Tag archives for Animals
Next week, Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo will host an animal election for “President” of the zoo. Among the candidates are a lion, an Andean condor, and a red panda. Visitors to the zoo can vote from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. If you can’t visit the zoo, you can also vote by email.
Photo courtesy of Fran Mandeville
Scientists have discovered a new species of giant amphipods, or shrimp-like animals, in one of the world’s deepest ocean trenches. The Kermadec Trench is found off of the northern coast of New Zealand. The largest of the amphipods is an amazing 11 inches (28 centimeters) long. “Amphipods are common to deep-sea trenches, but they’re usually 2 to 3 centimeters [about an inch] long. They turn up in a matter of minutes like a swarm of bees and simply devour all of the bait,” said Alan Jamieson, a marine biologist at the University of Aberdeen and co-leader of the expedition that found the animals.
Photograph courtesy Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen
The next 2 weeks we spent on the beach, one of my most favorite places on earth. Our first stop was La Pedrera, a hippie village on the sea. While we were there we went to a ceramics school and made tons of beautiful things.
Long beach walks every day were both beautiful and relaxing. I love the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves. Sure I miss home, but when we have stops like this I am so grateful we are on this trip. After three fabulous days in town we left for a beach house two steps from the waves. It was a fantastic place to relax and take it all in. I spent hours sitting in a hammock enjoying the surrounding beauty. One of the nights at the house I made my parents a three course meal with vegetable soup, sautéed shrimp and spinach pasta, and durazno y naranja helado (peach and orange ice cream).
BOOK NAME: Belly Up
AUTHOR: Stuart Gibbs
Hippos may not be the cutest and cuddliest of creatures. They rank second behind the Cape buffalo on the list of the most dangerous African animals. They are often ill-tempered and messy beasts. Henry the Hippo was no exception, but Henry’s special title was mascot for Funjungle, a brand-new and extremely popular zoo/theme park. Shortly after arriving at Funjungle, Henry mysteriously died.
12-year-old Teddy is determined to find the cause of Henry’s sudden and unexpected demise. Teddy is the son of a renowned gorilla researcher and expert wildlife photographer. He spent 10 years of his life in the Congo, so he knows his animals. Henry’s death may not have been from natural causes. When Teddy secretly attends Henry’s autopsy, he discovers that Henry was murdered! A small, sharp object was placed in his food, and it poked holes in his digestive tract, eventually killing him. Teddy decides to try and apprehend the perpetrator of this heinous crime. However, the case quickly gets complicated. It turns out that Henry was not well liked by many people, all of whom are possible suspects in Henry’s murder. Not only that, the real murderer wants Teddy off his/her case, immediately! If Teddy does not solve the mystery soon, he might be the next casualty!
I have high praise for Belly Up. The element of mystery regarding Henry’s death kept my interest. As the story unfolded and new clues were discovered, I kept trying to guess the culprit. In a startling twist, the real murder was someone I had never guessed. The book was also very suspenseful. The killer made several attempts on Teddy’s life throughout the story. Those parts were very exciting. I liked how the book included an element of humor. Teddy often uses sarcasm and makes many funny comparisons and points. For example, he compares one security guard’s physique to that of a rhinoceros. The story was told in first person point-of-view, which added depth to the plot. Seeing the events through Teddy’s eyes, and knowing what he heard, smelled, saw, felt, and thought made it seem as if I was experiencing the story myself.
Photograph from Museo Paleontologico de Caldera via AP
After a long drive and a late night arrival at Sapana Lodge in the Chitwan National Park, we woke up to the sound of stomping elephant feet. When I looked out the window through the mist I saw a huge elephant and her mahout (the driver and keeper of the elephant). Later that morning my mom and I got to get in the river with our elephant and bathe her. The best part was when she splashed us with her trunk and got us all wet.
To top off the outstanding day, I got to make treats for the elephant and then feed them to her. Her treats were made with dried rice and rice stalk.
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Churchill, Manitoba, will get about a thousand polar bear visitors this fall. Every year, tourists flock to Churchill to see the polar bears, which are in the area while they wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over. If you can’t make it to Manitoba, you can watch live footage of the polar bear migration on National Geographic, courtesy of Explore.org, Polar Bear International, and Frontiers North.
Photograph courtesy of explore.org
Chandelao Garh, a beautifully restored 300 year old fort, is now an awesome hotel located in a small village in Rajasthan. My mom loves great architecture. I was fortunate enough to have stayed in The Carriage Room where they stored the horses and the carriages years ago.
Next door is a center called Sunder Rang, an arts program that gives the ladies in the village a place to gather and make all sorts of beautiful crafts. Everest and I spent some time there. We made colorful and creative anklets and button necklaces.
We did so many amazing things while we were in Chandelao. We went on a trip to a nearby village where they do the block printing on fabric.
While we were looking for the block printing factory a group of kids started following us. At one point we stopped to look at an adorable baby goat and I saw that about 30 or more children were behind us.
Do you know how many tigers there are in India? Take a guess… Ok this is the answer… there are about 1,000 in India and about 3,000 in the world. A century ago there were 40,000 tigers just in India and about 80,500 tigers in the world! It is really sad, the numbers have declined because people have been hunting them. Many animal protection groups throughout the world are trying to put an end to this.
I was really lucky, out of the 1,000 that remain in India I got to see one 15 year old mama tiger in Ranthambhor National Park. She was only a few feet away from us. We were some of the only visitors that got to see a tiger this time of the year.
While we were in Punaka, the home to one of the most beautiful and important Dzongs (spectacular forts or monasteries), we got to see two elephants that were brought from the south of Bhutan for the royal wedding. Everyone was crazy about the elephants because they don’t have elephants in Punaka, so these were the first elephants most of the people had ever seen. People were giving the elephants bananas and some were even giving them money. What made the experience even cooler was that we got to pet the elephants. Their trunks were really hairy.
When we arrived in Bhutan, Chhimi, our guide and Kinley, our driver were waiting for us. We got to see an archery match on the way to our hotel. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
There was a lot of preparation going on because the royal wedding was only a few weeks away. The king is going to marry a commoner which is a big deal. Everyone loves the king and his soon to be bride and is very excited about the wedding. After a nice first night in Paro it was on to the Haa Valley.
During or time in Haa the king was also spending some time there because a couple weeks ago an earthquake struck Bhutan and did some damage. While we were in Haa we went on some great hikes. One of my favorites was to a monastery on the top of a mountain. When we reached the top we shared lunch with some friendly dogs.
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How does a cow digest its lunch? “Eat, upchuck, chew the barfed-up cud.” That’s just a sample of a weird fact you’ll pick up at the cow station at the Animal Grossology exhibit at National Geographic in Washington, D.C.
This new exhibit is filled with all kind of gross facts. You’ll get the scoop on your cat’s hairballs, a cow’s four stomachs, weird undersea creatures, and more. You’ll also learn the science behind the yucky tidbits so you can explain the fact to your friends! The exhibits are interactive, and there are a bunch of games to play. Special demonstrations held every day will show you the science behind bioluminescence and how germs are spread between people.
Animal Grossology opens at the National Geographic Museum today. The exhibit will run through January 2, 2012.
Photographs courtesy of Advanced Exhibits
Scientists have discovered a new species of dolphin in Australia, and it lives near Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia (by population). About 100 of these dolphins have been found in Port Phillip Bay.
What makes these dolphins different than bottlenose dolphins? Their skulls have a different shape, their dorsal fin is more curved, and they are “tricolored.” Their coloration includes dark gray, mid-gray, and white. The new dolphin has been named the Burrunan dolphin, after an Aboriginal phrase meaning “large fish of the porpoise kind.”
Photograph by Adrian Howard/AFP/Getty Images
BOOK NAME: Young Fredle
AUTHOR: Cynthia Voight
Have you ever wondered how the world looks from another creature’s point of view? Do you think that everyday things would seem more interesting or exciting if you saw them through a mouse’s eyes? Even the tiniest animals can have some big and exciting adventures.
Fredle is a house mouse. The only environment he has ever known is the kitchen in which he dwells along with his extended family. The nightly routine involves finding morsels of food while avoiding the house cat, then returning to sleep with the family. However, Fredle is quite curious and adventurous. His curiosity gets him into all kinds of trouble, and his sweet tooth puts his life in danger more than once. He strays from his normal routine once too often, and that leads to an unfortunate consequence.
One night, while foraging with his cousin, he devours a new type of food that makes him very ill. Sick or weak house mice are forced out of the nest, because they can no longer contribute to feeding the family. Fredle is pushed out of his nest and finds himself carried outside. Fredle must learn to survive in the wild. He must discover how to find food and water or risk starvation. He must also avoid the jaws and talons of new and ferocious predators. Unfortunately, Fredle’s only lifelines are his own instincts and a couple of field mice who are trying to teach him about staying alive. Fredle longs to get back to his family and his original home in the kitchen where he feels safe.
This book had a good storyline and main character. I liked how the author wrote the story through the Fredle, a house mouse’s point of view. It gave the story an interesting twist because boring things like grass or dirt were described in unique ways. For example, Fredle saw grass as an unending forest of long green stalks. I also liked how the animals could speak to each other, but the humans in the story could not understand them. It made the story seem slightly more realistic, despite the fact that the book is purely fantasy. For instance, the dogs occasionally talk to Fredle or their owners, but all that the humans hear are barks, whines, and growls. The book also had a touch of humor. In one part of the story, Fredle is hiding under the porch when one of the dogs catches his scent. When the dog asks who is under the porch, Fredle whispers “nobody”. The dog thinks that the porch is deserted and walks away confused (It is much funnier in the book). Overall, the book was all right, although the story was a little slow developing.
BOOK NAME: Fern Valley
AUTHOR: Aileen Stewart
Do you want to read some interesting stories about animals? Then you may want to read Fern Valley, a collection of short stories written by Aileen Stewart.
This book has many stories about animals who are all neighbors and friends in Fern Valley. These animals have lots of fun but learn lessons, too. For example, Kimmy Curlytail, a pig, one day came across a locket that wasn’t hers. She, however, was amazed with its beauty and decided to keep it for a little while. When guilt started to overcome her, she soon realized the importance of the locket for Alice, and returned it to her. Kimmy learnt never to take something that isn’t hers. Another story tells of Roberta and Mildred Cornstalk, two chickens filled with ideas. When it rained, the two girls called some friends over and guess what they did! Using some quilts they made a whole indoor fort in which they played inside. All of the other stories were just as exciting as these two.
This short book is a great pick to read when you have some free time. The animals in this book are just like us. That’s why it’s fun reading about the activities they play and the important lessons they learn. The morals that these stories teach us can be used in our everyday life. Also, it was easy to remember which family was what animal such as the Curlytail family was pigs and the Woolrich family was lambs. So, read this book and share the stories, for I’ve already read the book twice!
BOOK NAME: Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage
AUTHOR: Sophie Webb
Do you ever wonder what fabulous life forms dwell in the deep ocean? Would you ever want to travel far from shore and discover what is beneath the surface of the sparkling blue waters? Then maybe a career like Sophie Webb’s is one for you! Sophie is a naturalist and artist with a strong interest in birds. In this book, Sophie describes one of her voyages into the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). The purpose of her journey is to count, photograph, and take samples of the vast array of marine life that live in the ETP. This information will help to show the human impact on this unique and diverse ecosystem. Sophie observes the seabirds and dolphins, and through illustrations and writing, describes her unique experiences over the four-month voyage. From tiny flying fish to massive blue whales, Sophie’s art depicts the incredible wonders of nature.
This book was especially interesting for me to read. Marine biology and art have both been my passions for as long as I can remember. I’ve drawn thousands of pictures of ocean animals, and have learned many names and characteristics of many species of marine life. This book taught me about new creatures and incredible facts that I had never heard of before. For example, I learned that spinner dolphins can look different depending on where they are found. I also used to think that sperm whales were the deepest divers, but thanks to this book, I now know that Cuvier’s beaked whales hold the record for deep dives. I also have begun to draw some of animals pictured in the book, using Sophie’s illustrations to create masterpieces of my own. This story took me on a fascinating ocean adventure. It is a short and easy non-fiction read, making it a very unique combination that is a welcome addition to any reader’s collection. The story is written with such incredible detail and paints realistic images of the sea life. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Thanks to everyone who is following the blog and leaving comments and questions! luckstomper: The largest animal we saw on the Mastic Trail were parrots. When we were visiting the Iguana Sanctuary, we observed the iguanas and took photos, but we didn’t touch them. zanes brother: Our hotel is right on the beach and has an awesome pool that we LOVE. There’s a coral reef right off shore, and we all love our rooms!
Maddie: MaddiesDad: I saw fish and corals from above the submarine. I can’t remember what kinds of fish I saw and not much about how they looked. My favorite activity so far was when we went snorkeling. I saw so much cool fish.
Aunt Gigi: The most amazing sight so far was the sea turtles at the turtle farm. I saw babies too. I’m going back tomorrow when we are going to hold the turtles. The activities I’m most looking forward to are the turtle farm and when we are going to a different island. The submarine ride already passed but that was one of the activities I was excited about. I also really liked the blue iguanas.
My favorite part of the day was Stingray City. I loved the smooth, soft texture of the stingrays. Someone told me they were slimy at an aquarium I went to, so I was nervous to touch one until today. They weren’t slimy at all.
Thanks to everyone who has left comments for us! Skimp27, the food is pretty much the same as the food we eat at home, but there’s a lot more seafood. The hotel is really nice. We love that we can walk right from the pool to the ocean, and it’s very close to cool sites. The drives to the activities are pretty short.
Emmie: This morning we departed our hotel after breakfast and drove to the Mastic Trail. It was a longer bus ride then the ones before, but the scenery was amazing! There were really pretty trees with gorgeous orange flowers, cows, and even a sign with “Goats for sale” written on it! We got to the trailhead, where we were met by our guides. We split into four groups–two each of parents and kids. Our tour guide was very interesting, talking about birds, plants, and the island’s history. A few minutes into the hike, our tour guide stopped and pointed out what looked like an ordinary fern. Then we looked closer. A tiny little snake lay curled up on the fern! It was amazingly camouflaged, looking exactly like the fern it sat on. Our guide explained that this was a ground boa-a very rare species of boa constrictor. It was so small, we could hardly believe that it was a boa! As we continued, he pointed out several species of toxic plants, including one that had fruit that could kill a horse. Needless to say, we gave those plants a wide berth. The trail became very rocky, so we had to look at the ground to make sure we didn’t trip. There were some tiny flowers that I doubt I would have noticed otherwise. They were lovely, and we got some great pictures.
A little further down the trail, we heard woodpeckers. The guide located the nest and told us that woodpeckers had been almost wiped out by Hurricane Ivan. I borrowed Kobie’s binoculars and saw a woodpecker feeding a baby chick. The woodpecker had a striped head and was amazing to view up close. However, since it was up a tree that was off the trail, it was very hard to photograph. Also hard to photograph were the swallowtail butterflies, which were very fast. I managed to capture one shot of a bright orange butterfly near Michael’s knee. After some more walking, the trail evened out. We came upon a mango tree, which had very small, yellow fruit. We took a few, which were very sweet and stringy. When we finished the two-mile hike (which took us two and a half hours because we kept stopping) we stepped gratefully into the air-conditioned busses and guzzled ice cold water.
BOOK NAME: National Geographic Kids Almanac 2012
AUTHOR: National Geographic
Did you know that the smallest bone in your body is smaller than a grain of rice? Did you know that a lunar eclipse lasts about one hundred minutes? Did you know that there is a big annual celebration in Brazil called “Carnaval?” Did you know that the people of the Hindu religion celebrate a holiday called “Diwali,” which in English means “Festival of Lights,” that is also the meaning of the Jewish holiday called “Hanukkah?” You can learn all of that and so much more in the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2012!
In the book, there are different sections. You can read about amazing animals, going green, different cultures, the world billions of years ago, and even about how the world will be in the future! There’s also a game section, where you can play the same kinds of games that are in the magazine. I loved the quiz to stump your parents.
I would recommend this book to anyone. I flipped every page, always interested to know more. I had a lot of fun playing the games, too. Overall, I think the almanac is just like a great big issue of the magazine!
On the back of the book, it says “Dare to Explore!” That’s exactly what the almanac does; it makes you want to explore and discover new things.
Want to learn more about the almanac? Check out the video and get a sample of the amazing facts you’ll find inside!
Tarantulas shoot silk from spigots in their feet like Spider-Man and are able to keep their balance and stick to whatever they are walking on. Scientist Claire Rind of the University of Newcastle examined tarantula feet under a powerful microscope and found silk-producing spigots mixed in with the tarantula’s regular hairs. She also saw silk coming out of the spigots. Rind studied three kinds of tarantulas: the Chilean rose, the Indian ornamental, and the Mexican flame-kneed tarantula.
If you could squirt sticky silk out of your feet, what would you climb?
Photograph courtesy Claire Rind
This Sunday, May 8, is Mother’s Day. Kick off the celebration by watching this video about baby seal Puff and her search for her mother.
What are you going to do for your mom this Mother’s Day? If you need inspiration, try these cool activities:
Studies suggest that sea urchins don’t have specialized eyes, the way people do. Instead, a sea urchin uses its entire body to see. A new study leads its research team to believe that sea urchins use their tube feet as retinas (the part of the eye that absorbs light), while pigmented cells in the rest of the animal’s body help block out extra light. Earlier studies had found that where and how many spines were on a sea urchin’s body affected how well it could see.
Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
One year ago, on April 20, 2010, an oil rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill that started with the explosion was the worst in U.S. history. A year after the disaster, the Gulf appears to be bouncing back–at least on the surface. Many animal populations were affected by the oil, and there is still oil in the depths of the Gulf, even if it cannot be seen on the surface. However, scientists warn that the true scope and lasting effects of the oil spill won’t be known for a long time.
Photograph courtesy Stephen Lehmann, U.S. Coast Guard
BOOK NAME: Little Joe
AUTHOR: Sandra Neil Wallace
Have you ever wondered what it is like growing up on a farm? Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace is a realistic fiction book about life on a farm. It shows how love and affection towards an animal will make the animal love back.
Eli Stegner is a young boy who is growing up on the Stegner farm. He gets his first calf which he names Little Joe. Everyday, Eli gets closer to Little Joe, his big black calf. Caring and compassionate Eli teaches Little Joe to follow his directions and helps Little Joe when he has to part with his mother, Fancy. Soon, Eli, along with Grandpa’s help, starts preparing Little Joe for the annual Country Fair. This is where everyone shows their animals in the show ring and the owner of the meatiest calf wins a blue ribbon. Eli’s big dream is for Little Joe and him to win the blue ribbon and he has high hopes on it.
I would definitely recommend this book for others to read. The book sets a lively mood. The story is simple to follow and is filled with fun moments. There are lots of details about calves and how to raise them. At the front of the book there is a labeled diagram of a cow’s body parts which I would refer to while reading the book. My favorite part in this book is the “Big Night” when Eli and Grandpa see so many amphibians coming out of hibernation.
BOOK NAME: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Kelly
Do you like to explore in your own backyard? Well, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a book about this hobby. This science fiction novel, written by Jacqueline Kelly, encourages you to pursue your interest.
Calpurnia is an eleven year old adventurous girl who lives in Austin, Texas in 1899. Rather than doing household chores, Calpurnia loves to explore the woods. She goes to her lonely, grumpy scientist grandfather to get the book, The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin to learn more about nature. Thus begins Calpurnia’s relationship with her grandfather. Grandfather and Calpurnia discuss about many scientists and their accomplishments. They go to the river and observe animals like baby foxes, squirrels, and bears. They watch a moth’s life cycle and make liquor out of pecans. Together, they realize how a gold grasshopper is the same species as a green grasshopper; they just have different colors because one gets less water than the other one. Grandfather and Calpurnia even discover a new species of plants called Vetch. Calpurnia has a keen interest in science and is a young naturalist!
I loved reading this book and would recommend it to others. It received a Newbery Honor which it truly deserves. It is hard to believe that in 1899 it was difficult for a woman to become a scientist. Incorporated into the story are many tips for a young naturalist. It is interesting how each chapter begins with a Charles Darwin’s theory that relates to the event in the chapter.