This month’s Zooworks readers clearly paid a lot of attention to the latest issue of Zoobooks, because their drawings of zebras are spectacular! All of these drawings show a lot of talent and creativity—do you have a special favorite?

Summer’s a great time to see some of the amazing insects that make up so much of life on earth, and in our latest issue of Zootles, you can learn about some of the most beautiful insects: butterflies! If you’re out in your yard or a neighborhood park, you might see butterflies like the monarch in this picture. However, if you travel (or visit a zoo), you might be able to see different species, like the Queen Alexandra’s birdwing. This butterfly from Papua New Guinea is the largest in the world—it can reach up to 11 inches across!
Even though butterflies come in all shapes and sizes, they all have some things in common. They have four wings, and compound eyes that they use to see ultraviolet (UV) light—something that humans can’t do. They also have a long, thin mouth part called a proboscis (it looks a little like a nose, but it’s not) that they use for drinking water and flower nectar. The next time you see some butterflies, look for what they have in common, and what makes them unique!

For your weekly fix of adorable animals, the Cincinnati Zoo’s got you covered! Their website  features lots of great videos of their animals, including a baby zebra like the ones in the newest issue of Zoobooks! The baby is a Grevy’s zebra, which is different from the more common plains zebras. You can tell them apart because while plains zebras have thick stripes, Grevy’s zebras’ stripes are fine and look a little like the lines in your fingerprint. Grevy’s zebras are endangered, so it’s important that zoos help breed more.

The baby zebra in the video, a female, is only a week old, but she’s pretty big and is already running around. That’s because zebras, like lots of prey animals, have to be able to run away from predators like lions, hyenas, and leopards, even when they’re young. But because this baby zebra isn’t in any danger from predators, she’s just running for fun!

For your weekly fix of adorable animals, the Cincinnati Zoo’s got you covered! Their website features lots of great videos of their animals, including a baby zebra like the ones in the newest issue of Zoobooks! The baby is a Grevy’s zebra, which is different from the more common plains zebras. You can tell them apart because while Plains Zebras have thick stripes, Grevy’s zebras’ stripes are fine and look a little like the lines in your fingerprint. Grevy’s zebras are endangered, so it’s important that zoos help breed more.
The baby zebra in the video, a female, is only a week old, but she’s pretty big and is already running around. That’s because zebras, like lots of prey animals, have to be able to run away from predators like lions, hyenas, and leopards, even when they’re young. But because this baby zebra isn’t in any danger from predators, she’s just running for fun!

Plains_Zebra_Equus_quaggaIt’s hard to miss the resemblance between zebras and their relatives, the domestic horse. Ancient Romans called zebras “horse-tigers” because of their stripes, and while they have never been fully domesticated, wealthy people in 19th century Europe sometimes used zebras to pull their carriages. Empress Josephine, Empress of France and wife of Napoleon, even kept a zebra in her private zoo, which her children would ride.
Zebras might look like domestic horses, but they are different in many ways. For example, zebras don’t neigh like their relatives—instead, they bray and bark. They are also shorter than most horses and have smaller hooves. But even though zebras and domestic horses are different, both are fast, strong, and beautiful!

 

Photo credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Wikimedia Commons.

200216039-001Zoobies Tigers is full of photographs that can help your kids have fun and learn. You can go through the photos together and teach your child some new words, like “tail,” “paws,” and “whiskers.” You can also talk about things that we have in common with tigers, like eyes and noses, along with our differences.

Playing and moving are great ways to learn, too.Your kids can copy the colorful photographs of tigers prowling, stretching, and running by acting out these motions themselves. Not only will they keep active, but they’ll be able to exercise their imaginations. What make-believe animal games do your kids like playing?

Our Zooworks winners have done something a little different this month—instead of the drawings we usually publish, we’ve got some stories and poems for you! It turns out that our readers are great writers, too—check out their pieces about rattlesnakes. Do you have a favorite?

ZT Giraffes front cover photoZootles Giraffes has all kinds of great things for kids to read. They can learn all about these amazing animals, like how giraffes’ tongues are purple and a foot and a half long, and how their long necks only have seven bones, just like ours. But in addition to providing scientific facts, Zootles can help children learn to think creatively. The story “Giraffe Kindergarten,” which tells about a baby giraffe named Oni learning how to find food and play with other giraffes, invites kids to imagine a giraffe family while still featuring lots of information. The poem “Giraffe Kisses” uses language to conjure up images of a giraffe grooming its baby, and just might inspire your kids to try their hand at writing poems of their own.
Science and creativity go hand in hand—the ability to look at the world in new ways, imagine how to explore it, and to communicate findings to others are all important parts of being a scientist. What can your little scientist dream up with Zootles?

Summer’s finally here! Whether your family can take a trip to see some new places (and new zoos), or if you’re planning on spending a peaceful summer at home, be sure to visit the Phoenix Zoo’s website. They’ve got lots of fun game ideas to keep your kids active and learning even when school’s out—check out their instructions for games like Nature Charades, making your own nature puzzles, and feeding the birds in your neighborhood.
You can also learn a lot about animals at the Phoenix Zoo, even if you can’t get there in person. They have lots of great fact pages about animals that you’ve read about in Zoobooks, including the rattlesnakes from the latest issue—one of our favorites is the Arizona Black Rattlesnake. What can you learn about your favorite animals?

Rattlesnakes IFC_01We use our senses to learn about the world around us—we can see a rattlesnake in the grass, hear the sound of its rattle, and feel its dry, scaly skin. Rattlesnakes use their senses to gather information too, but some of their senses are very different from ours.
Rattlesnakes’ sense of sight isn’t as good as ours is—they can only see well at short distances of less than 15 feet. But their other senses more than make up for their sight. They use their tongues to smell their prey, and they can feel the vibrations in the ground to tell how far away it is. Rattlesnakes use their jawbones to hear—when they rest their jaws on the ground, the vibrations they pick up are carried through their jawbones to their ears.
Not only do rattlesnakes use their senses differently from us, but they use other senses that we don’t. Rattlesnakes and their relatives have small pitted openings in their faces help them sense heat, so they can find their way to warm-blooded prey even in the dark. Can you imagine having senses like a rattlesnake? How would you use them?

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