Atlantic spotted dolphinsThe weather’s getting warmer, and you might already be counting down the days to summer, when you and your family can go relax at the beach or pool. In the meantime, even if it’s too chilly for you to swim, you and your little one can check out the swimming animals in the latest issue of Zoobies: whales and dolphins! This issue has dozens of colorful illustrations and photographs of these amazing animals for you to look at together, along with great animal facts. Did you know that dolphins are actually a type of whale? You do now!
In addition to reading the magazine with your child, you can also take part in the activities inside. You can practice counting, play matching games, and even make finger puppets! How do you and your kids enjoy Zoobies together?

Our readers have done it again! They’ve created even more wonderful artwork, this time of one of our favorite animals: the hippo! All of these drawings show a lot of talent. Which one is your favorite?

European fallow deer, fawn - (Dama dama dama)It’s finally spring, and any day now you might start seeing animal babies around your neighborhood. Animal parents work hard to keep their babies safe, warm, and well-fed. Robin parents bring their chicks up to thirty meals a day to help them grow strong, while mammal moms feed their babies milk. Cheetah parents groom their cubs, and bear parents teach their cubs how to catch salmon so that they can hunt on their own when they grow up.

Some animals are bigger and stronger when they’re babies than others. Marsupials are mammals that are born very small and spend a few months in their mothers’ pouches until they’re bigger, while some animals can get around on their own right away–baby deer, called fawns, can walk and run just a few minutes after they’re born. It takes human babies a lot longer than that to learn how to walk! What are some other differences you can find between human and animal babies?

Hippos are some of the world’s biggest animals—they can weigh up to 7,000 pounds, which is more than most SUVs. Animals this big need to fuel up with a lot of food. Hippos in the wild eat at night, when it’s cool enough for them to leave their mud wallows and head ashore for grass, herbs, and leaves. A hippo can eat up to 200 pounds of food in one night! However, menu for the hippos at the Philadelphia Zoo  is a little different. The Zoo’s hippos eat 12 pounds of vegetation (mostly lettuce) a day, as well as herbivore pellets and about 50 pounds of hay. You can watch a video of their hippos chomping on some lettuce here.
There’s more on the Philadelphia Zoo’s website than just facts about how hippos eat. You can also learn all about these animals’ behavior, some facts about Cindy and Unna, the hippos living at the Zoo, and about how people are working to help hippos living in the wild. Check it out!

Hippos IFC_01 photoThis month’s Zoobooks animal is one that people sometimes don’t understand: the hippopotamus. Even its name reveals a misconception: the ancient Greeks called it “hippopotamos,” which means “river horse.” You probably know that the hippo’s not a horse, but did you know that there are two varieties of this amazing animal? The common hippopotamus might be the one you think of first—tipping scales at up to 7,000 pounds, it’s the third-largest land animal, after elephants and white rhinos. But there’s also the rarer pygmy hippo. This “little” hippo still weighs 400-600 pounds, and few people have seen it.
Hippos’ large sizes mean that they can typically look after themselves—they are surprisingly fast, and their only natural predators are lions and leopards that prey on young hippos. In fact, many people consider hippos the most dangerous animals in Africa. However, humans pose a bigger danger to hippos that they do to us. Poaching and habitat destruction in the 19th and 20th centuries killed many hippos, but scientists today are working to better understand these amazing animals and help preserve them for years to come.

Great artists make us look at the world a whole new way, and this month’s Zooworks winners have opened our eyes with these larger-than-life insects! We might often let little things like insects go unnoticed, but these drawings remind us how even tiny animals can be amazing. Do you have a favorite?

ZT Animal Babies IFC_01Spring will be here in just a few short weeks, and pretty soon you’ll start seeing lots of baby animals learning to run and fly! But yards, parks, and zoos aren’t the only places you’ll be able to find baby animals—they’re in the newest issue of Zootles too. This issue focuses on the young of many kinds of animals, from tiny tamarin monkeys to giant polar bears. There are plenty of colorful photographs to show your little reader all of these animals, along with fun facts. You might think that your growing kids are always hungry, but at least they don’t need as much food as baby birds—baby robins need their parents to bring them thirty meals every single day!

Not only does Zootles offer great animal facts, but each issue makes animals come to life for young readers with stories and poems. The short story “Springtime in the Swamp” features a frisky otter pup learning all about his watery home. After reading this story together, encourage your “pup” to write an animal story of their own!

Can’t get enough of the incredible insects in the latest issue of Zoobooks? Then check out the San Diego Zoo’s website! They have a whole section of their site devoted to arthropods, the branch of animals that includes insects and spiders. When you click on one of their colorful photos, you’re taken to a page where you learn all about that animal, including its diet, habitat, and facts about its babies. For instance, did you know that dragonfly larvae (called nymphs) have gills that let them breathe underwater? You do now!
There are many different insects to read about, from the familiar, like butterflies, to ones that you might not have heard about before, like the sunburst diving beetle. But even if you pick an animal that you already know a thing or two about, you’re sure to walk away with some great new facts. For instance, even though most butterflies float along at 5-12 miles per hour, skipper butterflies can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour! What will you learn when you visit the San Diego Zoo’s site?

Swallowtail_photoThere are over seven billion people in the world, and while that number might seem high, that’s nothing next to the number of insects. Over 75% of all animals alive are insects—for every person, there might be as many as 200,000 of these tiny creatures. And while you might not be fond of insects when you’re on a camping trip and getting bitten by mosquitoes or trying to defend your kitchen cupboards from a colony of hungry ants, insects are a very important part of our planet’s life. They help pollinate plants, provide food for other animals, and make the world a cleaner a place to live.
If their numbers and importance to our planet weren’t impressive enough, lots of insects are capable of astounding physical feats. Tiny leafcutter ants climb 200-foot-tall trees every day—the equivalent of a person scaling Mount Everest. On their way back down, they carry leaf pieces that weigh as much as they do. When avoiding predators, moths can make hundreds of turns in less than a minute, making them much more agile than our jets. The next time you see an insect, look and see if there’s anything extraordinary about it that you might have overlooked!

A group of ducks is called a flock, a group of geese is a gaggle, and a group of swans is a lamentation. What do you call a collection of all three animals? Based on the winning entries from our Zooworks winners this month, we call it fantastic art! Each piece shows that our readers know and care a lot about animals—and that they have a lot of talent. Which drawing is your favorite?

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