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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?
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?
When you go outside this spring, you might see birds gathering bits of twigs and grass to build their nests. As you can probably imagine, there are as many different kinds of nests as there are different kinds of birds. Tiny birds, like the ruby-throated hummingbird, make very small nests. On the other end of the scale, the bald eagles featured in this month’s issue of Zoobooks make enormous nests called eyries that can be as big as a small truck! Pairs of bald eagles work together to build these nests at the tops of tall trees and on rocky cliffs.
To learn more about the different nests that different birds build, you can check out this activity on the National Zoo’s website. In this interactive game, you can look at pictures of unusual nests and use the information provided to match each bird to its home. The activity has different levels of difficulty, so everyone in the family can join in the fun. Maybe you’ll be inspired to head outside and do some bird-watching of your own!
Eagles are awe-inspiring creatures known for majestically soaring across the sky. To do so, they must have bodies that can be both very light and very strong. For example, the average bald eagle weighs only 9 pounds, but is extremely powerful and capable of lifting heavy prey into the air during flight. This is partially because the largest part of any eagle is typically their feather-covered wings. These wing feathers can be very study while still weighing next to nothing. While a bald eagle has wings that are almost 8 feet long, its wings still weigh less than 2 pounds.
An eagle’s feathers are held together by hundreds of thousands of microscopic hooks that allow it to flap its wings hard enough for flight without being too heavy. Having feathers that can stick together also help eagles control their flight speed. When an eagle wants to fly quickly, it will turn the front edges of its wing into the wind so they cut through the air and meet less resistance. If an eagle is trying to slow down in order to land, it will “drag” the widest parts of its wings into the wind for greater resistance.
We’ve got some pretty “wild” winners for this month’s Kids Zooworks contest! Check out these inspiring entries featured in Zoobooks Wild Dogs. Their amazing creativity really shows off each artist’s wonderful knowledge about the different kinds of wild dogs around the world. Which entry is your favorite?
There are many kinds of wild dogs in the world. They include wolves, coyotes, jackals, and foxes. While foxes mainly live and hunt alone, wolves, coyotes, jackals, and other wild dogs are well known for their group coordination. These well organized groups are known as packs. Within each pack of wild dogs is a specific canine leader who makes decisions and settles arguments between members of the group. Packs of wild dogs raise their young together, with every adult raising and caring for the pups. Wolf packs, for example, often leave an older female wolf behind to babysit when the rest must go out and hunt.
While wolves and other wild dogs are perfectly able to hunt small prey alone, hunting bigger animals such as caribou, zebras, and other large prey may take the whole pack. For example, the short African wild dog sometimes forms packs of up to 60 or more in order to hunt zebra. Packs often use special strategies for separating weak or young individuals away from the herd. During a hunt, each pack member has a specific job, either chasing, startling, or stealthily trapping large prey.
Check out the awesome winners of this month’s Kids Zooworks contest featured in Zoobooks Otters Skunks and their Relatives! There’s not a single one that “stinks!” We can see the creativity and knowledge about skunks that went into drawing these pictures. Our winners are definitely a talented bunch. Do you have a favorite entry?
Otters, weasels, ferrets, minks, martens, badgers, wolverines and skunks may seem very different from each other, but they all come from the same sister families known as Mephitidae and Mustelidae. While skunks, a part of the Mephitidae family, are the most famous for their ability to spray stinky musk, every member of its Mustelidae sister group can also produce this smelly liquid. There are 67 different species of mustelids, and they live in habitats in nearly every part of the world. In fact, the only two continents where mustelids do not live are Antarctica and Australia.
Because they live all over the planet, skunks and their mustelid relatives are all very unique. Minks, weasels and ferrets all have long, slender bodies that make them flexible runners. While otters have a slim body as well, they also have a strong tail and use both to swim gracefully in fast-moving rivers and vast seas. The two largest members of the mustelid family are the badger and the wolverine. Badgers are born diggers with short, powerful legs and long, sharp claws for burrowing through hard dirt. Wolverines are large, strong hunters capable of climbing trees and tracking prey across long distances. The combination of their strength and stink has even earned them the nickname skunk bears.