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Animal Watch

Wisconsin DNR Drafts New Plan for Wolf Hunt

by Zayn Khalid, age 12

Hunters and animal rights advocates are frustrated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) because they did not set a standard for wolf hunting. Animal rights advocates want wolf hunting to be illegal, but hunters want to hunt. What will the DNR do?

In the past, it was legal to hunt wolves in Wisconsin. In 2012, former Governor Scott Walker established an annual fall wolf hunt in the state. This hunt has become the biggest argument between animal rights advocates and hunters. Animal rights advocates say that “wolves are too majestic to slaughter,” but hunters say wolves kill farmers' livestock. The DNR paid out more than $3 million from 1985 to 2021 to provide for the loss of farmers’ livestock.

A group called Hunter Nation won a court case forcing the DNR to hold the month of February 2021 for hunting. The outcomes were chaotic as hunters killed 218 wolves in four days, going way past their 119-animal quota. Animal advocates worried that the February hunt decimated the population of wolves, which convinced a Dane County judge to hold off on the annual fall hunt. [Read More]

The Mammal that Helped Take Over the Globe

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 12

Researchers have discovered a prehistoric mammal with a two to five years life cycle that they call the Manbearpig. The mammal’s short lifespan is likely due to their months-long pregnancy, a trait scientists believe helped mammals dominate the world after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The name Manbearpig came from the features it contained: a face like a bear; a body similar to a pig; and five fingered hands. These mammals are also known by their scientific name, Pantolamba bathmodon, and were plant eaters. The Manbearpig lived about 62 million years ago. The Manbearpig was one of the largest mammals of its time and seemed to appear after the dinosaur extinction, which allowed mammals to grow to larger sizes than ever before. It was a member of the placental group of mammals, animals who do their prenatal development in the womb of their mother.

Researchers were able to discover how fast they would grow throughout their life from the enamel of their teeth, which looked different during different life stages. These mammals' lives were short and they died at a younger age than typical animals, between two and five years of life. The Manbearpig had a really short life cycle because it stayed in the womb for about seven months, a pregnancy much longer than is observed in modern marsupials, but similar to extreme modern placentals like giraffes and wildebeests. The most extreme modern placentals are usually walking within hours of birth, and usually only give birth to one baby per litter. This species nursed for one or two months after they were born. In a year, they would reach adulthood. The longest a Manbearpig was found to have lived was 11 years. [Read More]

2.5-Yard Elephant Tusk Fossil Discovered in Israel

Researchers in Israel recently found a 2.5-yard-long fossil that belonged to a long-extinct straight-tusked elephant. It is believed to be the largest fossil ever found at a prehistoric site in the country.

This amazing fossil was discovered near a piece of land called a kibbutz on the central plain running parallel to the Israel’s Mediterranean coast. The discovery was made by researchers from Israel Antiquites Authority (IAA) in a joint excavation from Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University. Avi Levy, lead researcher of the find, called this fossil, “The largest complete fossil tusk ever found at a prehistoric site in Israel or the Near East.” This site is at least 500,000 years old based on the stone tools recovered from the area, the antiquites authorities said.

“Very puzzling, very enigmatic,” said Omry Barzilai, an IAA archaeologist also in the discovery, because it was not known whether ancient people hunted the behemoth on the spot or they brought the animal’s tusk to this spot. [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 its 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.

Hummingbirds are the only birds that are able to fly backward. This species is one of the biggest aerial migrators. During their migration season, they travel across the Gulf of Mexico, and it takes them around 18 hours to fully cross. Once they arrive at a safe place, they create a nest that is the same size as a small walnut. A fun fact about the male hummingbird is that it weighs the same as a penny. Male hummingbirds begin to mate during spring by flying and chasing their mate. Afterward, when the nest is made in a tree, the females will begin to lay around two eggs. [Read More]

Nature’s “Vacuum Cleaner:” The Matamata

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The matamata lives in South America and is part of the turtle family. The matamata lives in the northern part of South America, in Brazil, Venezuela, but can sometimes be found in northern Bolivia, Ecuador, eastern Peru, Colombia, the Guianas, and Trinidad. They are about 18 inches in length and weigh around five to six pounds. Other than eating fish, they eat small birds and small mammals. This particular species lives up to 30 years.

Scientists compare this species to a vacuum cleaner, because it swallows its food rather than chews it. Camouflage is a common hunting tactic for the matamata. When in hunting position, it looks like an unassuming mossy rock in the water. They have fleshy appendages close to their mouths that look like weeds hanging and can act as a lure for fish. The nose on the matamata acts as a snorkel, allowing them to breathe air while they wait for food to approach so they can swallow it whole.

The word matamata is a phrase in a Native language that means “I kill” and its scientific name is Chelus fimbriatus which means fringed turtle. A matamata’s neck is almost the size of its back. In comparison, if the same were true for humans, our necks would be about three feet long. The matamata is one of the turtle species that breathes air, unlike other turtle species who get oxygen from water. [Read More]

Native Asian Moth Spotted in Washington State

by Justin Medina Ruiz, age 13

On July 7, 2022, a giant moth with a ten-inch wingspread was discovered in a garage of a home in the state of Washington. Thankfully, the moth species does not pose a public health threat. The Atlas moth originates from the tropical forests of Asia and has not been seen before in the U.S.

It is not clear how this moth found a way to get to Washington. However, scientists found on eBay, an e-commerce company, an account selling Atlas moth cocoons for $60 each. This account was later taken down because the Atlas moth is a quarantine pest, meaning it is illegal to obtain, sell, or harbor, no matter if they are adults, eggs, larvae, or pupae.

In spite of that, the individual sighting does not mean that there is a population of the Atlas in the U.S. The state’s agriculture department asks the public to take photographs and collect Atlas moths if they find one. This would help determine whether there is a population or not. If there were an infestation, it would be harmful to the region’s fruit-growing industry because like other moths and caterpillars, they enjoy feasting on the leaves of cherry and apple trees. [Read More]

Will the Tasmanian Tiger Roam the Earth Once More?

by Sandy Flores-Ruíz, age 16

For the past years —scientists have thought about reviving extinct species. Scientists in Australia and the U.S. have recently started a multi-million dollar project to bring back the Tasmanian tiger from extinction.

The stripes on the back of the Thylacine gave its nickname of “Tasmanian Tiger,” despite the animal being a marsupial, a type of Australian mammal that raises its young in a pouch, like a kangaroo, instead of a tiger.

The Tasmanian tiger went extinct in 1936 when the last known tiger, Thylacine, died in the Hobart Zoo. Years before humans arrived in Australia, these tigers roamed free. However, once humans started to populate Australia, the population of these tigers decreased. The last known tigers to roam free on the island of Tasmania were then hunted to extinction. [Read More]

The Bald Eagle: An Iconic Species on the Verge of Extinction

by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 11

The bald eagle is one of the most recognized and powerful birds on Earth.

Bald eagles hunt in lakes and rivers. The measurement of a male body is around 90 centimeters whereas a female body averages 108 centimeters. The weight of a bald eagle is 14 pounds while a harpy eagle is 11 pounds.

Bald eagles are interesting in terms of their companionship; when they pair together, the connection lasts a lifetime. When they have eaglets, the male goes to look for food while the female stays to take care of the babies. [Read More]

Crocodiles and Alligators-Dinosaur Relatives Still Alive Today

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

Crocodiles are some of the few living creatures today that were alive at the time of the dinosaurs. Their lifestyle and anatomy have helped crocodiles survive for millions of years.

Crocodiles are known to be large reptiles. Some of them can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) In length. The biggest alligator ever found was 19 feet long and most alligators only grow to about 9.75 feet. Crocodiles take up to 8 to 10 years to fully develop. They live in lakes and rivers, spending most of their lives in the water.

When crocodiles are trapping their prey, they drag them to water and keep them under the surface until they drown. Some crocodiles have small legs that don't allow them to walk on land, so they don't always need to come out of the water. When necessary, they stick their eyes and nose out to be able to breathe. They also do this when they are hunting. [Read More]

Barn Owl Sightings Increase in Wisconsin, but the Future Remains in Doubt

by Juanes Palma, age 9

In 2018, a unique species of barn owls were reported for the first time in over two decades in Wisconsin by The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The owls were spotted in September of 2018 as a pair of these birds were found in the cavity of a dead tree. Recently, there has been an increase in barn owl sightings in Wisconsin and other near states.

These creatures usually live in the dark and are known for their white heart-shaped faces. There are about 46 different known species of barn owls around the world. Scientists have studied these barn owls through the small pellets that are coughed up after they eat their prey. These pellets contain indigestible parts of the owl’s foods such as skulls, bones, and fur. Using owl pellets, researchers have learned a lot about their diets and the ecosystems they belong to.

The chests of male and female barn owls are a distinguishing feature. Female owls have a faint red patch on their chest. The patches might reflect the female's quality of health. Females with darker red patches tend to catch fewer catch parasitic flies and have a more resistant immune system. [read more]

Bald Eagle Shot Near Milwaukee Dies During Surgery

by Sol Saray, age 11

A bald eagle, America's symbol of pride, was shot on December 7, 2022, in southwest Milwaukee County. The Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center tried to save the eagle, however, it died during surgery.

The bald eagle had a broken beak, fractured humerus, and a wound in the muscle as well as other sensitive parts of its wing. The Humane Society tried CPR but failed. The center in Milwaukee called the surgery “a complex and specialized surgery to stabilize his fracture and further treat his injuries.”

Authorities are searching for who shot the eagle. That person could be fined $100,000 and serve up to one year in prison: the punishment for a first offense. On the second offense, killing a bald eagle is considered a felony and comes with heavier punishments. Eagles are protected by law under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, as well as The Migratory Bird Treaty Act. [Read More]

Growing Population of Invasive Moth Species in Wisconsin

by Desteny Alvarez, age 18

Recently, we have seen a rise in the number of spongy moths in Wisconsin. These moths cause skin rashes and are a danger to our environment.

According to Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), around 202,000 spongy moths, formerly known as gypsy moths, were trapped in the summer as part of a federal program. The average number in Wisconsin was 20.1 moths per trap. It was 9.3 moths in 2021. This increase was expected in Wisconsin’s central-eastern areas, smaller than expected in the southwest, as expected in west-central areas in the state, and even higher in northwest areas.

Spongy moths are an invasive species. Their caterpillars devourer leaves of trees and shrubs. If eaten by a large group of caterpillars, many trees lose their leaves and die. Caterpillar hairs also cause skin rashes or other reactions in some people. An aerial spray, used by DATCP, helps stop the moths. [Read More]

The Original Animals

by Joseph Zheng, age 8

The first land animals explored planet Earth around 450 million years ago. Before this time most early creatures came from the ocean.

There were prehistoric Arthropods, creatures similar to modern day insects, millipedes, and spiders that had tough exoskeletons on the outside and jointed legs. If prehistoric arthropods were still roaming the Earth today, such as the arthropleura, they’d be a creature you would not want to encounter. It was longer than most humans, as well as the largest land arthropod ever. This creature resembles a giant centipede and measured about seven feet in length!

As animals began to surface on land, they adapted to their new environment. Amphibians slowly developed backbones that helped them move quickly in and out of water. They often returned to their original environment to breed and lay eggs. [Read More]

Who is the Fastest Mover of Them All?

by Malak Al Quraishi, age 12

Many animals use their speed to catch their prey and others use their speed to escape predators. They all move in different ways.

The cheetah can run up to 60 miles per hour, but that speed is not sustainable because it uses all its energy in a single sprint. It catches its prey by jumping and attacking it. The cheetah’s long skinny legs and strong body help it reach top speed. The tail helps it balance while it chases its prey.

The prey is different. The hare hops fast away from predators 40 miles per hour. The pronghorn is brown with antlers and white stripes around its neck. Its belly is all white and has a very small tail. It is not faster than the cheetah, but can run for longer and will often tire cheetahs out. It can only run at 40 miles per hour for about 10 minutes. The kangaroo jumps for food and water and is found in deserts of Australia. It jumps for long distances and runs up to 43 miles per hour. [Read More]

Should We Add Insects to Our Diet?

by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 14

When we think about consuming bugs, most of us would immediately respond by saying, “ew!” Although bugs may look nasty or creepy, they are a good source of protein. If insects are raised and prepared correctly, the protein they carry can be beneficial for our bodies. Raising them requires less water, less land, and overall less resources than other animals.

Though a lot of us did not grow up having insects as part of our meals, scientists have been trying to figure out how to incorporate and make them appealing to humans. Many people throughout the world eat bugs as part of their culture. From ancient times, people have eaten bugs as it was believed it would give you knowledge. A common insect many have tried are crickets. These insects, like many others, are good for your body.

If you are interested in having insects as a small snack, the best option is to do research and buy them at a local grocery store. Do not go to your backyard, garden, or local park and grab them since these insects can contain chemicals and germs that are harmful to the human body. [Read More]

Carnivores Aren't the Only Dangerous Predators!

by Aubrey Bevenue, age 11

Amphibians, like many reptiles, are carnivores. They use many ways to trap, track and hunt their prey.

Chameleon lizards are hunting machines because their eyes can move in different directions at the same time. They track prey moving in any direction: up, down, left, or right. When a fly goes past a Chameleon, the lizard sticks out its super-long tongue and pulls the fly back into its mouth.

Salamanders are known to be another deadly hunter. They slowly and quietly approach their prey, then quickly kill it with their sharp teeth and tongue. [Read More]

A Snake in a Tree?

by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The green mamba is a species of snake that lives in Western and Eastern Africa.

The snake has a coffin shaped head due to its venom glands that sit right behind its eyes. Like humans, the green mamba’s pupil size decreases when there is a sign of light, meaning that this snake hunts in daylight.

The mamba primarily spends its time in trees instead of on the ground. The scales of a green mamba help it slither easily across trees while also serving as an illusion to hunt down prey. In terms of diet, these snakes consume lizards, birds, and rodents. In some instances, they will also eat bats. Sometimes, the green mamba hunts on plantation farms where cashew nuts, coconuts and mangoes are grown. These places are useful because they are common spaces where rats and birds are located. [Read More]

The Only Canids Known to Fish

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 12

For the first time, researchers observed a fox fishing for food. After seeing the red fox, they joined the group of land mammals that also hunt for fish.

A male red fox was seen fishing in Spain in March 2016. The researchers that captured the moment were Jorge Tobajas and Fransisco Diaz. The fox raised many questions for researchers, such as, are there other foxes that know or have learned to fish by watching other foxes?

When Jorge and Francisco were watching the red fox by the reservoir’s shore, it suddenly went nose first into the water and came out with a large carp. This canid hunted one carp after another and eventually caught ten after a few hours. While hunting, the fox made no mistakes and hid most of his catch but shared carps with a female fox. [Read More]

Black Mamba: Deadly, but Shy

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 15

The black mamba is the biggest and some say the scariest snake in Africa. A lot of people are fearful of this snake because of its speed and strong venomous bites.

The black mamba’s jaw works a little differently compared to other animals. The jaw bones are very loose which allows for its jaw to strech widely, allowing it to eat larger prey. Another body part that makes the black mamba a skillful predator is its belly scales. The large belly scales help grip to the ground while moving.

The black mamba’s bite is one of the deadliest bites in Africa, however, this snake is shy and it stays away from areas populated by humans. Regardless, if it is feeling disturbed, it will not hesitate to attack. Once it bites, venom will flow in the body and will cause death within six hours. People who encounter the black mamba can try to run away from it, but if you're in long grass, the black mamba could most likely catch up to you, since they move quicker in this environment. [Read More]

La matamata: la “aspiradora” de la naturaleza

por Aarosh Subedi, 10 años de edad; traducido por Yoanna Hoskins, 17 años de edad

La matamata vive en Sudamérica y es parte de la familia tortuga. Esta especie vive en la parte norte de Sudamérica, en Brasil y Venezuela, pero algunas veces se puede encontrar en el norte de Bolivia, Ecuador, el este de Perú, Colombia, las Guayanas y Trinidad. Miden alrededor de 18 pulgadas de largo y pesan alrededor de cinco a seis libras. Además de comer pescado, comen pequeños pájaros y pequeños mamíferos. Esta especie en particular vive hasta 30 años.

Los científicos comparan esta especie con una aspiradora, porque se traga la comida en vez de masticarla. El camuflaje es una táctica de caza muy común para los matamata. Cuando está en posición de caza, parece como una roca cubierta de musgo en el agua. Tienen apéndices carnosos cerca de la boca que parecen como hierbajos y pueden actuar como señuelos para los peces, su comida. La nariz de la matamata actúa como un esnórquel, lo que les permite respirar aire mientras esperan que se acerque su comida para poder tragarla entera.

La palabra matamata es una frase en lengua indígena que significa “yo mato” y su nombre científico es Chelus fimbriatus que significa tortuga con flecos. El cuello de una matamata es casi del tamaño de su espalda. En comparación, si lo mismo fuera verdadero para los humanos, nuestros cuellos tendrían alrededor de tres pies de largo. La matamata respira aire, a diferencia de otras especies de tortugas que obtienen oxígeno del agua. [Read More]

The Differences Between African and Asiatic Lions

by Ruben Becerril Gonzalez, age 10

When talking about lions, people are usually thinking of African lions. However, there are also lions roaming in Asia known as the Asiastic lions.

There are just a few differences between African and Asisatic lions. One difference is that Asiatic lions, which weigh between 300 and 500 pounds, are smaller than African lions. Another key difference between the two breeds is that Asiatic lions have less of a mane which allows people to easily spot their ears. Lastly, a unique difference between both types of lions is that Asiatic male lions do not usually sleep with the females of their pride, unless they are mating.

The Asiatic lions’ habitat once included vast areas in the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and India. Now the only place they live in the wild is in the Gir forest located in Gujarat in North Western India. The reason for their decline can be attributed to poaching, hunting for sport and the deterioration of their environment. There are only around 600 Asiatic lions left in the wild. [Read More]

Leopards Are Large and Powerful "Supercats"

by Ian Kosharek , age 10

Leopards are a type of cat that live mainly in Africa, but they can also be found in China, Malaysia, and even Korea. There are more leopards in the wild than any other wild cat—that is why they are called supercats!

Leopards prefer to hunt at night, sitting in tree branches and waiting for their prey to come close. They are patient and let their prey get near in order to successfully attack. Leopards are pretty strong and can even lift prey as big as themselves.

Leopards enjoy eating animals of all sizes, from dung beetles, frogs, and birds, to monkeys and antelopes. Hyenas compete for similar foods, but leopards are selfish and do not like to lose their food to competitors. In order to keep their food safe they hide it in trees, which is known as caching. Some leopards are known as panthers. This name is only given to leopards that are born with black fur instead of their normal brown fur. Although leopards are the most common wild cat, they are quick and quiet so you may never know if one is following you! [Read More]

Gigantic Lace Lizards Find Home in Australian Cities

by Aloniab Gezae, age 8

Which reptile can climb on trees or, sometimes mistakenly, on people and also horses? Which reptile has a heavy tail but can swim and stay underwater for an hour? It is the gigantic lace lizard!

This gigantic lizard lives in the deserts of central Australia and is the largest lizard on the continent. The lace lizard tastes the air, using its tongue like a nose to find the smell of delicious small animals, using special cells on the top of its mouth. It eats small mammals, lizards, snakes, birds, rabbits, and eggs. However, the European rabbit is its favorite food.

The gigantic lace lizard weighs about 26 pounds and can grow up to be eight feet. This lizard's weapons include its serrated blade-like teeth, sharp hooked claws that help with climbing, and a heavy strong tail, strong enough to cause significant damage, especially if the lizard finds itself threatened. Its life span is roughly 30 years. [Read More]

Fun Facts About the Short-Head Seahorse

by Juan Esteban Palma Zuluaga, age 10

The short-head seahorse is a unique-looking fish with interesting characteristics. It is known for its curled tail that reminds many of a monkey's tail and has skin like an alligator, and its head resembles a dragon or a horse.

Seahorses live in the water around South Australia, and eat tiny shrimplike creatures that live in freshwater streams. They can look up with one eye and down with the other at the same time.

The short-head seahorse has a pouch—similar to a kangaroo's—which is known as “brood pouch” where the mother seahorse puts eggs in the father so they can grow safely until they hatch. A seahorse can lay up to 50 eggs at a time! The size of a baby seahorse is about the size of an M&M candy. If a baby gets out of the pouch it can’t return and will have to survive on its own. [Read More]

Learn About the Vampire Squid

by Abigail Gezae, age 10

Vampire squids don’t actually share many resemblances to Dracula, and they aren’t after your blood. Instead, they are creatures that live deep in the ocean, around 2,000 to 3,000 ft.

Since the vampire squids live so deep in the water, scientists have to use drones to study them. They have very large eyes which are located on the side of their head, and are usually red or blue, depending on the light they reflect. Although they have the characteristics of other squids, they have 8 legs like an octopus and other cephalopods. One notable difference: vampire squids can not change color or use ink to protect themselves, which means they have to use different methods to stay safe.

Vampire squids can flip inside out, which is one way they ward off predators. The part of the ocean they live in is extremely dark, which makes it easier to go unnoticed by hungry predators as well. When the vampire squids flip inside out, they put their tentacles over their neck and head while cloaking themselves. The only visible thing on them is the spikes under their tentacles, which isn’t an appealing dinner. [Read More]

Invertebrates: The Boneless Group of Animals

by Aarosh Subedi age 10

Invertebrates are animals that do not have any backbones; they also have features unique to the specific species.

The species of invertebrates include jellyfish, lobsters, crabs, clams, sea stars, sea urchins, sponges, insects, spiders, worms, centipedes, and millipedes. Invertebrates and vertebrates share features like hemoglobin which makes your blood cells red, poison defense moves, strong eye vision, and gills. However, one feature that vertebrates don’t have but invertebrates do is called radial symmetry.

Other types of invertebrates are coral, which has cells that can sting you, and the sea anemone, which uses its tentacles to sting. The invertebrates that have armored shells and spines are called echinoderms. Other types of invertebrates are called arthropods and can be distinguished by a hard covering over their bodies called an exoskeleton. Bugs that are arthropods are spiders, insects, centipedes, millipedes, and the crustaceans like lobsters and crabs. More than 90 percent of animals in the world are invertebrates. [Read More]

The Iconic Australian Shingleback Skink

by Daniel Garduno Martinez, age 11

Think of an animal with armored scales, a blue tongue, and a mighty bite. This might sound like a crocodile or alligator that ate one too many ring-pops, but it is the shingleback skink; a small lizard that lives in the dry ecosystems of southern Australia.

The shingleback skink’s lifespan can be up to 40 years; its diet consists of berries, fruit, insects, and snails. Usually, skinks give birth to about 25 young at a time, however, the shingleback only gives birth to two or three baby lizards. These lizards, like humans, are nourished inside the womb developing larger and faster.

Although the shingleback skink is a toughly armored lizard, it prefers hiding in abandoned burrows, logs, and other objects. A backyard is a perfect home for the shingleback skink. Some nicknames for the shingleback skink are sleepy lizard, stumpy-tailed lizard, bog-eyed (bogie for short), and pine-cone lizard. [Read More]

The Grizzly Is North America’s Giant

by Moore Vang, age 14

The grizzly bear or the brown bear is one of the most dangerous bears in North America. It is gigantic, extremely powerful, and wildly unpredictable. Its fur is light brown with white-tipped hairs and it has a distinct shoulder hump. Interestingly, it can run as fast as a horse but only for short durations.

The scientific name of the grizzly bear is Ursus arctos and it can reach up to a weight of 1,000 pounds. Its subspecies, the Alaskan brown bear, also known as the Kodiak bear, can weigh twice as much as a grizzly bear.

The grizzly bear has long front claws that grow up to four inches. These bear are omnivorous, eating small mammals, fish, and insects—as well as different types of vegetation, including roots, leaves, fungi, and fruit. Shockingly, they can also catch massive prey, such as deer or moose. [Read More]

The Perilous Life of Baby Penguins

by Chelsea Zheng, age 10

Life for baby penguins can be challenging. These egg-shaped birds often have difficult childhoods as they face the cold tundras of Antarctica.

Female penguins typically lay one or two eggs. If two are laid, it is likely that one will not survive unless there is enough food to feed them both. By the time the second chick hatches, the first chick is already strong and the parents tend to the first baby more. This leaves the second chick unattended, which often results in death.

In the beginning stages of their life, they do not resemble their parents. Since baby penguins are still underdeveloped, they need extra warmth. Their feathers are not thick enough to keep them warm and so their parents must wrap around their chicks skin to skin to keep them warm. If not well taken care of, the chicks will die. [Read More]

Is That a Leaf or a Gecko?

by Aloniab Gezae, age 8

The leaf-tailed gecko is a fascinating reptile. It can only be found in the rainforests of Madagascar and can grow up to eight inches long. Since leaf-tailed geckos are extremely rare, their lifespan is still unknown to scientists.

The gecko’s body is small and flat which makes it easier for it to fit in tight spaces for protection. It also has a long and sticky tongue that helps it catch prey, such as insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Since they do not have eyelids, these creatures also use their long tongue to help clean their eyes.

Each toe of the leaf tailed gecko has millions of tiny bristles that help it get a good grip on both big and small surfaces. Similarly, its strong and flat tail also has bristles, which these geckos often use as an extra foot to help with balance. [Read More]

Red Panda? More like Red Raccoon!

by Dalya Alquraishi age 10

The red panda is a cute and fuzzy animal that lives in China and the eastern Himalayas. It is commonly believed that these mammals are related to pandas, however red pandas are instead more closely related to raccoons.

Red pandas are known for their incredible climbing abilities; because of this, they developed a “fake” thumb. This thumb is an extended wrist that improves their climbing and handling of food. Red pandas are mainly recognized for their eye-catching fur color and cuteness. These pandas lick themselves clean and are similar in size to a house cat. Red pandas wrap their tails to keep warm when they are asleep. Besides the mating season, red pandas tend to live solitary lifestyles. Their lifespan in the wild can be up to 15 years and in captivity they can live up to 20 years. They eat small animals, insects, and bamboo.

Red pandas are an endangered species due to the deforestation of bamboo, and illegal hunting. Humans will poach them for their red fur which can be profitable. Red pandas are the main target for illegal pet trade due to the animal’s incredible cuteness. [Read More]

Learn About the World's Smallest Elephants

by Ashley Mercado, age 13

The Bornean elephant is the largest mammal on the huge island of Borneo. These elephants are also known as Borneo pygmy elephants because of their size.

Compared to other elephants, Bornean elephants have larger ears, straighter tusks, and are smaller in size. In fact, Borneo elephant tails sometimes touch the ground because they are so short. Bornean elephants are remnants of a domesticated herd from the 17th century. They were isolated about 300,000 years ago from other elephants in Asia and Sumatra; this caused them to evolve separately on the island of Borneo.

Bornean elephants are facing extinction due to deforestation and environmental destruction. Logging, agriculture, and palm oil plantations are to blame for this deforestation. Elephants are struggling to find enough food on the island of Borneo because only 40 percent of their habitat remains. Due to their size, these elephants require bigger areas to find food. The World Wildlife Fund has listed these elephants as endangered. Without addressing the deforestation problem, we are at risk of losing them forever. [Read More]

Can You Run Faster than an Ostrich?

by Joseph Zheng, age 8

The largest bird in the world cannot fly, but it can kill with just its feet. The ostrich can grow up to nearly 8 feet. Male ostriches make a big booming sound to warn other ostriches when danger is near. These large, flightless birds tend to live in dry, open areas as well as woodlands in the country of Africa.

Ostriches are really quick, their max running speed being 44 miles per hour. Ostriches have two toes; one toe is larger and very strong which they can use to kick animals for defense. This kick is strong enough that it can kill a lion!

A single ostrich egg is so big that it can fit 24 chicken eggs. They are family birds that like to share nests and they usually like to live in flocks. The nest of the ostrich is round and in a hole that they dig in the dirt. Ostriches eat grass, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits and roots. [Read More]

Learn About the Beautiful and Endangered Green Sea Turtle — by Joseph Zheng, age 7

Green sea turtles are notable for being one of the largest sea turtle subgroups in the oceanic world. The name of this species is quite simple as it is named after the color of their skin and shell, the color green! Ironically, a green sea turtle's most distinguishable physical feature is its relatively hard shells. [Read More]

Learn All About The Ouranosaurus — by Aarosh Subedi, age 10

The Ouranosaurus is a magnificent dinosaur that lived in parts of Western Africa. It is known for its back sail which resembles a boat sail. The name Ouranosaurus is used to define a brave lizard in the Arabic language. This dinosaur mesaured 23 feet long and it weighed up to 4,900 to 8,800 pounds. [Read More]

The Scoop Behind Slow Moving Triceratops — by Joseph Zheng, age 8

Triceratops lived about 65 to 70 million years ago in North America, and were the last dinosaurs on Earth. Scientists believe that these dinosaurs lived in groups to survive; triceratops formed a circle around the young to protect them. [Read More]

Cómo las abejas hacen crecer las plantas — por Maya Maclin, 10 años

Polinizadores son muy importantes en nuestra Tierra. Te sorprendería lo mucho que ayudan las abejas y los polinizadores. ¿Sabías que necesitamos tanto a los polinizadores que las flores dependen en un 80 por ciento de la polinización? [Read More]

What Brought About the Extinction of the Megalodons? — by Jason Medina Ruiz, age 11

Megalodons, an extinct species of mackerel shark, were the ocean’s biggest predator for millions of years. The appearance of great white sharks brought competition to the megalodons. It is a popular theory that great whites were the reason for the megalodon's extinction. [Read More]

The Brontosaurus: Not a Real Dinosaur... Until Now! — by Jazmin Becerril Gonzalez, age 13

Sauropods, some of the largest animals to ever roam the earth, were long-necked and long-tailed dinosaurs often portrayed in movies eating from the top of the trees. The Brontosaurus, also known as the “thunder lizard,” is part of the sauropod family, but until recently many thought it didn’t exist. [Read More]

Wolves in Wisconsin: A Conservation Success Story with an Uncertain Future — by Dyami Rodriguez, age 16

The Federal Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 in order to protect wildlife and plants throughout the country in danger of extinction. In Wisconsin, the gray wolf benefited from the act since it kept these animals from becoming extinct. [Read More]

Rodent, not Rat — By Dilma Attidekou age 8

About more than half of the mammals on the earth are rodents. Rodents are small mammals that live all over the world, and there are many different kinds of them. All rodents have the same kind of jaw. Their teeth are used for grinding and gnawing food. If a rodent does not gnaw or grind its teeth, they will grow until the rodent isn’t able to eat anymore. [Read More]

Why You Should Stay Away From Nile Crocodiles — by Chelsea Zheng, age 10

Have you ever heard of the Nile crocodile? It is a big and dangerous creature, and hundreds of people are killed by it annually. [Read More]

From Water to Land Back to Water Again: the Evolution of the Qikitania — by Giovanni Tecuatl Lopez, age 17

There are many speculations regarding evolution and how it took place. Many think of evolution as a linear timeline; but this is not always the case and such can be seen in creatures like the Qikitania and Tiktaalik. [Read More]

This Madagascar Chameleon May Be the World's Smallest — by Dani Garduno, age 10

There has been a modern-day discovery of a tiny chameleon species. This chameleon is named Brookesia nana. This interesting reptile species was discovered in 2012. Surprisingly, this nano-chameleon species is about the size of a human fingertip! [Read More]

Scientists Study Sleep-Deprived Mosquitoes to Prevent the Spread of Deadly Diseases — by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13

Humans and mosquitoes are more alike than you may want to believe; new research suggests mosquitoes prefer sleep over food when sleep-deprived. [Read More]

Aprenda sobre los elefantes más pequeños del mundo — Por Ashley Mercado, 13 años

El elefante de Borneo es el mamífero más grande de la enorme isla de Borneo. Estos elefantes también son conocidos como elefantes pigmeos de Borneo debido a su tamaño. [Read More]

The Ocean's Largest Omnivore — by Jonah Smith, age 13

Just off the Australian coast, in the Indian Ocean, tropical fish biologist Mark Meekan is looking for an animal that could be the world’s largest living omnivore. Meekan is from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Perth, Australia, and he specializes in the study of whale sharks. After he spots one, he dives into the water with a hand spear and takes small samples of the shark's skin, which he uses to study characteristics like their diet. [Read More]

World’s Smallest Sea Turtles Found Alive in Gulf of Mexico — by Jason Medina Ruiz, age 11

The world's smallest sea turtle, known as Kemp's ridley, lives in the Gulf of Mexico. In the past 75 years, the population has diminished to the point that they are now the most endangered sea turtle in the world. Recently, the sea turtle population has increased off the coast of Louisiana. [Read More]

How a Rare Asian Bird Found a Home in Nevada — by Camila Cruz, age 14

The Himalayan range in Asia is home to the largest and highest peaked mountains, including Mount Everest, where a rare bird species called the snowcock is found. Additionally, snowcock birds can be found in the Ruby Mountain range in the state of Nevada. Now, how did this rare bird species arrive from Asia to the United States [Read More]

How Dinosaur Eggs Reveal Differences in Species — by Camila Cruz, age 15

Modern birds have many similarities to dinosaurs, from their feathers and feet to hollow bones and laying eggs. Recently, paleontologists found another feature dinosaurs shared that is their unique way of hatching, called tucking. [Read More]

Fun Facts About Beluga Whales — by Max Moreno, age 10

The beluga whale is one of the most intelligent whales. This whale is mostly known for its ability to smile and make faces. It can also perform tricks like making a bubble ring with its mouth, propelling backwards, and swimming up to 13 miles per hour. [Read More]

Bottlenose Dolphins; Friends of the Sea — by Joseph Zheng, age 8

Dolphins roam through warm ocean waters across the world. One species in particular is unique: the bottlenose dolphin. [Read More]

El águila calva: una especie icónica al borde de la extinción — por Santiago Rosero Perea, 11 años de edad; traducido por Yoanna Hoskins, 17 años de edad

El águila calva es una de las aves más conocidas y poderosas en nuestro mundo. Las águilas calvas cazan en lagos y ríos. La medida del cuerpo de un hombre es de alrededor de 90 centímetros, mientras que el cuerpo de una mujer tiene un promedio de 108 centímetros. El peso de un águila calva es de 14 libras, mientras un águila arpía pesa 11 libras. [Read More]

Wisconsin's Year-Round Birds — by Ruben Becerril Gonzalez, age 10

Have you heard of some of Wisconsin’s year-round birds? Today, I’m going to talk about the American Robin, Mourning Dove, and Song Sparrow. [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. [Read More]

Why Do So Few Cubs Turn Into Big Cats? — by Chelsea Zheng, age 10

Wild cat babies, known as cubs or kittens, are easy targets to male lions. Mother cats guard their cubs until they are of age. [Read More]

Cardinals in Wisconsin: These Beautiful Birds are Moving North — by Allison Torres, age 13

Northern cardinals are highly valued and favored songbirds in North America. These birds typically nest in Northern Wisconsin, along with parts of Minnesota and even Canada. [Read More]

Not Really a Big Cat, the Caracal Is a Hunter that Lives in Asia and Africa — by Sol-Saray, age 10

A desert lynx, also known as caracal, is a wild cat native from Africa, Asia, and parts of India. They can be found in woodlands, grasslands, savannahs, and forest. [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. [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. [Read More]

How Wisconsin Manages its Black Bear Population — by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

It is getting easier to see black bears in Wisconsin. It’s becoming more common to see black bears because their numbers in Wisconsin are growing. So, if you decide to go camping in our state, it's possible you could see a black bear roaming around. [Read More]

The Kaluga Sturgeon Is the World's Largest Freshwater Fish — by Dani Garduno, age 10

Imagine many different species of fish all scattered around Eurasia and suddenly, all the fish swim away – and then the Kaluga Sturgeon appears. There is a lot to learn about this fish, such as its size, length, body, and whether or not it's a threat to human beings. [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 piranha strong attackers and defenders. [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. [Read More]

The Ballad of the Humpback Whale — by Santiago Rosero Perea, age 12

Humpback whales have songs they use to communicate with each other just like humans, but with complex sounds instead of words. [Read More]

Aprenda sobre el largato sungazer puntiagudo — Aloniab Gezae, edad 8

¿Te gustan las lagartijas? Si lo hace, le gustará el lagarto sungazer porque este lagarto tiene púas de la cabeza a la cola [Read More]

The Last Living Dinosaurs — by Amelia Mieko Pearson, age 12

You may not know this but birds are dinosaurs! As much as they do not look like dinosaurs, the connection between these two species does exist. In the Jurassic age, 150 years ago, the first bird was hatched from a small and feathery raptor-like dinosaur and became another branch of the dinosaur family tree. [Read More]

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. [Read More]

We Bet You Don't Know About this Hyena!

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

You might think there is only one type of hyena, but no, there's more! There are two different types of hyenas: brown hyenas and Aardwolf hyenas. These hyenas look like dogs, but they are cat-like carnivores. A carnivore is an animal that only eats meat. Brown hyenas can easily digest skin and bones with their sharp teeth. They scavenge for lions that have previously been killed by other carnivores or hunt for their own prey. [read more]

No es realmente un gato grande, el caracal es un cazador que vive en Asia y África — Por Sol-Saray, 10 años

Un lince del desierto, también conocido como caracal, es un gato salvaje originario de África, Asia y partes de la India. Se pueden encontrar en bosques, pastizales, sabanas y bosques. [Read More]

Unique Leopard Species Struggles to Survive — by Lah'Nylah Bivens, age 15

Arabian leopards are the smallest leopard species. Scientists consider this species to be closely related to the African leopard. [read more]

King Cobra vs. Mongoose: Who Wins? — by Jonah Smith, age 13

The debate about the king cobra vs. the mongoose is a long-lasting argument about which animal would win in a fight. Some people think that the king cobra would win while others firmly believe that a mongoose would be victorious. [read more]

The Secret Life of Pollinators — by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

A plant has a lot of needs in order for it to be healthy. These needs include water, sun, and soil. Insects like the yucca moths, bumblebees, and honeybees take the pollen and nectar from plants. [Read More]