Schrecklicherpfeilgiftfrosch-01This month’s issue of Zoobooks features animal all-stars—the biggest, fastest, furthest-traveling, loudest, and lots of other “–est”s. To celebrate some of these amazing animals, here are five fun animal superlatives.
Loudest animal—Blue Whale
Blue whales aren’t just the biggest animals ever to live—they’re also the loudest animals alive. They can produce sounds up to 140 decibels, as loud as a jet engine from a hundred feet away. The second-loudest animals are howler monkeys, which can be heard from miles around their South and Central American jungle homes.
Fastest-flapping wings—Honeybee
We often think of hummingbirds as a go-to example of animals that flap their wings incredibly quickly, but at 200 wing flaps per second, honeybees leave them in the dust.
Most poisonous animal—Poison dart frog
Golden poison dart frogs contain enough poison to kill 10 adult humans, or 20,000 mice. Not bad for a two-inch-long frog! Their poison discourages predators from eating them.
Fastest animal—Peregrine Falcon
Cheetahs might be the fastest land animals at 60 mph, but diving Peregrine Falcons reach speeds of up to 242 miles per hour!
Smallest mammal—bumblebee bat
Bumblebee bats weigh only two grams (though that’s still four times bigger than an actual bumblebee). These endangered bats lives in caves in Southeast Asia.
To test your knowledge on other animal all-stars, take this quiz on our website! How many animal champion facts do you know?


Photo by Wilfried Berns.

800px-Baby_turtle_on_handOur books for the very youngest animal lovers, Zoobies, are aimed at kids three and under. Children that young might not be reading yet, but a love of reading and learning can be fostered early. Plus, sitting on a parent’s lap and spending time together with a book is a great bonding experience as well as a great learning experience.
Our latest book, Zoobies Turtles, takes a fun look at these slow-moving reptiles. You can find ways to engage your child with Zoobies by reading to them and even trying to act out some movements associated with turtles. Can you crawl slowly like a turtle? Stretch out your neck like a turtle poking its head out from its shell? There are lots of fun ways to make these books come to life!


Photo by Nicholas Petrone.


Seabirds can fly great distances, but you’d have to go even further than they can fly to find artists as talented as our Zoobooks readers! Do you have a favorite?

Elephant_show_in_Chiang_Mai_P1110469With the school year starting up, we’re all focused on learning. It turns out, the Zootles animals this month are pretty smart too– elephants! Elephants have the largest brains of any land animal, but that shouldn’t be too surprising– after all, male African elephants are the biggest land animals in the world. However, their brains aren’t just big– they’re packed with three times the number of neurons, the cells that move information through the brain via chemical and electrical signals, that humans do.

Elephants have keen problem-solving skills that they use to find food, including using sticks as tools. They have deep, emotional bonds with each other and comfort each other when their friends and family are sad, sick, or hurt. And that old saying that “elephants never forget”? Elephants really do have excellent memories, remembering friends and places that they haven’t seen in years. One elephant in a zoo even learned how to paint!

Photo by Deror Avi.


Fratercula_corniculataUSFWSSL0002774Cincinnati’s pretty far from the ocean, but it’s still a great place to see seabirds! The Cincinnati Zoo is home to lots of unusual species of ocean-dwelling birds, and you can learn all about them on the zoo’s website.

They’ve got some old favorites, like penguins (they even have the world’s smallest penguins and some of the largest), but there are lots that you might not be as familiar with too, like whiskered auklets and pigeon guillemots. The website includes colorful photos of the birds, along with some fun facts about them– for example, did you know that puffins can hold up to sixty small fish in their mouths when they’re hunting? Or that crested auklets produce a citrus-y scent that helps attract mates? There’s a whole world of seabirds out there to discover– see what the Cincinnati Zoo has to offer!


Photo credit: Vernon Byrd, USFWS, Alaksa Image Library


You’re probably seen your fair share of seagulls in mall parking lots, but sea birds are most commonly found by—you guessed it—the sea. Of the 8,600 identified bird species in the world, only 260 are sea birds. There’s a lot of variety in the different kinds of seabirds, but they all rely on the oceans for their food.
The largest seabird is the wandering albatross—they have wingspans that reach over eleven feet! They use their broad wings to soar for long periods of time without getting tired—a wandering albatross can fly 10,000 miles in a single journey.
Most seabirds feed on fish—puffins can fit sixty small fish in their mouth at once! Some seabirds rely on other forms of ocean life. For example, little auks eat tiny animals called zooplankton that float through the ocean.
The next time you’re by a big body of water, see if you can spot any seabirds!
Photo by JJ Harrison

This month, our Zooworks winners got in touch with their inner poets! These were some of our favorite poems that we got about this month’s animal, kangaroos. Which one is your favorite?

Blue-and-yellow Macaws, Scarlet Macaws and Parrots at the clay lick

Blue-and-yellow Macaws, Scarlet Macaws and Parrots at the clay lick

Some of the biggest and brightest birds that you’ll see in Zootles Parrots are macaws. They live in rainforests in Mexico and Central and South America, where they eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and plants. They also sometimes eat clay found on riverbanks—some scientists believe that the clay helps neutralize the toxins in some of the seeds they eat.
Most macaw species are endangered—they’ve been losing their homes due to humans cutting down the rainforests where they live, and many are illegally trapped for the pet trade. If you do want to get a pet macaw, do your homework. These highly intelligent birds regularly live up to fifty years, and sometimes longer—one blue and gold macaw was reported in 2011 to be 112 years old! And if you’re in the market for a macaw, make sure you get one from a reputable breeder or rescue service so that you’re not supporting the poachers who trap wild birds.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons contributor Brian Ralphs

Petrogale_xanthopus_-_Monarto_1If you’re lucky enough to go to the Adelaide Zoo in Australia, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the mob. But this mob won’t have you in danger of “swimming with the fishes”– the zoo is home to a mob of thirteen yellow-footed rock-wallabies! They’ve had wallabies on display to the public since 1883, and they’re proud to continue the tradition to this day. In the wild, yellow-footed rock-wallabies live in caves and rocky outcrops, and while they do face habitat loss, their numbers are much stronger than those of their cousins, the highly endangered Victorian brush-tailed rock-wallaby. There are less than sixty brush-tailed wallabies left in the wild. The Adelaide Zoo is taking steps to help conserve these endangered animals, and the yellow-footed rock-wallabies are helping. Baby brush-tailed wallabies born at the zoo are fostered by yellow-footed wallabies, leaving the brush-tailed moms able to have another baby before the breeding season is over, increasing the numbers of this endangered species. On the zoo’s website, you can learn more about Spice, Tiga Lilly, Lizzie, Senna, and other yellow-footed rock-wallabies that are helping out with the program!


Photo by Wikimedia Commons contributor Peripitus

Musky-ratThe kangaroos that you’ve probably seen in movies and zoos are big, like gray kangaroos, which can stand over six feet tall. However, there are dozens of animals in the kangaroo family, ranging from the lanky red kangaroos of Australia’s plains to the fuzzy tree kangaroos of Australia’s… trees. The smallest member of the kangaroo family is the musky rat-kangaroo. They weigh less than a pound, and they’re only about a foot long including their long rat-like tails. Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, and bugs. They might look like a mix between rats and rabbits, but these tiny kangaroos are actually believed to be related to primitive marsupial ancestors. They live only in the rainforests of northeast Australia, which means that we have to be careful to make sure their habitats can support them for years to come.


Photo credit: Wikimedia  Commons contributor PanBK

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