17 Jan 2019

Photo Contest: Call for Entries!

By | January 17th, 2019|Comments Off on Photo Contest: Call for Entries!

If your family has a budding nature photographer ages 13-17, encourage them to enter our contest!

The 2019 National Wildlife Photo Contest is now open. Enter today!

The National Wildlife® Photo Contest, which began more than four decades ago, celebrates the power of photography to advance conservation and connect both photographers and viewers with wildlife and the outdoors. The most compelling nature images can help protect wildlife in profound ways.

We are excited to announce the following eight categories for entry in our 2019 contest:

  • Birds: Portraits and behavior
  • Mammals: Portraits and behavior
  • Reptiles & Amphibians: Portraits and behavior
  • Insects & Other Invertebrates: Portraits and behavior
  • Underwater Wonders: Scenic views, portraits and behavior
  • Landscapes & Plants: Scenic views and native plants in wild settings
  • People in Nature: People enjoying the outdoors or connecting with nature and wildlife
  • New Youth category for nature photographers age 13-17

Entry Fee: Your fee helps support the National Wildlife Federation’s work to protect wildlife and wild places. No limit on the total number of images allowed.

  • Enter one photo for $15
  • Enter up to ten photos for $20
  • Enter up to 15 photos for $25 (BEST VALUE, includes free one-year digital subscription of National Wildlife)

Grand Prize: $5,000

First Place: $500 for the winner in each category

Second Place: $250 for the winner in each category

Honorable Mentions: Each will receive a National Wildlife Federation calendar

A selection of the winning photographs and honorable mentions from the 2019 contest will be published in the December-January 2020 issue of National Wildlife magazine. All winning images and honorable mentions will also be published on the National Wildlife Federation’s website, and some will be featured in an exhibit in downtown Washington, DC.

Consider donating: The National Wildlife Federation greatly appreciates when photographers choose to donate some of their images. These donations help support our mission to protect wildlife and habitats. Photographers will always retain ownership and rights to their images. We […]

17 Jan 2019

Koala Drawings

By | January 17th, 2019|Comments Off on Koala Drawings

Check out these drawings of our readers’ favorite animals from Down Under!

And don’t forget, your last chance to submit drawings of Wild Dogs for our next contest is coming up on January 23!

9 Jan 2019

Koala Babies

By | January 9th, 2019|Comments Off on Koala Babies

G’day, mates! The latest issue of Zoobooks is all about koalas (as well as other Australian animals). Even though koalas are sometimes referred to as “koala bears,” these Australian mammals aren’t bears at all—they’re marsupials! Koala mothers carry their babies in a pouch, just like kangaroos. Koalas’ pouches open towards the mom’s hind legs, instead of towards the mom’s head. Baby koalas spend the first 22 weeks of their lives inside their moms’ pouches, and afterward, they continue to nurse and sleep in their pouch. Baby koalas, called joeys, stay with their mothers until they’re about a year old.

Photo by Robyn Cox

1 Jan 2019

San Diego Zoo Koalas

By | January 1st, 2019|Comments Off on San Diego Zoo Koalas

Here’s a great craft for kids home on winter break! The San Diego Zoo has been home to koalas since 1925, and they have the largest koala colony outside of Australia. If your kids love these adorable marsupials, check out this craft on the zoo’s website. With some pom-poms, felt, googly eyes, and glue, your family can create a koala colony of your own!



20 Dec 2018

Zooworks Spiders

By | December 20th, 2018|Comments Off on Zooworks Spiders

Not everyone loves spiders, but we bet you’ll love these spider drawings made by our readers!

We’re also accepting entries for our next art contest: wild dogs!

12 Dec 2018

Arctic Wolf Spiders

By | December 12th, 2018|Comments Off on Arctic Wolf Spiders

You probably don’t see too many spiders outside in the winter– where do they all go? They don’t go inside– most house spiders spend their entire lives indoors. Instead, many outdoor spiders that live in cold climates have adaptations that allow them to survive the winter. Their blood contains a chemical that keeps them from freezing, sort of like anti-freeze for a car. Many spiders also become less active in the winter, which is part of why you might not see them.

The arctic wolf spider is a good example of an arachnid that can survive freezing temperatures. They live in the far north in places like Greenland. Arctic wolf spiders are hunters and can grow as big as 1.6 inches long– which might seem small until you see one making its way towards you!


Photo by D. Sikes

6 Dec 2018

Bird-eating Spiders

By | December 6th, 2018|Comments Off on Bird-eating Spiders

Most spiders are small and eat tiny bugs like mosquitos, flies, and clothes moths. Not the Goliath bird-eating tarantula. Bird-eaters are the world’s largest spiders, with a leg span of up to 11 inches– the size of a dinner plate. Despite their huge size and threatening name, they’re not dangerous to humans. They actually don’t even eat birds all that often– their diet mostly consists of insects like cockroaches, along with mice, frogs, and small lizards. Their venom isn’t strong enough to seriously hurt a human; in the event that a bird-eater feels threatened and bites a human, the venom is only as strong as a wasp sting.

While bird-eaters’ appearance might make them an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare, they’re fascinating animals. And though in the wild they live deep in South America’s jungles, you can see them on display at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo!

Photo by Brian Gratwicke

29 Nov 2018

Plesiosaurs and Pliosaurs

By | November 29th, 2018|Comments Off on Plesiosaurs and Pliosaurs

Plesiosaurs are marine reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. They often had longer necks than some of their fellow sea creatures like mosasaurs and ichthyosaurs, but even among plesiosaurs, there’s a lot of diversity.

Plesiosaurs can be split into two groups– plesiosauromorphs, which had long, thin necks and slender jaws, and pliosauromorphs, which had shorter necks and bigger heads. Even though the plesiosauromorphs look sleek and streamlined, they probably didn’t move very quickly and hunted small prey, in part because their long necks were likely quite rigid. On the other hand, the pliosauromorphs, like this Kronosaurus, were top predators that hunted big animals.

Photo by Tim Sackton

21 Nov 2018

Zooworks Turtles

By | November 21st, 2018|Comments Off on Zooworks Turtles

Slow and steady wins the race! Check out these awesome turtles that our readers have drawn, plus one terrific poem!

14 Nov 2018

Sea Turtles

By | November 14th, 2018|Comments Off on Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are ancient creatures—they’ve been around since the time of the dinosaurs. There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, and they’re all at risk due to pollution and environmental change. One of the most endangered species is the hawksbill. Hawksbills get their name from their sharp, curved beaks, and they were hunted for their beautiful shells—another reason why they’re in trouble. But there’s a lot more to hawksbills than their looks.

Hawksbill turtles are omnivores that eat plants and animals; most of their diet is made up of sponges (which look like plants, but are actually animals). They also hunt jellyfish and Portugese men’o’war; the turtles shut their eyes when eating them to avoid getting stung!

Photo by Caroline S. Rogers, available through NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service

8 Nov 2018

Alligator Snapping Turtles at the St. Louis Zoo

By | November 8th, 2018|Comments Off on Alligator Snapping Turtles at the St. Louis Zoo

Turtles are cute, slow, and gentle– sometimes. While some kinds of turtles, like stinkpots and painted turtles, are small and are generally easy-going, some of their cousins are less than friendly. If you swim in a lake, you’ll want to keep an eye out for alligator snapping turtles. These incredible reptiles are the largest freshwater turtles in North America, weighing in at over 200 pounds. They’re also, as their name suggests, fierce hunters with strong jaws. They lure fish to them by opening their mouths and wiggling their tongues, which have an attachment that looks like a worm. When a fish hoping for a tasty worm comes close, SNAP!

Even if you wouldn’t want to meet one of these animals while you’re swimming, it’s fun to see them at zoos like the St. Louis Zoo!

Photo by Chuck Dresner

1 Nov 2018

Know Your Parrots

By | November 1st, 2018|Comments Off on Know Your Parrots

Parrots are some of the world’s most popular birds– their intelligence and bright colors make them attractive pets. (Or course, you should do your research before buying a pet bird– in addition to being on the lookout for endangered species and unhealthy breeding practices, potential parrot owners should keep in mind that these birds might need more time, space, and attention than you’d expect, and some can live longer than humans!) But whether you appreciate parrots as pets or in their natural wild habitats, there’s a lot to learn about these birds.

The most recognizable parrots are probably the macaws– they’re big, flashy-colored, long-tailed birds. But there are hundreds of kinds of parrots, from the mossy-green flightless kakapos of New Zealand to the almost neon-bright rainbow lorikeets. They vary in size, too– hyacinth macaws are among the biggest, reaching a length of over three feet from head to tail, while the smallest pygmy parrots are barely three inches long!

Photo by Derek Ramsey, via Wikimedia Commons

24 Oct 2018

Mary Anning: Discoverer of Plesiosaurs

By | October 24th, 2018|Comments Off on Mary Anning: Discoverer of Plesiosaurs

If you’re a fan of the plesiosaurs in the most recent issue of Zoodinos, you have paleontologist Mary Anning to thank. Anning lived two hundred years ago, and she made some of the earliest discoveries of these ocean-dwelling reptiles from the time of the dinosaurs.

Mary Anning was born in 1799 on the southern coast of England, an area rich in fossils. When Anning was about twelve years old, she and her brother found the fossil of another marine reptile called an ichthyosaur. By the time she was in her early twenties, she’d found the first known fossils of long-necked plesiosaurs. The discoveries she made shaped the field of paleontology to this day.

You might have heard of Mary Anning before without realizing it—the tongue-twister “She sells seashells by the seashore” is actually about Anning and the fossils and shells that she found!

Image via Wikimedia Commons

10 Oct 2018

Awesome Owls

By | October 10th, 2018|Comments Off on Awesome Owls

Check out our readers’ amazing owl drawings, and be sure to submit your own artwork for our next contest!


3 Oct 2018

Eagle Owls at the Cincinnati Zoo

By | October 3rd, 2018|Comments Off on Eagle Owls at the Cincinnati Zoo

Eurasian eagle owls are some of the biggest owls in the world. They have bright orange eyes, striking black and gold feathers, and fierce talons. But they’re not always so majestic– when they’re baby owlets, they’re downright goofy-looking. Watch this video to learn how the staff at the Cincinnati Zoo care for their baby eagle owls.

Photo by P. D. Johnson