How Does a Boa Constrictor Hunt?

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Do you like snakes? Hopefully you do because today you will be learning about a snake called the boa constrictor!

Boa constrictors are big and dangerous. They eat mice, rats, lizards, and birds. The lifespan of a boa constrictor in captivity can be up to 40 years! That’s a long time! Boa constrictors can swim and like living near rivers and lakes, specifically inside rainforests in South and Central America.

Boa constrictors can weigh up to 33 pounds and measure between six and twelve feet in the wild. In captivity, can weigh up to 66 pounds. The boa constrictor has the ability to camouflage, this makes it hard for predators and for prey to see the snake. The snake's tongue and mouth work together to detect smells. The snake’s eyes are small but can see very well at night, this helps them find food. [read more]

Learn the Difference Between a Cheetah and a Leopard

by Max Moreno, age 9

People may easily mistake a cheetah for a leopard. However, there are many differences to look for that can help you tell these two species apart.

Did you know that cheetahs prefer to hunt in the day, whereas leopards prefer to hunt at night? A leopard at regular speed can run 37 miles per hour and up to 40 miles per hour when in danger or hunting. Leopards are known to be the shortest of all big cats, however they can be seen and described as bulky. They are also known to be good swimmers and climbers. The leopard is more aggressive than a meek cheetah and although leopards are smaller, they are stronger.

Another obvious difference between the cheetah and the leopard is that a leopard has rose-shaped spots on its fur and the cheetah has almost perfectly round spots. Cheetahs mostly hunt gazelles in their home of South Africa. They are the fastest running animals when hunting, making their speed 75 miles per hour, which is 35 miles per hour faster than the leopard’s fastest speed! [read more]

A Close Look at Four Unique Bears

by Chelsea Zheng, age 9

Not all bears are big. And some bears don’t even really look like bears.

The spectacled, asiatic, sun, and sloth bear are the four smallest bear species. Although they all share similar sizes, they are quite unique from one another. Don’t let their size and appearance fool you, they can still be vicious creatures.

The spectacled bear species love their fruits. In the forests of South America, these bears build a platform from branches high in fruit-laden trees as they settle in for days of feasting. When they finish eating all the fruit within the tree they get up and inhabit a new area with plenty of food. [read more]

Disgusting Animals Play an Important Part in the Ecosystem

by Sol-Saray, age 9

All animals are built differently, some are cute or scary looking, and others are just ugly and disgusting. Some of these ugly creatures may have skinny crooked legs or are covered in little bumps. Most fish and flies have huge eyes that do not blink or move. Ugly animals have similarities and differences, however, to humans many are smelly, scary, or disgusting.

For example, the skunk has a strong gross odor that can make people gag or pass out. Skunks use their stinky scent to mark their territory or scare attackers. Another animal that stinks is the dung beetle. They collect other animals' dung and roll it underground to their offspring as food. Animals such as Lampreys and vampire bats have an iron smell to them since they feed on blood.

Vampire bats commonly eat live animals including rats and other small critters. Once their prey is asleep, vampire bats will attack and suck their blood using their sharp fangs. Other blood-sucking creatures include leeches and lampreys. They grip onto other animals to suck the blood out of their bodies. Similar to leeches, lampreys cling onto fish make holes in their bodies and slowly crawl into them to eat their flesh. [read more]

Tiger Wandering: Scientists Have Important Questions About Unusual Spider

by Dani Garduno, age 10

Researchers have taken a big interest in learning about a species of spider called the Tiger Wandering. This spider’s features include very unusual legs.

Have you ever wondered how spider legs help them stay alive? Most spiders have liquid on their feet, but what makes the Tiger Wandering spider unique is that their feet are dry!

Did you know that the smallest hair on the Tiger Wandering spider is at the bottom of its leg? It is common for the Tiger Wandering spider to have more hairs than your typical spider, they even point in all directions. This spider, along with other spiders, have hair on their legs. This hair helps them build webs and also helps them to stick to most things. [read more]

Fascinating Facts About Ladybugs

by Penelope Lawson, age 8

Did you know that there are more than 4,000 types of ladybugs in the world? Ladybugs can live in cold and hot places, including the tropics and northern countries.

All ladybugs have round bodies. They can be yellow, red or orange with black spots or stripes. The most commonly known ladybugs are ones with a red body and black spots. The ladybug’s color helps to scare away predators.

Ladybugs feed on aphids and other insects. In fact, a ladybug can eat 50 aphids in a day. Ladybugs lay their eggs near aphids so the baby ladybugs can have food when they hatch. Farmers and gardeners love ladybugs because they are very helpful in protecting plants. [read more]

Do Sharks Deserve the Scary Reputation?

by Maximiliano Moreno Lopez, age 9

Sharks are well known creatures that live in the oceans. They can appear unexpectedly and cause fear in many. Great white sharks are only one example of ocean animals that can grow up to 15-20 feet long. They also have swimming speeds of 35 miles per hour, which can increase if they feel they are in danger.

Great white sharks can live roughly up to 30 years. When sharks are first born, they grow teeth that can kill other ocean animals. Larger sharks often kill baby whales or young dolphins. Sharks are born being able to take care of themselves. They can find their own food and safe places to live.

Interestingly, sharks mainly eat fish and invertebrates. So, contrary to popular belief, sharks don’t eat humans nearly as often as we see in movies. [read more]

Read About the Amazing Cane Toad

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Cane toads are amphibians. They can be found in South and Central America, and in the Southwestern United States. They eat just about anything and they are poisonous!

A cane toad can grow up to ten inches long and weigh up to five pounds. The lifespan of a cane toad can be anywhere from 15 to 20 years, which is a very long time for an amphibian.

What makes cane toads so interesting? They use their own bodily fluids to protect themselves from being eaten by other, bigger animals. [read more]

Why Do Butterflies Migrate?

by Abigail Gezae, age 9

Have you seen a big group of butterflies flying around? Do you know why? It might be because they are migrating.

Butterflies are beautiful insects. Many tropical butterflies have very large wings. All butterfly species have three body parts that include a head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have three pairs of legs and one pair of wings.

There are more than 165,000 kinds of butterflies and caterpillars. They use camouflage to defend themselves from birds and other animals that want to eat them. For example, the Indian Leaf Butterfly makes itself look like a real leaf. Butterflies are known to have bright colors and fly by day. [read more]

Deadly Piranhas Stalk the Amazon River in Large Groups

by Max Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that a piranha's sharp and pointy teeth help them bite off chunks of flesh from their prey? The powerful jaw of the piranha helps it catch and grab onto its prey. These creatures travel in groups called schools, making the piranhas strong attackers and defenders.

Piranhas can see in the dark and can detect the color red from far distances. There are more than 30 different species of piranhas that vary in size and shape. They usually grow between 15 and 60 centimeters. Piranhas can lay about 500 eggs within a year and are found only in freshwaters in South America, such as the Amazon River.

The piranha is small but powerful and can swim up to 25 miles an hour. Crocodiles, pink dolphins, and turtles are common predators of the piranhas. A piranha can eat about 2.49 grams per day. It would take them 500 minutes to eat a human and ten minutes to eat an animal the size of a small rabbit. [read more]

Despite Fearsome Reputation, the Mighty
Tarantula Rarely Harms Humans

by Geronimo Murcia, age 12

Spider species can widely differ from one another. Some species either be big, small, have short or long legs, and are furry or not.

Spiders are very known around the world, with the most popular being the Tarantula, one of the most terrifying-looking in the world. Although tarantulas are highly feared by many, they are mostly harmless to humans. A tarantula bite can be very painful, but the venom they release is not fatal to people. These spiders naturally inhabit hot and warm areas all around the world.

This spider has many names, for instance, in Europe, they are known as Baboons, in Africa known as horse spiders, and in the U.S people call them tarantulas or bird-eating spiders. These are only a few out of the many names that the tarantulas have. [read more]

Playful Gibbons Spend Their Time High in the Treetops

by Juanes Palma, age 9

There are various small apes species in the world, the typical gibbon is one great example. Gibbons are an adventurous type of animal. Like gorillas and other similar primates, gibbons don't have tails and they share other features. Gibbons are the animals that people typically imagine when they think of primates swinging joyfully through the rain forest.

Gibbons have a variety of thick hair colors that range from black to light brown. They are known to have very long arms that allow them to grab objects easily. They are omnivores, which means they eat fruit, insects, and small birds or eggs.

These apes spend much of their time in the trees of the Southeast Asian forest. They are described as arboreals, which means they live in trees. Gibbons have been observed sleeping upright on tree branches alone or in bunches. Along with being in trees, gibbons spend much of their days looking for food. [read more]

Beware the Deadly Asp Viper!

by Joseph Zheng, age 7

The European asp viper is literally a “snake in the grass.” The serpent’s bite is painful and deadly especially for field workers since they spend their time in the grasslands. In Europe, a majority of snake bite cases are because of this viper. In fact, the asp viper makes up nine out of ten snake bites in the country of Italy.

The asp viper is found across multiple European countries, most commonly found in Switzerland, France, and Italy. It is important for asp vipers to live in warm and hidden areas as they wander through mountains, meadows, grass fields, woodlands, and many more natural areas. [read more]

You Can Find the Beautiful Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in Your Own Backyard

by Sofia Zapata, age 12

Have you seen any Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying in your neighborhood recently? They are commonly seen in Wisconsin, but usually only during the warmer months. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. In the bright sun, these beautiful, tiny, precision-flying birds sparkle like gems, then dart away to their next food source.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird has fascinating attributes that make their tiny physical futures unique. Their wings flap up to 55 times a second at a relaxed pace. However, when a hummingbird increases their speed while moving forward, they flap 75 times a second. The wings of this hummingbird aren’t the only things that go at a fast pace. The tiny hearts of these birds beat 225 times per minute and can increase to 1,250 beats per minute. Compared to hummingbirds, the human heart averages from 60-100 bpm. This is to put the physical abilities of the ruby-throated hummingbirds into perspective. [read more]

Cool Facts About Horse Colors You Might Not Know

by Joseph Zheng, age 7

The most common colors of a horse are red-brown, red-gold, and gray. Horses can have markings on their lower legs and even their bellies. White markings below the knee are called white socks. Markings on their belly are called flesh marks. These markings make each horse unique and valuable.

Horses are identified by their white patches of fur on their face. They have different markings on their faces, one marking is a stripe that runs down their face. Another one is called a blaze, a white patch covering their nostrils up to their forehead. The last marking is a snip, a patch of white between the horse's nostrils. Part-colored horses have large patches of different colors on their coats. Horses with white and black fur are called piebald. [read more]

A Mysterious Monster Lurked in Ancient Seas

by Aloniab Gezae, age 7

Not many people know about the mosasaurus. The mosasaurus lived during the Cretaceous period. They are not dinosaurs! They are reptiles. They have traits of mammals too. [read more]

“Extinct” Tortoise Discovered Alive on Remote Island

by Jessica Lopez, age 12

For nearly 100 years, scientists believed the Fernandina giant tortoise, native to the Galapagos Islands, had gone extinct. That changed when a recent expedition discovered evidence of this mysterious species on a remote island. Now, recent science is exploring how the tortoises’ population could make a comeback.

Washington Tapia, leader of the expedition, said, “For me it was the most important achievement of my life because I have been working on tortoise conservation for 30 years.” Tapia is the director of the nonprofit Galapagos Conservancy’s Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) and has devoted her life to tortoise conservation.

Chelonoidis phantasticus, more commonly known as the Fernandina giant tortoise was found by Tapia and a group of four rangers from the Galapagos National park: Jeffreys Malaga, Eduardo Vilema, Roberto Ballesteros, Simon Villama. Also involved was biologist and Animal Planet host, Forrest Galante, who funded the trip. [read more]

Where Can You Find the Elusive Green Anole?

by Sol-Saray, age 9

Did you know that there are over 110 species of anoles? If you are not familiar with the green anole, I will teach you.

Green anoles are green lizards with a dewlap. Their toes can stick to vertical surfaces like branches, which allows them to live in trees. If they fall out of a tree, they do a skydiving pose to slow their fall.

The male green anoles use their dewlap to show off to female green anoles when they want to mate. Their dewlap is a bright orange-red bump under their chin, but it isn't always visible. Other times, they use their dewlap to scare rival male green anoles from their territory. However, when the other anole doesn't want to leave, they battle. When either anole gives up, it leaves and licks its wounds. [read more]

You Probably Didn't Know These Mammal Facts!

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

A mammal is a vertebrate animal that produces milk to feed their young. There are mammals that live on land, air and water. A few examples of unique mammals that live in different places of the world are foxes, bats, and dolphins.

Foxes learn how to hunt at a young by fighting other younger foxes. This allows cubs to learn and develop crucial survival skills. Stronger foxes are feared while the weak get picked on. Due to their excellent skills of tracking their prey, foxes are solitary hunters. A common hunting strategy done by foxes is to pounce in the air and to catch their prey off guard.

Bats are the only known mammal that have the ability to fly. Although the flying squirrel can glide, it cannot truly fly. Bats’ wings can be considered to be overgrown hands with long fingers that are connected by thin, stretched webs of skin. By using their wings, bats can fly at speeds of thirty miles per hour or more. One of the largest bat species is the flying fox with wings that can be about three feet long. [read more]

All About the Mexican Red-kneed Spider

by Max Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that the Mexican Red-kneed Spider has thick pads of special hairs on their underside which allows it to walk up smooth vertical surfaces?

The Mexican Red-kneed Spider is a docile spider that can be found in Mexico's deserts and scrublands. This species can survive for up to 20 years. Mexican Red-kneed spiders get their simple names from their simple but yet unique characteristics. Their bodies are mostly covered with dark brown hair and vibrant red or orange-colored hairs on each of their knee joints.

This spider species is known for its vibrant and interesting body. When the spider hunts down its prey it will bite down on it and release a deadly venom. Although this sounds scary, the venomous bite of a Mexican Red-kneed spider is not fatal to humans. [read more]

Creatures of the Cold: Life in the Arctic

by Maximiliano Moreno Lopez, age 9

Did you know that killer whales will prey on anything that they can catch? Did you know that the classic polar bear doesn’t have white fur and that they knock out seals from under the ice? Similar creatures that live in cold areas such as the North and South Poles must keep warm to survive. To stay warm, these creatures tend to have thick fur like a polar bear or layers of fat like a seal.

Polar bears live on northern ice where they constantly look for their next meal. Inorder to survive, polar bears learn to run fast which allows them to easily catch their prey. Counter to popular belief, polar bears do not have white fur, rather they have transparent fur that reflects light. The light reflection from a polar bear’s fur makes it seem like their fur is white. Polar bears have various physical traits that makes them apex predators in the North Pole.

Beneath the ice, there are lots of squids and fish that eat plants and plankton that float on the surface of the water. Codfish live in the Northern Atlantic and always travel in schools. A predator of the codfish is, the Emperor penguin, the tallest penguin species, standing at three feet tall. Continuing the food chain, Seals live in both the South and North Poles, and the gray seal can grow up to 7.8 feet. A seal’s common diet consist of squid, fish, and even penguins. Killer whales are at the top of the aquatic food chain as they are hunters that live in cold and warm places; they are found in large bodies of water, such as the Bahamas. [read more]

You Won't Believe How this Tiny Lizard Defends Itself!

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

Regal horned lizards are not normal lizards. The hot desert is their home, so they have many unusual adaptations.

Regal horned lizards have a very different look from other lizards. They have horns around their heads and have very small tails. Also, they have bodies that are wider since they have big stomachs. They grow up to five inches and have armored spikes.

These spiky beasts have a unique way of defending themselves. They build up pressure to shoot out blood that comes from pores in their lower eyelids. These creatures have a high heat tolerance that helps them with the hot temperature in the desert. [read more]

Humans and Horses: Partners Since Ancient Times

by Maya Maclin, age 9

Horses are not like most farm animals. They are used for many things. For thousands of years people rode on horses to deliver mail and visit family members.

It is very important for farms to have horses, because they are strong and can carry many pounds of food and pull heavy wagons. Horses were used to pull machines called seed drills and drag them in the field to drop seeds in the holes. This helped grow food faster on farms.

Horses were very important for wars. Some soldiers used horses to ride while fighting with swords. They also used horses for sports like chariot racing. Royal kingdoms used to pick the best horses for battle. [read more]

World's Oldest Wild Bird Still Hatching Eggs at 70

by Elim Eyobed, age 10

Have you ever wondered how old birds can live? There is one special bird, Wisdom, who has lived for 70 years! She is the oldest living banded bird in her species. This is twice as long as the average Laysan Albatross bird species life expectancy. In 1956, researchers found Wisdom on Midway Atoll which is near Hawaii in the North Pacific Ocean.

After extensive research, biologists have concluded that Wisdom has laid hatched around 30 to 36 chicks so far! It’s commonly believed that birds breed in the same process as humans, but not Wisdom. Wisdom has hatched chicks every year for the past 15 years. Usually, the older a bird gets, the fewer chicks they hatch. However, since she’s so old, she outlived all of her mates. Wisdom’s most recent egg hatched in early 2021 on a piece of land in the Pacific Ocean.

Wisdom travels hundreds of thousands of miles all around the world to get away from predators and to find new mates. It’s not known if Wisdom will continue to lay eggs but up to this point, she has grown the population of her species exponentially, more than any other Laysan Albatross bird. [read more]

What Kind of Animal Is a Bilby?

by Melanie Bautista, age 15

Most people know about the koalas and kangaroos in Australia but have you ever heard of the bilby?

If you live in the United States, you may not recognize the bilby. It is an Australian marsupial that looks similar to a rat or rabbit. Bilbies have been endangered for a while, and it is important to recognize the human impact on their environment.

The bilby has many features that help it adapt to the environment. For example, its long silky fur helps it stay insulated from the intense temperatures in Australia. The bilby also has a strong forefoot; the claws are efficient for digging and help uncover insect grubs. The snout and the ear allow the bilby to pinpoint prey. For survival, the ears give off excess heat so the bilby can maintain a stable temperature. Lastly, their tail helps them signal other bilbies. [read more]

Surprising Panda Facts You Probably Don't Know

by Abigail Gezae, age 9

Did you know that Giant panda bears and red pandas aren’t really bears, but are more closely related to raccoons? Here are some other interesting and surprising facts about pandas.

To start, Giant pandas and red pandas both live in China. Red pandas also live in southern Asia. These pandas vary in size. Giant pandas can grow up to 5.5 feet long, about the size of an adult person. In comparison, Red pandas can grow up to 3.5 feet long.

When it comes to their food, Pandas are herbivores. This means they eat plants. Giant pandas and red pandas both eat bamboo. Bamboo can grow up to 98 feet tall, about as tall as a 10 story building. [read more]

What Is a Hamadrya Baboon Anyway?

by Sol Saray, age 9

There are two types of baboons called hamadrya baboons and chacma baboons. These types of baboons have differences and similarities.

Did you know that hamadrya baboons sleep together at night on outcrops, which are rocky surfaces on hills? These baboons go in groups of 20-70 to forage. They search for plants, flowers, fruits, grass and small vertebrates at dawn.

The scientific name for these baboons is Papio Hamadryas, and they are also called savannah baboons. They live in north east Africa. The male has a brownish gray mantle of hair on its head, similar to lion's mane. The female's fur is olive-brown. The female and the male both have red bottoms. Baboon families have one dominant male and a variety of females with their offspring. [read more]

How to Raise a Wolf Pup

by Dani Garduno, age 10

Raising a wolf is not easy, but wolf supporters can learn about them through thinking about their own childhood. Wolves are unique in their birth and family upbringing, but they have some similarities with humans as well.

Both human and Wolf families protect their newborns. The Alpha mother builds a den underground for her future pups. When the mother is done building, she goes to the end of the den and gives birth in the spring. Afterward, she stays in the den to protect her pups from danger.

Human babies build their strength by playing and interacting with their siblings, just like wolves. When the pups are born, they’re blind and deaf. They only weigh one pound at birth, but each day they become stronger. In one month they are ready to enter the wide-open world. Wolves grow their strength by running, chasing, pouncing, and play-fighting with each other. This is how they develop their hunting skills, which will help them in the future. [read more]

Learn These Big Cat Science Facts!

by Sofia Zapata, age 12

Do you know how many different kinds of cats exist? Four kinds of big cats are famous like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs.

Let's begin with a famous one: the lion. People know about them from movies like the Lion King. They are known for their golden manes. However, some lions have black manes.

Next is the tiger. The tiger may travel 12 miles (20 kilometers) in a day searching for food. They need to kill a hoofed mammal every three to five days to sustain themselves. Another cool fact is that in the winter, the tiger's coat becomes lighter. Tigers are the largest of all domesticated or big cats, also known as felids. [read more]

Why Do Jaguars Roar Quietly?

by Johan Barreiro Adams, age 14

The jaguar is one of the most powerful and feared carnivores in South America. The jaguar's body is built to help it survive and grow in its environment.

For example, while the jaguar’s vocal structure is very similar to other big cats, such as lions, tigers, and cougars, there is one important difference: the jaguar's hyoid bone muffles the roar, which makes it quieter. The hyoid bone is found around the jaguar's heart and basically touches the throat where the jaguar roars. If the hyoid bone is stiff, as it is in jaguars, then the cat won’t make as much noise. This helps the jaguar stay stealthy to hunt for prey. While the jaguar has a muffled roar, it has a large jaw to feed and protect itself and claws to catch animals. Jaguars are well known for eating mammals, turtles, fish, caimans and livestock.

Jaguars are found specifically in the northern region of Central America and are members of the felidae family. The typical weight for a male jaguar is about 198 to 264 lbs while a female jaguar is about 132 to 198 lbs. There are also four related species including margay, leopards, lions and tigers. Overall, jaguars are interesting and fascinating animals. [read more]

Big Cats Stalk the African Savannah

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 11

Have you ever wondered what a lion's life is like? Lions spend much of their time hunting for food. These furry cats also live and raise their cubs in prides.

A male and a female lion look very different from each other. Male lions have sandy-colored fur that blends into their grassland habitat. They also have a mane of darker hair that makes them look powerful and dangerous. Female lions have sandy-colored fur too, but they do not have a mane.

The lionesses, or female lions, are responsible for hunting. They hunt as a team, which allows them to kill giant animals, such as zebras, wildebeests and buffalo. They usually hunt in the morning and evening. They do this so they can blend in with their surroundings, which makes it easier to sneak up on their prey. Most lions don't eat people, but they have done so in the past. [read more]

Emperor Penguins: Adapted for Life in the Antarctic Wasteland

by Maya Maclin, age 9

Emperor Penguins live in Antarctica. Penguins are birds and have wings, but they swim with their wings instead of fly.

Emperor Penguin’s main colors are black and white but they also have a bit of orange on their necks. They swim in cold water, that’s why they have a thick coat of feathers. They spend most of their time with other penguins. Their average lifespan is 15 to 20 years. Penguins usually weigh around 88 pounds and can grow to 45 inches. Penguins breed during the winter. The mother lays one egg in December.

Penguins are carnivores so the mother penguin goes to catch fish for two months. The father penguin stands on his feet and he uses his brood pouch to warm the penguin eggs. When the mother penguin comes back, she eats the food and gives it to her babies by bringing it up from her stomach. Then she takes care of her children while the father leaves to get fish. [read more]

Amur Leopards Stalk Prey in the Cold Russian Wilderness

by Sol-Saray, age 9

Did you know that there are different types of leopards in the world? A really interesting one is called the Amur leopard! These leopards weigh 80 pounds, which is 30 pounds less than the African leopard. They prey on mice, bunnies, boar, and deer.

Many people think that leopards live only in the savannas of Africa, but the Amur leopard inhabits southern Russia and northern China. Its large paws allow the leopard to walk on snow without sinking, working like snowshoes.

The Amur leopard hunts for prey in snowy hillsides. They hunch so low they almost touch the snow with their bellies. Their prey is distracted while finding something to eat in the cold winter of Russia. Then, the leopard unexpectedly jumps on their prey from 10 feet away. Amur leopards often drag their prey up into trees before eating. It's time for the leopard to eat! [read more]

The Mysterious Extinction of an Ancient Predator

by Aissata Bah, age 10

Although saber-tooth tigers have been extinct for around 12,000 years, long-held beliefs that they died out due to hunger, climate change, and human hunting are turning out to be incorrect.

In an attempt to find the real reason, researchers have studied the fossil teeth of 15 saber-tooth tigers and 15 American lions that were recovered at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles. These animal fossils ranged from about 11,500 to 35,000 years in age.

Scientists used a dental microwear analyzer to examine these fossils. The tool was developed by anthropologist Peter Ungar at the University of Arkansas. It generates three-dimensional pictures of the surface of a tooth. Eating red meat creates a parallel set of small scratches, but biting bones leaves larger and deeper pits. The investigation found a pattern of wear on the saber-tooth tiger teeth, and it looks similar to the pattern on the present-day African lion teeth. [read more]

Why You Should Never Race a Moose

by Haliah Berkowitz, age 10

Did you know that moose can run very fast even for their huge size? Moose are the biggest animals in the deer family. On average, they weigh almost 2,000 pounds. Despite their huge size, they are extremely fast, both on land and in water. They can run up to 35 miles per hour or swim up to 10 miles without stopping. In fact, a five day old calf can outrun a grown human.

Given their size, adult male moose don’t have many predators. Animals like bears, wolves and cougars like to prey on moose calves instead. The biggest threat to adult male moose is getting struck by a car.

When it comes to the living conditions for moose, they tend to inhabit cold snowy areas. Their hooves are wide and allow them to walk on the snow with ease. During warmer temperatures, moose like to spend their time in the water to keep cool. [read more]

Dog-Sized Lizards Invade a Delicate Ecosystem

by Ayden Ross, age 14

A dog-sized lizard, the Argentine black-and-white tegu, is rapidly taking over the Everglades National Park. This lizard, native to South America, is spreading throughout South Florida and the southeastern region of the U.S. Biologists are concerned because these lizards will eat almost anything that will fit into their mouths, from berries to small animals such as birds and reptiles, as well as the eggs of animals that nest on the ground such as endangered sea turtles.

These dog-sized lizards can make very calm pets for those who like exotic reptiles. Unfortunately, people have let them loose into the wild where they have bred prolifically. Official estimates of the tegu lizard population in the U.S is unknown, however, a 2018 study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey stated that, “the entire southeast portion of the United States is at risk.” [read more]

Recent Animal Watch Articles

The great white shark is one of the largest predatory fish in the world, weighing up to 2,400 pounds, and can grow up to 21 feet in length. It was long thought to have no predators. That is, until Salvador Jorgensen, a marine ecologist and his team, discovered that the great white shark competes with a vicious enemy - Orcinus orca - also known as the killer whale. [read more...]
Many ant species form symbiotic relationships with plants. Symbiotic means that both the plant and the ant benefit from being together. But, scientists are not sure how or when this relationship between plants and ants first began. [read more...]
OR-54, a beloved and well-known gray wolf, died recently in California, having played an important role in enhancing the grey wolf population. Only recently has the federal government passed a law making the gray wolf endangered in California and Oregon, an effort meant to protect the species. [read more...]
Animals in the Gir National Park, Gujarat, India will sometimes adopt animals from a different species. However, it was unusual for a lioness to adopt a leopard cub. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of mandrills? They are fantastic animals. Mandrills are primates who belong to the Old World monkey family. The mandrill's front hands are similar to human hands. They have four fingers and one gripping thumb to help them climb. [read more...]
Gentoos and Chinstraps are penguins that live near the Antarctic. They swim in freezing temperatures. Both kinds of penguins huddle together on ice floes. [read more...]
Chinese paddlefish are now declared extinct. These giant 23-foot long "fish" were known as water tigers because of their incredible speed and survived for 150 million years in the Chinese river Yangtze. [read more...]
Although some cats don’t seem to connect with their caregivers, others do bond in some ways, according to a new study. Researchers now believe that this trait doesn’t just belong to dogs, as prior research indicated. [read more...]
Voices and body language are the two most important ways penguins communicate with each other. The type of call depends on the species of penguin and the message they want to communicate. [read more...]
Did you know that red pandas are only about two feet tall? [read more...]
South Korea has a problem, and it involves squirrels. Acorns are being taken from parks and forests for human consumption, and it’s negatively affecting the squirrels. According to experts, each individual squirrel needs to bury more than 100 acorns to survive the winter. [read more...]
Bucky Badger is known as an awesome, adorable, and loving creature, but is he really? The American badger, which represents our state pride, is actually a menacing creature, like its fearsome relative the wolverine. They are both members of the Mustelidae family. [read more...]
When you think of whales, you probably imagine huge and glorious animals at sea. However, millions of years ago, whales looked more like an ordinary otter at the zoo, just bigger, and with different behavior. [read more...]
Giraffes are taller than some trees. They have super long necks and can see their friends from a mile away. A male and a female look alike but they don’t eat the same way. The female eats by bending down while the male looks up and stretches his neck to eat leaves on the tops of the trees. [read more...]
If you were to get bitten by the rhinoceros viper a small amount of its venom would kill you. [read more...]
Many people know that rattlesnakes have the ability to swallow their prey whole. However, many don't know of the rattlesnake's dangerous and sneaky abilities to lure their prey before killing them. [read more...]
Out in the fields of thick sandhill wire grass—also called pineland threeawn—just outside of the town of Cheraw in South Carolina, a 65-year-old retired English teacher and self-taught naturalist, is America’s Turtle Whisperer. [read more...]
Cheetahs are speedy animals and are known to be the fastest sprinters in the world. They are even faster than kangaroos, spur-winged geese, and gazelles. They can run at speeds up to 65 mph, earning the name “spotted wind,” but they run out of energy after sprinting for only 30 seconds. [read more...]
Did you know that the rhinoceros horn is not made of bone? People think it is but it’s not. It’ made of keratin which is the same material as your nails and hair. [read more...]
Did you know anacondas eat their prey whole, even crocodiles? [read more...]
Penguins are an amazing species. They have excellent vision and can swim at up to nine miles an hour. Here are a couple of interesting facts about penguins. [read more...]
The Axolotl, also known as the “water monster” in the Aztec language, is a unique animal that only lives in the mountains of Mexico. [read more...]
Fennec foxes have different body parts that help them manage with the extreme temperatures of the deserts in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It has a diet of small prey. [read more...]
Did you know that there are new mysterious killer whales, called the type D orcas? They look really different from other orcas because they have a rounded head, a small white eye patch, and a pointier dorsal fin. [read more...]
Did you know that the first horse was about the size of a pet cat? [read more...]
When the boomslang snake bites a chameleon, its blood-destroying venom kills the chameleon in a few seconds. Next, it swallows the prey whole. [read more...]
Reptiles prefer moderate temperatures. If they are too hot, they overheat, and if they are too cold, they are unable to move. Reptiles get warm in the sunshine and then go in the shade to regulate their temperature. [read more...]
Did you know that a male boa constrictor named Popeye at the Philadelphia zoo died at age 40 in 1977? [read more...]
Did you know that there are different types of mammoths? [read more...]
Did you know that basilisk lizard can run on water? [read more...]
Penguins coats are black and white which serves as camouflage in order to hide from predators. All 17 different species of penguins look different but similar. Evolution scientists don't know how penguins got their name but it may have came from the word pinguis which means fat in Latin. [read more...]
Did you know that baby penguins are called chicks? 95 percent of chicks make it through childhood. [read more...]
Many people are afraid of sharks. But here are some facts that make sharks interesting and not as scary as we imagine. [read more...]
Whenever you think of manta rays, also known as the manta, you do not usually think of filter feeders but they are. [read more...]
The habitats of pandas are decreasing due to China’s increasing population density. As China continues to grow, the places where pandas are able to live shrink, while food also becomes increasingly scarce. Researchers say that in the next 80 years, around 35 percent of bamboo will be eliminated due to climate change. [read more...]
Did you know the first land animals lived 450 million years ago? [read more...]
Did you know cats can make over 100 vocal sounds while dogs can only make ten? [read more...]
For many years, grizzly bears were regularly sighted in Yellowstone National Park. But when President Trump removed Yellowstone's grizzly bears from the federal list of threatened species in 2017, the states of Idaho and Wyoming announced that it was legal to hunt them outside of the national park. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of the American marten? Or, as it is also known, the American pine marten? [read more...]
Elephants are known for having excellent memory, and, as demonstrated for the first time in a study by Naoko Irie of Japan’s Graduate University for Advanced Studies, some of them can also count. [read more...]
A connection between modern day birds and dinosaurs has been discovered by researchers at UW-Madison. The fossil of a small, winged dinosaur called Lori is at the forefront of this discovery. [read more...]
Scientists at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are searching for snakes that are very ill. These sick snakes have an illness called snake fungal disease. DNR scientists are looking everywhere for the sick snakes, and are even turning over rocks and logs. [read more...]
Did you know that whales and dolphins are mammals? Just like land mammals, whales, and dolphins breathe air. They come up to the surface and breathe through their blowholes. Blowholes are a large nostril flap on top of their heads. Dolphins and whales are similar to land mammals because they feed their babies with milk from their bodies. [read more...]
Aldo Leopold was a naturalist, believing that people should understand the importance of the environment. He devoted his life to deeply understand the natural world. [read more...]
Did you know that the female bearded dragon can lay up to 35 eggs in a burrow? [read more...]
Do you know where Tasmanian Devils live? Tasmanian Devils live in Tasmania, which is an island near Australia, where they get their name. [read more...]
Did you know that millions of years ago, there were fish with armor? [read more...]
Did you know that there were prehistoric giant animals? Well, here are just a few, and they are pretty amazing. [read more...]
Did you know that in the United States, there is one dog for every three people? Dogs not only make great pets, they are also very unique. [read more...]
There are different dogs in the dog family. They are all a little different. [read more...]
Do you know that an octopus can camouflage when it feels threatened? It does this by changing its color, pattern, and texture. [read more...]
Poison dart frogs are found in South and Central America. [read more...]
Everyone knows that dinosaurs lived a long time ago. But do you know about the other ancient animals that roamed the Earth then too? [read more...]
Animals today are different from South American animals that lived 100,000 years ago when the continent used to be an island. It had animals that weren’t found anywhere else. Here are some of those animals. [read more...]
Did you know that pumas go by many different names? [read more...]
There are about 37 different species of wildcats. Some of these species are cat cousins such as the serval, ocelot, and lynx. These cats are scary because they can bite you and jump on you. However, they can also change colors depending on the season. Here are some more facts about these cat cousin [read more...]
Have you ever seen an albino panda? In China, it was spotted on camera in a bamboo forest. [read more...]
Did you know that the cottonmouth snake is venomous? [read more...]
Clouded leopards are very rare and one of the most mysterious cats in the world. [read more...]
Vancouver Island is home to the coastal wolves. These wolves can survive on land and in water. [read more...]
Have you seen a white-tailed deer in Wisconsin? Did you know they have unique skills that can help them survive? [read more...]
Did you know that scientists have found the skull of an extremely rare threatened species? [read more...]
There are about 2,000 long-nosed, inquisitive-faced tree shrews that reside in Yunnan, China in the Kunming Institute of Zoology. These tree shrews are the only mammal besides humans known to consume hot chili peppers. [read more...]
The fennec is a unique fox, best known for its ears. Its ears make up about 20% of its whole body surface. Its ears are full of blood vessels, which help radiate surplus body heat. Big ears are also important aids for detecting prey. [read more...]
Bears emerged about 20-25 million years ago in Eurasia. They are found in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and can survive in cold snowy lands. [read more...]
Instead of finding a new species of snake sliding through their habitat in Chiapas, Mexico, scientists found a new species of snake called Cenaspis Aenigma in a coral snake’s belly. [read more...]
The lake sturgeon is a fish native to Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The species’ population is declining rapidly; however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has failed to respond to growing calls for action, prompting conservation groups to file suit. [read more...]
What do animals do during the chilling months of winter in Madison to keep themselves warm? [read more...]
This year the WBAY television news station in Green Bay announced a bobcat sighting. The big cat was spotted in Suamico Wisconsin, near Highway 41. [read more...]
The endangered gharial, an animal similar to a crocodile, lives in parts of central Asia such as northern India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. [read more...]
The lesser long-nosed bat is no longer endangered thanks to conservation made possible by scientists and volunteers. It is the first U.S. bat to escape endangerment. The bats' recovery is thanks to cooperation between the United States and Mexico. [read more...]
Little Whale begins her first journey north at one-month-old. She is a baby humpback. She and her mom are swimming to the North Atlantic ocean for food. Little Whale’s mom has not eaten all winter. They swim 30 to 60 miles each day, only stopping to rest or nurse. Little Whale’s mom feeds her milk from her nipples tucked into slits in her skin. Little Whale has to come up to the surface for air every five minutes, as her lungs are not fully developed. Her mother, on the other hand, can last 40 minutes under water. [read more...]
Did you know that the snow leopard is capable of killing prey three times its own size? A snow leopard is a kind of leopard that can be found throughout the mountains of Asia, Afghanistan, Russia, and many other places. [read more...]
Recent developments have uncovered huge termite mounds completely covering a vast area in northeastern Brazil, previously covered by thick forests. These masses of earth can be up to three meters tall, and up to ten meters wide. They cover an area roughly the size of England. The combined mass of all the mounds can be seen from low earth orbit, though it is difficult to see individual mounds from that height. [read more...]
Mule deer can be found from central Mexico to northwestern Canada. They can also be found to inhabit land as far east as Kansas and Nebraska. In these areas, buildings are being constructed which is causing habitat loss. [read more...]
Wisconsin got its nickname “The Badger State” before it became a state. In the 1800’s , Wisconsin was actually Native American land that contained a lot of lead. [read more...]
You may think that animals can’t use camouflage, but they can. They use camouflage to hide from enemies like eagles and lions. [read more...]
Bugs do not survive without protection for very long. Unlike other animals, bugs have an exoskeleton on the outside of their bodies. This is a shield that protects the bug. When the bug grows and the shell becomes too tight, it molts. When a bug molts, it means the bug sheds its shell. [read more...]
Orcas are really incredible mammals that swim – fast and deadly – all over the world. [read more...]
Check out these amazing leatherback turtles! [read more...]
A two-year-old polar bear, named Nuniq, moved to the zoo in September 2018. He is the son of Nanuq, a polar bear that lived at the Vilas Zoo for two decades. [read more...]
On August 21, 2017, many were amazed at the Great American Eclipse, a wonder on display for us in the sky. But strangely, the bees stopped buzzing. [read more...]
Native bee populations are declining. They are being threatened by urbanization and new farming techniques which can both poison the bees and harm their food source. Yet, there are ways that communities and individuals can help the bees. [read more...]
Raising a cat can be tough. Most dogs you meet on the street will trust you with their lives. But when it comes to cats, you need to earn their trust. And you’ll need to do it carefully because in just one wrong move, you could destroy the trust you have built. [read more...]
Cayo Santiago is a 38-acre tropical island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Home to about 1,500 rhesus monkeys, the island is known as “Monkey Island.’’ Scientists have a field station on the island where they keep records of their observations about generations of monkeys living on Monkey Island, but they themselves live on a different island and take 15-minute boat trips every day to get to the island. Information about the monkeys’ lives, deaths, genes, hormones, treatment of their children, and their interactions is collected by the scientists. [read more...]
Tiger sharks are very unique and are only found in a few places around the world. Their population might be small, but they are creatures to be feared. [read more...]
Turkeys were hunted and pushed out of existence by humans in Wisconsin in the late 1800s. However, in 1976 they were reintroduced and are now thriving. [read more...]
Social insects, Earth´s strong little creatures, are a triumphant group of animals. It is no surprise why many people are so fascinated by their astonishing capabilities. [read more...]
Throughout recent years, cougar sightings in Wisconsin have occurred in over 17 different locations, suggesting that the feline is returning to Wisconsin’s landscape after more than a century gone. [read more...]
Barks for Parks is an annual fundraiser for Dane County’s dog parks. Dane County is one of the first places in the United States to have designated off-leash areas for dogs and has been used as a model for other systems across the country. Barks for Parks raises money for upgrades, expansion, and special projects in Dane County’s dog parks. The event is a day-long celebration filled with music, food, and fun. [read more...]
Alaskan animals are used to surviving in very cold weather. Alaskan animals can survive temperatures colder than -34 fahrenheit. During summer, the temperature changes from -34˚F to 54˚F, but topsoil remains frozen throughout the whole year. The weather can alter the balance of the tundra, and that puts the wildlife in risky situations. It becomes difficult to find food and resources. Even though Alaska is a tough place to live, polar bears, red foxes, wood bison, and eskimo curlew manage to survive. [read more...]
Did you know that members of the Equidae family (horses, zebras, donkeys) have long lifespans? Horses and zebras can live up to 30 years while donkeys can live up to 40 years. [read more...]
When you see a turtle, you may think they are shy because they sometimes hide in their shells. Their upper shell is called a carapace and it is hard to break through. [read more...]
El pavo real es uno de los animales más bonitos del mundo. Cuando el pavo real extiende sus plumas parece un gran abanico. Solamente el macho tiene plumas de color verde y azul marino y tienen una figura parecida a un ojo, llamado ocelo. [read more...]
In April, two adult gorillas died at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Southeastern Wisconsin. Investigators recently determined that their cause of death was an E. Coli contamination in drinking water. [read more...]
¿Sabías que la trompa de un elefante contiene cerca de 100,000 músculos distintos? [read more...]
Measuring up to 20 feet long and measuring up to 7,040 pounds, the great white shark has supposedly been around for many millennia. Yet, this mammal it kills fewer people than bees do. So why does the great white shark have such a reputation as a ferocious killer? [read more...]
Snakes can live in almost any environment, but have you ever wondered how snakes live in the desert? [read more...]
Have you ever wondered how pandas live or what they do? Giant pandas are very popular animals in China. [read more...]
Crows are common black birds well known for their intelligence. They are found all over the world. Some crows are solitary while others stay in groups. A group of crows is called a murder. When a crow dies, the murder will surround the deceased one. This behavior can be interpreted as a way of mourning their dead and also to find out what killed them. [read more...]
One of the world's rarest rattlesnakes, the Massasagua rattlesnake, was spotted in Wisconsin this past week. The snake, one of two species of rattlesnake that can be found in Wisconsin, was discovered by a Jackson County Forestry and Parks employee. This has been the fifth sighting in the past three years. Before that, the snake was missing for over 30 years, and for this reason, scientists are very excited about this uncommon encounter in Jackson County. [read more...]
In 2018 researchers have not seen baby North Atlantic whales in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Georgia where they are usually found. Where could these baby whales be? [read more...]
Many people are interested in lions because of their extreme strength and their diet. It is rare for lions to eat humans or even attack them, but in the 1930s and 1940s, prides of lions in Tanzania didn’t eat like normal lions. Instead, they were hungry for human flesh! During those times, they hunted and killed nearly 1,500 people in 15 years. [read more...]
At first glance, an Umboina, otherwise known as a tree-hopper, looks just like another thorn on a branch. The tree-hopper is very small, measuring only one centimeter long. It can escape predators because it is camouflaged to look like a thorn, which makes it hard to find. If it were discovered, the tree-hopper’s spiky shape would make it hard to swallow, discouraging the predator from eating it. [read more...]
While it has been known for a long time that crows are smart birds, we may have underestimated their brainpower until recently. One example that demonstrates this is that they can tell the difference between friend and foe, and pass that information on to other crows. [read more...]
A team of UW-Madison researchers tailing coyotes and foxes in the City of Madison has made a surprising discovery—the two rival canids have made amends. [read more...]
The Saber Tooth Tiger was a carnivorous prehistoric mammal. Its most famous features, two long canines on its upper jaws, could grow up to eight inches long. These ferocious tigers’ teeth helped them kill their prey, including horses, bison, and mastodons. Although their canines were long and powerful, they were also fragile and could easily break while hunting. Saber Tooth Tigers also had small canine teeth on their lower jaws, which were about the same size as human molars. [read more...]
Even though tigers only hunt once every five to six days, they are experts at killing. Tigers have orange fur with black stripes. Their fur helps them hide in tall grass, especially at night when they are more active. [read more...]
by Camila Cruz, age 10 There are many types of apes in the world, one of which is called the orangutan. Orangutans live in the lowland rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo—two islands in Southeast Asia. To protect them from heavy rains, orangutans have long body hair, especially around their shoulders, which protects them from the rain. They can’t stand on their legs for too long because they are short and weak and cannot hold their weight. Their hands have four long fingers and their thumbs are opposable. They also have large toes, their big toe is also opposable To swing and climb through the trees they use their long strong arms. [read more...]
The highly-poisonous black widow spider received its name from its black color and because female black widows eat the males after mating. [read more...]
Millions of years ago, huge monster-like creatures lived on the land and in the water. They were not 4 your typical monsters, they were dinosaurs [read more...]
Today’s technology affects more than just humans. It helps endangered animals including the black-footed ferret and the painted dog, too! [read more...]