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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!

22 Nov 2011

Tigers (and Tots) on the Move

By | November 22nd, 2011|Comments Off on Tigers (and Tots) on the Move

We think of reading as a sedentary activity, but Zoobies Tigers delights by sound and motion–not the technological kind, but the play-along-and-use-your-imagination kind!

Toddlers love lowering their voices and “shh”ing to creep along with the prowling tiger, especially when the growling tiger on the very next page lets them let loose with a roar. And later on, when tigers are stretching, creeping, running, and leaping, it’s surprising how well these motions can be imitated–even from the confines of a car seat or a lap.

In the playtime section of the Zoobies & You pages in the back, there are ideas for making these motions even more dramatic and engaging. There are ideas, too, for using Zoobies Tigers to point out shapes and colors, and for pushing the observations made in the book beyond its pages and into real life. We’d love to hear about the creative ways your little one has enjoyed Zoobies!

16 Nov 2011

Help Us Choose a Cover for Zoobooks Apes

By | November 16th, 2011|Comments Off on Help Us Choose a Cover for Zoobooks Apes

Here are three potential cover photos for Zoobooks Apes, our January issue–please comment and let us know which one you find most appealing. Not all apes are represented here, because there are several species: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gibbons, and siamangs–whew, that’s a lot! Maybe it’s a good thing we aren’t including monkeys, too. (What’s the most obvious difference between a monkey and an ape, by the way? The answer is, apes don’t have tails.)

9 Nov 2011

A Royal Family

By | November 9th, 2011|Comments Off on A Royal Family

Emperor penguins have a royal name, but not much of a royal lifestyle. They live in a neighborhood (Antarctica) where temperatures can drop to eighty degrees below zero, with terrible winds.  Zootles Penguinsfeatures the story of a dedicated father penguin determined to hatch and care for his young offspring, Chick, no matter what it costs him.

It costs him quite a bit! Emperor Dad has to balance the egg on his feet, protecting it with his brood pouch, for nine long weeks. During that time, he does not eat or drink, and he spends most of his time huddling with other Emperor dads, rotating their huddle so each penguin spends some time either warm in the middle of the huddle, or chilly on the outside edges.

Finally Chick hatches, and Emperor Dad manages to throw up just enough nourishment for him to keep Chick alive. Still later, Emperor Mom reappears, after hunting for months at sea, and takes over Chick’s care so Dad can go off to sea and hunt for himself. By this time he’s lost almost half his body weight. But Emperor Mom is well prepared, now, to make sure Chick gets all the nourishment he needs, and all goes well for Chick.

The story is a great reminder of how families work together to take care of each other–let us know if it inspires any acts of kindness at your house!