from insects. They are most famous for their deadly poison in their stinger. Scorpions have been living on the Earth for millions of years. They have changed very little as compared to ancient scorpions. There are about 1700 living species of scorpions, and only 25 of them have the deadly poison in their stinger that can kill a human.

What do they look like?

black scorpion
Scorpions look similar to lobsters. They have 8 legs, 2 pincers, and a larger stinger at their back. They have a wide variety of colors including yellow, black, brown, green, and blue. Their color depends on the location of their habitat, which gives them a good camouflage.

The size of scorpions is changed from species to species. The smallest scorpion can grow about 0.5 inches in length and the largest can grow about 8 inches. Scorpions have a strong exoskeleton which gives them strength in a fight with its prey.

Diet

Scorpions prefer to eat insects and some small rodents that are easily available in their habitat. They have a pair of pincers in front which help them to fight and hold the prey. Once the prey is grabbed, they usually paralyze it with their sting. Each species of the scorpion has a poison that is effective for only selected creatures.

Habitat

Scorpions are one of the creatures that are found across the world. They are found in deserts, forests, swamps, and mountains. They usually live in the small holes to avoid being spotted by their predators.

Conservation Status

Majority of the scorpions are not endangered. However, there are some species of scorpions whose population is small and are rarely found e.g. emperor scorpion. These rare species are protected under the law.

Interesting Facts

  • A scorpion can live about 6 years in the wild. However, some species are reported to live more than that.
  • Scorpion’s eyesight is weak. They mostly rely on their excellent touch and smell sense.
  • Mother scorpions carry their baby scorpions on their back until they learn how to survive.

Ostrich

You would have seen many birds in your lifetime, e.g. sparrow, crow, and a parrot. The ostrich is also the bird like them, but larger than all the birds found on the Earth. Ostriches can’t fly despite having wings. They are mostly known for their speed; they can reach a speed of 40 miles/hour (40 km/h). At such high speed, they use their wings to balance themselves during jumps and turns. They lay eggs that have the weight of about 3 pounds which makes them largest egg than any other bird.

What Do They Look Like?

ostrich
Ostriches are tallest birds reaching a height of about 9 feet and weigh as much as 135 kg (300 pounds). Their body is covered with feathers, males have black feathers and females have grayish colored feathers. They have a long neck, two long and slim legs, and a long beak. Ostriches have two eyes, each having a 2-inch diameter which is larger than every land animal. An ostrich can kick forcefully enough that, it can kill a human or a lion.

Diet

Ostriches can eat a wide variety of food in its diet. They can eat grass, seeds, fruits, small insects, and lizards. They even eat pebbles for helping their digestive system. Ostriches can live without drinking water for several days.

ostrich-eating-herbs

Ostrich eating herbs

Habitat

Ostriches are found in the Africa. They mostly prefer open lands, but they are also found in desert areas of Sahara. Also, People around the world domesticate the ostriches for meat.
ostriches-family

Conservation Status

Ostriches are placed in the least concern category, but their number has also decreased. Since ostriches are domesticated around the world, which helps to maintain their population.

Interesting Facts

  • It is the famous belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sands when they have fear of danger. But, in reality, they lay their heads on grounds to avoid being spotted by predators.
    ostrich-hiding-head
  • Ostriches can run for hours while maintaining its speed to 30 miles per hours (48 km/h).
  • They make their nests on the ground. The size of their nest can reach 3 meters in width.