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The eels’ journey back to their birthplace in the Coral Sea can be as long as 4000 kilometres. They make the journey only once. After spawning, they die. The Asian Clarias Catfish is another that can live 56 out of water for a long time. It has a second breathing organ to get oxygen directly from the air, and often it will ‘walk’ from one pond or river to the next. It is a big fish, over half a metre in length, and it wriggles and jumps along by twisting and turning its body. Mostly this happens at night and in the rain – then its skin stays moist and isn’t exposed to the sun.

He gives this to the female and then quickly gets on with the mating business while she is busy unwrapping her parcel. 27 By the time she has done so, the male has completed his task and scurried off to safety. In other species the male plays tricks on the female. Either he satisfies his own hunger by sucking out the juices from his gift and wrapping up the empty husk, or he doesn’t put anything in the parcel at all. By the time the female has discovered the deceit, he is long gone. Even so, it’s a risky way for the male to reach freedom!

If the next tree is too far, they don’t mind crash-landing on the ground. They aren’t hurt, and the ridged scales on their bellies make it easy to grip tree trunks and climb up high again. It seems they’ve invented a new game called Snakes without Ladders. Rocket launchers Biologists say that the world high-jump record is held by the common flea. The best of them reach a height of 20 centimetres. That’s huge for such a tiny insect. It’s like an Olympic high-jumper leaping an eight-storey building.

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