You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.
We talk about “panda bears” and “koala bears,” but for a long time, neither was actually considered a bear species! Koalas are definitely not bears—they’re marsupials, distant cousins of kangaroos and wombats. However, their short faces and rounded ears make them look a little bear-like, hence the nickname.
Pandas are another story. Physically, they have a lot in common with bears, but there are also lots of differences. They eat almost nothing but bamboo, and they have an enlarged bone on their hands that looks like a thumb—characteristics that seem to make them more like red pandas, which are part of the raccoon family. Recent DNA studies, though, have shown that pandas are indeed part of the bear family—they’re just not as closely related to polar bears, grizzlies, and the others as they are to each other!
Photos via Wikimedia Commons
Polar bears are the biggest bears in the world. The average male weighs close to a thousand pounds. That’s just an average, though– the largest one on record weighed over 2,000 pounds! These giant animals are the most carnivorous bears in the world– while black and brown bears rely on other food sources like fruit, polar bears eat meat almost exclusively. Their prey mostly consists of seals, and the bears catch seals when they’re out of the water, on ice drifts. But climate change is leading to less polar ice, which means fewer opportunities for polar bears to get their food. Polar bear populations are now decreasing, but people are working to help them. To find out what you can do, check out your local zoo’s website– most zoos have programs in place to help preserve wildlife like polar bears!Photo by Alan Wilson
The average temperature in Antarctica is around -70 degrees Fahrenheit, but that wasn’t always the case– tens of millions of years ago, it was a temperate area with lots of life– including dinosaurs. Expeditions to find their fossils are tough, because paleontologists have to brave frigid weather and find ways to remove the fossils from the frozen ground– often, they have to use rock saws to remove big sections of rock that contains the fossils and bring the whole thing back home with them. But the dinosaurs they find are amazing, like this predatory dinosaur called Cryolophosaurus. Its name means “frozen crested lizard!”
And if you’ve got a dinosaur fan in your family, be sure to check out our new Zoodinos series!
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Rhinos are at once some of the world’s most popular animals, and some of its most critically endangered. These massive animals require plenty of space, and destruction of their habitats has put them at great risk. On top of that, poachers hunt rhinos for their ivory horns, to the point that some species of rhino are on the brink of extinction. There are only three northern white rhinos remaining in the world, and only sixty or so Javanese rhinos.
However, all hope’s not lost—environmental scientists have been working to preserve these amazing animals, and have had some success. The southern white rhinoceros nearly went extinct, but there are now over 20,000 individuals, thanks to conservation efforts to protect them from poachers and reintroduce them to areas where they once lived. To help save the rhinoceros, check out the conservation programs sponsored by your local zoo!
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zigomar
If your Zoodinos fans devoured the latest issue about T. rex, they might like to learn about an even bigger predatory dinosaur: Spinosaurus!
Spinosaurus was enormous- up to 59 feet long and 21 tons. Its name means “spine lizard,” for the giant spikes along its back. Those spines are extensions of its back bones, and the longest ones were well over five feet long. It was discovered in Egypt in 1912, and it’s been fascinating both scientists and the general public ever since. One of its most remarkable traits is that it was probably divided its time between the water and dry land. Scientists think that Spinosaurus was largely aquatic because it has some features in common with water-dwelling creatures today, like its short hind legs (like a duck’s), a long snout for seeking out prey in the water (like a crocodile’s). But in the water or on the land, you probably wouldn’t want to come across a Spinosaurus when it was hungry!
P.S. If you’re not already subscribed to Zoodinos, you can sign up here!
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Bowler
Winter will be here before you know it, and that means that food will be scarce for our feathered friends. If you’d like to help out the birds in your neighborhood, check with your local nature center to see what kinds of birds travel through your area and what they eat. They can also give you tips on what NOT to feed them, like bread– it doesn’t have much nutritional value for them, and they’re better off with food like seeds.
Depending on where you live, backyard birds might be tiny brown sparrows, colorful red cardinals, long-legged cranes, or wide-eyed owls. What’s the coolest bird you’ve seen in your neighborhood?
Photo by Rennett Stowe