Posts Tagged With: science blog

Back to Basics- Reptiles & Amphibians

Back to Basics- Reptiles & Amphibians

We are on our last day of learning the basics on the groups! We have much more to learn! Today Professor Carl the Chameleon is catching everyone up on reptiles and amphibians.

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Let’s learn some reptile basics first and then more about our amphibian friends.

There are around 7,984 reptile species on earth. Reptiles first appeared on earth around 340 million years ago. The largest group of reptiles is lizards. You can find us on most continents except Antarctica. You can even find some of us in the worlds’ oceans.

What makes a reptile a reptile?

  • We are covered in scales.
  • We lay eggs.
  • We are ectothermic.
  • We have lungs for breathing.
  • We are vertebrates.

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Our scales cover our epidermis and they are made of keratin. When we grow we shed our scales. Some of us do this in pieces and some of us, like snakes- shed their whole layer at once.

Turtles, tortoises, crocodiles and most lizards have movable eyelids. Snakes have a fixed clear eye covering that they shed when they grow too.

Most reptiles have poor hearing and none of us can taste.

Snakes and some lizards have a forked tongue that they “smell” with. They pick up scent molecules with their tongue and use an organ in their brain called the Jacobson’s organ to analyze those molecules.

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Most reptiles lay their eggs and leave them. They provide no parental care for their young.  There are some reptiles that incubate their eggs inside their body and give birth to live young.  The crocodilian family and a few lizards to protect their eggs and young.

 

Amphibians

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Now let’s talk some about our amphibian friends.

There are around 5,000 species of amphibians. They have been around for 370 million years.  There are three groups of amphibians; newts/salamander, frogs/toads and caecilians.

The word amphibian means dual life. They live a life in the water (usually as young) and then on land (usually as adults).

What makes an amphibian an amphibian?

  • We are ectothermic.
  • We are vertebrates.
  • We breathe through our skin.
  • We go through metamorphosis. We do not look the same as young as we do as adults.

Amphibian young use gills to breathe. Young frogs and toads are called tadpoles and they have tails and no legs.

We have no scales and no hair. Our skin can absorb water and we need water to keep it moist, this helps us breathe. We all have poison glands in our skin!

Adult amphibians have lungs, but we do not have rib cages. We can also absorb oxygen through our skin and through the lining of our mouth.

Most amphibians deposit eggs in water. We can lay anywhere from 2 to 50,000 eggs.

 

 

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

Wear Your Bonnet

Wear Your Bonnet

Can you imagine a shark wearing a bonnet? That would be funny looking- not to mention hard to swim with- hahaha! Today we are meeting a relative of the hammerhead- the bonnethead shark!!

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Bonnethead Shark Fun Facts: 

  • Bonnetheads are smaller sharks- they can grow up to 59 inches- about the length of a refrigerator.
  • They call estuaries, bays and sandy bottoms their home.
  • Their heads are more rounded than that of the larger hammerhead species.
  • Like all other sharks they are carnivores.
  • Bonnethead sharks live in small groups.
  • They can live up to 15 years.

 

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These smaller hammerheads are so cool. A recent study by scientists may suggest that they eat sea grass, which would make them omnivores! Wow! That would be super cool!

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

Rocking with the Guitar

HRocking with the Guitar

It’s SHARK WEEK here at Camp E&E by the Sea! We love our cartilaginous friends and we are so excited for our campers to meet a few sharks and one of their relatives in the ray family. These creatures have been calling the world’s oceans home for over 400 million years. Today we’re going to meet a member of the ray family- the shovelnose guitarfish.

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Shovelnose Guitarfish Fun Facts: 

  • Shovelnose guitarfish are members of the ray family.
  • They look like you combined a ray and shark all in one.
  • They range in color from olive to grey to tan.
  • Females are larger than males.
  • These bottom dwellers eat mollusks, crustaceans and fish.
  • Shovelnose guitarfish are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
  • They have a row of spines along their back near the tail.

 

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These amazing fish are so neat! Can you guess why they are called guitarfish? They are shaped like a guitar, but they have no strings attached! Hahaha!!

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

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

Holy Marsupial Moley!

Holy Marsupial Moley!

We’re back from spring break! Woohoo! We headed back to our camp at the edge of the desert and went exploring in the evening! We didn’t spot our animal today, but we did spot it’s track moving under the sand! The Southern Marsupial Mole is one neat and crazy animal!

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Date: 4/17

Location: Great Victorian Desert

Southern Marsupial Mole:

  • Southern Marsupial moles have hard horny covering over their noses.
  • They have large claws for digging.
  • Its neck bones are fused together to protect it. 
  • They do not have working eyes, as they spend most of their time underground in the dark.
  • Southern Marsupial Moles are not related to other moles.
  • They do not dig permanent tunnels- just travel right under the sand surface. It is similar to “swimming” in sand.
  • Its silky fur keeps sand off of it. 

 

We had fun watching these little mysterious creatures under the sand. Can you imagine not having eyes because you live in darkness and they are not really useful?

Categories: adventure, Animals, Atlanta, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, 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!

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

Howdy Gecko!

Howdy Gecko!

What’s more fun than meeting a new friend right in your camp? When you’re out exploring, some of the coolest animals can be found wandering around your home base! In this case, we found the Madagascar Day Gecko on the porch!

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Date: 3/27

Location: Madagascar- Base Camp

Madagascar Day Gecko:

  • Madagascar day geckos do not have eyelids.
  • They have flat toe pads to help them grip when climbing.
  • Madagascar day geckos are one of the largest day gecko species.

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  • They can range from green to bluish-green in color.
  • Madagascar day geckos prefer a humid habitat.

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We had the best time watching these little reptiles at camp. They are so cute and funny!

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

One Tiny Lizard!

One Tiny Lizard!

We headed into the forest to look for one of smallest lizards in the world! Madagascar is home to many species of chameleons. We wanted to find some of the smaller ones- the brown leaf chameleon. It takes a good eye, some nice binoculars and a great guide to find these cute reptiles!

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Date: 3/20

Location: Madagascar

Brown Leaf Chameleon Fun Facts:

  • Brown leaf chameleons resemble dried up leaves on the forest floor.

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  • When threatened, they curl up their legs and tail and roll over on their side and stay perfectly still.
  • Like other chameleons their eyes move independently of each other.
  • Male brown leaf chameleons attract a female by rocking their body and nodding their head.
  • Professor Carl is showing us how long the brown leaf chameleon is!

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  • Brown leaf chameleons are not always brown! They can be olive, green, beige or red!
  • They have a stiff ridge running down their spine.
  • Brown leaf chameleons are diurnal.

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We had a lovely day exploring the forest. We had to walk carefully to watch for these small reptile predators. We love chameleons and their crazy eyeballs and funny feet!

 

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

Aye-Aye Captain!

Aye-Aye Captain!

We slept all day after looking for frogs the night before! Our next adventure was at night too. We went looking for a shy and elusive primate that doesn’t look like a primate at all!

aye aye

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Date: 3/14

Location:  Madagascar

Aye-Aye Fun Facts:

  • Aye-aye’s are the largest nocturnal primate in the world.
  • They are members of the prosimian family, which includes lemurs.
  • They have one long stick like finger they use to grab grubs out of trees. They also use it to tap on trees and listen for bug tunnels!
  • Aye-aye’s are arboreal and rarely if never come to the ground.

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  • Aye-aye’s have long bushy tails to help them navigate their tree homes. In fact they have the longest tail of any prosimian!
  • They sleep during the day in nests of twigs. They rotate nests.
  • Aye-aye’s are solitary. They mark their territory with scent glands in their faces, necks and bums.

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These wild and weird animals are alien looking! When scientists first discovered them they thought they were rodents! Nope- they are primates- related to apes, monkeys and lemurs. Who knew? The world’s rainforests are full such amazing creatures!

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

Is That a Cat?

Is That a Cat?

We were so excited to meet today’s animal. We have seen this animal in zoos, but spotting this carnivore on Madagascar was a joy! We were jumping for joy- quietly of course!

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Date: 3/8

Location: Madagascar

Fossa Fun Facts:

  • Fossas are solitary.
  • Fossas are related to mongooses and civets.
  • They are the largest predator on the island of Madagascar.
  • Fossas are excellent climbers and spent a great deal of time in the trees.

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  • Fossas use scent glands to mark their territory.
  • They have retractable claws.
  • Fossas have lost much of their forest home.

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It was great treat to spot this elusive and shy creature. They are gorgeous, stealthy and agile! Woohoo! We love fossas!

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

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