How Big Can Rabbits Grow?

by Abigail Gezae, age 9

If you’re from the midwest, you’ve probably seen a rabbit before. Rabbits are small fluffy creatures with long ears and short puffy tails. There are over 30 species of rabbits and they can live in different habitats.

Rabbits and hares are similar in several ways and even share the same taxonomic family, Leporidae. However, they are different in genera, or subfamilies. Eleven types of genera exist within the taxonomic family.

Rabbits can be as small as a house cat, others may grow as big as a small child. A small rabbit like the pygmy rabbit can be as little as twenty centimeters in length and weigh less than a pound. In comparison, larger rabbits can grow to 50 centimeters and weigh more than 10 pounds. According to the Guiness World Records, the world’s longest rabbit was 129 cm long and 49 pounds! [read more]

Things You Didn't Know About Ostriches

by Dalya Alquraishi, age 9

Did you know that ostriches only have two toes?

Ostriches on average are taller and heavier than a young human. The diet of an ostrich consists of a lot of plants. Some of these include grass, flowers, fruits, leaves, seeds and roots.

Newborn ostriches are precocial, meaning they are well-developed and can feed themselves. They leave their nest at just three days old. After four months, they become independent. Ostriches make their nest on the ground, since their eggs are big. In fact, they are so big that 24 chicken eggs could easily fit in just one ostrich egg. [read more]

How a Rare Asian Bird Found a Home in Nevada

by Camila Cruz, age 14

The Himalayan range in Asia is home to the largest and highest peaked mountains, including Mount Everest, where a rare bird species called the snowcock is found. Additionally, snowcock birds can be found in the Ruby Mountain range in the state of Nevada. Now, how did this rare bird species arrive from Asia to the United States?

It is quite interesting how these birds established a home for themselves on the mountains of Nevada. The Himalayan birds were considered to be good game for humans to hunt. As a result, the Nevada Fish and Game Commission brought a couple of birds from Pakistan and later took them to a farm in Nevada, where they thrived because the two places have similar climates. Over the course of 15 years, the birds were released into the wild, where they reproduced, found a stable home, and continued to grow their species.

The snowcock is a gray bird that weighs four to seven pounds and is about 22 to 30 inches in length. This species of birds create their nests on the ground close to rocks and grass in order to be protected from windy weather. Normally, they lay around four to six eggs. Shortly after hatching, hatchlings leave the nest to find their own food, looking for berries, grass, shoots, seeds and water. [read more]

The Worlds Deadliest Invertebrates

by Malaya Lawson, age 10

We all know about invertebrates like insects and spiders. Did you know some can be deadly? Today we are going to talk about mosquitoes, kissing bugs, tsetse flies, bees and the Indian red scorpion.

Mosquitoes are the deadliest insect and kill over 700,000 people yearly. Malaria is the deadliest disease caused by mosquitoes. Along with malaria, mosquitoes are host to yellow fever, Zika, and other diseases. The maxillary palp is a special body part of the mosquito that helps it detect humans. Specifically, this organ detects the release of carbon dioxide, and people who drink beer or have a larger body mass are more attractive to mosquitoes due to this detection. In addition, people with O type blood are preferred by mosquitoes but no one knows why. Some people believe that it is because they smell better to mosquitoes.

The kissing bug, also known as the vampire bug, is another deadly inset. Its name comes from the fact that it bites people around soft tissue of the mouth. This bug is found in 28 U.S. states and is thought to come from Central America. The main disease caused by the kissing bug is the Chagas disease, which kills around 12,000 people per year worldwide. Although the disease is rare in the U.S., people who are bitten by the kissing bug could be asymptomatic for up to two months, and chronic cases often show few effects. In some cases, however, people can develop heart disease or failure 30 years after initial contact with the bug. [read more]

Key Mountain Gorilla Population Shows Signs of Recovery

by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 11

A recent study revealed that a key population of mountain gorillas in Africa is growing. Scientists recently conducted a survey gorillas in the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem, a protected region that lies on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Those in charge of conserving these species counted over 450 gorillas in this region. By comparison, in 2011 there were only 400 gorillas in the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem. This region consists of about 340 square kilometers of trees, bamboo, and mixed grasslands. The land includes Uganda's Bwindi Rainforest National Park and the Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Republic of Congo. This is one of the last places on earth where there are still mountain gorillas.

It has to be recognized that mountain gorillas will continue to be an endangered animal species due to the destructive acts of bad people. This remarkable species almost became extinct at the end of the twentieth century. The conservation of these animals has helped many gorilla populations groups in Virunga and Bwindi recover. [read more]

How Polar Cubs Learn from Their Mothers

by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 11

Polar bears are large predators. These animals are also very protective, instincts that come from their mother.

These powerful bears love to eat seals. Young polar bears learn how to hunt seals by observing their mother. When they are young, the cubs follow her to watch and learn the correct way to hunt. They usually wait for the seal to come out of the water and then attack.

Polar bears learn to swim at a young age. They are excellent swimmers, because of their great strength. They use this skill to their advantage while hunting and swimming with powerful paddles. Mothers are very protective of their cubs and will do anything to keep them safe. [read more]

What Makes Owls Unique? It’s Their Eyeballs!

by Sofia Zapata, age 12

Owls are fascinating creatures. They are known for their big wide eyes, although they don't actually have eyeballs at all.

Instead, owls have sclerotic rings in their eyes. Sclerotic rings are rings of bone found in the eyes of many animals. Human eyes are different from owl eyes because humans don't have sclerotic rings. Owls are unable to roll their eyes; this means they have to turn their entire head to see around them. Owls make up for their lack of eye movement by turning their necks about 270 degrees in both directions, and 90 degrees up and down.

Owls' eyes are gigantic, the eyes alone make up about 3 percent of its entire body. Owls are farsighted, they can't focus on objects that are too close. But to make up for this, the owls' whiskers are used to detect objects that are in close proximity. [read more]

Did You Know that "Killer Whales" Are Actually Dolphins?

by Max Moreno, age 9

Many people think that sharks are at the top of the food chain in the ocean, but that is not true. The correct answer is the Orca, also known as the killer whale.

There are about five species of killer whales. Orcas are not only deadly but they are also the largest members of the dolphin family, they can weigh more than 13,000 pounds. These creatures may look like a friendly type of dolphin. However, when dinner time comes, they become vicious hunters. Orcas are apex predators that can hunt alone or groups called pods. Each pod can have between five to 30 orcas. They can eat almost any ocean animal, and unlike other ocean predators, they hunt other warm blooded animals. Orcas' diet consists of fish, squid, baby whales, sharks, seals, and even whales larger in size.

Killer whales are able to capture their prey by emitting high frequency clicks and then listening for their echo to bounce back from objects in the water, such as prey. Additionally, Orcas have skilled tactics to capture prey when they try to escape. For example, sometimes seals get on pieces of ice to avoid being hunted in the water. Rather than giving up, Orcas can swim at top speeds to create huge waves that push seals off the ice causing them to become prey. To add on, Orcas usually play with their food, sometimes they play to keep their hunting skills up and sometimes it's just for fun. [read more]

Cheetahs: The Fastest Runners on the Planet

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Cheetahs are well known because they’re really fast. Cheetahs can even run up to 60 to 70 miles per hour.

Cheetahs live in parts of Africa and the Middle East. They live and hunt for food in grasslands and bushes. Cheetahs have great vision to hunt prey like gazelles, wildebeests, hares, and impalas. Although the prey can be fast, Cheetahs are faster.

While Cheetahs are very interesting and fast creatures, they aren’t always appreciated by people. Today, Cheetahs are at risk for extinction and are struggling through habitat loss, these are some issues that humans have caused. It is important to learn about these animals and promote practices that help them survive for the future. [read more]

The Kaluga Sturgeon Is the World's Largest Freshwater Fish

by Dani Garduno, age 10

Imagine many different species of fish all scattered around Eurasia and suddenly, all the fish swim away – and then the Kaluga Sturgeon appears. There is a lot to learn about this fish, such as its size, length, body, and whether or not it's a threat to human beings.

The Kaluga Sturgeon is a predator and one of the biggest fishes that have been discovered in Eurasia. This fish is also known for having bones instead of cartilage. Another reason the Kaluga Sturgeon is unique relates to its dinosaur-like scales, which give it a prehistoric look. Taxonomists keep questioning why this species of fish is completely harmless to humans, unlike most other fish of its size. This sturgeon actually tends to stay away from humans.

Although Kaluga Sturgeon are enormous in comparison to humans, they are peaceful creatures until they feel in danger. Their weight is what attracts fishermen the most. The Kaluga Sturgeon can weigh an incredible 2,205 pounds (1,000 kilograms), which taxonomists say is the heaviest they can get. The Kaluga Sturgeon can grow up to 18.6 inches (15.6 meters) in length, making it the largest freshwater fish in the world.In fact, many fishermen that have caught the Kaluga Sturgeon say that they thought they were catching the King Salmon instead. [read more]

Learn About the Beautiful and Endangered Green Sea Turtle

by Joseph Zheng, age 7

Green sea turtles are notable for being one of the largest sea turtle subgroups in the oceanic world. The name of this species is quite simple as it is named after the color of their skin and shell, the color green!. Ironically, a green sea turtle's most distinguishable physical feature is its relatively hard shells.

According to many marine biologists, green sea turtles can be categorized into two subspecies. There are technically two types of green turtles, the Eastern Pacific green turtle, and the Atlantic green turtle. However, both these species of green sea turtles are usually referred to as being one group.

The Atlantic green turtle, one of the most distinguishable green turtles, can be found on the coastlines of Europe and the east coast of the U.S. The Eastern Pacific green turtles trickle up and down the coastal regions of Alaska and Chile. These turtle species can survive underwater for five hours before reaching low oxygen levels. [read more]

The Unusual Life of Seahorses

by Abigail Geza, age 9

Did you know seahorses are the only fish that experience male pregnancy? The male seahorse carries the female’s eggs.

You are probably wondering how males incubate and carry the eggs. Male seahorses have a brood pouch, which sits at the bottom of their stomach. The baby seahorse grows inside this brood pouch that acts as a carrier and incubator.

While their pouches are unique, seahoses also have other interesting features. The head of a seahorse is at a right angle to its neck. Their eyes can go in different directions, which gives them a better view. Seahorses also have long snouts, so they can suck up tiny animals from seaweed and eat them. [read more]

Lions: The King of the Jungle

by Max Moreno, age 9

The king of the jungle is mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Lions usually hunt during the night time and their diet can include buffaloes, zebras, wild hogs, among other prey. They can survive up to four to five days without drinking water due to moisture from their stomachs.

The lion is the second-largest cat in the world and can run up to 50 mph to catch its prey. Lions can give birth to two to three cubs at a time and the cubs are usually raised by the entire family.

In terms of their sleep, lions typically sleep 10-16 hours a day. They are the laziest but most social of the big cats, sometimes they can be found sleeping on their backs or on a tree. [read more]

The Humpback Whale Is a Rare Conservation Success Story

by Chelsea Zheng, age 9

Did you know that humpback whales are bigger than a regular school bus? Humpback whales got their common name from the small hump that is visible on their dorsal fin. However, the Latin name for these giant creatures is Megaptera novaeangliae which roughly translates to “big wing of New England.” This name originates from European whalers first encountering whales off the coast of New England.

Humpback whales are mammals and omnivores. This means that they have a diet of plants and meat. When it comes to communication, Humpbacks make intriguing noises at distinct frequencies called songs. Scientists are studying these noises to understand their meaning. It is difficult to decipher these songs since they can last as long as a few minutes to a couple of hours and each song is distinct from the other. It is believed that their singing is meant to attract mates.

Due to their large tail fin, known as a fluke, humpback whales are strong swimmers who drive themselves through the water and out of it. Humpback whales are known for their spectacular jumps, which lift their entire back torso and tail out of the water, twist, and smack their body onto the water's surface. These magnificent leaps are called “breaches.” Scientists aren’t quite sure why whales breach, it’s believed that whales do this might do it to clean their skin or just do it for amusement. [read more]

Venomous Gila Monsters Stalk Prey in the Desert

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Do you like lizards? Hopefully you do, because in this article you will be learning all about a lizard called the Gila monster.

The Gila monster, named after the Gila River, is a reptile that can grow to weigh 10 to 12 pounds. These lizards also have a venomous bite which they use to hunt small animals. Their favorite food are small snakes.

When it comes to their diet, Gila monsters also eat eggs, small lizards, and young mammals. But, Gila monster venom seems to have little effect on frogs and nobody quite knows why. Gila monsters have sprawling feet with claws that help them capture prey. They also have special sensory organs in their mouths to help sense the environment. [read more]

This Madagascar Chameleon May Be the World's Smallest

by Dani Garduno, age 10

There has been a modern-day discovery of a tiny chameleon species. This chameleon is named Brookesia nana. This interesting reptile species was discovered in 2012. Surprisingly, this nano-chameleon species is about the size of a human fingertip!

It was discovered by scientists in northern Madagascar. Unfortunately, this cute creature is an endangered species. The chameleon species is the size of sunflower seed and its small vertebrae have scientists questioning the limits of their body size.

For the chameleon to survive, it eats mites and springtails. They hunt by projecting their tongues out to hopefully hook onto their prey. For their safety, these lizards stay low to the ground of the rainforest and climb on grass blades to find prey and to look out for any nearby danger. They can detect danger through vibrations on the ground and grass blades. Due to its miniature features, the species holds the title of the smallest reptile in the world, making them very difficult to find in the wild. [read more]

What Does the Term “Big Cat” Really Mean?

by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 11

The term big cat is used to describe the largest wild cats in the world.

Although most cats are similar in behavior and body structure, they vary in size and they live in different places around the world.

The big cats are members of Genus Panthera, which consists of the tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, cheetah, and cougar. Cheetahs and cougars cannot roar like the other four big cats, but scientists still consider them part of the big cats group. [read more]

Barn Owl Sightings Increase in Wisconsin, but the Future of this Iconic Bird Remains in Doubt

by Juanes Palma, age 9

In 2018, a unique species of barn owls were reported for the first time in over two decades in Wisconsin by The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The owls were spotted in September of 2018 as a pair of these birds were found in the cavity of a dead tree. Recently, there has been an increase in barn owl sightings in Wisconsin and other near states.

These creatures usually live in the dark and are known for their white heart-shaped faces. There are about 46 different known species of barn owls around the world. Scientists have studied these barn owls through the small pellets that are coughed up after they eat their prey. These pellets contain indigestible parts of the owl’s foods such as skulls, bones, and fur. Using owl pellets, researchers have learned a lot about their diets and the ecosystems they belong to.

The chests of male and female barn owls are a distinguishing feature. Female owls have a faint red patch on their chest. The patches might reflect the female's quality of health. Females with darker red patches tend to catch fewer catch parasitic flies and have a more resistant immune system. [read more]

How Does a Boa Constrictor Hunt?

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Do you like snakes? Hopefully you do because today you will be learning about a snake called the boa constrictor!

Boa constrictors are big and dangerous. They eat mice, rats, lizards, and birds. The lifespan of a boa constrictor in captivity can be up to 40 years! That’s a long time! Boa constrictors can swim and like living near rivers and lakes, specifically inside rainforests in South and Central America.

Boa constrictors can weigh up to 33 pounds and measure between six and twelve feet in the wild. In captivity, can weigh up to 66 pounds. The boa constrictor has the ability to camouflage, this makes it hard for predators and for prey to see the snake. The snake's tongue and mouth work together to detect smells. The snake’s eyes are small but can see very well at night, this helps them find food. [read more]

Learn the Difference Between a Cheetah and a Leopard

by Max Moreno, age 9

People may easily mistake a cheetah for a leopard. However, there are many differences to look for that can help you tell these two species apart.

Did you know that cheetahs prefer to hunt in the day, whereas leopards prefer to hunt at night? A leopard at regular speed can run 37 miles per hour and up to 40 miles per hour when in danger or hunting. Leopards are known to be the shortest of all big cats, however they can be seen and described as bulky. They are also known to be good swimmers and climbers. The leopard is more aggressive than a meek cheetah and although leopards are smaller, they are stronger.

Another obvious difference between the cheetah and the leopard is that a leopard has rose-shaped spots on its fur and the cheetah has almost perfectly round spots. Cheetahs mostly hunt gazelles in their home of South Africa. They are the fastest running animals when hunting, making their speed 75 miles per hour, which is 35 miles per hour faster than the leopard’s fastest speed! [read more]

A Close Look at Four Unique Bears

by Chelsea Zheng, age 9

Not all bears are big. And some bears don’t even really look like bears.

The spectacled, asiatic, sun, and sloth bear are the four smallest bear species. Although they all share similar sizes, they are quite unique from one another. Don’t let their size and appearance fool you, they can still be vicious creatures.

The spectacled bear species love their fruits. In the forests of South America, these bears build a platform from branches high in fruit-laden trees as they settle in for days of feasting. When they finish eating all the fruit within the tree they get up and inhabit a new area with plenty of food. [read more]

Disgusting Animals Play an Important Part in the Ecosystem

by Sol-Saray, age 9

All animals are built differently, some are cute or scary looking, and others are just ugly and disgusting. Some of these ugly creatures may have skinny crooked legs or are covered in little bumps. Most fish and flies have huge eyes that do not blink or move. Ugly animals have similarities and differences, however, to humans many are smelly, scary, or disgusting.

For example, the skunk has a strong gross odor that can make people gag or pass out. Skunks use their stinky scent to mark their territory or scare attackers. Another animal that stinks is the dung beetle. They collect other animals' dung and roll it underground to their offspring as food. Animals such as Lampreys and vampire bats have an iron smell to them since they feed on blood.

Vampire bats commonly eat live animals including rats and other small critters. Once their prey is asleep, vampire bats will attack and suck their blood using their sharp fangs. Other blood-sucking creatures include leeches and lampreys. They grip onto other animals to suck the blood out of their bodies. Similar to leeches, lampreys cling onto fish make holes in their bodies and slowly crawl into them to eat their flesh. [read more]

Tiger Wandering: Scientists Have Important Questions About Unusual Spider

by Dani Garduno, age 10

Researchers have taken a big interest in learning about a species of spider called the Tiger Wandering. This spider’s features include very unusual legs.

Have you ever wondered how spider legs help them stay alive? Most spiders have liquid on their feet, but what makes the Tiger Wandering spider unique is that their feet are dry!

Did you know that the smallest hair on the Tiger Wandering spider is at the bottom of its leg? It is common for the Tiger Wandering spider to have more hairs than your typical spider, they even point in all directions. This spider, along with other spiders, have hair on their legs. This hair helps them build webs and also helps them to stick to most things. [read more]

Fascinating Facts About Ladybugs

by Penelope Lawson, age 8

Did you know that there are more than 4,000 types of ladybugs in the world? Ladybugs can live in cold and hot places, including the tropics and northern countries.

All ladybugs have round bodies. They can be yellow, red or orange with black spots or stripes. The most commonly known ladybugs are ones with a red body and black spots. The ladybug’s color helps to scare away predators.

Ladybugs feed on aphids and other insects. In fact, a ladybug can eat 50 aphids in a day. Ladybugs lay their eggs near aphids so the baby ladybugs can have food when they hatch. Farmers and gardeners love ladybugs because they are very helpful in protecting plants. [read more]

Do Sharks Deserve the Scary Reputation?

by Maximiliano Moreno Lopez, age 9

Sharks are well known creatures that live in the oceans. They can appear unexpectedly and cause fear in many. Great white sharks are only one example of ocean animals that can grow up to 15-20 feet long. They also have swimming speeds of 35 miles per hour, which can increase if they feel they are in danger.

Great white sharks can live roughly up to 30 years. When sharks are first born, they grow teeth that can kill other ocean animals. Larger sharks often kill baby whales or young dolphins. Sharks are born being able to take care of themselves. They can find their own food and safe places to live.

Interestingly, sharks mainly eat fish and invertebrates. So, contrary to popular belief, sharks don’t eat humans nearly as often as we see in movies. [read more]

Read About the Amazing Cane Toad

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Cane toads are amphibians. They can be found in South and Central America, and in the Southwestern United States. They eat just about anything and they are poisonous!

A cane toad can grow up to ten inches long and weigh up to five pounds. The lifespan of a cane toad can be anywhere from 15 to 20 years, which is a very long time for an amphibian.

What makes cane toads so interesting? They use their own bodily fluids to protect themselves from being eaten by other, bigger animals. [read more]

Why Do Butterflies Migrate?

by Abigail Gezae, age 9

Have you seen a big group of butterflies flying around? Do you know why? It might be because they are migrating.

Butterflies are beautiful insects. Many tropical butterflies have very large wings. All butterfly species have three body parts that include a head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have three pairs of legs and one pair of wings.

There are more than 165,000 kinds of butterflies and caterpillars. They use camouflage to defend themselves from birds and other animals that want to eat them. For example, the Indian Leaf Butterfly makes itself look like a real leaf. Butterflies are known to have bright colors and fly by day. [read more]

Deadly Piranhas Stalk the Amazon River in Large Groups

by Max Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that a piranha's sharp and pointy teeth help them bite off chunks of flesh from their prey? The powerful jaw of the piranha helps it catch and grab onto its prey. These creatures travel in groups called schools, making the piranhas strong attackers and defenders.

Piranhas can see in the dark and can detect the color red from far distances. There are more than 30 different species of piranhas that vary in size and shape. They usually grow between 15 and 60 centimeters. Piranhas can lay about 500 eggs within a year and are found only in freshwaters in South America, such as the Amazon River.

The piranha is small but powerful and can swim up to 25 miles an hour. Crocodiles, pink dolphins, and turtles are common predators of the piranhas. A piranha can eat about 2.49 grams per day. It would take them 500 minutes to eat a human and ten minutes to eat an animal the size of a small rabbit. [read more]

Despite Fearsome Reputation, the Mighty
Tarantula Rarely Harms Humans

by Geronimo Murcia, age 12

Spider species can widely differ from one another. Some species either be big, small, have short or long legs, and are furry or not.

Spiders are very known around the world, with the most popular being the Tarantula, one of the most terrifying-looking in the world. Although tarantulas are highly feared by many, they are mostly harmless to humans. A tarantula bite can be very painful, but the venom they release is not fatal to people. These spiders naturally inhabit hot and warm areas all around the world.

This spider has many names, for instance, in Europe, they are known as Baboons, in Africa known as horse spiders, and in the U.S people call them tarantulas or bird-eating spiders. These are only a few out of the many names that the tarantulas have. [read more]

Playful Gibbons Spend Their Time High in the Treetops

by Juanes Palma, age 9

There are various small apes species in the world, the typical gibbon is one great example. Gibbons are an adventurous type of animal. Like gorillas and other similar primates, gibbons don't have tails and they share other features. Gibbons are the animals that people typically imagine when they think of primates swinging joyfully through the rain forest.

Gibbons have a variety of thick hair colors that range from black to light brown. They are known to have very long arms that allow them to grab objects easily. They are omnivores, which means they eat fruit, insects, and small birds or eggs.

These apes spend much of their time in the trees of the Southeast Asian forest. They are described as arboreals, which means they live in trees. Gibbons have been observed sleeping upright on tree branches alone or in bunches. Along with being in trees, gibbons spend much of their days looking for food. [read more]

Beware the Deadly Asp Viper!

by Joseph Zheng, age 7

The European asp viper is literally a “snake in the grass.” The serpent’s bite is painful and deadly especially for field workers since they spend their time in the grasslands. In Europe, a majority of snake bite cases are because of this viper. In fact, the asp viper makes up nine out of ten snake bites in the country of Italy.

The asp viper is found across multiple European countries, most commonly found in Switzerland, France, and Italy. It is important for asp vipers to live in warm and hidden areas as they wander through mountains, meadows, grass fields, woodlands, and many more natural areas. [read more]

You Can Find the Beautiful Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in Your Own Backyard

by Sofia Zapata, age 12

Have you seen any Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying in your neighborhood recently? They are commonly seen in Wisconsin, but usually only during the warmer months. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. In the bright sun, these beautiful, tiny, precision-flying birds sparkle like gems, then dart away to their next food source.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird has fascinating attributes that make their tiny physical futures unique. Their wings flap up to 55 times a second at a relaxed pace. However, when a hummingbird increases their speed while moving forward, they flap 75 times a second. The wings of this hummingbird aren’t the only things that go at a fast pace. The tiny hearts of these birds beat 225 times per minute and can increase to 1,250 beats per minute. Compared to hummingbirds, the human heart averages from 60-100 bpm. This is to put the physical abilities of the ruby-throated hummingbirds into perspective. [read more]

Cool Facts About Horse Colors You Might Not Know

by Joseph Zheng, age 7

The most common colors of a horse are red-brown, red-gold, and gray. Horses can have markings on their lower legs and even their bellies. White markings below the knee are called white socks. Markings on their belly are called flesh marks. These markings make each horse unique and valuable.

Horses are identified by their white patches of fur on their face. They have different markings on their faces, one marking is a stripe that runs down their face. Another one is called a blaze, a white patch covering their nostrils up to their forehead. The last marking is a snip, a patch of white between the horse's nostrils. Part-colored horses have large patches of different colors on their coats. Horses with white and black fur are called piebald. [read more]

A Mysterious Monster Lurked in Ancient Seas

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Not many people know about the mosasaurus. The mosasaurus lived during the Cretaceous period. They are not dinosaurs! They are reptiles. They have traits of mammals too. [read more]

“Extinct” Tortoise Discovered Alive on Remote Island

by Jessica Lopez, age 12

For nearly 100 years, scientists believed the Fernandina giant tortoise, native to the Galapagos Islands, had gone extinct. That changed when a recent expedition discovered evidence of this mysterious species on a remote island. Now, recent science is exploring how the tortoises’ population could make a comeback.

Washington Tapia, leader of the expedition, said, “For me it was the most important achievement of my life because I have been working on tortoise conservation for 30 years.” Tapia is the director of the nonprofit Galapagos Conservancy’s Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) and has devoted her life to tortoise conservation.

Chelonoidis phantasticus, more commonly known as the Fernandina giant tortoise was found by Tapia and a group of four rangers from the Galapagos National park: Jeffreys Malaga, Eduardo Vilema, Roberto Ballesteros, Simon Villama. Also involved was biologist and Animal Planet host, Forrest Galante, who funded the trip. [read more]

Where Can You Find the Elusive Green Anole?

by Sol-Saray, age 9

Did you know that there are over 110 species of anoles? If you are not familiar with the green anole, I will teach you.

Green anoles are green lizards with a dewlap. Their toes can stick to vertical surfaces like branches, which allows them to live in trees. If they fall out of a tree, they do a skydiving pose to slow their fall.

The male green anoles use their dewlap to show off to female green anoles when they want to mate. Their dewlap is a bright orange-red bump under their chin, but it isn't always visible. Other times, they use their dewlap to scare rival male green anoles from their territory. However, when the other anole doesn't want to leave, they battle. When either anole gives up, it leaves and licks its wounds. [read more]

You Probably Didn't Know These Mammal Facts!

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

A mammal is a vertebrate animal that produces milk to feed their young. There are mammals that live on land, air and water. A few examples of unique mammals that live in different places of the world are foxes, bats, and dolphins.

Foxes learn how to hunt at a young by fighting other younger foxes. This allows cubs to learn and develop crucial survival skills. Stronger foxes are feared while the weak get picked on. Due to their excellent skills of tracking their prey, foxes are solitary hunters. A common hunting strategy done by foxes is to pounce in the air and to catch their prey off guard.

Bats are the only known mammal that have the ability to fly. Although the flying squirrel can glide, it cannot truly fly. Bats’ wings can be considered to be overgrown hands with long fingers that are connected by thin, stretched webs of skin. By using their wings, bats can fly at speeds of thirty miles per hour or more. One of the largest bat species is the flying fox with wings that can be about three feet long. [read more]

All About the Mexican Red-kneed Spider

by Max Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that the Mexican Red-kneed Spider has thick pads of special hairs on their underside which allows it to walk up smooth vertical surfaces?

The Mexican Red-kneed Spider is a docile spider that can be found in Mexico's deserts and scrublands. This species can survive for up to 20 years. Mexican Red-kneed spiders get their simple names from their simple but yet unique characteristics. Their bodies are mostly covered with dark brown hair and vibrant red or orange-colored hairs on each of their knee joints.

This spider species is known for its vibrant and interesting body. When the spider hunts down its prey it will bite down on it and release a deadly venom. Although this sounds scary, the venomous bite of a Mexican Red-kneed spider is not fatal to humans. [read more]

Creatures of the Cold: Life in the Arctic

by Maximiliano Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that killer whales will prey on anything that they can catch? Did you know that the classic polar bear doesn’t have white fur and that they knock out seals from under the ice? Similar creatures that live in cold areas such as the North and South Poles must keep warm to survive. To stay warm, these creatures tend to have thick fur like a polar bear or layers of fat like a seal.

Polar bears live on northern ice where they constantly look for their next meal. Inorder to survive, polar bears learn to run fast which allows them to easily catch their prey. Counter to popular belief, polar bears do not have white fur, rather they have transparent fur that reflects light. The light reflection from a polar bear’s fur makes it seem like their fur is white. Polar bears have various physical traits that makes them apex predators in the North Pole.

Beneath the ice, there are lots of squids and fish that eat plants and plankton that float on the surface of the water. Codfish live in the Northern Atlantic and always travel in schools. A predator of the codfish is, the Emperor penguin, the tallest penguin species, standing at three feet tall. Continuing the food chain, Seals live in both the South and North Poles, and the gray seal can grow up to 7.8 feet. A seal’s common diet consist of squid, fish, and even penguins. Killer whales are at the top of the aquatic food chain as they are hunters that live in cold and warm places; they are found in large bodies of water, such as the Bahamas. [read more]

You Won't Believe How this Tiny Lizard Defends Itself!

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

Regal horned lizards are not normal lizards. The hot desert is their home, so they have many unusual adaptations.

Regal horned lizards have a very different look from other lizards. They have horns around their heads and have very small tails. Also, they have bodies that are wider since they have big stomachs. They grow up to five inches and have armored spikes.

These spiky beasts have a unique way of defending themselves. They build up pressure to shoot out blood that comes from pores in their lower eyelids. These creatures have a high heat tolerance that helps them with the hot temperature in the desert. [read more]

Humans and Horses: Partners Since Ancient Times

by Maya Maclin, age 9

Horses are not like most farm animals. They are used for many things. For thousands of years people rode on horses to deliver mail and visit family members.

It is very important for farms to have horses, because they are strong and can carry many pounds of food and pull heavy wagons. Horses were used to pull machines called seed drills and drag them in the field to drop seeds in the holes. This helped grow food faster on farms.

Horses were very important for wars. Some soldiers used horses to ride while fighting with swords. They also used horses for sports like chariot racing. Royal kingdoms used to pick the best horses for battle. [read more]

World's Oldest Wild Bird Still Hatching Eggs at 70

by Elim Eyobed, age 10

Have you ever wondered how old birds can live? There is one special bird, Wisdom, who has lived for 70 years! She is the oldest living banded bird in her species. This is twice as long as the average Laysan Albatross bird species life expectancy. In 1956, researchers found Wisdom on Midway Atoll which is near Hawaii in the North Pacific Ocean.

After extensive research, biologists have concluded that Wisdom has laid hatched around 30 to 36 chicks so far! It’s commonly believed that birds breed in the same process as humans, but not Wisdom. Wisdom has hatched chicks every year for the past 15 years. Usually, the older a bird gets, the fewer chicks they hatch. However, since she’s so old, she outlived all of her mates. Wisdom’s most recent egg hatched in early 2021 on a piece of land in the Pacific Ocean.

Wisdom travels hundreds of thousands of miles all around the world to get away from predators and to find new mates. It’s not known if Wisdom will continue to lay eggs but up to this point, she has grown the population of her species exponentially, more than any other Laysan Albatross bird. [read more]

What Kind of Animal Is a Bilby?

by Melanie Bautista, age 15

Most people know about the koalas and kangaroos in Australia but have you ever heard of the bilby?

If you live in the United States, you may not recognize the bilby. It is an Australian marsupial that looks similar to a rat or rabbit. Bilbies have been endangered for a while, and it is important to recognize the human impact on their environment.

The bilby has many features that help it adapt to the environment. For example, its long silky fur helps it stay insulated from the intense temperatures in Australia. The bilby also has a strong forefoot; the claws are efficient for digging and help uncover insect grubs. The snout and the ear allow the bilby to pinpoint prey. For survival, the ears give off excess heat so the bilby can maintain a stable temperature. Lastly, their tail helps them signal other bilbies. [read more]

Surprising Panda Facts You Probably Don't Know

by Abigail Gezae, age 9

Did you know that Giant panda bears and red pandas aren’t really bears, but are more closely related to raccoons? Here are some other interesting and surprising facts about pandas.

To start, Giant pandas and red pandas both live in China. Red pandas also live in southern Asia. These pandas vary in size. Giant pandas can grow up to 5.5 feet long, about the size of an adult person. In comparison, Red pandas can grow up to 3.5 feet long.

When it comes to their food, Pandas are herbivores. This means they eat plants. Giant pandas and red pandas both eat bamboo. Bamboo can grow up to 98 feet tall, about as tall as a 10 story building. [read more]

What Is a Hamadrya Baboon Anyway?

by Sol Saray, age 9

There are two types of baboons called hamadrya baboons and chacma baboons. These types of baboons have differences and similarities.

Did you know that hamadrya baboons sleep together at night on outcrops, which are rocky surfaces on hills? These baboons go in groups of 20-70 to forage. They search for plants, flowers, fruits, grass and small vertebrates at dawn.

The scientific name for these baboons is Papio Hamadryas, and they are also called savannah baboons. They live in north east Africa. The male has a brownish gray mantle of hair on its head, similar to lion's mane. The female's fur is olive-brown. The female and the male both have red bottoms. Baboon families have one dominant male and a variety of females with their offspring. [read more]

How to Raise a Wolf Pup

by Dani Garduno, age 10

Raising a wolf is not easy, but wolf supporters can learn about them through thinking about their own childhood. Wolves are unique in their birth and family upbringing, but they have some similarities with humans as well.

Both human and Wolf families protect their newborns. The Alpha mother builds a den underground for her future pups. When the mother is done building, she goes to the end of the den and gives birth in the spring. Afterward, she stays in the den to protect her pups from danger.

Human babies build their strength by playing and interacting with their siblings, just like wolves. When the pups are born, they’re blind and deaf. They only weigh one pound at birth, but each day they become stronger. In one month they are ready to enter the wide-open world. Wolves grow their strength by running, chasing, pouncing, and play-fighting with each other. This is how they develop their hunting skills, which will help them in the future. [read more]

Learn These Big Cat Science Facts!

by Sofia Zapata, age 12

Do you know how many different kinds of cats exist? Four kinds of big cats are famous like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs.

Let's begin with a famous one: the lion. People know about them from movies like the Lion King. They are known for their golden manes. However, some lions have black manes.

Next is the tiger. The tiger may travel 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a day searching for food. They need to kill a hoofed mammal every three to five days to sustain themselves. Another cool fact is that in the winter, the tiger's coat becomes lighter. Tigers are the largest of all domesticated or big cats, also known as felids. [read more]

Why Do Jaguars Roar Quietly?

by Johan Barreiro Adams, age 14

The jaguar is one of the most powerful and feared carnivores in South America. The jaguar's body is built to help it survive and grow in its environment.

For example, while the jaguar’s vocal structure is very similar to other big cats, such as lions, tigers, and cougars, there is one important difference: the jaguar's hyoid bone muffles the roar, which makes it quieter. The hyoid bone is found around the jaguar's heart and basically touches the throat where the jaguar roars. If the hyoid bone is stiff, as it is in jaguars, then the cat won’t make as much noise. This helps the jaguar stay stealthy to hunt for prey. While the jaguar has a muffled roar, it has a large jaw to feed and protect itself and claws to catch animals. Jaguars are well known for eating mammals, turtles, fish, caimans and livestock.

Jaguars are found specifically in the northern region of Central America and are members of the felidae family. The typical weight for a male jaguar is about 198 to 264 lbs while a female jaguar is about 132 to 198 lbs. There are also four related species including margay, leopards, lions and tigers. Overall, jaguars are interesting and fascinating animals. [read more]

Big Cats Stalk the African Savannah

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

Have you ever wondered what a lion's life is like? Lions spend much of their time hunting for food. These furry cats also live and raise their cubs in prides.

A male and a female lion look very different from each other. Male lions have sandy-colored fur that blends into their grassland habitat. They also have a mane of darker hair that makes them look powerful and dangerous. Female lions have sandy-colored fur too, but they do not have a mane.

The lionesses, or female lions, are responsible for hunting. They hunt as a team, which allows them to kill giant animals, such as zebras, wildebeests and buffalo. They usually hunt in the morning and evening. They do this so they can blend in with their surroundings, which makes it easier to sneak up on their prey. Most lions don't eat people, but they have done so in the past. [read more]

Emperor Penguins: Adapted for Life in the Antarctic Wasteland

by Maya Maclin, age 9

Emperor Penguins live in Antarctica. Penguins are birds and have wings, but they swim with their wings instead of fly.

Emperor Penguin’s main colors are black and white but they also have a bit of orange on their necks. They swim in cold water, that’s why they have a thick coat of feathers. They spend most of their time with other penguins. Their average lifespan is 15 to 20 years. Penguins usually weigh around 88 pounds and can grow to 45 inches. Penguins breed during the winter. The mother lays one egg in December.

Penguins are carnivores so the mother penguin goes to catch fish for two months. The father penguin stands on his feet and he uses his brood pouch to warm the penguin eggs. When the mother penguin comes back, she eats the food and gives it to her babies by bringing it up from her stomach. Then she takes care of her children while the father leaves to get fish. [read more]

Amur Leopards Stalk Prey in the Cold Russian Wilderness

by Sol-Saray, age 9

Did you know that there are different types of leopards in the world? A really interesting one is called the Amur leopard! These leopards weigh 80 pounds, which is 30 pounds less than the African leopard. They prey on mice, bunnies, boar, and deer.

Many people think that leopards live only in the savannas of Africa, but the Amur leopard inhabits southern Russia and northern China. Its large paws allow the leopard to walk on snow without sinking, working like snowshoes.

The Amur leopard hunts for prey in snowy hillsides. They hunch so low they almost touch the snow with their bellies. Their prey is distracted while finding something to eat in the cold winter of Russia. Then, the leopard unexpectedly jumps on their prey from 10 feet away. Amur leopards often drag their prey up into trees before eating. It's time for the leopard to eat! [read more]

The Mysterious Extinction of an Ancient Predator

by Aissata Bah, age 10

Although saber-tooth tigers have been extinct for around 12,000 years, long-held beliefs that they died out due to hunger, climate change, and human hunting are turning out to be incorrect.

In an attempt to find the real reason, researchers have studied the fossil teeth of 15 saber-tooth tigers and 15 American lions that were recovered at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles. These animal fossils ranged from about 11,500 to 35,000 years in age.

Scientists used a dental microwear analyzer to examine these fossils. The tool was developed by anthropologist Peter Ungar at the University of Arkansas. It generates three-dimensional pictures of the surface of a tooth. Eating red meat creates a parallel set of small scratches, but biting bones leaves larger and deeper pits. The investigation found a pattern of wear on the saber-tooth tiger teeth, and it looks similar to the pattern on the present-day African lion teeth. [read more]

Why You Should Never Race a Moose

by Haliah Berkowitz, age 10

Did you know that moose can run very fast even for their huge size? Moose are the biggest animals in the deer family. On average, they weigh almost 2,000 pounds. Despite their huge size, they are extremely fast, both on land and in water. They can run up to 35 miles per hour or swim up to 10 miles without stopping. In fact, a five day old calf can outrun a grown human.

Given their size, adult male moose don’t have many predators. Animals like bears, wolves and cougars like to prey on moose calves instead. The biggest threat to adult male moose is getting struck by a car.

When it comes to the living conditions for moose, they tend to inhabit cold snowy areas. Their hooves are wide and allow them to walk on the snow with ease. During warmer temperatures, moose like to spend their time in the water to keep cool. [read more]

Dog-Sized Lizards Invade a Delicate Ecosystem

by Ayden Ross, age 14

A dog-sized lizard, the Argentine black-and-white tegu, is rapidly taking over the Everglades National Park. This lizard, native to South America, is spreading throughout South Florida and the southeastern region of the U.S. Biologists are concerned because these lizards will eat almost anything that will fit into their mouths, from berries to small animals such as birds and reptiles, as well as the eggs of animals that nest on the ground such as endangered sea turtles.

These dog-sized lizards can make very calm pets for those who like exotic reptiles. Unfortunately, people have let them loose into the wild where they have bred prolifically. Official estimates of the tegu lizard population in the U.S is unknown, however, a 2018 study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey stated that, “the entire southeast portion of the United States is at risk.” [read more]

Recent Animal Watch Articles

The great white shark is one of the largest predatory fish in the world, weighing up to 2,400 pounds, and can grow up to 21 feet in length. It was long thought to have no predators. That is, until Salvador Jorgensen, a marine ecologist and his team, discovered that the great white shark competes with a vicious enemy - Orcinus orca - also known as the killer whale. [read more...]
Many ant species form symbiotic relationships with plants. Symbiotic means that both the plant and the ant benefit from being together. But, scientists are not sure how or when this relationship between plants and ants first began. [read more...]
OR-54, a beloved and well-known gray wolf, died recently in California, having played an important role in enhancing the grey wolf population. Only recently has the federal government passed a law making the gray wolf endangered in California and Oregon, an effort meant to protect the species. [read more...]
Animals in the Gir National Park, Gujarat, India will sometimes adopt animals from a different species. However, it was unusual for a lioness to adopt a leopard cub. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of mandrills? They are fantastic animals. Mandrills are primates who belong to the Old World monkey family. The mandrill's front hands are similar to human hands. They have four fingers and one gripping thumb to help them climb. [read more...]
Gentoos and Chinstraps are penguins that live near the Antarctic. They swim in freezing temperatures. Both kinds of penguins huddle together on ice floes. [read more...]
Chinese paddlefish are now declared extinct. These giant 23-foot long "fish" were known as water tigers because of their incredible speed and survived for 150 million years in the Chinese river Yangtze. [read more...]
Although some cats don’t seem to connect with their caregivers, others do bond in some ways, according to a new study. Researchers now believe that this trait doesn’t just belong to dogs, as prior research indicated. [read more...]
Voices and body language are the two most important ways penguins communicate with each other. The type of call depends on the species of penguin and the message they want to communicate. [read more...]
Did you know that red pandas are only about two feet tall? [read more...]
South Korea has a problem, and it involves squirrels. Acorns are being taken from parks and forests for human consumption, and it’s negatively affecting the squirrels. According to experts, each individual squirrel needs to bury more than 100 acorns to survive the winter. [read more...]
Bucky Badger is known as an awesome, adorable, and loving creature, but is he really? The American badger, which represents our state pride, is actually a menacing creature, like its fearsome relative the wolverine. They are both members of the Mustelidae family. [read more...]
When you think of whales, you probably imagine huge and glorious animals at sea. However, millions of years ago, whales looked more like an ordinary otter at the zoo, just bigger, and with different behavior. [read more...]
Giraffes are taller than some trees. They have super long necks and can see their friends from a mile away. A male and a female look alike but they don’t eat the same way. The female eats by bending down while the male looks up and stretches his neck to eat leaves on the tops of the trees. [read more...]
If you were to get bitten by the rhinoceros viper a small amount of its venom would kill you. [read more...]
Many people know that rattlesnakes have the ability to swallow their prey whole. However, many don't know of the rattlesnake's dangerous and sneaky abilities to lure their prey before killing them. [read more...]
Out in the fields of thick sandhill wire grass—also called pineland threeawn—just outside of the town of Cheraw in South Carolina, a 65-year-old retired English teacher and self-taught naturalist, is America’s Turtle Whisperer. [read more...]
Cheetahs are speedy animals and are known to be the fastest sprinters in the world. They are even faster than kangaroos, spur-winged geese, and gazelles. They can run at speeds up to 65 mph, earning the name “spotted wind,” but they run out of energy after sprinting for only 30 seconds. [read more...]
Did you know that the rhinoceros horn is not made of bone? People think it is but it’s not. It’ made of keratin which is the same material as your nails and hair. [read more...]
Did you know anacondas eat their prey whole, even crocodiles? [read more...]
Penguins are an amazing species. They have excellent vision and can swim at up to nine miles an hour. Here are a couple of interesting facts about penguins. [read more...]
The Axolotl, also known as the “water monster” in the Aztec language, is a unique animal that only lives in the mountains of Mexico. [read more...]
Fennec foxes have different body parts that help them manage with the extreme temperatures of the deserts in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It has a diet of small prey. [read more...]
Did you know that there are new mysterious killer whales, called the type D orcas? They look really different from other orcas because they have a rounded head, a small white eye patch, and a pointier dorsal fin. [read more...]
Did you know that the first horse was about the size of a pet cat? [read more...]
When the boomslang snake bites a chameleon, its blood-destroying venom kills the chameleon in a few seconds. Next, it swallows the prey whole. [read more...]
Reptiles prefer moderate temperatures. If they are too hot, they overheat, and if they are too cold, they are unable to move. Reptiles get warm in the sunshine and then go in the shade to regulate their temperature. [read more...]
Did you know that a male boa constrictor named Popeye at the Philadelphia zoo died at age 40 in 1977? [read more...]
Did you know that there are different types of mammoths? [read more...]
Did you know that basilisk lizard can run on water? [read more...]
Penguins coats are black and white which serves as camouflage in order to hide from predators. All 17 different species of penguins look different but similar. Evolution scientists don't know how penguins got their name but it may have came from the word pinguis which means fat in Latin. [read more...]
Did you know that baby penguins are called chicks? 95 percent of chicks make it through childhood. [read more...]
Many people are afraid of sharks. But here are some facts that make sharks interesting and not as scary as we imagine. [read more...]
Whenever you think of manta rays, also known as the manta, you do not usually think of filter feeders but they are. [read more...]
The habitats of pandas are decreasing due to China’s increasing population density. As China continues to grow, the places where pandas are able to live shrink, while food also becomes increasingly scarce. Researchers say that in the next 80 years, around 35 percent of bamboo will be eliminated due to climate change. [read more...]
Did you know the first land animals lived 450 million years ago? [read more...]
Did you know cats can make over 100 vocal sounds while dogs can only make ten? [read more...]
For many years, grizzly bears were regularly sighted in Yellowstone National Park. But when President Trump removed Yellowstone's grizzly bears from the federal list of threatened species in 2017, the states of Idaho and Wyoming announced that it was legal to hunt them outside of the national park. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of the American marten? Or, as it is also known, the American pine marten? [read more...]
Elephants are known for having excellent memory, and, as demonstrated for the first time in a study by Naoko Irie of Japan’s Graduate University for Advanced Studies, some of them can also count. [read more...]
A connection between modern day birds and dinosaurs has been discovered by researchers at UW-Madison. The fossil of a small, winged dinosaur called Lori is at the forefront of this discovery. [read more...]
Scientists at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are searching for snakes that are very ill. These sick snakes have an illness called snake fungal disease. DNR scientists are looking everywhere for the sick snakes, and are even turning over rocks and logs. [read more...]
Did you know that whales and dolphins are mammals? Just like land mammals, whales, and dolphins breathe air. They come up to the surface and breathe through their blowholes. Blowholes are a large nostril flap on top of their heads. Dolphins and whales are similar to land mammals because they feed their babies with milk from their bodies. [read more...]
Aldo Leopold was a naturalist, believing that people should understand the importance of the environment. He devoted his life to deeply understand the natural world. [read more...]
Did you know that the female bearded dragon can lay up to 35 eggs in a burrow? [read more...]
Do you know where Tasmanian Devils live? Tasmanian Devils live in Tasmania, which is an island near Australia, where they get their name. [read more...]
Did you know that millions of years ago, there were fish with armor? [read more...]
Did you know that there were prehistoric giant animals? Well, here are just a few, and they are pretty amazing. [read more...]
Did you know that in the United States, there is one dog for every three people? Dogs not only make great pets, they are also very unique. [read more...]
There are different dogs in the dog family. They are all a little different. [read more...]
Do you know that an octopus can camouflage when it feels threatened? It does this by changing its color, pattern, and texture. [read more...]