Yawning Arctic Foxes
(image via: Charles Glatzer c/o PhoenixBlackheart)
Unlike their larger cousins the Arctic Wolves, Arctic Foxes change the color of their coats from season to season. They do share the act of yawning with their canine relatives, however.
Arctic Foxes are common in most northern tundra environments but not southern ones: there are no "Antarctic Foxes". In their traditional ranges they're formidable predators of lemmings, bird eggs and baby seals while the foxes themselves are preyed on by Polar Bears and Arctic Wolves.
(image via: Su3lynn)
Snakes raise the art of yawning to new heights… or should that be "widths"? These legless reptiles have evolved hinged jaws that can expand if some heavy-duty swallowing is required. Try gulping down a whole goat sometime and you'll gain a new appreciation for snakes.
Pet-owners have reported their snakes yawn on occasion with no other obvious motive in mind but scientists think otherwise: the confined creatures may simply be trying to cool down their brains. Of course, if the snake in question happens to be shaking its tail like a rattle and its wide-open jaws feature a pair of sharp, dripping fangs, we suggest you stop observing and start running!
(image via: Legalectric)
Hungry hungry hippos? With jaws like these, you'd better just hope he (or she) is merely tired. Hippos are the Earth's third-largest land mammal after the Elephant and Rhinoceros, and aged males can weigh close to 10,000 pounds.
Hippos may yawn when they're tired but their famous fearsome gape is more typically used by bull males to threaten rivals and those who would dare infringe upon their territory. A hippo's yawn has been measured at around 150 degrees… that's hot!
Baby birds gape when their parents bring them food and birds of prey may spread their beaks in a threat display but neither are actually yawns. Keep that in mind next time you get too close to an Eagle's nest and the hungry, well-guarded young Eaglets within.
Yawning Tasmanian Devils
(image via: Snowy2909)
Tired, or just happy to see me? If you're another Tasmanian Devil, the answer is the latter – without the "happy". These ferocious carnivorous marsupials greet each other by biting one another's faces while screaming and shrieking loud enough to raise… do we have to say it?
Sadly, Tasmanian Devils may be following their larger relative, the Tasmanian Tiger, into extinction though in the former's case humans can't be blamed. It seems that the Devils are transmitting a highly infectious and ultimately fatal form of facial cancer with their bites. Attempts are being made to isolate uninfected populations of Tasmanian Devils on islands until the wildfire of cancer on the Tasmanian mainland burns itself out. Hang in there, Taz!
(image via: Ads of the World)
Leave it to the King of Beasts to show off the most majestic yawns! Lions are generally nocturnal and are frequently seen in the wild relaxing with their pride, sated with food. Close quarters and drowsiness during the hottest part of the day leads to a yawn, then another, and then a few more accompanied by quite cat-like stretching.
Talk about living dangerously! Someone should tell that butterfly the lion whose nose it's landed on is yawning, not sleeping. What's unstated is whether the lion is beginning or ending his yawn: small potatoes to you or me but truly a life & death question for the butterfly. By the way, butterflies do NOT yawn so at least the lion's safe.