rivers

OLYMPIC ANIMALS WEEK DAY # 3

OLYMPIC ANIMALS DAY # 3

We’re off to Southeast Asia to find a little fish with amazing archery skills! Don’t worry they don’t have a crossbow and arrow, they spit water! Grab your wellies and let’s head out to meet today’s Olympic worthy animal!

MEET THE ARCHERFISH!

   Range/Habitat: Indo-Pacific/ brackish waters & freshwater habitats

   Diet: Carnivore: insects

   Length/Weight: up to 16”/ up to 2 ¼ lbs

   Conservation Status: Common

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Archerfish are silver and black.
  • They have excellent eyesight!
  • Archerfish shoot jets of water out of their mouths. They can shoot it up to 5ft away.
  • They shoot insects off of low hanging vegetation and leaves.
  • Archerfish are very accurate.
  • Young archerfish must practice their shooting skills.

 

Archerfish have amazing skills! Adults rarely miss their targets! We bet these fish could win any Olympic archery competition, fins down!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, education, Environment, fish, nature, Olympics, rivers, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TENNESSEE AQUARIUM ROAD TRIP!

Field Trip to the Tennessee Aquarium!

Recently we took a road trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee and man did we have a great time! The Tennessee Aquarium has not one but TWO buildings to explore! The first one is dedicated to fresh water habitats and the second building houses some of your favorite ocean dwelling animals! That’s right everyone, you can spend your day visiting animals from all over the world and that is exactly what we did!

We started out hanging out in the plaza, getting the lay of the land and deciding on where we should start.

Out front of the Aquarium!

We decided to head into the Freshwater building first! There, they not only have great animal exhibits, but they have Ranger Rick’s backyard safari!

We headed down to check this area out  and catch a live animal encounter! We stayed to meet some cool birds, including the Galah.

 

 

Our next stop was to check out some sea horses and their relatives! They are just so cute!

Pipefish

 

Piprfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sea dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then boarded the escalator that takes you to the top of the building, where you make your journey through cool freshwater habitats! Isn’t it neat that you start from the top and make your way down to the bottom!

A really biiig tree!

This is where we met some adorable river otters!

Otters have a good time!

These guys are so playful and graceful; we could have stayed there for hours! But alas, we had to keep going, there was much more to see! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then as we kept exploring we stumbled upon some amazing amphibians! Check out these frogs and newts!

Poison Dart Frog!

Newt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re even bigger than this guy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next was a big exhibit with all kinds of reptiles, fish and birds! They all live in one habitat, because that’s how it would be in the wild. Well, the American Alligator was separated from the other animals, but that’s understandable.

Alligator tail!

Turtle party!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turtle and ducks getting along!

 

Off we went to find turtles and tortoises! Two of our favorites in this exhibit were the Indian Star Tortoise

Indian Star Tortoise

and the Long neck turtle.

Long neck turtle!

Wow, turtles and tortoises come in so many shapes and sizes! The big exhibit in this building was shut down while we there, because the aquarium was prepping for their new exhibit River Giants! That’s ok, because it just gives us a reason to go back :)! We just love all the conservation messages that the aquarium has all around too!

We need to protect our rivers!

 

We took a lunch break to refuel before heading over to the second building! We chomped on some apples and hay by the Tennessee River. As we were sitting there we watched a wild Great Blue Heron have some lunch too! He scooped up a fish from the river and swallowed it whole! YUM!

Heron! Look closely and you’ll see the fish in his throat!

Having lunch by the river!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch, we were ready for our second adventure for the day! We found a lovely habitat that took us to basin of the Amazon!

Tropical!

 

We first found some very spotty fresh water sting rays! Did you know that there are rays living in rivers? Pretty cool!

Stingrays!

Then we found a pair of Hyacinth Macaws! These beautiful big blue birds were so much fun to watch! We stood there for a good 15 minutes or so watching their antics!

upside down!

 

It’s the pair!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our favorite shot of the day! Bonk!

 

So pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These gorgeous birds are the largest flighted parrot on the planet!

We then stumbled into the butterfly habitat! Edmond was excited because he just loooves butterflies! We had a hard time getting pictures of these insects as they fly away so very fast. But it was so fun to find them.

Do you see the butterfly?

As we headed out of the warm, humid habitat that the butterflies live in, we began to get colder. Yep, we were getting close to the penguin habiat! The aquarium has gentoo and macaroni penguins and they are so cute! They were getting ready for breading season and gathering rocks to make nests. The penguins are very picky about the rocks they choose and work very hard to make the nests! Be careful though, penguins have been known to steal other penguin’s rocks!

Penguins!

He’s getting a rock to build a nest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finally went off in search of sharks!

Thanks goodness we found a shark cage!

And we were in luck, because they have them at the aquarium! Too bad we couldn’t get a photo of them, but they have to keep swimming in order to breathe.

So it was off to meet some cephalopods! We chilled out and watched the octopus for a while! He was very active and just fascinating!

Octopus!

 

Look at those suckers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ooooo…

 

We wanted to cuddle with the cuttlefish we saw, but they weren’t up for it. Oh well, maybe next time.

Hello cuttlefish!

As we made our way out, we stopped for a photo op!

It feels like we’re in the ocean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last stop of the day was at the IMAX theater where we saw a movie about coral reefs!

Lobby of the IMAX theater! We have but one world to share!

Coral reefs are one of the most amazing habitats on the planet! It made us want to go snorkeling immediately!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an amazing time at the Tennessee Aquarium! If you’re ever in Chattanooga, you have to go there! They do a great job with their exhibits, their animals and their conservation message!

On our way home! We had a great day!

 

Categories: adventure, amphibians, Animals, Children, education, Environment, fish, Local, nature, oceans, octopus, penguins, rivers, science, turtles, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WATERY WEDNESDAY # 41

WATERY WEDNESDAY# 41

We’re off to the Amazon today to meet an ancient fish. These large fish are so unusual and amazing! Let’s all hop in the boat and go exploring!

MEET THE ARAPAIMA!

   Range/Habitat: North South America/ rivers-Amazon river

   Diet: Carnivore: fish, birds

   Length/Weight: 8 ¼-15 ft/ up to 440 lbs

   Conservation Status: unknown

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Arapaimas are one of the largest fresh water fish in the world.
  • They have a long dorsal (top) fin near their tail.
  • Arapaimas are ambush predators.
  • They tend to stay close to the surface of the water.
  • Arapaimas are living fossils. They have been around since the Jurassic period.
  • Arapaimas have inefficient gills and therefore must also breathe air from the surface.

Wow, these fish also breathe air? That is crazy! Isn’t cool that they’ve been on the planet for so many years too?

 

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, education, Environment, fish, nature, rivers, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SUPER SURPRISE THURSDAY #38

SUPER SURPRISE THURSDAY# 38

Man, we couldn’t decide where to go today, because the bird we found lives all over the place! So we’re off to Europe to meet this wading bird! Grab your wellies and night vision goggles and let’s head out to meet today’s bird!

MEET THE BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON!

   Range/Habitat: North-South America-Africa-Asia-Europe/wetlands-rivers

   Diet: Carnivore: fish, frogs, crustaceans

   Length/Weight: 23-26”/18-29 oz

   Conservation Status: Common

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Black crowned night herons are also known simply as Night Herons in Eurasia.
  • They feed at night and dusk.
  • Black crowned night herons wade in shallow waters and ambush their prey.
  • They have excellent vision in dim light.
  • Black crowned night herons rest in trees during the day.

 

We just love these little stocky herons! We could watch wading birds all day and night! It is so fun to see them catch their prey! Do you have a favorite wading bird?

 

Categories: Animals, birds, Children, education, Environment, nature, rivers, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

REPTILIAN TUESDAY # 37

REPTILIAN TUESDAY # 37

We’re staying in the North American woods today to find a little reptile who lives in ponds! Grab your bug spray and your waders because we’re off to find this great reptile!

MEET THE WOOD TURTLE!

   Range/Habitat: Southeast Canada-Northern United States/ponds, woods,

streams

   Diet: Omnivore: worms, slugs, leaves, insects

   Length: 5 ½-7 ½”

   Conservation Status: endangered

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Wood turtles are diurnal (active during the day).
  • They are excellent climbers.
  • Wood turtles have pyramid shaped scutes.
  • Wood turtles have perfect coloration to camouflage in their habitat.
  • They hibernate in rivers in winter.
  • Wood turtles are intelligent and have excellent homing skills (finding their way back to their habitat).
  • They can live up to 40 years.

Wood turtles are really amazing turtles. Scientists have even tested these turtles in mazes and they do as well as rats! Pretty cool! They are endangered though, primarily due to habitat loss and taking the turtles from the wild. Turtles can make great pets, but it is very important that if you get a turtle, you get them from reputable breeder and not the wild!

 

  

 

 

Categories: Animals, backyard, Children, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, rivers, science, turtles, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WATERY WEDNESDAY # 36

WATERY WEDNESDAY# 36

We are off to Africa today to meet a small but extraordinary fish! These little fish have been on the planet for a very long time! Let’s gear up and head out to meet these little animals!

MEET THE ORNATE BICHIR!

   Range/Habitat: Western-Central Africa/ lakes, rivers

   Diet: Carnivore: fish, crustaceans

   Length/Weight: up to 16”/ up to 18 oz

   Conservation Status: Common

Fun Facts:

  • Ornate bichirs are considered to be the most beautiful member of the bichir fish family.
  • They are beige with black markings.
  • Ornate bichirs are small and oblong.
  • They have armor like scales.
  • Ornate bichirs stalk and ambush their prey.
  • They can stay out of water and breathe regular air for short periods of time.

What? There’s a fish that can breathe air? That is some crazy stuff! We can tell you that this small elephant and horse cannot breathe under water, although Ellie can stick her trunk out of the water :)!

 

 

Categories: africa, Animals, Children, education, Environment, fish, nature, rivers, science, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SUPER SURPRISE THURSDAY # 34

SUPER SURPRISE THURSDAY# 34

We’re going down to the banks of the Amazon River today to meet a very special mammal on this Super Surprise Thursday! Grab your bug spray, sunglasses and cameras and let’s set out to find and meet these giant animals! (*A reader asked for more pictures- so starting today we will be posting more pics with the posts! Enjoy!)

MEET THE GIANT RIVER OTTER!

   Range/Habitat: South America/ rivers, wetlands

   Diet: Carnivores: fish, crabs

   Length/Weight:  3 ¼-6 ft/49- 71 lb

   Conservation Status: Endangered

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Giant River otters are the largest of all freshwater otters.
  • They have webbed feet and flat wide tails to help them swim.
  • Giant river otters can close their ears and nostrils underwater.
  • Their large whiskers help them find prey in murky waters.
  • Giant river otters eat 6-9 lbs of food a day.
  • They live in small family groups that consist of 2 parents and their offspring.
  • They are very social and vocal. They use all kinds of chirps!
  • Giant river otters are diurnal (active during the day).
  • They live in dens on the banks of rivers.

Giant river otters are just the cutest! They each have a unique pattern on their throats that makes them easy to identify. Who wants to stay in the Amazon with us and study these amazing animals!

 

Categories: Animals, Children, education, Environment, mammals, nature, rivers, science, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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