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29 Jul 2016

A Whale of a Time

By | July 29th, 2016|Comments Off on A Whale of a Time

Think of every animal you can. Tigers, goldfish, hummingbirds, elephants, dogs, humans—the list goes on and on. Now add in every extinct animal you can think of—T. rex, wooly mammoths, pterodactyls. The number of animals that have lived on earth over its long history is staggering—and the very biggest one known to science happens to be sharing the earth with us right now. Blue whales aren’t just the biggest animals in the ocean, or even the biggest animals alive today—they’re the biggest animals, living or extinct, that have ever been discovered. They’re around a hundred feet long and weigh in the neighborhood of 400,000 pounds. When you think about how old the earth is and how relatively recently humans are to the planet, it’s incredible that we get to share the world with the biggest animal that’s ever lived on it!blue whale

Photo courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

21 Jul 2016

Amazing Alligators (and Crocs)

By | July 21st, 2016|Comments Off on Amazing Alligators (and Crocs)

Our readers made these fearsomely awesome drawings of alligators and crocodiles- check them out!

15 Jul 2016

Protecting America’s Biggest Reptiles

By | July 15th, 2016|Comments Off on Protecting America’s Biggest Reptiles

Can’t get enough of the gators from the latest issue of Zoobooks? The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has lots of fun facts about these amazing animals on their website. For instance, did you know that while they can snap their jaws shut with incredible speed and force, they don’t have many muscles that let them open their mouths? That enables zoo vets to keep the gators’ mouths shut when giving them medical treatment. But the vets still need to steer clear of the gators’ muscular tails!

Even though alligators are big and strong, they’re still in danger of habitat loss. For a while, they were highly endangered, but new laws have made sure that they didn’t go extinct in the US. Zoos and other wildlife conservation organizations can help save endangered animals– you can even read about what else the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is doing to help!

7 Jul 2016

Check out our readers' buttefly stories and poems!

By | July 7th, 2016|Comments Off on Check out our readers' buttefly stories and poems!

butterfly poem 1butterfly poem 2butterfly poem 3

15 Jun 2016

Hard-headed Dinos

By | June 15th, 2016|Comments Off on Hard-headed Dinos

You might have grown up reading about how thick-skulled Pachycephalosaurus rammed their heads into each other like bighorn sheep, fighting for social dominance or to impress mates. However, scientists have found that their skulls weren’t tough enough for that kind of action. When they studied the dinosaurs’ skulls, they found that the thick bone would have been too brittle to get smacked around without cracking. Instead, those unusual heads were likely used to attract mates.

There are always new, exciting discoveries being made in science, and the new Zoodinos series is full of brand-new dino facts—place your order today

Pachycephalosaurus_skull

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ballista

19 May 2016

Beautiful Butterflies

By | May 19th, 2016|Comments Off on Beautiful Butterflies

We’re just getting to the time of year when you can see butterflies outside, but in the meantime, check out these awesome butterflies that our readers made!

12 May 2016

Not-so-little Bunny Foo-Foo

By | May 12th, 2016|Comments Off on Not-so-little Bunny Foo-Foo

Runt_and_PaxieWe think of rabbits as tiny animals, but some of them are actually pretty big! The largest rabbits in the world can be up to four feet long and weigh up to 55 pounds. (Though, we should note, the one in this picture, while a huge rabbit, is next to a Shetland Sheepdog, which is much smaller than a full-sized Collie. Still—that’s a big bunny.)

These giant rabbits were selectively bred to be big—they were originally used by humans for fur and meat. The biggest rabbits in the wild are much smaller. One of the biggest species, the antelope jackrabbit, is “only” 24 inches long.

Photo by Stamatisclan

4 May 2016

Butterflies at the Minnesota Zoo

By | May 4th, 2016|Tags: , |Comments Off on Butterflies at the Minnesota Zoo

butterfly minnesota zooIt’s easy to be impressed by the biggest animals at the zoo—tall, graceful giraffes, roaring lions, and gentle elephants are always crowd-pleasers. But the Minnesota Zoo is home to some tiny animals that are none the less amazing: butterflies. Their butterfly garden is home to beautiful insects from near and far, and their website is home to tons of fun facts about them. For example, did you know that some butterflies, like this mourning cloak butterfly, hibernate during the winter? Or that butterflies see all the colors that we do, but also ultraviolet colors whose wavelengths are too long for us to see? The more you learn about these incredible animals, the more you’ll realize that the biggest zoo animals aren’t the only ones that are cool!

Photo by SD Dirk

27 Apr 2016

Butterflies: In Living Color

By | April 27th, 2016|Comments Off on Butterflies: In Living Color

Butterflies and their cousins, moths, are the only insects with scales—their wings are covered with them. These scales are responsible for butterflies’ amazing colors, like the brilliant hue of the blue morpho. That dazzling blue isn’t the result of pigment—it’s all how the light hits their prismatic scales.

Butterflies’ color is even responsible for their name. A common European butterfly, the yellow brimstone, is a bright, sunny color. It’s believed that people once referred to it as a “butter-colored fly,” which got shortened to “butterfly.” This spring, see how many different colors of butterflies you can find!

Blue_Morpho_(7974443510) (1)

Photo by Tony Higsett

20 Apr 2016

Zoobooks Readers Spell It Out

By | April 20th, 2016|Comments Off on Zoobooks Readers Spell It Out

One of our favorite things about hosting our regular Kids’ Zooworks contests is seeing young writers and poets stretch their wings. It’s truly wonderful to see our next generation of children work out the rhythm and  cadence of good writing, and put their imaginations to paper. Here are some of our winners for Parrots…

 

13 Apr 2016

Almost a Groan!

By | April 13th, 2016|Comments Off on Almost a Groan!

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

6 Apr 2016

Parrot Patter at the St. Louis Zoo

By | April 6th, 2016|Comments Off on Parrot Patter at the St. Louis Zoo

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?

 

31 Mar 2016

A Whale of a Time

By | March 31st, 2016|Comments Off on A Whale of a Time

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

30 Mar 2016

Perfect Parrots

By | March 30th, 2016|Comments Off on Perfect Parrots

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

16 Mar 2016

Pet Parrots

By | March 16th, 2016|Comments Off on Pet Parrots

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