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So far The Wild World of Zoobooks has created 231 blog entries.

April 2016

Almost a Groan!

By | April 13th, 2016|

It may surprise you to learn that the story “Almost Grown” in Zootles Tigers originally had a very different ending. The first idea presented was that the two little tiger cub sisters, Lila and Nell, were going to catch their prey rather than stumble into the river and let it get away. Reality, or course, is that tigers catch animals and eat them; but in this story we found a way to get this idea across without having to concern our youngest readers about the fate of the beautiful deer in the pictures.

Everything about a tiger demonstrates strength and power, and they are skilled hunters. Teeth and claws of course are essential, but there are more subtle advantages, too. Their coats hide them so they can sneak up close; their tails help them steer mid-leap; their eyesight in the dark is much better than ours. One day soon, Lila and Nell are going to accomplish their goal!ZT_Tigers_Art_pg13

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Parrot Patter at the St. Louis Zoo

By | April 6th, 2016|

Pretty much everyone who’s ever been in a pet shop has seen a parrot, but we bet you’ve never seen anything like this one! This is a hawk-headed parrot, also known as the red fan parrot. It’s easy to see how it got that name– it raises up the bright scarlet feathers on the back of its head and neck when threatened. Looking bigger can help scare off intruders; it also sways back and forth and makes noises to scare them away.

When not fluffing up their colorful neck ruffs, hawk-headed parrots live in abandoned woodpecker nests, where they raise small broods of chicks. You can learn more about them and their parrot relatives on the St. Louis Zoo website (http://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/birds/parrots) — which of their parrots is your favorite?


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March 2016

A Whale of a Time

By | March 31st, 2016|

If you’ve enjoyed sharing Zoobies with the toddler in your life (or even if you don’t have a Zoobies reader in your house), here are some fun whale photos for you and your family to enjoy. Talk about your favorite whale, find similarities and differences, and maybe even encourage your kids to make believe a game about whales—one of the great things about nature is the way that it can engage our imaginations.

Photos by Steve Snodgrass, Gabriel Barathieu, and Robert PittmanNOAA

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Perfect Parrots

By | March 30th, 2016|

Our Zoobooks readers did an amazing job with these drawings of parrots—check it out!

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Pet Parrots

By | March 16th, 2016|

Agapornis_fischeri_-Ueno_Zoo,_Japan_-three-8a-4cIt’s not every Zoobooks and Zootles animal that we can talk about as pets– most of our featured animals are too big or too dangerous to keep in your house. But as you can learn on the San Diego Zoo’s website, parrots, when properly cared for, can make great companions.

If you’ve ever met a parrot, you know they’re social animals– they mimic our speech and interact with us. Their social natures are even clearer in their natural habitats– some parrots live in flocks of up to one hundred birds.

Since parrots are so smart and social, if you decide to get a pet parrot, you need to make sure that you can give it the attention and mental stimulation that it needs– otherwise, it will grow bored and develop behavioral problems. Also, if you’re considering getting a pet parrot, make sure to buy one that’s from a reputable breeder and not captured from the wild, as poaching wild parrots for pets is a serious problem. And of course, you need to be in it for the long haul– parrots can live in captivity for sixty years or even longer!


Photo by Takashi Hososhima

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Tiger Camouflage

By | March 9th, 2016|Tags: |

Lots of animals have camouflage, colors and textures that help them blend into their environments– think of dull brown ducks that blend into the ground where they nest, or green katydid insects that blend into the leaves. But what about tigers?

At first glance, their bright orange coats don’t seem like they’d be good for blending into anything!

However, their orange coloring and black stripes actually provide excellent camouflage in the grassy forests where they live. Their stripes blend in with the tall grasses that

they crouch behind, and their orange color actually provides pretty good cover when they’re hunting at dusk when the sun is setting. Check it out!


Photo by Hanzasoukup

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What Even Is an Old World Monkey?

By | March 2nd, 2016|

The latest issue of Zoobooks features Old World Monkeys. But what exactly are they?

First of all, let’s go over the difference between monkeys and apes. Chimps, gorillas, and humans are all examples of apes; langurs and tamarins are types of monkeys. What’s the difference? One good rule of thumb is that most monkeys have tails, while apes don’t. Apes are often larger than monkeys, too. In general, apes rely more on their sense of sight, while monkeys rely more on smell, and apes tend to have broader, shorter noses.

When it comes to Old World Monkeys found in Africa and Asia and the New World Monkeys in the Americas, one difference is in their tails—generally speaking, Old World Monkeys don’t have prehensile tails, but New World Monkeys do. There are also differences in the monkeys’ teeth, and Old World Monkeys have nostrils that face sideways (they face downward in New World Monkeys). See if you can spot some of these differences the next time you see monkeys at the zoo!


Photo by J. Patrick Fisher

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February 2016

Zooworks Monkeys

By | February 25th, 2016|

We’re going bananas over these great pictures of monkeys- great job, Zooworks winners!

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Di-no's: These Aren't Dinosaurs

By | February 17th, 2016|

We refer to the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods as “the Age of Dinosaurs,” but they weren’t the only animals alive then.

Inline image 1

Dimetrodons look like dinosaurs, but they’re actually more closely related to humans than to T. rex. They lived before the dinosaurs did, and they’re part of the group that branched off and eventually became mammals. We can tell by looking at the openings in their skulls– they have an extra hole by their ears that dinosaurs don’t have.

(image by Dmitry Bogdanov)

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Pterosaurs, the flying reptiles, lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but they’re actually only distantly related to each other. One way that we can tell is by looking at their leg bones– dinosaurs had different features on their limbs to help make them stronger.

Inline image 3
Mosasaurs and other swimming reptiles aren’t dinosaurs either. They’re on a different branch of the family tree, more closely related to crocodiles and Komodo dragons than to dinosaurs. Their limbs sprawled out to the sides, while dinosaurs carried their legs directly beneath them. (Think about the difference between how a lizard’s legs are splayed out, but a bird’s legs are carried straight beneath their bodies.)

When paleontologists determine where an animal falls on the tree of life, they look at lots of specific little traits, like the structure of specific bones, to see just where they fit. These differences, like holes in the skull and the shape of the leg bones, might not seem important to the untrained eye, but they’re key for scientists to determine how animals are related to each other.

If you’d like to learn more about dinosaurs and the animals they shared their world with, […]

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January 2016

Brand-new Dinosaur

By | January 27th, 2016|

Have you heard about the new giant dinosaur at the American Museum of Natural History? Fossils from a new species of titanosaur (so new that it hasn’t been named) are on display, along with a 122-foot-long replica, called a cast, showing what the entire skeleton would look like. For reference, 122 feet is about the length of three city buses laid end-to-end. You can learn about it here.

There are amazing new discoveries happening every day in paleontology, and with our new book series about dinosaurs, we’ll share all the latest facts and stories that will get kids hooked on science and reading. We can’t make it happen without your help, though—visit our Kickstarter website to learn how you can make a difference!

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Outstanding Otters

By | January 20th, 2016|

Our readers’ drawings are “otterly” wonderful!

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Old Dinosaurs, New Name

By | January 13th, 2016|


Did you ever get a nickname that stuck when you didn’t really think it fit? Imagine how Oviraptors would feel. Their fossils were found around dinosaur nests, so paleontologists thought that they were stealing the eggs and gave them a name that means “egg thief.” Well, it turns out those Oviraptors had a good reason to be at those nests– they were taking care of their own eggs!

One of the great things about science is that it changes every day. That’s why we’re creating a brand-new series of books to teach kids about these amazing animals. Any help that you can give us is very much appreciated– and you can get some awesome dinosaur toys and prizes for being a part of our start-up!


Photo by HombreDHojalata

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Dinosaurs' New Look

By | January 6th, 2016|

Sorry, Jurassic Park, you’re showing your age.

When the first Jurassic Park movie was made in 1993, the jury was still out on whether or not dinosaurs had feathers. Today, there’s no doubt in scientists’ minds—lots of dinosaurs, including T. rex and Velociraptor, had feathers. You can see some on this fossil—the dark brown fringe along the animal’s spine is made of feathers!

olai ose

Early feathered dinosaurs didn’t use their feathers for flight, though—instead, they were probably all for show. Feathers could make the dinosaurs look bigger to intimidate predators, and they could be used to attract mates, just like peacock feathers today.

The idea of lizard-like dinosaurs has stuck in people’s minds, though, in part due to the scaly-skinned predators in movies like Jurassic Park. Some people think that it “ruins” dinosaurs to picture them with feathers, saying that they wouldn’t be scary any more. To which we say, really? You’re not scared of this?


In the new book about dinosaurs that we’re working on, we’ll be sharing dinosaurs with a whole new generation, giving kids (and their parents) the most cutting-edge scientific information about these amazing animals. Please help us make it happen!




Top photo by Olai Ose

Bottom photo by Domser

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December 2015

Tiny Readers, Tiny Owls

By | December 23rd, 2015|

The owls in our latest issue of Zoobies got us thinking- those books are geared toward our smallest readers, so what better time to talk about the world’s smallest owls? Burrowing owls are just a little bit bigger than a robin. True to their name, they live in underground nests, including old prairie dog burrows. They’re some of the only owls that are active during the day, but they still do most of their hunting at night. You can spot them in the western United States during the summer, but this time of year, they’re in Central and South America.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons, via user belgianchocolate


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The World’s Smallest Frog

By | December 9th, 2015|

Paratype_of_Paedophryne_amauensis_(LSUMZ_95004) (1).pngAs you might remember from the latest issue of Zootles, there are all kinds of frogs in the world. One of our favorites is this newly discovered frog from Papua New Guinea (an island nation just north of Australia). Scientists discovered them living in dead leaves on the jungle floor in 2012. The tiny frogs make sounds like insects, and the scientists who heard their calls tracked them down to see what was making the noise—they never expected to stumble across the world’s smallest frogs!

At 0.27 inches long, they’re one of the world’s smallest vertebrates, or animals with backbones. This one fits on a dime with plenty of room to spare! Can you imagine discovering a new species? Where would you look?


Photo by Saibo

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