Posts Tagged With: mammals

Dogs in Africa

Dogs in Africa

We spent our day watching a pack of wild dogs. These amazing canines are so fascinating. Let’s learn more about them!

 

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Date: 2/7

Location: Serengeti

African Wild Dog Fun Facts:

  • African wild dogs’ name in Latin means painted wolf.
  • They are highly social. They live in a pack with a dominate breeding pair.
  • African wild dogs hunt in packs.
  • They can reach speeds of up to 35 mph. They generally can not outrun a prey animals, but instead can wear it out.

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  • Females are the ones who leave the pack when they are mature adults.
  • The entire pack eats together with no show of aggression to each other.
  • The pack also helps raise the pups.

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These gorgeous canines need a large territory. Unfortunately as their habitat disappears, so do the dogs. Many zoos in the US are working with partners in Africa to make sure these dogs are around for future generations.

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

Unicorns of the Sea!

Unicorns of the Sea!

We couldn’t resist to make one last stop in our trip to the Arctic Circle to see some narwhals! They are one of our favorites- we even have two narwhals living at HQs! We had a great time on the SS Ellie and Edmond boat watching these unicorns of the sea!

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Date: 12/20

Location: arctic circle

  • The Narwhal is often called the unicorn of the sea.
  • They have the most northerly range of any mammal on the planet.
  • Narwhals have a modified upper incisor tooth that grows up to 9ft long.
  • This tooth looks like a horn. It grows through the upper mouth and is seen mostly in male Narwhals, but females can have small tusks.  Scientists aren’t completely sure what the purpose of the tusk is, but think it might be for attracting females.
  • The long tusk is made of ivory, just like an elephants tusks!

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  • Narwhals have a thick layer of blubber, like other arctic animals that help keep them warm in the cold water.
  • Narwhals swim in groups called pods. Pods can include as many as 1000 individuals.
  • Narwhals are very communicative and use a wide range sounds, including clicks and whistles.
  • They suck food through their powerful lips and tongue.

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Narwhals are amazing animals! They survive in very cold waters and grow this awesome long tusk that makes them look unique!  If you could pick a crazy adaptation like tusks what would it be?

 

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

Foxy

Foxy

We’re meeting our last few animals this week before heading home to HQs at the University for the holidays. We wrapped up in our cold weather gear to head out and find the Arctic Fox. These amazing little mammals survive in some of the worst conditions. It’s amazing!

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Date: 12/19

Location: Arctic circle

  • Arctic fox have white coats of fur in the winter to help them blend in with snow. In the summer, their coats turn to brown.
  • Arctic fox’s tails are large and bushy. They help them with balance and they help keep them warm on the coldest days of winter.

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  • Arctic fox don’t hibernate- despite living in such cold conditions.
  • Arctic fox will gain up to 50% of their body weight in the fall to prepare for winter.
  • They live in dens with complex tunnels that are not deep in the ground.
  • Arctic fox are the only native mammal in Iceland.
  • The arctic fox’s range was much larger during the ice age.

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We had a great time watching a few fox around the tundra. These gorgeous little beauties are cunning hunters and scavengers. We are glad we don’t live where they do for sure! It is cold!

 

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

Meeting the Caribou!

Meeting the Caribou!

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Date: 12/14

Location: Arctic circle

  • Reindeer are also called caribou.
  • They vary in color and size depending on where they live. Reindeer that live closest to the arctic are white in color.
  • Both female and male reindeer have antlers. Males lose their antlers in the winter.
  • Reindeer antlers are covered in a layer of fur called velvet.
  • Their noses are specialized to warm cold air before it enters their lungs.

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  • Reindeer have a four chambered stomach!
  • One of their favorite foods is called reindeer moss.
  • Some reindeer populations migrate. They can migrate up to 3,000 miles in one year! Whew, they must be tired!

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We have seen reindeer before, but our excitement never diminishes. These graceful members of the deer family with their velvet covered antlers are so amazing! Plus we are always on the lookout for one with a shiny red nose and we have yet to find one! Haha!

 

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

We are the Walrus

We are the Walrus

We’re off to the Pacific ocean in Northern Canada to meet the gregarious, fat and funny walrus. We love these giant marine mammals and we couldn’t have been more excited to see them again! We made sure to bundle up before making our way over on the ice!

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Date: 12/12

Location: Arctic circle

  • Walrus eat prey off the bottom of the oceans and use suction to eat.
  • They can stay underwater for up to 25 minutes and can dive down to 330ft deep.
  • They are highly social and often are seen in large groups, called herds.
  • Male walruses are twice the size of females.
  • They have rough wrinkly skin and very whiskery faces.
  • A walrus’ skin can be up to 4″ thick.

 

  • Walruses have tusks of ivory. They can grow up to 3 ft 3” long.
  • Walrus babies can weigh up to 174lbs when born.
  • Like seals, they lack external ears.

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Those magnificent tusks always remind Ellie of her tusks. These social animals always make us laugh with their grunting and barking sounds. We can’t even handle how they get around- so funny!

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The Real Wolverine!

The Real Wolverine

We headed out to meet the real wolverine, the furry ferocious animal that is famous for its tenacious attitude! This arctic dwellers are so cool!

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Date: 12/8

Location: Arctic Circle

  • Wolverines are solitary.
  • They occupy a large territory and will roam up to 15 miles a day.
  • Wolverines live in North America, Asia and Europe.
  • They are called the “skunk bear” by the Blackfeet Indians.

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  • Wolverines do not hibernate.
  • Their dense fur helps them stay warm even in the snowiest conditions.
  • Wolverines have webbed feet that act like snowshoes.
  • Females give birth to 2-5 kits (babies) in late winter in a den. The kits are white!
  • Wolverines are often found in rugged areas.
  • They have a strong sense of smell. They can find carrion buried 6 feet in the snow.

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These little furry animals are very cute, but they are tough and territorial. It’s best not to confront one. Even though they are listed by the IUCN as Least Concern, they have disappeared from much of their home range. They are no longer found in most of the US now, even though they once called the Rockies home.

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

Off to the Arctic

Off to the Arctic

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We had such a great time in the Pacific Northwest in November, but it’s off to the Arctic for December. The arctic is so iconic during this time of year, as it is the home of the big fat guy in the red suit- Santa! We thought it would be fun to meet the animals that call the Arctic home including; reindeer, owls, fox and marine mammals! We can hardly wait to meet these amazing creatures that have adapted to live in this cold weather climate.

We have packed a whole bunch of gear and we’ll be wearing our cold weather gear when we go on our adventures. Horses and elephants are built for these cold temps- but that’s the fun of going on adventures- surviving the habitat and weather!

Fun Arctic Facts:

  • The Arctic is the northern most habitat on our earth. The Arctic circle runs through Asia, Europe and North America.
  • The Arctic has one day of full night (during winter) and one day of full light (during summer).
  • The Arctic gets is name from the Greek word for bear- Arktos. This is from the constellations that are over the northern skies- Little Bear & Great Bear.
  • The Arctic ocean lies within the Arctic circle.
  • Much of the Arctic is the tundra, which has permanent frozen ground. Most plants that grow in the Arctic are small shrubs, moss and lichen.

Grab your cold weather gear and let’s get ready for a great adventure this month!

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

Meeting Moose!

Meeting Moose

We have some dear friends who are moose! They live in the UK and they are wild bunch! But we had never meet some wild Canadian moose. We headed up the coast into Canada to meet some moose!

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Date: 11/9

Location: Canada Temperate Rainforest

  • Moose are the largest member of the deer species.
  • Moose can eat up to 70lbs of food a day. As the winter comes that drops down.
  • Only male moose have antlers. Sometimes those antlers are called paddles. They can weigh up to 40 lbs!
  • Like other deer species, they shed their antlers in the winter.
  • Like their cousins the Roosevelt elk, they are excellent swimmers.

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  • Each moose have a flap of skin under their chin that is called a bell.
  • They are crepuscular-most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Most moose are solitary, except during mating season.

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We had a great day, watching these wild moose forage for food. The name the Algonquin tribe have for moose means “twig eater”. Hehehe- we do love to nibble on some grasses and maybe a piece of bark too. Good thing there was plenty to snack on in the forest!

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

An Elk Named Roosevelt

An Elk Named Roosevelt

Today we went looking for one of the largest members of the North American elk family. It’s a great time of year to find these great animals, as it is mating season. We could hear them call in the mist in the morning. Did you know that males coat themselves in urine to attract the ladies? Eeeeewww…

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Date: 11/7

Location: Pacific Northwest

  • Roosevelt elks were named after President Teddy Roosevelt.
  • They have large antlers with three point tips on each one. Those are called crowns. Only the males have antlers.
  • Like other animals with antlers, they shed them during the fall and winter.

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  • Some herds of elk migrate, while others do not. It all depends on food supply throughout the year.
  • Elk have two large canine teeth made of ivory. They are the only animal with antlers to have such teeth. It is believed to be a remnant of their extinct ancestors.
  • Adult male elks are called bulls. They are solitary or live in bachelor groups.
  • Elk are very vocal.

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We had such a great time in the forest watching the elk graze on ferns and moss.  We found a few more males and goodness did they stink! We sure are glad lady elks (cows) enjoy that smell. Mating season is called The Rut- neat!

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

Island Sea Lions

Island Sea Islands

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Date: 10/17

Location: Galapagos Islands

  • Galapagos sea lion are smaller than their California sea lion cousins.
  • Galapagos sea lions love sardines. They can suffer in years when the sardine population is low.

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  • Like other sea lions are also very vocal. They communicate with each other with barks and grunts.
  • Galapagos sea lions have long pointy snouts.
  • Males have large crests on their heads.
  • Dominate males have a territory that they share with a group of females.
  • Non-dominate males live in small bachelor groups.

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We sat and watched the sea lions all afternoon today. They are very gregarious and loud, not to mention a bit smelly! Hehehe! The islands have very strict rules on watching these social pinnipeds- you must not get too close. That is a good rule for the wildlife and the people who love to watch them.

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

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