We are taking the week off from animal posts to do some research and get organized! We’re coming up with some fabulous ideas for the new year! We’re thinking of doing some theme weeks, maybe one a month and would love to hear your ideas! Please leave us your ideas in the comments! Thank you so much!
We are going to be posting about our animal adventures in St Thomas this week and we’ll be tweeting and posting fun stuff on Facebook, so check us out there!
Have a fabulous week and a wonderful New Years! We’ll be back in full animal mode next week!
Thank you for your support! We look forward to a great 2012!
Well, who has enjoyed our trip to the Arctic this week? We sure have had fun! We have one more special arctic animal for today’s Feathery Friday and this bird is a beauty covered in all white! Let’s put on our parkas and meet…
MEET THE SNOWY OWL!
Range/Habitat: Arctic Circle/ tundra-open land
Diet: Carnivore: lemmings, rabbits, waterfowl
Length/Weight: 22- 28”/ 2 ¼-5 ½ lbs
Conservation Status: Common
Snowy owls are covered in long white feathers. The feathers cover every part of them including their feet and beak.
They are most active at dusk and dawn, but are diurnal (active during the day) during the summer when there is little darkness.
Females are larger than males and have molted or spotted brown colors on their feathers. This helps them blend in with the ground.
Snowy owls nest on the ground.
They have excellent hearing and eyesight.
Snowy owls mate for life and both the male and female take care of the chicks.
Snowy owls are ambush predators!
You may recognize the snowy owl from Harry Potter; he had one that delivered his mail. We need an owl to deliver our mail. In all seriousness, snowy owls are really neat birds! They have fabulous thick coats of feathers to keep them warm and large appetites. One owl can eat up to 5 lemmings in a day! Yum!
We couldn’t talk arctic animals without including this special hoofed animal! That’s right! We’ve found one of the most famous arctic dwellers of all! Do you have your sleigh ready?
MEET THE REINDEER!
Range/Habitat: North America-Europe-Asia/Tundra-forest
Diet: Herbivore: grasses, moss, lichen
Length/Weight: 4- 7 ¼ ft/ 260-660 lb
Conservation Status: common
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.
Reindeers have a four chambered stomach!
One of their favorite foods is called reindeer moss.
Reindeers are the only mammal that can see ultraviolent light!
Some reindeer populations migrate. They can migrate up to 3,000 miles in one year! Whew, they must be tired!
Besides being really neat, reindeer are famous for pulling Santa’s sleigh! We were hoping to meet a real reindeer this year, but we weren’t able to. We are making some antlers out of pipe cleaners though! What’s your favorite thing about reindeer?
We’ve got our wet suits on, we’re bundled up and we’re head to the cold arctic waters to find a whale on this Watery Wednesday! Are you ready to meet the white whale? Let’s go…
MEET THE BELUGA WHALE!
Range/Habitat: Arctic Ocean
Diet: Carnivore: fish, mollusks, crustaceans
Length/Weight: 13-18ft/ 1-1 ½ tons
Conservation Status: Threatened
Beluga whales are white to ivory in color. This helps them blend in with the arctic ice.
Beluga whales are highly social and can be seen in groups called pods.
They are very vocal too. They make all kinds of sounds, including clicks, whistles, and squeaks.
They are often called the sea canary because they are so vocal.
Beluga whales use echolocation to find prey. Echolocation is when an animal sends out a sound wave and it come back (echoes) to the animal giving them the distance and size of the object.
Beluga whales have large melons on top of their head that is full of oils, tissue and fats. It is thought that the melons help them with echolocation and sound production.
Baby beluga whales are gray when they are born and turn white by the age of 5.
Beluga whales can swim backwards and turn their heads, unlike most other whales.
They have a mouth full of teeth used to eat their prey, but they also use suction to suck up their prey.
Beluga whales are a very special member of the whale family! Their closest relative is the narwhal (Here’s our post about them:
http://ellieandedmond.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=117&action=edit ). Want to hear some of the sounds they can make? You should try out your Beluga whale impression after you watch the video! Edmond will be trying his all day, much to the dismay of Ellie J!
Well, well, well, did you know that there are no reptiles in the arctic? It seems it is too cold for our cold-blooded friends in the arctic! Instead of having Reptilian Tuesday we’re going to have Toothy Tuesday! Do you have your coats on? It’s time to meet an animal with big teeth!
MEET THE WALRUS!
Range/Habitat: Arctic/water, shoreline
Diet: Carnivore: shrimp, sea-snails, fish
Length/Weight: 9 ¾-12 ft/ 1 ¼ -2 ¼ tons
Conservation Status: data deficient
Walrus are large marine mammals with flippers.
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.
Walruses have tusks of ivory. They can grow up to 3 ft 3” long.
Walruses sure are huge and cute! How can you not like their whiskery faces? These blubbery mammals are loud, social and full of personality! They are one of our favorites!
Do you have your coat on for this Mammal Monday? Well, if you don’t you better grab it because all this week we are heading to the chilly arctic circle! In honor of the holiday and the fat guy who lives at the North Pole, we’ve decide to spotlight animals who live there too! First up, a large and in charge bear! Are you all bundled up? Let’s go!
MEET THE POLAR BEAR!
Range/Habitat: Arctic/ice, shoreline
Diet: Carnivore: seals, carrion
Length/Weight: 7-11ft/800- 1500lb
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Polar bears are the largest members of the bear family and the largest land carnivore on earth.
They have two coats of fur, an outer translucent coat that absorbs the sun’s heat and a dense undercoat.
Polar bears have black skin that helps them absorb heat.
They also have a thick layer of blubber to help them stay warm.
Polar bears have rough pads on their paws that help prevent them from slipping and sliding on the ice.
They are excellent swimmers and are often seen in open waters.
They use their large front paws to swim.
Polar bears can smell a seal from a half mile away.
Female polar bears dig dens in winter and stay there to give birth to 1 to 3 cubs.
Polar bear cubs stay with their moms until around the age of 2. They spend that time learning to hunt and be polar bears!
Polar bears are amazing animals! They are built to live in the cold arctic! These large and in-charge bears are a protected species! We hope to have them around for a very long time!
Happy Feathery Friday! Whoooo is excited to meet today’s bird? We sure are! This little resident of Europe and Asia is a cute and stealthy hunter! Do you have your night goggles on? Let’s meet…
MEET THE TAWNY OWL!
Diet: Carnivore: mammals, birds, reptiles
Length/Weight: 14 ½-15 ½”/16-20 oz
Conservation Status: Common
Tawny Owls are nocturnal (active at night).
They mate for life.
Tawny owls’ plumage is streaked and provides excellent camouflage. It kind of looks like tree bark.
They do not have very good night vision; instead they use their excellent sense of hearing to locate their prey.
Tawny owls nest in holes in trees.
Both female and male owls take care of chicks.
Tawny owls are fluffy little owls! They have a very haunting call! We bet if you live where they live it would be fun to sit up at night and listen for them! We’re getting our blankets and flashlights ready, are you?
Hello! Have we found a lovely member of the antelope family for you on this Super Surprise Thursday! This desert dweller is made to live in the hot climate! Do you have your sunglasses? Well let’s meet this animal!
MEET THE GEMSBOK
Range/Habitat: South Western Africa/desert, scrub
Diet: Herbivore: grass, shrubs, wild melon and cucumber
Length/Weight: 5 ¼-7 ¾ ft/ 220-460lb
Conservation Status: Common
Gemsboks are also called the Southern Oryx.
Gemsboks are adapted to live in dry climates.
They live in herds of around 25 individuals that include females, several males and one dominate male.
They eat mainly during dusk and dawn to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Gemsboks have long beautiful ringed horns.
Gemsboks also have beautiful black and white markings on their face.
Herds gather in shaded areas during the heat of the day to stay cool.
Gemsboks can go weeks without water.
We think Gemsboks are graceful and beautiful antelopes! Gemsboks have some fabulous adaptations for living in the desert! What would you bring with you to survive in the desert? Ellie is bringing water and mud for sunscreen and Edmond wants a giant bag of apples!
We found a fun coloring sheet you can print of the Gemsbok:
Woohoo it’s Watery Wednesday again and we have a reptile that lives in the shallows of rivers and ponds! What? Yep, we have a reptile for Watery Wednesday! Come meet this little turtle…
MEET THE TWIST NECKED TURTLE!
Range/Habitat: Northern South America/river-ponds
Diet: Carnivore: insects, snails, tadpoles
Length: 5 ½-6 ½”
Conservation Status: Common
Twist necked turtles do not pull their heads backwards into their shells, they pull them sideways.
They are relatively bad swimmers, and usually stay in shallow waters.
Twist necked turtles have very flat carapaces (top shells).
These neat little turtles have a very special adaptation as they pull their head in sideways and not backwards. They are one of the very few turtles who are able to do this on the planet! Neat! What kind of special adaptation do you have? Can you touch your nose with your tongue or make silly faces? Ellie can touch her back with her trunk!