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25 Mar 2015

Quirky Kiwis

By | March 25th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Quirky Kiwis

TeTuatahianuiOur most recent issue of Zoobooks, Ostriches and Other Ratites, covers the biggest birds in the world—and some little ones, too. Kiwis are about the size of chickens, but what these birds lack in size, they make up for in quirkiness.
These shy birds from New Zealand have thick, soft feathers that look almost like fur—in fact, fuzzy brown kiwi fruits got their names because they look like these birds! Kiwis are the only birds in the world with nostrils right at the end of their bills. This helps them sniff out the insects and grubs that they eat. They’re one of the only birds in the world with a good sense of smell. Of all the birds, kiwis lay the largest eggs compared to their size. A five-pound kiwi can lay a one-pound egg—that would be like a human woman giving birth to a baby that weighed about thirty pounds!

 

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

18 Mar 2015

Big Birds, Bigger Talent

By | March 18th, 2015|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Big Birds, Bigger Talent

This month, our amazing readers created these pictures of some of the world’s biggest birds. Which picture is your favorite?

 

 

11 Mar 2015

Dolphin Differences

By | March 11th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Dolphin Differences

Atlantic_spotted_dolphin_(Stenella_frontalis)_NOAADolphins are both very similar to humans and very different. We have long regarded dolphins as some of the most intelligent animals, and they’re highly social. They live in family groups, like humans do, and they even communicate with each other through a series of clicks and squeals that make up their own “language.” Some scientists even specialize in trying to learn what dolphins are “saying” to each other.
Even though we have a lot in common with dolphins, there are some big differences. For instance, while dolphins are mammals like us, their aquatic lifestyle means that they do a lot of things differently, including breathing and sleeping. When they sleep, dolphins float on one side and keep one eye open. And to breathe, dolphins take in air through their blowholes when they surface, and then seal up their blowholes when they’re swimming—like how we hold our noses when we go underwater! What other similarities and differences can you and your family find between humans and dolphins?

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

27 Feb 2015

Awesome Ostriches

By | February 27th, 2015|Tags: |Comments Off on Awesome Ostriches

Ostrich-racing-at-canterbury-parkWhat’s your favorite way to get around? Car? Bike? …Ostrich? It’s true– two thousand years ago, the Egyptian queen Arsinoe rode an ostrich with a special saddle. And while you probably wouldn’t try to get to the grocery store by ostrich, people still ride ostriches for fun in races today.

Ostriches have been important to humans for thousands of years. These easily domesticated birds have been used as everything from cart-pullers to sheep herders to food sources– a single ostrich egg weighs almost four pounds and can feed up to ten people. However, ostriches nearly went extinct due to humans killing them for their feathers. Ostriches are now thriving, though, so with further care, these enormous birds will be around for years to come!

 

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

19 Feb 2015

Cute Camels

By | February 19th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Cute Camels

This month, our Zooworks winners have drawn some fantastic camels! Each of these drawings shows a lot of talent and creativity—do you have a favorite?

11 Feb 2015

Dressed for the Occasion

By | February 11th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Dressed for the Occasion

Schwimmender-Pinguin

Penguins always look dapper, with their tuxedo-patterned coats. Even though they might look like they have fur, penguins, like all other birds, have feathers. Their feathers are very thick and are coated with oil to help keep them warm and let them sleekly swim through icy water. Even the colors of their feathers help them to survive by making them harder for predators to see while they’re swimming. Their black back feathers help them blend in with the deep, dark water when viewed from above, and their white tummies blend in with the bright sunlight that streams through the ocean, making them harder to see from below. Can you think of any other animals whose fur or feathers are specially adapted to live in certain climates?

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

4 Feb 2015

Camels in Alaska?

By | February 4th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Camels in Alaska?

Camel_seitlich_trabendHappy Hump Day! To reward yourself for getting halfway through the week, take a break and check out the Alaska Zoo’s website. They’ve got all kinds of fun facts about animals, including the ones featured in the most recent Zoobooks: camels!
If you think of camels as animals that live in the hot desert, you might feel bad for the camels living up in Alaska—but don’t worry! In their natural habitats, Bactian camels survive temperatures of -40° F, so the Alaska Zoo is just fine by them. And that’s not the only thing these tough animals can withstand— Bactrian camels can drink spring water with a higher salt content than seawater, something that no other animal can do. They even withstood decades of nuclear testing in their native home, the Gobi Desert in China.
But even though wild camels are extremely tough, they’re in trouble. With only 1,000 camels left in the wild, they’re critically endangered. You can help the camels by visiting The Wild Camel Protection Foundation. Find out what you can do to ensure that these amazing animals are around for years to come!

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

 

28 Jan 2015

Crazy About Camels

By | January 28th, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Crazy About Camels

2011_Trampeltier_1528With the January weather, you might find yourself wishing you lived someplace warm, like the hot deserts where camels make their homes. But even though camels live in deserts, that doesn’t mean that they never have to face the cold. Bactrian camels (the ones with two humps) live in mountainous regions of Asia where it gets to be 122°F in the summer, but -20° on winter nights. Camels are tough, though—in addition to thriving in extreme temperatures, they’re also famously able to go for long periods without water. When it’s hot out, they can go a week without a drink—and when it’s cooler, they can last up to six months without water. They don’t even get much moisture from their food—their diet includes dry sticks, salty plants, and thorns. (By the way, they don’t store water in their humps—those are full of fat!)
Thanks to their hardiness, camels have been valued by people all over the world for thousands of years. You’re probably familiar with domesticated camels in Asia and Africa, but there are other camels closer to home that you might not have thought about. Some humpless wild camels in South America have been domesticated, creating two animals that you might know: alpacas and llamas.

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

21 Jan 2015

Baby Photos

By | January 21st, 2015|Tags: , |Comments Off on Baby Photos

Lion_cub_with_motherOne way that children learn about animals is by seeing how they’re like us humans. The latest issue of Zoobies focuses on baby animals in ways that will engage our youngest readers. Photographs of baby seals, flamingos, wallabies, and more show kids the ways that baby animals eat, sleep, and play—and show the ways that we’re alike. When you read this with your child, see if you can find similarities and differences between humans and animals!

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

14 Jan 2015

Delightful Dinosaurs

By | January 14th, 2015|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Delightful Dinosaurs

This month, our Zooworks winners brought dinosaurs back to life with their brilliant drawings! Do you have a favorite?

8 Jan 2015

Staying Warm with Zootles Penguins

By | January 8th, 2015|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Staying Warm with Zootles Penguins

King_Penguin_on_Saunders_Island_(5586832804)With the cold weather we’ve been having, you might find yourself daydreaming about warm places. Like beaches with soft sand, bright sun, and…penguins? While we normally think of penguins as creatures of the icy Antarctic, they’re actually found in coastal areas throughout the Southern Hemisphere, including places like South Africa. But you won’t find them up in the North Pole—the furthest north you’ll find penguins is the Galapagos Islands near the Equator.
But even the penguins that live in cold places have ways of keeping nice and warm. Their thick layer of blubber keeps them warm in icy water, and their double-layer of feathers helps to insulate them too. And penguins rely on each other to keep warm by huddling up in large groups. What do you to keep warm? What do you do that’s similar to what penguins do, and what’s different?

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

29 Jul 2012

Checkout a Sample Book!

By | July 29th, 2012|Comments Off on Checkout a Sample Book!

Thinking about subscribing to Zoobooks? Check out a sample issue right here.

14 Dec 2011

Fun Facts About Penguins

By | December 14th, 2011|Comments Off on Fun Facts About Penguins

Zootles Penguins is a wet and wild look at one of our favorite flightless birds. Ever wondered how these tuxedo-clad avians survive is temperatures that would stop us cold?

A penguin is waterproof, first of all. Water can’t soak into the skin because the skin is covered with a lot of tightly packed feathers coated in oil. A thick layer of blubber under the skin works like a parka for keeping a penguin warm, too. In sub-freezing temperatures, penguins huddle together to keep warm, rotating so that every bird gets a chance to be in the middle of the group.

Penguins vary a lot in size. The smallest is the little blue penguin, at just over a foot tall and 2-1/2 pounds. Emperor penguins are almost four feet tall and weigh 80 pounds–larger than many children! Their habitat varies, too–from the icy cold of Antarctica to the sunny coast of South Africa.

So how many of these fun facts did you already know, and how many were news to you? Are there any other penguin tidbits out there that you think are worth sharing? Feel free to add them below!

7 Dec 2011

Woodland Park Zoo: The Benefits of Eating Like Animals

By | December 7th, 2011|Comments Off on Woodland Park Zoo: The Benefits of Eating Like Animals

The Woodland Park Zoo promotes the rather surprising idea that one third of all global greenhouse emissions are caused by the food we choose to eat! We’ve known for a long time that recycling and water conservation are critical, but who would have guessed that something as basic as our diet could affect our planet?

This month, our Zoobooks issue Endangered Animals has us thinking about how to help our environment, so Woodland Park’s tips on how to “eat like an animal” come at a perfect time.  You’ll find that their suggestions will not only make for a healthier planet, but for a healthier YOU, too.

Beyond this, the zoo has plenty of ideas on what you can do in your own backyard to create and enhance habitat for wildlife. The best part is that all these suggested changes mean fun family projects and (in the case of a food garden) a return to self-reliance that is a great example for children.

We’d love to hear which of these ideas you decide to try, and the outcome of your efforts. Feel free, too, to post a photo on our facebook page! We’d love to see your projects grow.

30 Nov 2011

Brought Back From the Brink

By | November 30th, 2011|Comments Off on Brought Back From the Brink

Endangered animals can be a sobering subject. Nobody wants to think of beautiful tigers or gorillas or exotic birds ever disappearing. But a close look at the plight of endangered animals can actually be a very positive–and even empowering–thing.

People may have caused the difficulty for many animal populations, but people are the source of recovery and healing, too. In this month’s Zoobooks issue, Endangered Animals, kids will get to share in many of the success stories involving animals in trouble.

The Arabian Oryx, a type of antelope, was extinct in the wild by the 1970’s. Today, because of captive breeding, about 1,000 have been reintroduced into the deserts of the Middle East. The Mongolian Wild Horse is following this example, with 50 reintroduced animals in the wild so far. By the early 1940’s, there were only 15 whooping cranes left–and yet today, there are 382 in the wild. One of the most dramatic recoveries has been the white-tailed gnu, which was once down to just a few hundred animals–and now numbers about 1.5 million.

Kids need to know they can make a difference, and Zoobooks Endangered Animals encourages this. May the conservation continue!