mammals

Awesome Opossum!

Awesome Opossum!

This week- we are staying up late and meeting the critters who are nocturnal and one of our favorite camp nocturnal residents is the opossum! These marsupials get a bad rap, but they are truly amazing! We invited our friend Ophelia Opossum to come and share some neat facts with us here at camp!

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Hi everyone! I’m here to share with you more about me! Yay!!!

  • I am the only marsupial in North America! That’s right- I have a pouch where my babies grow as they develop!
  • The name is Opossum- true possums live all the way around the other side of the world in Australia and New Guinea! So- remember the O!
  • We are mostly immune to venomous snakes! That’s right- we ain’t afraid of those legless reptiles!
  • I love to eat snails, slugs, beetles and most importantly – ticks! Yep- I can eat around 4,000 ticks a week! That’s good because those nasty bugs can transmit some dangerous diseases.
  • You primates think you are the only ones with opposable toes, well I am here to tell you- I have them too! They help me climb!
  • I also have a prehensile tail! I can hang from it, but only for short periods. I can also carry things like grass with it.
  • I have 50 teeth in my mouth! Say cheese!
  • Finally- I do play dead when I am threatened. It is an involuntary response- I can not control it. I can stay in this state for up to 4 hours!

 

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People say we aren’t cute, but I totally disagree! Look at that pink nose and cute ears! We are much more helpful than you realized! Let’s all give the opossums out there some love and respect! Now, who wants to go play opossum with me down by Lake Salamander?

Categories: adventure, Animals, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, marsupial, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bat Fun Facts

Bat Fun Facts

We love our bat friends! They come out every night by camp searching for mosquitoes.   Brown bats are the ones we see the most at camp! They live just inside the caves on the other side of the lake. These little buddies can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes an hour! Yay! Let’s learn more about bats!

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  • Bats are the only true flying mammal on earth!
  • There are around 1,200 different species.
  • Bats have specialized wings that help them fly- bat wings have five appendages- including a thumb on top to help them climbs.
  • Bat wings are covered in a thin membrane called the patagium.
  • Scientists believe that bats evolved around 100 million years ago.

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  • Bats are nocturnal.
  • Bats use echolocation to detect prey, especially flying insects.
  • Most bats are very social and live in large groups.
  • Some bats do sleep upside down.
  • When a bat’s feet are gripped around a branch upside down they are in a relaxed position. When humans make a fist, their muscles are rigid. That is the opposite with bat feet! Pretty neat huh? 

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These beneficial little critters don’t spend all of their lives in caves, they must come out to find food every night! We just love them!!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, bats, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cuscus or Couscous?

Cuscus or Couscous?

We went on a little night tour near the camp where we are staying this week! We were looking for a super cute animal that calls the forest home! They have a funny name- that sounds similar to that delicious side dish coucous!

ground cuscus

 

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Date: 5/9

Location: Raja Ampat Islands

Ground Cuscus Fun Facts:

  • Ground cuscus are marsupials.

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  • They have prehensile tail. They use it to grip branches.
  • Even ground cuscus are still mostly arboreal, but nest in burrows during the day.
  • They have little to no fur on their ears.
  • Ground cuscus are solitary and mark their territories with urine.
  • Because they are fruit eaters, they disperse seeds throughout the forest causing new growth! Seed dispersers are important for the ecosystems.

We had such a great time watching this little marsupial in the trees. They are quiet and slow moving, but sooooo cool!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Dingo!

Hello Dingo!

We met one of Australia’s most iconic animals- the dingo! These canines are really neat and we so enjoyed watching the ones we spotted!

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Date: 4/18

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Dingo Fun Facts:

  • Dingoes are descendants of the Asian dingo. They are thought to have been introduced to Australia 3,000-4,000 years ago.
  • They can be solitary or found in packs.
  • Dingoes are the largest predator in Australia.
  • Dingoes in the desert are reddish-brown in color and are smaller than their cousin.

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  • Dingoes have excellent vision and can turn their heads about 180 degrees.
  • They have flexible wrist that gives them the ability to climb.
  • Dingoes do not bark, but they yodel/howl.

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Dingoes are quiet intelligent and often they are not loved by livestock farmers. They are predators you know! We think they are just the coolest!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Little Lemur!

Hello Little Lemur!

We are meeting our last animal on Madagascar! It’s a lemur of course! We are so excited! We are heading to the desert of Australia for the month of April! Woot! Woot! Let’s meet this special animal first!

mouse lemur

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Date: 3/30

Location: Madagascar

Grey Mouse Lemur Fun Facts:

  • Grey mouse lemurs are the largest members of the mouse lemur family. It is still one of the smallest primates in the world.
  • They are arboreal and nocturnal.
  • They forage for food alone, but sleep in groups in trees during the night.

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  • Those long tails help the mouse lemur navigate their treetop homes.
  • They store fat in their tails during the dry season, when food may not be as plentiful.
  • Grey mouse lemurs enter a daily state of torpor during the dry season. Their body temperatures drop and metabolism slow down to conserve energy.

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We enjoyed watching these tiny lemurs forage during the night! Good thing we have night goggles! We have enjoyed our time on this magical island! We will have to come back!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civet Civet

Civet Civet!

We spent the last nights of our adventure here in Madagascar looking for some really neat nocturnal animals! (And for those who asked- we are working on a glossary.)  We found the first of our discoveries on the forest floor looking for eats. This strange animal is so cool! We could hardly contain our excitement when we spotted it!

malagasy civet

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Date: 3/29

Location: Madagascar forest

Malagasy Civet Fun Facts:

  • Malagasy civets are shy animals.
  • They can be territorial. They scent mark their territories.
  • Malagasy civets are very vocal. They make a series of noises including grunts.
  • They spend their days asleep in trees and crevices.

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  • They are related to mongooses and fossa.
  • Malagasy civets are the second largest natural predator on Madagascar- the fossa is the largest.

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We love these unusual little animals. They remind of us a raccoon and a fox put together! What do you think?

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ghostly Sounds!

Ghostly Sounds!

Today, we met another super awesome lemur today! They aren’t as crazy looking as the aye-aye we met last week, but they are just as cool.

indri

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Date: 3/21

Location: Madagascar

Indri Fun Facts:

  • Indri are the largest lemur on earth.
  • They are arboreal and diurnal.
  • The native Malagasy name for them is babakoto.
  • Indri leap in a upright position from tree to tree.

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  • Indri mate for life and live in small family groups.
  • Indri are known for their loud songs that can be sung several times a day! These songs/calls are as haunting as they are beautiful!
  • Indri are considered sacred among the native people of Madagascar.

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We so enjoyed watching these amazing lemurs. Those calls are so loud! Unfortunately, Indri are critically endangered mostly due to habitat loss. It is crucial that we all work together to use our resources wisely! Let’s all recycle as much as possible!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Little Tenrec!

Hello Little Tenrec!

We spent our last day of the week in search of a very small mammal that looks like a hedgehog, but it’s not. The tenrec is found only in Madagascar and while they are similar they are not hedgehog relatives.

common tenrec

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Date: 3/16

Location: Madasgascar

Common Tenrec Fun Facts:

  • They are also known as the tailess tenrec. They are the largest tenrec species.
  • Common tenrecs do have a tail- up to 1 1/2 cm in length.
  • Tenrecs are related is not related to hedgehogs. It is thought that is related to elephants, aardvarks and manatees.
  • Tenrecs roll in a ball and have spines similar to hedgehogs, but they do not have the same strong muscle structure of a hedgehog.

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  • Tenrecs roll in sand to help them keep clean.
  • They can have up 32 babies at at time. All of the babies are born without spines.

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We love hedgehogs and their non cousin the tenrec! Can you believe that they might be related to Ellie? Who doesn’t love those cute little feet and funny ears!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aye-Aye Captain!

Aye-Aye Captain!

We slept all day after looking for frogs the night before! Our next adventure was at night too. We went looking for a shy and elusive primate that doesn’t look like a primate at all!

aye aye

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Date: 3/14

Location:  Madagascar

Aye-Aye Fun Facts:

  • Aye-aye’s are the largest nocturnal primate in the world.
  • They are members of the prosimian family, which includes lemurs.
  • They have one long stick like finger they use to grab grubs out of trees. They also use it to tap on trees and listen for bug tunnels!
  • Aye-aye’s are arboreal and rarely if never come to the ground.

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  • Aye-aye’s have long bushy tails to help them navigate their tree homes. In fact they have the longest tail of any prosimian!
  • They sleep during the day in nests of twigs. They rotate nests.
  • Aye-aye’s are solitary. They mark their territory with scent glands in their faces, necks and bums.

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These wild and weird animals are alien looking! When scientists first discovered them they thought they were rodents! Nope- they are primates- related to apes, monkeys and lemurs. Who knew? The world’s rainforests are full such amazing creatures!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, endangered species, Environment, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is That a Cat?

Is That a Cat?

We were so excited to meet today’s animal. We have seen this animal in zoos, but spotting this carnivore on Madagascar was a joy! We were jumping for joy- quietly of course!

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Date: 3/8

Location: Madagascar

Fossa Fun Facts:

  • Fossas are solitary.
  • Fossas are related to mongooses and civets.
  • They are the largest predator on the island of Madagascar.
  • Fossas are excellent climbers and spent a great deal of time in the trees.

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  • Fossas use scent glands to mark their territory.
  • They have retractable claws.
  • Fossas have lost much of their forest home.

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It was great treat to spot this elusive and shy creature. They are gorgeous, stealthy and agile! Woohoo! We love fossas!

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, mammals, nature, science, Today's Post, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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