mammals

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

Today we hoped on a boat to go whale watching. There are several species of whales that call these icy waters home- at least for part of the year. We found the big marine mammals we were looking for- YAY!

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Southern Right Whale Fun Facts: 

  • These baleen whales can grow up to 59 ft and weigh up to 99 tons.
  • There baleen plates grow out of the upper jaw and are over 9 feet long.
  • They have white callusites on their heads and mouths. These are home to whale lice- which are related to shrimp.
  • These whales never leave the Southern Hemisphere.
  • They have large heads. The head makes up a 1/4 of their body length.
  • Southern right whales are also most identical to their Northern right whale cousins.
  • Southern right whales are more acrobatic. They are known to do “head stands” in the water and wave their flukes.

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We had fun spotting the whales. They are often seen near boats and ships. Unfortunately that can lead to run ins, so it is important for boats to watch for them.

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, endangered species, Environment, mammals, nature, oceans, science, Today's Post, whales, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seal of Fur

Seal of Fur

We are meeting another wonderful inhabitant of Antarctica today- a large and in charge mammal- the fur seal. Good thing they have blubber because it is cold! Bbbbbrrr…

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Antarctic Fur Seal Fun Facts: 

  • These seals can grow up to 6 1/2 feet and weigh up to 475 lbs. Males are larger than females.
  • These carnivores eat up to a ton of food in a year! That is a lot of krill and fish.
  • The seals that call South Georgia Island home are the most dense population of marine mammals on earth.
  • Females spend most of their lives at sea. They come ashore to breed and raise their pups. Juvinelles will also spend most of their time at sea until they are mature enough to breed.
  • They can dive around 590 ft deep and remain underwater for about 10 minutes.
  • Males are very territorial of their breeding females. They are known for their fights between each other.
  • These seals are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We loved seeing these seals. This is their summer, so they are pups out and about. They begin to spend their time at sea at around 4 months! Wow- you grow up fast when you are an Antarctica Fur Seal.

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Howling Good Time

Howling Good Time!

Today we are meeting one loud and awesome mammal today! These tree dwellers know how to make a ruckus! We love it!

Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) howling, in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Mantled Howler Monkey Fun Facts: 

  • They have long guard hairs on their face. That is where they get their name.
  • These monkeys are large. Males get up to 22 lbs. ‘
  • They are folivores- leaf eaters. They also eat fruit.
  • They are important for the rainforest, as they disperse seeds when they poop.
  • Mantled howler monkeys live in groups of mostly unrelated adults.
  • They have prehensile tails.
  • These diurnal monkeys are built for life in the trees.
  • They can be heard for a few miles away.
  • Mantled howlers are listed as Least Concern by IUCN.

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We had a blast watching these monkeys. They are fairly lazy though. They spend most of their energy eating. Those leaves did look delicious. We were glad we had snacks, because we’re sure they wouldn’t share.

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One Funny Looking Animal!

One Funny Looking Animal!

We went looking for one funny looking animal of the rainforest. Tapirs, with their long snouts look like they might be related to Ellie, but in reality they are related to Edmond! Neat! Today, we are meeting the largest of the tapir family.

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Baird’s Tapir Fun Facts: 

  • These large tapirs can grow up to 8 ft long and weigh over 800 lbs.
  • Their funny looking feet have four toes on the front and three on the back.
  • Tapirs use their long flexible noses for snorkels, sniffing odors in the forest and for finding food.
  • These nocturnal herbivores look for leaves and fruits during the evening hours.
  • They are excellent swimmers. They head to the water when threatened.
  • Once thought to be solitary, it is now believed they live in small family groups.
  • The young stay with their mothers for up to two years.
  • Baird’s tapirs are listed as endangered due to habitat loss and hunting.

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There are efforts to protect these beautiful animals. It would be a terrible thing to lose such a unique animal.

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Yep, That’s a Cat!

Yep, That’s a Cat!

We are meeting our last animal this week here in Costa Rica and it’s a small wildcat. This place has so many interesting species. These small cats blend in quiet well, so we were super lucky to find one!

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Margay Fun Facts:

  • Margays are built for life in the trees.
  • They have broad flexible toes and long tails that help them climb and keep their balance.
  • They can turn their hind feet 180 degrees allowing them to climb down a tree head first.
  • These solitary cats are carnivores. They eat birds, small mammals and reptiles.
  • Margays are listed as near threatened by the IUCN.
  • They are nocturnal.
  • The fur on the back of their necks grows the opposite direction of the rest of their coats.

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These gorgeous cats are often confused with the ocelot. They have longer tails and a bit smaller. They have those large round eyes to see in the dark too! We think they are just the cutest!

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Not a Raccoon, but it looks like one!

Not a Raccoon, but it looks like one!

We are meeting our first animal here in Costa Rica. It is super cute relative of the racoon.                  Today we are meeting the white-nosed coati. These neat little mammals are one of our favorites.

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White-nosed coati fun facts: 

  • These coatis are the largest of the coati species. They call Central America & Mexico home.
  • Coatis live in small family groups made up of females and their offspring. Males are solitary.
  • These omnivores eat everything from fruit to insects to seeds.
  • Coatis are mostly diurnal.
  • Coatis are very vocal. They use numerous vocalizations to communicate with each other.
  • They often forage on the ground, but sleep in the trees.
  • Coatis use their ring tails to communicate with each other too.

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These intelligent michevious little animal is so fun. We love to watch them run around in th little groups all with their tails up in the air! People think they make good pets, but these wild animals can be very destructive. They have sharp teeth and claws for climbing. Stick with a dog people.

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

Sheep!

Sheep!

We headed to the mountains today to find one neat and large mammal. We had fun climbing all around the trails and looking for these sheep that can climb mountains.

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Desert Bighorn Sheep Fun Facts: 

  • Bothe male and females have horns. The males are large and curved while the females are smaller.
  • It can take a male up to 8 years to have fully formed horns. Their horns can weigh up to 30 lbs.
  • They can weigh up to 280 lbs.
  • Males are known for their head to head combat during mating season.
  • They have excellent eyesight.
  • They live in small herds, made up females and offspring. The males live in bachelor groups.
  • These herbivores are diurnal.
  • They use their horns and hooves to removes spines from cactus so they can eat them.

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These agile sheep and so amazing! They are built to climb and to survive in the scrub land. Watching the males go head to head can be quiet impressive and a bit scary!

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Armadillo Armadillo

Armadillo Armadillo

We headed out to find one of the most iconic animals of the southwest today! We didn’t have to travel far- these funny armored mammals were hanging out right in our camp! Often only seen as roadkill it was fun to observe one wandering around in the wild.

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Nine banded armadillo fun facts: 

  • Armadillos are related to sloths and anteaters. Their relatives, including the giant armadillos have been on earth for around 50 million years.
  • They are carnivores. They can eat up to 40,000 ants at a time!
  • Unlike other mammals who must maintain a high body temperature, they keep their temp at around 90 degrees.
  • They can grow up to 30 inches long.
  • Not all nine banded armadillos have nine bands- they can have anywhere from 8 to 11 bands.
  • These nocturnal animals are covered in a keratin based armor, except on their ears, legs and underside.
  • Nine banded armadillos live in burrows that they dig.
  • These armadillos are unable to curl up in to a ball to avoid predators.

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Armadillos are definitely odd looking with their built in suit of armor, their pig like snouts and their clawed feet. We always love seeing them forage for grubs. And can you believe they are related to sloths?

 

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Doggies of the Desert!

Doggies of the Desert!

We headed out from camp today to meet on the residents for the prairie and the desert. We were excited to find these rodents. Can you guess who were are meeting?

Let’s learn more about the prairie dog!

Prairie Dog

Black Tailed Prairie Dog Fun Facts: 

  • Prairie dogs live in groups called coteries. These family groups include a male or two and several females. The females stay in their group for their whole lives.
  • Their prairie dog towns give shelter to other animals. Their towns also attract insects which birds depend on.
  • They are vocal. Scientists are just beginning to realize how complicated their language is.
  • Prairie dog populations have fallen by 95%, this is mainly due to habitat loss.
  • These prairie dogs do not hibernate.
  • Prairie dogs are herbivores.
  • Black tailed prairie dogs are listed as Least Concern by the ICUN.
  • They get their name from the barking noises they make.

29820FC6-4FBF-44D5-AEE7-AB759AF5D153These rodents and cousins of the common grey squirrel are one of our favorites. There are five species of these little dudes. Scientists are working to protect their habitat and them as they are important for the survival of many species.

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Back to Basics- Classifications

Back to Basics- Classifications

We are back! Sorry for the delay in posts- we had some issues with the Irma. The University is in Atlanta. And then we headed on a short vacation to see our friend TourGuide Ted- the touring bear!

Today we are talking about classification! How do we classify animals? Well we are going to tell you! Let’s start out from top to bottom with classification! Animal classification starts with the Kingdom- which includes all animals on earth! In order to explain classification we are going to break down how Edmond is classified!

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Kingdom – includes all animals! Edmond is an animal!

Phylum- includes more than one class of animals. Chordata is the phylum for animals with a back bone or vertebrate. Edmond definitely has a backbone. 

Class- includes all the animals that go together- such as mammals, birds, insects, etc… Edmond is a mammal.

Order-  included more than one class of animals. Edmond belongs to the perissodactyla order- which means odd toed ungulate. Other odd toed ungulates include tapirs and rhinos. These animals have one large middle toe or just symmetrical toe- like Edmond’s hoof!

Family– is often named after one of its common members. Edmond belongs to the horse family, which includes zebras and donkeys.

Genus– ranks below family, but includes one or more species. Edmond’s genus is Equus. There are seven species in this genus.

Species– a group of animals that have common characteristics and can usually mate with each other. Edmond is a domestic horse (quarter horse). The other species in the Equus genus include; three species of asses, and three species of zebra.

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Classification of animals can get very complicated. It is most often based on the animal’s anatomy. There are some animals that even have their classification changed as scientists learn more about them. Take the giant panda- they were once classified with raccoons and the red panda, but scientists realized that giant pandas are carnivores and belong to the bear family. Pretty crazy right?

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

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