mammals

Large Lynx

Large Lynx

We met a neat cat today here in Norway! There are lynx in America, but the ones that call Europe home are the biggest members of the lynx family. Come learn more about them with us.

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Eurasian Lynx Fun Facts:

  • These cats can grow up to 51 inches long and weigh up to 66 pounds.
  • These carnivores eat mammals, including small mammals and larger prey like reindeer.
  • Their back legs are slight longer than the front ones.
  • They are crepuscular- active at dusk and dawn.
  • Males occupy a large territory. There are several females living within that territory. That are usually solitary.
  • They have dense fur to keep them warm in the winter months. Longer fur grows on their paws to help them walk in snow.
  • Eurasian lynx are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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These cats are quiet the predators. They can take down prey much bigger themselves. We love their ear tufts and big paws!

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Hello Antelope!

Hello Antelope!

Happy Monday and we are so excited for you to meet the animal we spotted this weekend. They have some fantastic antlers! Are you ready to meet the kudu?

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Greater Kudu Fun Facts:

  • Greater Kudu can grow up to 96 inches long and weigh up to 700 pounds.
  • Only the males have those impressive spiral horns.
  • Those horns can grow up to 3 feet long!
  • They have a crest of fur that runs down their back.
  • They live in family groups that consist of females and their offspring. The males are solitary or live in small bachelor groups.
  • These herbivores eat vegetation, fruit and grasses.
  • Greater kudu are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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It was fun to spot some males with their spectacular antlers! Can you imagine having those attached to your head all the time?

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Oh Those Ear Tufts!

Oh Those Ear Tufts!

We headed out in a Jeep to find a predator on the plains today! We were looking for a feline, but not a lion, cheetah or leopard. So who were we looking for you ask? This cat is small, but mighty and they have some of the greatest ears around.

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Caracal Fun Facts: 

  • These medium sized cats can grow up to 42 inches long and weigh up to 44 lbs. The males are larger than the females.
  • They are the largest member of the small cats in Africa.
  • They are famous for their large ear tufts or tassels. It is thought that they use these to communicate with other caracals.
  • These agile carnivores eat small mammals and birds.
  • They are able to leap 10 feet into the air to catch birds in flight.
  • Caracals are mostly solitary and highly territorial.
  • They mark their territories with scents and physical marks like claw marks on trees.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We were so excited to spot this sleak predator. They remind us of the house cat that lives at HQs, except he is a bit plumper and lazier.

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Meet Ellie’s Cousin

Meet Ellie’s Cousin

We are going to meet a small, rodent look a-like today. But, guess what? It’s not a rodent, it’s one of Ellie’s closest living relatives! Are you ready to go on today’s adventure?

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Cape Rock Hyrax Fun Facts: 

  • Cape Hyrax can grow up to 12 inches and weigh up to 13 pounds.
  • Their teeth, toes and skull are structured like elephants.
  • These little herbivores even have two elongated teeth like the tusks of an elephant.
  • They live in family groups of 20-80 individuals.
  • Hyrax have little glands on their backs they use to mark their territory.
  • They do have elongated noses too. Males have longer noses than females.
  • Hyrax have little suction cup like pads on their feet to help climb.
  • These little prey animals can spot a predators over 900 feet away.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN>

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These funny little critters of course is one of our favorites! We bet you would have never guessed they shared an ancestor with elephants.

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

Hello Shrew

Hello Shrew

We are off to the southern part of the country for a day trip to locate one small mammal. They are named after elephants, but we can assure you they are not elephants. Grab your gear and let’s head off on today’s adventure to meet the cape elephant shrew.

cape elephant shrew

Cape Elephant Shrew Fun Facts:

  • Shrews are distantly related to moles. They are not rodents.
  • They are also called the Cape Elephant Sengi.
  • The cape elephant shrew weighs around 50 grams.
  • These insectivores eats insects of all kinds.
  • They get their names from their long noses like look like and elephant’s trunk.
  • Their scientific name includes the word- Elephantulus.
  • They prefer dry, rocky and arid habitats.
  • They are listed as LEAST CONCERN by the IUCN.

 

What a joy it was to spot this tiny little animal. It’s not easy and it took some patience waiting in an area where they are known to hunt for insects. Sometime we forget that habitats all around the world have some amazing little animals. These forgotten creatures are important too.

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

Hellooooo Panda!

Hellooooo Panda!

We are meeting our last animal here in China- probably the most iconic one. The Giant Panda is close to our heart. These funny bears call just a few zoos home and we have been lucky enough to have a pair and their offspring right down the road from HQs at Zoo Atlanta. Let’s learn more about these national symbols of China.

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Giant Panda Fun Facts: 

  • Giant pandas live in bamboo forests in the mountains of China.
  • That bamboo makes up 99% of their diet. That’s right, these carnivores eat a mostly herbivore diet, with the occasional fish or protein.
  • Because bamboo is not very nutritional, pandas can eat 20-40 pounds a day.
  • They have an elongated wrist bone called a pseudo-thumb (fake thumb), that helps them hold bamboo.
  • Pandas grow up to 5 feet long and can weigh up to 100 lbs.
  • Females give birth to little pink cubs whose eyes and ears are closed when they are born.
  • Those cubs stay with their mom for about a year and a half.
  • Pandas are excellent climbers.
  • Fossils of giant pandas ancestors have been found that are 1-2 million years old.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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These funny bears are one of our favorites. Their unusual markings make them a favorite with many people! They have a big fan club! One of our favorite comics is all about pandas- it’s called Your Brain On Pandas! Check it out!

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

Macaques!

Macaques!

Hello! Today we are meeting one of the most popular primates in Asia- the Rhesus Macaque! They are super cool and we hope you think so too!

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Rhesus Macaques Fun Facts: 

  • Rhesus macaques live in large troupes, of around 40 individuals.
  • Their groups of matriarchal, led by females.
  • Males leave their troup when they are mature.
  • These omnivores eat insects, roots, leaves and pine needles.
  • They can become a nuisance when they live near humans. They are known to steal food.
  • Rhesus macaques are highly intelligent.
  • They are excellent climbers and swimmers.
  • They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

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We had such fun watching a troup of macaques in the afternoon. They spend it finding food and grooming each other and lounging. Their little faces are all so different and each individual has their own personality.

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One Neat Monkey

One Neat Monkey

Our first day here in China we head to the mountainous forests in the Southwest of the country to meet a really neat monkey! We’re not sure we’d call them cute, but they are awesome! Come meet the Golden snub-nosed monkey with us!

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Golden Snub-nosed Monkey Fun Facts: 

  • These monkeys live where it can snow. They tolerate colder temperatures than most non-human primates.
  • Males are larger than females (about 1/2 the size of males). They have longer hair on their backs.
  • The have flattened pushed back noses that are open nostrils.
  • They live in groups of 20-30 individuals during the cold winter. The smaller groups come together in the summer and you may fine groups of 200 individuals.
  • These herbivores eat pine needles, lichen, bamboo shoots and fruit.
  • They are highly vocal.
  • Golden snub-nosed monkeys are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

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We enjoyed viewing these monkeys in the trees. It is amazing that these primates can tolerate such cold. Most primates live in tropical climates. Do you think they have sweaters stashed somewhere?

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Monk Seal

Monk Seal

We hung out on the beach to meet one of Hawaii’s most endangered animals- the Hawaiian Monk Seal.  We took the SS Ellie and Edmond up to the northern islands for the week to spend some time in the reefs and among areas where there are few humans. This is where we met these special marine mammals.

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Hawaiian Monk Seal Fun Facts: 

  • These tropical seals can grow up to 7 ft long and weigh up to 600 lbs.
  • They are carnivores. They eat fish, lobsters, octopus and eels.
  • Monk seals got their name from the fold of skin that resembles a monk’s robe’s cowl. Their Hawaiian name -Ilio holo I ka uaua- means dog that runs in rough water.
  • Females are slightly larger than males.
  • They shed their hair and outer layer of skin once a year. This is called a catrostrophic molt. During this molt, they spend their days on the beach.
  • Hawaiian monk seals are the state mammal of Hawaii.
  • They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. There around 1,500 individuals.

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We had a blast seeing these seals sunning themselves on the beach. They are just the cutest. They have some great organizations working to save them too! Check out Save Monk Seals website for more info!

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

We Are Fanimaly- Whales & Hippos

We Are Fanimaly!

It’s Hippo Day and we are doing a We Are Fanimaly! Today we are discovering that hippos closest living relative is the whale! Whaaaaaa? You ask! That’s right they share an ancient ancestor millions of years ago and then went on very different paths!

 

  • Hippos and Whales split on the evulotionary line about 54 million years ago.
  • Whales once had feet and walked on land, before they evolved in to fins.
  • Hippos and whales have multi-chambered stomachs. They do not regurgitate their food like rumanents though. The food works it way through the chambers before going to the true stomach.
  • Marine mammals have one lobed lungs, unlike terrestrial animals who have multi-lobed lungs. Hippos share the trait of one lobed lungs with their whale relatives.
  • Hippos also have large voice boxes that are similar to whales. They are known to make clicking noises similar to some species of whales. In fact, most hippo communication takes place under water.

 

Well we bet you had no idea that hippos and whales shared some seriously neat traits! As if we need more reasons to love hippos!

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

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