mammals

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

Say Hello to Our Stinky Friend

Say Hello to Our Stinky Friend

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The Salamander Woods are home to another night time creature- the spotted skunk! You heard it here folks, not all skunks are striped- some are spotty! We’re going to learn more about them this evening as we roast marshmallows at the campfire!

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Spotted Skunk Fun Facts:

  • These skunks are not very big, only about 21 inches long with tail. They only weigh around 1 1/2 pounds!
  • They are part of the mustelid family, which include weasels, otters and badgers.
  • Spotted skunks are considered to be the most active of all the skunks.
  • They live underground or in trees.
  • These little stinkers stomp their feet before spraying a predator. They then do a handstand to get the best shot at shooting their prey with extra stinky spray.
  • They are omnivores.

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We sure are glad the family of skunks here at camp are friendly. We would hate it if one of our campers was sprayed. Luckily we have a solitary tent for those who make get it! Hahahaha!

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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: , , , , , , , , , | 1 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!

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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!

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