This month, our ZooBooks readers became writers with our ZooWorks writing contest! Their poems show creativity and a way with words, as well as a lot of knowledge about these animals. Each of these poems looks at little cats in a different way, and they’re all terrific!
Blue whales are the biggest animals ever to exist. They can reach lengths of up to 100 feet- as long as three school buses! Even though blue whales are enormous, the food they eat is very small. Blue whales, along with gray whales (shown), humpback whales, and many others, do not have teeth. Instead, these whales have long, comb-like plates called baleen. To eat, they take a gulp of ocean water that is full of tiny animals called krill, and then they filter the water out through their baleen and swallow the krill. Imagine how much a big animal like a whale needs to eat!
However, not all whales have baleen. Some whales, like belugas and orcas, have teeth. These whales’ sharp teeth help them catch their prey, including fish, seals, and even other whales. Dolphins and porpoises, the smallest members of the whale family, are just some of the many toothed whales that you might have heard of. How do you eat? Are you more like a baleen whale, or a toothed whale?
If you’re a big fan of the little cats from the latest issue of Zoobooks, check out the little cats at ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania! This zoo is home to several kinds of little cats, ranging from the small, sleek ocelot to the enormous mountain lion, also known as the puma. ZooAmerica’s website lets you explore these animals and many others. For example, did you know that ocelots can swim? The website also gives conservation information about these amazing animals so that you can learn more about endangered species and get ideas about how to protect little cats in the wild.
With summer vacation coming up, you might even be able to pay the little cats at ZooAmerica a visit, but even if you can’t see them in real life, you can still have fun with the animals at this zoo with their online puzzle! Putting together the puzzle pieces in this game shows you a picture of one of their animals. When you put together the medium-level puzzle, you can see a picture of one of the biggest little cats!
Housecats are quick and graceful, and their wild little cat relatives are no different. Some of the ways little cats move might remind you of housecats you’ve seen, like how they slink low to the ground to stalk their prey before they pounce. Other little cat behaviors might remind you of other animals. The clouded leopard can run up and down tree trunks like a squirrel, while the margay can hook its paws over tree branches and hang by one foot like a monkey. And though you might have heard that cats don’t like water, the fishing cat has webbing between its paw pads to help it swim, a little bit like how ducks have webbed feet to help them paddle.
Different kinds of little cats move in these different ways to help them catch their prey, which ranges from mice to lizards to insects to zebras. Caracals pounce into the air to catch birds. The fishing cat’s name gives you a clue about why it swims- it needs to be in the water so it can catch fish. With so many kinds of little cats, there are lots of ways to move!
Our Kids Zooworks winners made these purr-fect drawings of little cats for this month’s issue of Zoobooks! All of our artists showed a lot of creativity and talent, and they did an amazing job bringing the little cats to life. Which drawing is your favorite?
At first glance, the whales in the latest issue of Zootles seem very different from people. For starters, they live in the ocean while we live on land! However, whales are more closely related to humans than you might think. Even though they live underwater and have fins, whales are not fish— they’re mammals just like us. They also breathe air just like we do, though they do things a little differently. While we have nostrils to breathe through, whales have blowholes that they fill with fresh air to breathe when they come up to the water’s surface.
Like humans, whales are social animals that live in groups and work and play together. Some whales, like orcas, hunt in packs to catch their food. Other whales communicate with each other by singing songs. You can even buy recordings of humpback whale songs. Scientists are always discovering new and exciting things about whales, and as we learn more about these amazing animals, we might find that we have even more in common with them!
Mother’s Day is coming up soon, but human parents aren’t the only ones who deserve a little extra love. Peggy, a type of little cat called a caracal, was named “Mom of the Year” at the Oregon Zoo, where she raised her three kittens Mzuke, Binti, and Aziza. Even though it was her first litter, Peggy was an attentive and loving mother.
Her kittens, which you can see here, looked very different as babies than they do now as adults. Grown-up caracals have very large tufted ears which they use to hear their prey when they’re hunting. When the kittens were very small, their ears were small and flat against their heads, but they perked up in no time. The games that the kittens played helped them learn the skills they would use as hunters when they grew up. Adult caracals can jump ten feet in the air and catch prey two to three times their size!
Mzuke, Binti, and Aziza grew up quickly, but who knows? Pretty soon, Mzuke, Binti, and Aziza might be starting families of their own!
When you think of little cats, you probably picture the small domestic cats that people have as pets. However, there are dozens of kinds of little cats that live in the wild. These little cats vary widely in size, appearance, and behavior. The biggest of the little cats is the puma, which at 9 feet long (tail included) is anything but little. It can leap 30 feet in a single bound and can even jump 18 feet straight up in the air! Meanwhile, the smallest of the little cats, the rusty-spotted cat, is only two feet long and weighs just three pounds- only a quarter the weight of a housecat.
All wild cats are distantly related to the domestic cats we know and love today, but housecats probably descended from the African wildcat. These friendly animals were domesticated 12,000 years ago. The next time you see a pet cat, stop and think about its wild relatives and look for the traits it has in common with the little cats you read about in Zoobooks!
You don’t have to be “eagle-eyed” to see that this month’s Kids Zooworks contest winners did a great job! Our artists did some fantastic work featuring the eagles from this month’s issue of Zoobooks. They all used their creativity and passion for animals to make some amazing art. Which picture is your favorite?
What’s the biggest rabbit you’ve ever seen? If you’re just thinking of the rabbits that you’ve seen in your backyard, they’re all probably pretty small. However, there are many different breeds of domesticated rabbits, just like there are different breeds of dogs. Just like a Chihuahua is a lot smaller than a Great Dane, domesticated rabbits come in all different shapes and sizes. The British Giant is one of the biggest rabbit breeds, weighing in at around twenty pounds. Other kinds of rabbits are very small, like the two pound Netherland Dwarf.
Size isn’t the only thing that makes different rabbit breeds look distinctive. Some have unusual coloring, like the New Zealand White, which is pure white with pink eyes. Others stand out because of their fur. Angora rabbits have long, fluffy coats that people use in making yarn for clothing, just like we use sheep wool. Siamese Lionhead rabbits have fluffy fur too, especially around their faces. This “mane” of fur is a little like a lion’s, giving this breed its name. To learn more about different kinds of rabbits, both wild and tame, check out this month’s issue of Zootles. Which kind of rabbit is your favorite?