Animal facts that you might need to know sometime:
- Elephants live for about 60 years – longer than any other mammal except humans.
- The ten-pound rock hyrax is the elephant’s closest living relative.
- African elephants have 2 “fingers” at the tip of their trunk, while Asiatic elephants have only “1”
- Winnie-the-Pooh calls elephants “heffalumps”.
- Elephants continue to grow throughout their lifetime.
- Both male and female African elephants have tusks, while only male Asiatic elephants do.
- Elephants can weigh as much as a school bus—between ten and fourteen thousand pounds!
- Elephants are capable of making low frequency sounds that are below the human range of hearing; this allows wandering individuals to stay in direct contact over distances of many miles.
- Elephants sleep standing up, but sometimes baby elephants lie down to sleep.
- The giraffe’s closest living relative is the okapi, a solitary mammal found in rainforests of the upper Congo River Basin in central Africa.
- Male giraffes can reach a height of 18 feet.
- One kick from a giraffe can kill a lion.
- The giraffe’s neck contains only 7 vertebrae – the same as most other mammals!
- A giraffe’s tongue can be extended 18 inches.
- Giraffe’s horns are called ossicones.
- Giraffes, like most hoofed mammals, sleep standing up.
- A newborn giraffe weights up to 155 pounds and is 6 ½ feed tall!
- For the first four to five months, calves congregate in nursery groups called creches to rest and play while mothers forage in the distance.
- Lions are the only social cats, living in close-knit social groups called prides.
- At 400 pounds, male lions are nearly twice as large as females.
- Most lions live in Africa, but one sub-species (the Asiatic Lion) lives in India’s Gir Forest.
- A male lion's roar can be heard up to 5 miles away.
- Lions generally hunt at night, so they have excellent hearing and eyesight. Their hearing is so good that they can hear prey that is more than a mile away, and lions' eyes are the biggest of any meat-eating animal. Like the eyes of other cats, they are specially designed for seeing at night.
- All 5 sub-species of tiger live on the Asian continent.
- A tiger can eat 88 pounds of meat in one meal.
- Unlike domestic cats, tigers enjoy swimming and playing in water.
- There are five different subspecies of tiger in the world today: the Amur (Siberian), South China, Indochinese, Bengal, and Sumatran.
- Tigers are the largest living cat species in the world. Siberian tigers are generally the heaviest, with males often weighing more than 600 pounds. Sumatran tigers are the lightest, with males weighing only about 250 pounds.
- A tiger’s stripes are not just coat coloring: stripes also appear on the skin as dark marks. The same is true about a leopard's spots or a jaguar's rosettes.
- Baby zebra have cinnamon-colored stripes, which gradually darken to black.
- A newborn zebra can stand a few minutes after it is born. It is able to walk within a half an hour of birth, and can run for short distances by the time is is 45 minutes old.
- Zebras’ stripes are thought to either facilitate social recognition, aid temperature regulation, or confuse predators.
- When a foal is born the mother keeps all other zebras (even the members of her family) away from it for 2 or 3 days, until it learns to recognize her by sight, voice and smell.
- The females within a family observe a strict hierarchical system. A dominant mare always leads the group, while others follow her in single file, each with their foals directly behind them.
- There are three species of zebra: the Grevy's zebra, the mountain zebra, and the plains zebra; all three species live in Africa. The Grant’s zebra is a subspecies of the plains zebra.
- Dolphins are the only mammal whose babies are born tail-first.
- Dolphins have 2 stomachs – one for storing food and one for digesting it.
- A dolphin’s dorsal fin is as distinctive as a human face.
- Dolphins swallow fish whole, despite the 100 teeth in their mouths. The teeth are used to grasp prey.
- How can you tell a porpoise from a dolphin? Porpoises have spade-shaped teeth with long, sharp upper edges. A dolphin’s teeth are shaped like pointed cones. Porpoises also have smaller bodies.
- Four species of dolphin live in fresh water; the four species live in the Amazon, Orinoco, Ganges and Yangtse rivers. The largest of the freshwater dolphins is the “boto”, found in the Amazon River. It can grow to be 10 feet long.
- Pandas share some features with bears and some with raccoons.
- The Chinese word for Panda is Xiongmao, or Giant Cat Bear.
- Pandas spend at least 12 hours a day eating bamboo.
- The panda has some characteristics common to bears, but other characteristics are not like bears. For example, their head is larger than a bear's, their skull and dental structure do not resemble a bear's, their hind feet lack a heel pad, they do not hibernate, and they do not walk on their hind legs like bears.
- Pandas make a bleating sound similar to the sound a lamb or a goat kid would make. It's a friendly sound, a greeting. They don't roar, the way you think of a brown bear roaring. But they do bleat and honk, and they sometimes huff, bark, or growl.
- The Pygmy Rabbit is the world’s smallest rabbit species – it weighs less than 1 pound, and lives in the northwestern U.S.
- The European Rabbit is the ancestor of all breeds of domestic rabbits.
- An average rabbit has 30 babies per year.
- Rabbits are crepuscular, a word which here means “active at dawn & twilight”.
- All domestic dog breeds are descended from the gray wolf.
- Only the dominant male and female in a wolf pack breed.
- By hunting in packs, wolves are able to hunt prey that are up to 10 times their size.
- Brown bears and polar bears are the world’s largest land-based carnivores.
- Grizzly bears get their name from their “grizzled” coats, having hair that is lighter at the tips than at the base.
- The polar bear is the only bear species that does not eat any plant matter.
- Bears are not true hibernators – thought they become dormant in the winter, they do not experience the drop in body temperature that accompanies hibernation.
- There are 8 species of bear: polar bears, American black bears, Asiatic black bears, sun bears, sloth bears, spectacled bears, giant pandas, and brown bears.
- Polar bear fur is transparent; it has no color. Polar bears look white because of the way their fur reflects visible light. Underneath the fur, the bear's skin is black.
- Although penguins can’t fly, they use their wings like flippers to “fly” underwater.
- There are no penguins at the North Pole – penguins only live in the southern hemisphere.
- After the female penguin lays an egg, the male keeps the egg warm by holding it on top of his feet until it hatches.
- There are 17 species of penguin. The largest, the Emperor Penguin, weighs 82 pounds, while the smallest, the Little Penguin, weighs only 2 ¼ pounds.
- The macaw’s coloring seems bold and conspicuous, but actually blends in well with the green leaves, red and yellow fruits, and bluish shadows in the rain forest.
- Macaws keep the same mate for life.
- Macaws have been known to use tools, and they like to play with interesting objects they find.
- Three hundred and twenty-eight different species of parrots live on the Earth. Parrots are divided into groups such as cockatoos, lories, lovebirds, macaws, and parakeets.
- Larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos can live more than 75 years.
- While both sexes of parrots tend to look identical, the eclectus parrot is one of the few known vertebrates in which the female is more colorful than the male. She is bright red; he is green.
- The red kangaroo is the largest living marsupial.
- Red kangaroos have a highly developed sense of smell to help them locate water, and will migrate up to 125 miles to find it.
- If a kangaroo spots a potential predator, it will warn others by stamping its foot or thumbing its tail on the ground.
- Kangaroos can bound on their hind legs at speeds up to 30 mph.
- A baby kangaroo spends 190 days in its mother’s pouch, before exploring the world for the first time.
Harp Seal (3)
- Seals have no external ears, and cannot support themselves upright on land.
- Seals use their sense of smell to locate their young on a crowded beach. They can close their nostrils when swimming underwater.
- Seals’ flippers point backwards, while sea lions’ can rotate their flippers forward to assist movement on land.