Posts tagged ‘habitats’

ANALYZING ANTS

Ants: Amazing Facts about Ants with Pictures for Kid

Written by Hathai Ross

The author packs a lot of information into this reference book about ants. Many kids enjoy watching them while exploring outdoors or under glass in an ant farm.

These fascinating creatures live in all parts of the world except Antarctica. More than 12,000 species have been alive for millions of years. Ants live in colonies and are social insects with designated roles. Broadly speaking, there are queens, workers, and male ants. The queen is the largest in the colony whose only job is to lay eggs. Male ants’ only responsibility is to mate with the queen. Worker ants feed the larvae, defend the colony, and remove the waste.

Ross spends a bit of time describing Argentine Ants, Pavement Ants, House Ants, Carpenter Ants, Crazy Ants and Fire Ants. The author describes their appearance, environment, daily life and interesting characteristics. Amazing facts include their exceptional strength, being able to carry twenty times their weight, and the fact that they fight till the death. Ants usually crawl in lines because they are following the pheromones of ants that have crawled before them. There are one million ants for every single human living on earth.

I would have liked to see more photos included in the book. At times the text begins to sound like a list of facts rather than a story about ants, but this book is an excellent reference for children who are interested in these fascinating creatures that are all around us. Recommended especially for young scientists in the eight to twelve age range. Good starting point for a research project.

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A DAY WITH THE DOLPHINS

Dolphins! Dolphin Facts for Kids:Amazing Pictures and Fun

Written by Valerie L. Cross

Dolphinsfactsforkids,pic

Dolphins have been in the news a lot lately with most of the controversy centering around whether they should be raised in captivity. Children and adults everywhere are intrigued by these friendly and intelligent animals.

This book is a fine resource for a home, classroom or public library. The author uses photographs to illustrate her information. She begins by explaining that dolphins come in all shapes and sizes belonging to a family of mammals known as cetaceans. The Orca or killer whale is the largest though it is not a whale at all but a dolphin. This beautiful animal species have been swimming in the oceans for approximately 50 million years.

Cross presents information on their colors, foods and unique method of communication known as echolocation. She discusses their anatomy mentioning the facts that they can move their eyes in many directions even backwards and in opposite directions. Their hearing is ten times better than that of a human. You can discover the age of a dolphin by counting the rings on the inside of their teeth. The reader is treated to a short profile of each type of dolphin and the habitats in which they live. Did you know that some dolphins live in rivers rather than oceans? Dolphins are social animals who live together in groups known as pods. Each dolphin has a unique sound different from others. Dolphins recognize voices just as humans can. Dolphins swim, dance and breathe with lungs as do humans. They love interacting and performing tricks with humans.

This book is recommended for children who love animals, parents and teachers needing a reference on dolphins, and any age reader who enjoys reading about this delightful mammal.

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THESE MOMS ROCK!

Incredible Animal Moms: Exploring Our Incredible World Series

Written by Mark Smith

Animal Moms pic

This fifty six page book is another book in the exploring our world series. This volume focuses on the unique relationship between animal moms and their young. Smith has selected twenty animals; some are common but many are unique. He gives the reader just enough information to create a comprehensive portrait of the mother-child relationship and its uniqueness in the animal world. Each of them is accompanied by a photograph to illustrate the synopsis. The reader will be encouraged to pick out favorites and research other aspects of that animal’s life. Children aged eight and up might read the book independently. Younger children will enjoy an adult reading it aloud in several parts. Anyone who reads the book will learn something new; I know that I acquired a lot of new information. Did you know that a newborn elephant weights 250 pounds and that a mother elephant is pregnant for 22 months? All the female members of the herd live as one family and protect it.

Some animal moms and babies are remarkably similar to humans. They even look and act like us. These animals are extremely smart; they make their own tools which they use to find food. Some have even mastered how to use sign language to communicate with humans. The orangutan mom spends six or seven years teaching her babies survival skills. She teaches them how to make a new bed of leaves each night. Unfortunately, orangutans are disappearing because humans have cut down the trees they need for their habitat. The cow mother also is similar to a human mother. She will have a bond with her calf for life and socializes with her young throughout her life. The mother will travel for miles to find a calf that strays from the herd.

There are some animals that are very different from humans. You probably know that an octopus mom has eight arms, but did you know that each of them has a suction cup to move and catch food.? They are able to camouflage themselves and completely disappear. They also have a bird’s beak which they use to eat their food. An octopus mom has only one chance to have babies. She will lay as many as 200,000 eggs! For one month until they hatch, she stands guard for predators and does not eat. Some of these moms get so hungry that they eat their own arm rather than allow the eggs to go unguarded! Seahorse moms do not do any of the work in having babies. She chooses one mate, and lays all of her eggs in the dad’s pouch. He carries them until they hatch. He has a special hormone in his body to protect the eggs and give the eggs everything they require.

Some animals are beautiful and dangerous at the same time. The Strawberry Poison Frogs are brightly colored. They can be red, blue, green or spotted. They get their poison from the things they eat. These frogs are only about one inch long, but their bright color is a warning not to eat them. The mother lays about five eggs. When they hatch into tadpoles, she carries one at a time up a tree that may be 100 feet high and places it into a small pool she has made in its leaves. She feeds each one of her own eggs until they are fully grown. Pretty incredible for such a small creature!

I have only talked about a few of these incredible moms. Read this well written and illustrated non fiction book to find out much more extraordinary information about our animal world.

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WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

Weird Animals: It Came From Planet Earth! Strange, Weird and Unusual Animals

By: Maya Lee Shye

 Weird Animals

This book is a fascinating study of the habitat and behavior of strange animals living on land, in the sea and up in the air on planet earth. Also unusual is its appeal to all ages from younger children through adults. The author describes more than thirty animals and provides a photograph of each. Some of these have been on earth for millions of years. That’s right, the Coelacanth is the oldest jawed fish still alive on our planet. This fish with eight hollow spine fins covered by tough scales acting like a coat of armor can grow up the six feet long and existed on earth 410 million years ago! The Tuatara is the last reptile that lived on earth as a contemporary of the dinosaurs 225 million years ago. They still exist on remote islands in the Pacific Ocean and some wildlife sanctuaries. The Tarsiers are primates with huge eyes that leap from tree to tree. They are carnivores who are probably the ancestors of two legged primates. The slow loris is a primitive monkey with a very large round head and eyes. Their arms and legs are of equal size. This southeastern Asia native also bites with a poisonous venom lethal to many humans.

Many animals have evolved with adaptations needed for their environment. There is an African Penguin native to the warm coast of Africa. These animals burrow in the ground to keep cool. Glands above the eyes high on their heads help them cool their bodies. The North Island Brown Kiwi is a bird that does not fly because its wings are tiny. The animal is the size of a chicken. Like a dog the kiwi bird uses its nose to find food. These animals live in underground burrows. The male sits on eggs in the nest, while the female goes out to hunt for food. Their eggs are the largest known bird eggs. New Zealand has adopted this bird as their national symbol. Giant Tortoises living in the Galapagos Islands can weigh up to 600 pounds so their bodies have been adapted to move slowly and burn few calories. In fact, they can go as long as one year without eating or drinking anything!

There are many animals with adaptations that make them look strange. The Glass Frog  lives in Venezuela and central America. Its body is translucent so that it is totally invisible to predators. The Shoebill is a bird that lives in the swamps of east Africa. It is related to the stork, but its bill looks like a giant shoe. This cartoon like character spends most of its time standing silently along the water, but can fly at low altitude. When it does fly, it usually flies in a group that chatters. Archaeologists have found drawings of this bird in ancient Egyptian art. The Okapi is a forest giraffe that has black and white legs like a zebra. Its tongue is so long that it can wash its ears! One animal may someday help us find a cure for cancer. The Naked Mole Rat lives in tunnels on the desert coast of East Africa. This animal uses little oxygen and has no hair. It does not feel pain and appears to be resistant to cancer. Its life span is longer than any other mammal of comparable size. Another oddity is that these animals are eusocial like bees. One female is designated queen; all the other rats will work to sustain the colony.

More than thirty animals are discussed in this book. The work may serve as a springboard for analysis, discussion, comparison and evaluation of topics in  life science, geography, evolution and environment. I recommend it as a valuable learning reference tool for adults and children of all ages.

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