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Dolphins and Porpoises Swim the Oceans Blue

by Edgar Martinez, age 12

Dolphins and porpoises are amazing swimmers. Both species are often seen leaping above the ocean waves. But did you know that dolphins have to swim up to the surface to breathe air?

There are 35 different types of dolphins. Many of them have little to no sense of smell. They use their taste buds to taste the food they eat, including water. Consuming water helps alert dolphins to nearby food because small particles of food float in it. [Read More]

Octopuses Love to Solve Puzzles and Trick Humans

But Don't Call Them Octopi

by Enjoyiana Nururdin, age 16

The word “octopus” comes from the Greek word meaning eight legs. (By the way, because it is Greek, not Latin, the word's plural is octopuses, not octopi.) Octopuses surprise and delight us in many ways. They stalk prey while hiding in plain sight, use complex brains to solve puzzles, and eject midnight-blue ink. All that, however, is only the beginning. [read more]

Meet Sparklemuffin And Skeletorus, Newly Discovered Peacock Spiders

Peacock spiders are very small arachnids found in Eastern Australia. These creepy crawlies are as small as a pencil eraser. The male peacock spider is well known for its bright colors and showy mating dance, so it is bound to attract any Arachnologist. [read more]

Henry Vilas Zoo Welcomes Two Somali Wild Asses

Out of the 600 Somali Wild Asses in the world, two of them were sent to our own Henry Vilas Zoo, earlier this summer.

These unique donkeys can live for up to 20 years. The Somali Wild Ass stands a staggering four-feet tall at the shoulders and weighs approximately 600 pounds in adulthood. The Wild Ass prefers to live in hilly deserts and fairly arid grasslands around Northern Ethiopia and Northwestern Somalia in Africa. In these lands, they feed on grass, shrubs, and various other plants. [read more]

Archive: All Recent Animal Watch Articles

There are 3,400 snake species in the world. These slithering reptiles live everywhere except Antarctica. Twenty-one of these species, two of which are poisonous, live in Wisconsin. These are the timber rattlesnake and the massasauga rattler. [read more...]
Whether you are a child or an adult, love is important for everyone - even animals. Unfortunately, not every animal has the opportunity to find love. [read more...]
Polar bears are in a crisis due to Arctic Ice melting in Canada, a 2016 study published by Canadian researchers in Arctic Science suggests. Three decades of melting ice has caused substantial weight loss among the Earth’s most southern group of polar bears, the study indicates. [read more...]
In the animal kingdom, different species have unique characteristics and tactics for survival. Some animals in particular rely on their shells. [read more...]
Animals living in the freezing Arctic have adapted in several ways to survive. Seals survive the frigid water because of their thick skin, for example. In contrast, sea lions can stay out of the water because they have back flippers to push themselves around on land. [read more...]
The desert jerboa, a small but fast kangaroo-like rodent, has adapted to live in barren lands and desert environments. An animal that not many people know about, the jerboa’s lifespan lasts only about two years. This rodent feeds on seeds, stems, roots of grasses, plants, and occasionally insects. There are 32 types of jerboas whose habitats range across North Africa, the Sahara and the Middle East. [read more...]
You know what they say, the stirrings of a butterfly's wings might cause a hurricane. However, butterflies’ wings have been stirring a lot less lately. [read more...]
Siberian Tigers, also known as Panthera Tigris Altica, are the biggest of the big cats. These creatures are among the most ferocious predators in the animal kingdom. They live in north-eastern China and North and South Korea. Like the closely related Snow leopard, Unicia unicia, Siberian Tigers thrive in extremely cold weather. [read more...]
Ants of the Formica Fusca species have discovered a way to fight off harmful fungal infections. They have discovered that hydrogen peroxide, though normally very dangerous to them, can sometimes be salubrious or, good for their health. [read more...]
Did you know that the word “hippopotamus” is Greek for river horse? The horse and hippopotamus certainly have many similarities like wide nostrils and small ears; however, the hippopotamus more closely resembles a really big pig. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Puma and a Cougar? That was a trick question. "Puma" and "Cougar" are actually just nicknames for the Mountain Lion, which is not really a lion at all. The name was given to this cat relative because it resembles a female lioness. Another cat relative with a trick in its name is the Bobcat. [read more...]
Giraffes are like snowflakes – no two look alike. But giraffes share characteristics; they have huge hearts and tongues, to they only give birth to one calf and their “vulnerable” status. On average, giraffes tend to live 20-25 years. Like any other mammal, they have vertebrae. [read more...]
What’s black, white, and fishy all over? The Short-Beaked Common Dolphin species, that’s who. The Short-Beaked Common Dolphins’ scientific name is Delphinus Delphi. Dolphins live in temperate and warm waters. They can reach six and a half to eight and a half feet in length and typically weigh 155 to 250 pounds. [read more...]
Spring has finally sprung. Hello flowers, bees, and honey! But how is honey made? Honey is a very versatile food. People use it to sweeten drinks and foods, eat it plain, or put it on food as a topping. However, there is a long process before this sweet goo ends up on your plate. [read more...]
Paleontologists have argued over the years about whether dinosaurs were cold-blooded or warm-blooded. Due to varying evidence, multiple theories have emerged. [read more...]
For years, spider silk was known as the strongest biological material, but a recent discovery has changed that. A new substance found in nature is five times stronger than spider silk: limpet teeth. Limpets are aquatic snails with extremely strong teeth. [read more...]
Bivalves are well-known marine organisms. There are many bivalves that cover the ocean floor. Some types are clams, scallops, quahogs, oysters, mussels, and cockles. [read more...]
The green mamba is a stealthy snake found in sub-Saharan Africa. Although it is not as menacing as an anaconda, messing with this slippery serpent could cost you your life. [read more...]
The Arctic, a frigid area with few trees and vegetation, is where the tundra lies. During the dark winter, the temperature lowers to -76 degrees Fahrenheit, thus making the tundra one of the most unlivable places on earth. [read more...]
People around Wisconsin often don’t get to witness a Chesapeake in the wild. The blue crab is native to Western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, a Chesapeake turned up in the northern waters of the Mississippi River. The crab had traveled over 1,000 miles through river dams. Remarkably, it survived. [read more...]
Dolphins and porpoises are amazing swimmers. Both species are often seen leaping above the ocean waves. But did you know that dolphins have to swim up to the surface to breathe air? [read more...]
Ruling the ocean with eight legs, stalking prey while hiding in plain sight, using complex brains to release crabs out of cages, and ejecting poison and midnight-blue ink, octopuses are one of the smart and most intriguing animals in the world. [read more...]
Peacock spiders are very small arachnids found in Eastern Australia. These creepy crawlies are as small as a pencil eraser. The male peacock spider is well known for its bright colors and showy mating dance, so it is bound to attract any Arachnologist [read more...]
Out of the 600 Somali Wild Asses in the world, two of them were sent to our own Henry Vilas Zoo, earlier this summer. [read more...]
There are several unique animals that live in the Atlantic Ocean. One animal that swims the great waters of the Atlantic is the great white shark. The large fish have an unexpected diet. Great White Shark do not eat people, but instead fish, seals, and penguins. [read more...]
Big cats, the eight species of large wild cats, are among the biggest of carnivorous animals. These creatures are expert hunters, with strong legs to help them catch their prey. [read more...]
Recently, the world mourned for Cecil the lion of Zimbabwe, who was illegally shot and killed by Minnesota dentist. Unfortunately, some of the world’s rarest animals are taken from their habitats to be bred illegally and sold as pets. [read more...]
All animals mate, but each animal has a unique method to find its special someone.Some animals get very aggressive around mating season. Males will often fight each other to win the affection of a certain female. Male zebras, for example, will bite and kick at each other until one of them gives up [read more...]
Did you know that there were some dinosaurs that had feathers? Scientists believe that birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs [read more...]
Did you know the Bengal tiger loves water the most out of all the big cats? It uses this feature to its advantage in the tropical climate of northeastern India and Bangladesh. While the Bengal tiger uses the water to bathe or cool off, they also use it to find prey. [read more...]
Along the islands near the coast of New Zealand lives a rare reptilian species—the tuatara. Tuatara means "peaks on the back” and comes from the Maori people native to New Zealand. [read more...]
You probably didn’t know that elephants are very social and intelligent, or that they can weigh up to seven tons. There are so many fascinating facts about elephants. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press reporters ventured out of the City of Madison to Hubertus, WI. Excited and a little nervous, we headed out of the office on a horseback riding mission. We were a little uncertain about the weather, but we were determined to have an unforgettable field trip. [read more...]
Did you know that crocodiles cry? They cry because their eyes are dry and tears refresh them. [read more...]
The mako shark has a reputation for being one of the deadliest killers in the world's temperate, tropical, and sub-tropical oceans and seas. With jaw-dropping speed, this lethal predator sinks its sharp teeth into its victim’s flesh, making escape nearly impossible. [read more...]
Known for their speed, dragonflies and peregrine falcons are animals that have learned to adapt to the world that surrounds them. [read more...]
Lowland gorillas live in Central Africa among forest plains and the Congo River. They are similar to chimpanzees and orangutans, with common features like having longer arms than legs. Lowland gorillas have a reputation for being aggressive, but they actually rarely fight with each other or other species. [read more...]
Found only in New Zealand and this country’s national emblem, Kiwi birds are unusual, medium-sized brown birds about as long as chickens. They are also the only birds that do not have wings or tails. [read more...]
The Arctic Ocean is home to a diverse collection of animals including belugas, walruses, narwhals, and jellyfish. [read more...]
With the appearance of a mini dinosaur, the Australian frilled lizard is one of the most strangely awesome reptiles. Only 20 inches long and fewer than two pounds, this little lizard wanders the tropical and wooded areas of Australia and New Guinea. [read more...]
Among the semi-deserts and dry plains of southern Africa roams a small, sand-colored mammal. This creature, the meerkat, is a part of the mongoose sub-family. [read more...]
The grizzly is one of the most well known bears. In fact, it is nicknamed the “mighty bear.” [read more...]
Most dolphins are gentle aquatic playmates, but it’s a different story when it comes to dolphins trained by Russia. Training these dolphins takes place in Sevastopol, Crimea, at one of only two combat-dolphin training centers in the world. [read more...]
One might not think that penguins can live in warm places. However, a variety of penguin species actually live in South America, Australia, New Zealand, and even South Africa. [read more...]
Chimpanzees are among the smartest and most resourceful of animals. They even know how to make shoes to protect their feet! [read more...]
For thousands of years, animal extinction has been a problem all over the world. Due to ongoing human overpopulation and destruction of the environment, many animals including the mammoth, the passenger pigeon, and the bucardo goat are now extinct, while, tigers, elephants, and jaguars are on the brink of extinction. However, scientists may have created a breakthrough to keep these animals from extinction. Scientists’ call this breakthrough “de-extinction.” [read more...]
Tony the Tiger is a magnificent Siberian-Bengal mix, tipping the scales at 550 pounds. Descended from great hunters in the wild, this stunning animal has lived in a cage in a Louisiana truck stop for more than 10 years. Currently, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is trying to move him to Big Cat Rescue sanctuary, but Tony’s owner and the “Keep Tony Where He Is” Facebook group are opposed to the idea. [read more...]
Rhinos, crocodiles, and deadly snakes: oh my! One factor these animals certainly have in common is that they are very dangerous. [read more...]
The Western Diamondback rattlesnake, (crotalus atrox) is the only snake that actually rattles. These rattlesnakes are considered “generalists,” which means they are not picky about their habitat. They can be found throughout southwestern United States and Mexico in deserts, grassy plains, forests, rocky hillsides, and areas along the coast. [read more...]
The Henry Vilas Zoo recently welcomed a new arrival --baby orangutan Keju. She is being introduced to the public now across multiple media forms. [read more...]
Since 1946, the U.S. honeybee population has decreased by half. Around the world, honeybees are disappearing at a similarly rapid pace. This trend has scientists concerned: diversity in the fruits and vegetables people eat would decrease too, since some crops are almost entirely dependent on bee pollination. In fact, according to TIME magazine, “1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food you’ll eat today” is, in some part, thanks to bees. [read more...]
Koalas are also called koala bears, even though koalas and bears are very different. Inhabiting Eastern Australia, Koalas are one of the most well-known animals on the continent. [read more...]
The stegosaurs were very strange looking creatures. These herbivorous animals had small heads and huge bodies. Since they were not very fast, they relied on their tough skin—used like body armor to protect themselves. [read more...]
Ever since newts were discovered 250 years ago, scientists have theorized that a newt’s ability to regenerate body parts declines as it grows older. However, this theory was contradicted by a study completed in 2010. [read more...]
Because they are vicious hunters, lions have earned a spot among the top of the food chain. One feature that makes this species so vicious is their teeth. In fact, lions have three different types of teeth that help them bring down and finish off their prey. [read more...]
Compared to penguins, puffins are quieter and more mellow, Though these two species are similar in appearance. Puffins' colorful, thick beaks also help make them stand out, among their other unique feathers. [read more...]
Wolves have a reputation for being fierce hunters. Therefore, some may be surprised to find that, in reality, less than 10 percent of their hunting efforts are successful. [read more...]
Within the past year, scientists have discovered and named 18,000 new species, only a small fraction of the estimated ten million yet to be discovered. A global committee of taxonomists and experts from the International Institute for Species Exploration recently announced the top 10 most interesting species discovered during the past year. [read more...]
Bottlenose dolphins receive an A+ in my animal grade book! The most studied of all whale and dolphin species both in the wild and captivity, these beautiful, blue-grey creatures attract humans because of their friendly, playful manners. [read more...]
One of the fiercest reptiles on Earth, the American alligator is a large, semi-aquatic, armored creature closely related to crocodiles. [read more...]
Can you imagine growing as tall as an adult within a year and a half? This is how fast ostriches grow—and they grow tall! In fact, typically reaching eight feet, male ostriches are the largest living birds. [read more...]
It’s dusk. A strange creature awakens from a good day’s rest. It twitches its oversized ears, eagerly listening for prey hidden deep underground. Once it senses its next meal, it scans the ground for sounds of its prey’s exact hiding spot. In a flurry of golden paws, it digs down at high speed, grabs its startled meal and gulps it down in seconds. [read more...]
The first-ever symposium about the future of zoos was held in Buffalo, New York. The conference, which discussed topics ranging from new designs for zoos to bioengineering the animals, was attended by zoo directors, animal behaviorists, conservationists, and architects. [read more...]
The last eight years have seen a great decline in the honeybee population. Currently, President Obama is stepping up to address this problem. In the past few years, researchers have been working to understand why millions of bees have been leaving their homes and not coming back. This phenomenon is called colony collapse disorder (CCD). [read more...]
Every summer at Bracken Cave in Texas, a spooky ritual takes place. Twenty million hungry bats swarm out of the cave. Lucky for us, they feed on insects. [read more...]
Did you know that beavers are the largest rodents, or gnawing animals, in North America? Though beavers used to inhabit many places throughout North America including Mexico and the North Artic Regions, they now live primarily in northern-forested regions around the world. [read more...]
Carp, a non-native species of fish, are polluting lakes and marshes almost everywhere in North America. Fast growing aquatic creatures, carp can reach 10 to 11 inches, outgrow their predators, and live for decades. [read more...]
Chameleons are known for their remarkable camouflaging abilities; however, one species, the Jackson’s chameleon, also has the unique ability to move its eyes independently. Because its eyes lie at the tip of swiveling turrets, the Jackson’s chameleon can see in two different directions at once. [read more...]
Decades ago, the great roadrunner got its name for running in front of stagecoaches. Found in Mexico and parts of the southwestern United States, this species eats a variety of creatures including insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, eggs, fruit and seeds. [read more...]
Of the 40,000 known spider species in the world, only one can do cartwheels. This species, newly discovered in Morocco and nicknamed “the cart wheeling spider,” is the Cebrennus Rechenbergi. [read more...]
Peregrine falcons are often recognized for their vast travels; in fact, the word “peregrine” translates to “wanderer.” During migration season, some of these falcons even travel up to 15,500 miles. Despite such lengthy travels, the amazing homing instincts of these falcons allow them to return to their favorite nests, some of which have been used for centuries. [read more...]
Jaguars are known for their beautiful fur coats. These coats are so beautiful, however, that many humans illegally hunt them. In a single year, approximately 13,500 jaguars were killed for their fur. [read more...]
When you think of an octopus, you might not know that these creatures are great escape artists. These animals blend in with their surroundings, fit into cracks in ocean beds, and use their ink to cover up their scent. These talents help them to escape from lurking predators. [read more...]
Stingrays have numerous outstanding qualities. Their body structure, for example, is one reason they are unique aquatic creatures. [read more...]
Thanks to the new technology of 3D printing, a bald eagle was recently able to recover from her traumatic accident. Beauty, the eagle, was the victim of a hunter’s shot. At the age of six, a bullet destroyed her upper beak. [read more...]
Elephant tusks are composed of ivory, a white, bone-like material. Currently, up to 35,000 of the estimated 500,000 living African elephants are slaughtered every year for their ivory tusks. Tusks from a single male elephant weigh more than 250 pounds. On the black market, one pound of ivory is valued as high as $1,500. [read more...]
Recent studies indicate that the elusive West African lion may be more endangered than previously thought. For six years, Phillip Henschel, Lion Program Survey Coordinator for the big-cat conservation program Panthera, and his team searched for this rare species. The team's results suggest that the population of this sub-species is approximately 400 lions--only 250 of which are mature and breeding. [read more...]
Most living creatures are unable to survive in freezing cold weather. However the Arctic fox, has the ability to live in temperatures below -94 Fahrenheit.In the summer, the Arctic fox is hard to spot because its fur turns to a brownish color. During the winter, its coat turns white and blends in with the snow. This ability to blend in is useful when stalking prey. Not only is its coat a good disguise, but it also helps keep it warm. [read more...]
In 1851, Herman Melville recorded a thrilling tale about a bowhead whale in his well-known novel, Moby Dick. What some might not known, however, is that this species of whale can live more than 200 years. [read more...]
Although a seahorse is a fish, it barely resembles one. Its unique body structure and head shape are thought to resemble a horse. [read more...]
熊猫是濒临绝种的动物,目前全世界只剩下不到两千只。1949年,中国将熊猫列为国宝,同时,它们也是世界野生动物基金会的代表动物。 [read more...]
云豹是一种神秘和脆弱的猫科动物。它们住在东南亚,从印尼的热带雨林,到尼泊尔的喜马拉雅山脚。 [read more...]
When Jacob Gillizter went to the Department of Natural Resources to get approval to fish in a local creek for a school project, he was told it would be a waste of time. [read more...]
The great white shark, which can be found roaming many of the world’s seas and oceans, is the largest predatory shark. Great white sharks are massive creatures weighing, on average, 7,040 pounds, and are 12 to 20 feet in length. [read more...]
Mountaintops are one of the harshest places to live. With cold and windy slopes, it takes a tough animal to endure this type of environment. Still, many animals make these snowy summits their home. [read more...]
A new species of mammal, the Olinguito, was discovered last summer by Smithsonian researchers. It weighs about two pounds, and is 14 inches long with an equally long tail, and fully coated with reddish-brown fur. [read more...]
Silk, one of the strongest and most sought after fabrics in the world is actually produced by a tiny caterpillar called the silkworm. Silkworms produce thread that when woven together creates silk. Silkworms eat leaves from only one plant, the mulberry tree. Today, these insects no longer live in the wild. Instead, they are used for silk farming. [read more...]
Turtles and tortoises have been around us for 200 million years. But, how well do we know these domed reptiles? You may not realize that there is a great diversity of these creatures in the wild. Three of these unique specimens are diamondback terrapins, alligator snapping turtles, and Galapagos giant tortoises. [read more...]
For years, humans have been changing animal habitats. New research suggests that we could also be changing the size of animal brains. [read more...]
An electric eel roams the waters, waiting for a largemouth bass to swim by. The eel waits hoping for a snack. It patiently waits and finally reaches its prey. The eel has a long rippling anal fin behind their tail that it can push in any direction. This animal can maneuver in the tightest corners. [read more...]
Dolphins inhabit many of the world's oceans from as far north as Iceland, Nova Scotia and Japan, to far south as Chile and New Zealand. They are found in the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and the Black Sea. They surround themselves in large family herds that can have thousands of members. The common dolphin is a sleek, muscular, intelligent and curious animal, but can also be a deadly predator. [read more...]
A new invasive species has been discovered in Wisconsin’s lake system. Until 2012, New Zealand mud snails had only been found in the western United States. A lab at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point analyzed a sample of water detected at Black Earth Creek and detected the presence of snails in Wisconsin waters. There were only a few asexual clones of the snails, which helped the scientists determine that the snails were from Colorado. It is possible that they came by way of a sport fisherman. [read more...]
The white whales are among the smallest species of whales. They are known as belugas. [read more...]
Barracudas are dangerous fish that live in tropical and subtropical seas. They have humongous pointy teeth, the length of a human finger. [read more...]
With so many different wild cats in Africa, the caracal is often overshadowed. This small African cat is not only the fastest of all small cats, but its habitat is also the most widespread. [read more...]
There are more than 4,000 different species of frogs. One of the more common frogs is the American bullfrog. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered where pandas live in the wild and what they eat? The Giant panda lives in the mountains of Sichuan, China, in the Tibetan Plateau. This damp habitat is near the top highest elevations of Xifan Mountains where bamboo thrives in heavy snow. Pandas are among the most endangered animals in the world. They are protected from hunters and poachers under Chinese law with strong penalties, including jail time. [read more...]
With a range of habitats from forest and savannah grasslands to semi-arid scrub close to the Kalahari desert, the Cape porcupine can be found south of the equator. The Cape porcupine’s main defense is its quills which can grow up to 16 inches long. These minutely barbed quills cover both the hind part of the back and the upper side of the tail. [read more...]
Lyrebirds are nature’s entertainers. These musically-inclined birds grace their habitats with song and dance. [read more...]
In Florida, a pair of endangered panthers was released from the White Oak Conservation Center and made their way back into the wild. [read more...]
A reptile in search of prey lurking in the depths of the forest senses a critter running into a blueberry bush to hide from predators. The king cobra rears its head off the ground and uses its keen vision to spot the rat. It slithers, sneaks and pounces. Looks like it's rat soup for dinner tonight. [read more...]
The discovery in China of a new species of dinosaur has created more questions than answers. [read more...]
Many people confuse the Portuguese man-of-war with the common jellyfish. What these people don’t notice is that the man-of-war is not one organism, like the jellyfish, but a colony made up of four individual polyps the float, digestive polyps, nematocysts and tentacles – each of which perform a different function but work together as a whole. [read more...]
With shield-like scales, muscular jaws, and razor- sharp teeth, the Gila monster is a predator with an agonizing bite. [read more...]
Many tales are told about ships at sea being attacked by swordfish. A 19th century British warship sprung a leak after a swordfish made a 22-inch hole in its wooden hull. A piece of this ship is displayed today in the British Museum of Natural History. [read more...]
On the humid floor of the Central American rainforest, the strawberry poison-arrow frog makes its home on a pile of wet leaves. This unusual looking creature is a blend of red and orange with green on its toes. Its thin, porous skin dries out easily. Because they can’t prevent water loss, strawberry poison-arrow frogs have to live in a moist environment. [read more...]
Although the orca’s sleek black and white body makes it appear harmless, a flash of its vicious teeth inspires fear even in the mightiest onlooker. One of the most formidable predators of the sea, it is also known as the killer whale. Weighing more than 13,230 pounds and swimming at over 31 miles per hour, this deadly mammal is a force to be reckoned with. [read more...]
Henry Vilas Zoo’s very own 18-year-old African lion, Henry, died this year. His health and quality of life was decreased over time due to old age and late stage renal failure. [read more...]
If humans searched for food in the way woodpeckers do, it would likely cause headaches, head injuries like concussions, or even brain damage. [read more...]
Many people are afraid of elephants because of their size, or the fact that they are from the wild. Little do people know, elephants are a lot like humans. [read more...]
When you think of flamingos, you might think of those plastic pink lawn ornaments or maybe docile, tall, bright pink birds at the zoo. There is more to the greater flamingo that meets the eye. [read more...]
By 1901 only a single pair of Atlantic puffins inhabited Matinicus Rock off the coast of Maine. At an earlier time, colonies of these birds occupied many other islands in the region. By the 1890’s hunting threatened the survival of the species. In 1901 two puffins survived under the protection of people in a nearby lighthouse that watched over them. The birds began to propagate and thrive. [read more...]
Two hundred fifty million years ago, four creatures resembling snakes and lizards roamed the earth: the Kuehneosaurus, the Megalania, the Pachyrhachis, and the Platecarpus. [read more...]
Have you ever tried to feed the ducks in one of Dane County’s many lakefront parks? While this can be a fun activity, it can also be cut short by swarms of aggressive gulls. These large, loud white birds can sweep down in large numbers and make both ducks and people very uncomfortable. [read more...]
You may have noticed how squirrels, along with other mammals, seem to disappear in the winter in areas that have cold climates. They don’t actually vanish into thin air; instead, they go into hibernation. Hibernation is a state in which a mammal sleeps for several weeks or months to preserve body heat. [read more...]
Many residents in Oahu, Hawaii are kept up at night by a thunderous roar of chirps. The chirps are mating calls from male coqui frogs. Some residents say the chirps can be as loud as a jet. [read more...]
Although the tiger population has been dwindling steadily over the years, only recently are officials realizing how dire the situation actually is. [read more...]
Recently, scientists from The US National Wildlife Health Center in Madison helped prove that a fungus is causing the deadly white-nose syndrome in bats. [read more...]
Scientists at Stanford University in California are sending out a floating robot to track great white sharks in the Pacific. [read more...]
According to new rules set by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), hunters will be allowed to eliminate almost a quarter of Wisconsin’s wolves this winter. Debates go on about whether this hunt will actually make any difference in our state’s thriving wolf population. [read more...]
When thinking of vampire bats, the same question always seems to come to mind: are vampire bats really like vampires, or is that just a misnomer? Although they are mammals, vampire bats’ mannerisms, breeding, and feeding habits are slightly different from others in its class. [read more...]
In an effort to get two red pandas to mate, the Henry Vilas Zoo is hosting a new male red panda. [read more...]
Some say it is difficult to tell a leopard from a cheetah. But, if you know what to look for, it’s simple. One way to tell these cats apart is to look them in the eye. [read more...]
These days, most of the fish you find in Wisconsin’s lakes and elsewhere have jaws. But in ancient times, most fish were jawless and sucked up their prey through their mouths. It was not until 420 million years ago, during the Devonian period, that fish jaws evolved. [read more...]
A reptile, in search of prey, sits on a branch…waiting. It smells something. An insect flies in its direction. Snap! The insect is consumed with the dart of a tongue, in just 25 hundredths of a second. The Jackson’s Chameleon has made another stealthy attack. [read more...]
Gone missing for the better part of a century, the American marten has finally returned to Wisconsin. The critters are back in the state’s remote northern forests. [read more...]
The city of Green Bay has a downtown rodent infestation and city officials intend to deal with it in a unique way; they plan to introduce birds of prey. [read more...]
Most of us have heard of or seen giant pandas, but most likely don’t know about Red Pandas.These two beautiful species have much in common and both are found in Asia. [read more...]
Some animals thrive in warm air and water temperatures, but Arctic and Antarctic animals have adapted to life in their cold climates. [read more...]
A Mustang is a free roaming horse that lives in North America. The Spaniards originally brought these animals to North America when they conquered Mexico. [read more...]
Like that of the humpback and blue whales, populations of California gray whales have dropped significantly due to the whaling industry. Researchers have reported, however, that until humans interfered, the whales overcame far greater obstacles. According to one study from the science journal PloS One, these whales withstood the effects of all ice ages that occurred over the last million years. If there had been a dramatic drop in population, there would have been inbreeding. When this happens over many generations, mutations occur in the offspring, which would have shown up in their DNA. But scientists have not found that gray whales have inbred, nor was there any dramatic drop in gray whale population. [read more...]
Sea turtles first roamed planet Earth about 250 million years ago. Scientists know this because fossils records indicate sea turtles are from the Jurassic period. Scientists learn more every year about these fascinating ancient creatures. For instance, the skull of a sea turtle found in South Dakota in 1996 is 70 million years old. From this discovery scientists learned that, at one time, sea turtles were twice as big as they are today. [read more...]
For years biologists believed that the only remaining colonies of short-tailed albatross were found on two remote Japanese islands. Recently, they discovered that they were wrong. The short-tailed albatross with its bright pink bill, white body, and golden-colored crown and nape is a rare and threatened bird. [read more...]
Every year, for the past decade, Wisconsin’s whooping cranes migrate south to Florida for the winter. The birds are led by an ultra-light aircraft. This project is known as Operation Migration. [read more...]
Bonobos are only found in the rainforests of central Africa, exclusively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This rare species is part of the great ape family, but they lack the aggression of many other ape species. Bonobos live in female-dominated societies and are peaceful and easy-going. During rare instances of conflict, individual bonobos often copulate to resolve these conflicts. [read more...]
There are only about 300 Indochinese tigers in the world. About 100 of them live in Thailand, Lao PDR, and perhaps 30 living in Vietnam. The population in Myanmar is currently unknown. Although they originate in China, the last known Indochinese tiger spotted in China was killed and eaten in 2007 by a poacher. [read more...]
With the increasing poverty rates in Illinois and the rapid spread of Asian carp in U.S. freshwaters, encouraging Asian carp consumption in America may be a solution that addresses both of these problems. Unfortunately, most Americans wouldn’t dream of eating Asian carp because of its unsightly appearance. [read more...]
Asian carp first were introduced in American 1970’s as a cleaning fish for commercial fish ponds in the South. They escaped into the Mississippi River during a flood and have since spawned rapidly and spread quickly. Since then, Asian carp have been a controversial subject in America. [read more...]
Standing near the water’s edge, a zebra gracefully takes a drink of water from the pool. However, the zebra has no idea that a predator is lurking near and is getting closer. Snap! The zebra, taken by surprise, is dragged under water in mere seconds. The Nile crocodile has made another attack. [read more...]
Although dinosaurs no longer roam the earth, the tuatara—a species that existed before the first dinosaurs—still populates New Zealand. This island nation is home to many bizarre creatures, like the kiwi bird and the kakapo. But the tuatara trumps them all in the world of exotic. [read more...]
Researchers from the University of Haifa-Oranim have found a new spider lurking in the Sands of Samar, a large sand dune in Israel. With a leg span of almost six inches, this new species, the Cerbalus aravaensis, is the largest known arachnid of its kind. [read more...]
In 2005, aerial surveys conducted by the Mineral Management Service revealed four dead polar bears in open Arctic waters. Alongside them were ten swimming bears, struggling to reach land. [read more...]
Malayan tapirs make their homes in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. They are the largest of the four tapir species. [read more...]
There are many types of insects that can go for periods of time without breathing. For example, a cockroach can hold its breath for several minutes, and a moth pupa can go several hours. [read more...]
Scientists have known for sometime that female macaque monkeys form strong social bonds among themselves, typically with other female relatives. Recent studies published in the journal, Current Biology, show that males do the same. [read more...]
Did you know that starfish are not actually fish? In fact, because of this, scientists are changing this well-known name to sea stars because these animals are more closely related to sand dollars, sea urchins, and other species of echinoderms. [read more...]
Recently, a red panda named Sha-Lei arrived at Henry Vilas Zoo from Edmonton, Alberta. Another red panda named Chang-Tan has been in the Zoo since 2007. Zoo managers hope that Sha-Lei and Chang-Tan will mate. [read more...]
Scientists are still debating both the causes and consequences of global warming, but it is clear that climate change is threatening thousands of species across the globe, especially amphibians. [read more...]
Considered by many to be birds of peace, cranes are among the rarest birds in the world. Fifteen species of cranes continue to survive in the world, two of which inhabit the Korean Peninsula-along the Demilitarized Zone that separates North from South. [read more...]
For the past five decades, scientists have been baffled by a deadly plague that continues to infect colonies of prairie dogs in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. This plague aggressively attacks colony after colony of prairie dogs; but recently discoveries showed that grasshopper mice are the likely culprit. [read more...]
Industrialization and development in any given area will inevitably lead to conflict between humans and the animals native to the area. Some countries are attempting to make accommodations for large animals; Costa Rica now has “jaguar corridors” to help animals and humans live side by side. [read more...]
Scientists believe they have discovered as many as ten new species of amphibians in the mountains of Colombia. These previously undiscovered species include three poisonous frogs, three types of transparent-skinned glass frogs, and one salamander species. [read more...]
At a zoo in Paris, a captive clouded leopard recently gave birth to two female cubs. The cubs were named Pati and Jaya. Zookeepers, according to custom, waited to announce their birth until the mother and cubs were in a healthy condition. [read more...]
Bengal tigers, also known as Indian tigers, are the most well-known tigers in the world. With 1,850 left in the wild, the Bengal tiger has the largest population of all remaining tiger subspecies. However, rapid human expansion and urbanization is forcing this tiger out of its native habitat. [read more...]
We all know that most people are either left or right handed. A less known fact is that animals, including those without hands, also often prefer using one side of the body over the other. [read more...]
Recently, I wrote an article for the Free Press about Bengal tigers. These large and beautiful cats live in southern Asia, mostly in India. Threatened by poachers and habitat loss, they are becoming extremely rare. Bengal tigers are among the largest of the big cats. [read more...]
Eight arms, large eyes, and a massive head make the common octopus’s appearance unique. But behind this strange appearance lies an amazing variety of skills. [read more...]
How animals communicate has long been of interest to many scientists. Animals are known to use acoustic and visual signals, as well as physical interactions, as methods of communication. However, scientists have learned that some animals use a different method of communication: vibration. Researchers recently discovered that male red-eyed tree frogs communicate using vibration. [read more...]
A previously unknown lizard species was recently discovered on Luzon, an island in the Philippines. This lizard species is called Varanus bitatawa. It is a gray, six-foot-long monitor lizard with colorful dots and other distinctive markings on its scales. This species is considered unique because their diet is made up of almost entirely fruit. Most monitor lizards are meat eaters. [read more...]
Looking something like an unusual cross between a duck and a beaver, the platypus has a bizarre appearance. [read more...]
As you may know, wild pandas all around the world are endangered. In the Foping Nature Reserve in China’s Qinling Mountains, scientists are finding out that pandas may be the cause of their own extinction. [read more...]
The trumpeter swan and the osprey have been removed from Wisconsin’s endangered species list. These birds, once on the brink of extinction, are making a very strong comeback. [read more...]
The Arctic tern is a bird with a reputation for being well traveled. It has the ability to migrate to the far Southern Ocean from its Arctic breeding grounds. Researchers estimate that the round-trip distance could be as much as 25,000 miles. [read more...]
After a recent meeting in Doha, Qatar of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and its 175 member nations, the convention announced their decision to continue protection for African elephants. [read more...]
Woodpeckers do a lot of work for what seems like a small amount of food. Scientists studying head traumas are trying to find out how they avoid brain damage after repeatedly banging their heads against trees to get food. [read more...]