Monday, April 30, 2007

Jumbo The Giant Elephant

As a result of the publicity of P. T. Barnum's Jumbo, a circus elephant, was entered into the English language as a synonym for "large". Jumbo's size was estimated to between 11 and 13 feet and weighing 6.5 tons.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Animal Facts: The Kneeless Rhino

As the title of this post states, rhinoceroses have no knees. They are also an odd-toed ungulate, which means they have hooves that have an odd number of toes.


Rhinos are know for their large size, weighing up to a ton. But for being as big as they are, they have a relatively small brain. Rhinos are also characterized by their horns (depending on the species they have one or two horns). Unfortunately, their horns, which can be sold for medicinal purposes or as hunting trophies on the black market, make them a prime target for poaches. Three of the five species of rhinos are now endangered.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lion Living & Eating Habits

Lions might come off as fierce and ferocious to the predators, but when it comes to those inside their own packs (called prides), lions are actually very social and family-oriented animals. Prides can have as many as 40 lions, and they all work together to hunt prey, raise their cubs and defend their territory.

Lion Pride

Typically, the role of hunting falls to the lionesses. The lionesses hunts in teams of two or three to stalk and kill their prey. It typically takes lionesses several tries before they make a kill. Once they have their food, the male lions are the first to eat, followed by the lioness and the cubs get what's left.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Manatee Fossils

Manatee bones
Manatee fossils have been found around the world dating back to 60 million years ago; here in the United States, manatee fossils have been found in Florida that date back 45 million years ago. 
Fossilized manatee teeth
A scientist holds fossilized manatee teeth found in a Florida riverbed.

Although the manatees we know today are sea-faring creatures, they evolved from four-legged land mammals.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Animal Facts: Alligators

Did you know that there are only two species of alligators in the world? The American alligator and the Chinese alligator. Alligators first came into existence during the Oligocene period, about 37 millions years ago.

The word "alligator" is a form of the Spanish term "el lagarto" which means lizard. Early Spanish explorers first termed alligators this while settling in Florida. They must have thought those were some big lizards, seeing as how large adult alligators can weigh between 800 to 1,000 pounds and measure from 13 to 14.5 feet long!