You’ll go ape over these drawings by our latest Zooworks contest winners! All of these chimps look great—do you have a favorite?

Hawksbill_Sea_Turtle_Carey_de_Concha_(5840602412)In the newest issue of Zootles, you can meet all kinds of amazing turtles and tortoises. What’s the difference? Turtles live part or all of their lives in the water, while tortoises live only on dry land. They come in all shapes and sizes, and this issue is full of fun facts, engaging activities, and gorgeous photos for you and your child to enjoy and learn from.

Lots of things that you might have assumed about turtles turn out to be not entirely true. For example, despite their reputation for being slow, some turtles are among fastest-moving reptiles. Though they’re not very quick on land, leatherback sea turtles can swim at speeds over 20 miles per hour. And while you might think that all turtles can pull their necks into their shells, sea turtles can’t—though freshwater-dwelling box turtles have hinged shells that help them fit their heads, legs, and tails inside!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

We’re very closely related to chimpanzees— over 98% of our DNA is the same. And we’re not just genetically similar species. We act a lot alike too. The Maryland Zoo’s website has all kinds of great facts about these amazing animals, and the more you read, the more you’ll see how much we have in common. For instance, chimpanzee parents nurture their babies for a long time, just like humans do, and grown chimps still stay close to their parents.
Even though we have a lot in common with chimps, that hasn’t stopped humans from causing them a lot of harm. There were between one and two million chimps in 1900, and now there are only 150,000. They are the victims of habitat loss, human-introduced disease, and poaching. One of the major dangers to chimps is being hunted for their meat. Chimpanzee meat, called “bushmeat,” is sold in Africa and around the world.
The Maryland Zoo is working to promote public awareness of bushmeat and to encourage people to take action against its trade. Visit the Maryland Zoo’s website for more information about what you can do to help chimps and other animals in need!

We’re very closely related to chimpanzees— over 98% of our DNA is the same. And we’re not just genetically similar species. We act a lot alike too. The Maryland Zoo’s website has all kinds of great facts about these amazing animals, and the more you read, the more you’ll see how much we have in common. For instance, chimpanzee parents nurture their babies for a long time, just like humans do, and grown chimps still stay close to their parents.
Even though we have a lot in common with chimps, that hasn’t stopped humans from causing them a lot of harm. There were between one and two million chimps in 1900, and now there are only 150,000. They are the victims of habitat loss, human-introduced disease, and poaching. One of the major dangers to chimps is being hunted for their meat. Chimpanzee meat, called “bushmeat,” is sold in Africa and around the world.
The Maryland Zoo is working to promote public awareness of bushmeat and to encourage people to take action against its trade. Visit the Maryland Zoo’s website for more information about what you can do to help chimps and other animals in need!

Ein juveniler Schimpanse isst eine Frucht im Gombe Stream National ParkChimpanzees aren’t monkeys—they’re great apes, like gorillas and humans. And not only are we closely related to chimps, but we have a lot of behaviors in common with them too. They are some of the only animals to make and use tools—they “fish” for termites with sticks. Chimpanzees are also highly social, just like humans. They live in close family units and take care of their babies for years.
Unfortunately, some of chimps’ similarities to humans have led to trouble for them. Many chimps are captured for use in medical experiments. But the biggest threat to chimps is that they live on land that humans would like to use for logging. The destruction of their habitats has led to chimpanzees becoming endangered, and if things don’t change for the better, they could become extinct in the next hundred years. It’s important for us to find ways to share our planet with all of our fellow animals!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This month, our Zooworks winners have shown us that bats don’t have to be scary—these often misunderstood animals are extremely cool, and pretty cute. They also drew lots of different kinds of bats—do you recognize any from the pages of Zoobooks?

Giant_Pandas_Playing3Zootles isn’t just a great way for kids to learn facts about animals—they can also grow creatively by reading the stories and poems in the books. Zootles Pandas contains several stories and poems to spark your child’s imagination. These stories weave together fun characters and plotlines along with scientific facts. By reading these stories, your child will be able to contextualize the information that they’re learning.
Zootles isn’t just a great place to read about animals—it’s a great jumping-off point to start writing about them as well. Encourage your child to write a story or poem incorporating the facts that they’ve learned. It’s a great opportunity for language development and information analysis, along with creativity. Let us know if your young readers try their hand at writing!

 

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

There are lots of land mammals native to the United States, from tiny mice to giant moose. But the island of New Zealand has only two native land mammals, and they’re both bats! (Humans later brought other mammals like sheep, cats, and dogs to the island, but they’re not native.) One of these species, the short-tailed bat, has been successfully bred for the first time at the Auckland Zoo. And not just one baby bat has been born—they’re twins!
The twin bat pups, a boy and a girl, started life at just 4 grams each—around the weight of a small coin. Their mother wasn’t able to properly look after them, but the zookeepers took excellent care of them, keeping them warm and feeding them every four hours. The bats are now a healthy adult weight of around 14 grams (still only about half an ounce—these bats don’t weigh much).
Breeding programs can help threatened and endangered species like short-tailed bats so that they’re around for a long time. And helping one species winds up helping the other plants and animals that they live with in the wild. For example, short-tailed bats are the only pollinators of a rare New Zealand plant called the woodrose, so helping these bats helps these plants too. What other connections can you find between different living things?

Fall is in the air—you’ve probably already started to see Halloween decorations in stores and around your neighborhood. Along with the pumpkins and monsters in these decorations, you might see some amazing but often misunderstood animals: batsMariana_fruit_bat_1! But bats aren’t monsters—they’re mammals just like us. Bats are unique. They’re the only mammals that can fly, and they belong to their own separate group (despite what you might have heard, bats aren’t rodents like mice and rats).
There are over a thousand species of bat. In fact, nearly one of every four mammal species is a kind of bat. Some eat fruit, others eat insects, and others eat more unusual foods, like fish. The largest bats have wingspans of up to six feet, while the littlest ones are the size of a bumblebee and weigh less than a penny.
Some people are frightened by stories linking bats to monsters like vampires, but bats are shy, gentle creatures. In fact, they help us in a lot of ways. They eat annoying (and disease-spreading) insects like mosquitoes, and they help pollinate many of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy. Learning more about bats through Zoobooks, nature centers, and zoos can help make these amazing animals less scary!

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

African_elephant_infant_(6987533809)You’d be surprised how much your little reader has in common with one of the world’s biggest animals. In the latest issue of Zoobies, you and your child can explore everyone’s favorite gentle giant: the elephant. When you read the book together, see how many things that people have in common with elephants— we both play in the water to stay cool and live in loving family groups. What other similarities can you find?
Another great way to bring the book to life for your child is by encouraging them to act out the motions of the elephants in the book. Can they pretend to daintily pluck a small branch with their “trunk” like the elephant on page six? How about marching in big, stomping steps like the herd of elephants on page 12? Let us know how you and your family use Zoobies to learn and play!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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