Creature Feature: Elephants!

            Elephants are the largest land mammals. While the Asian elephant is the smaller of the two species, they still weigh a hefty 2.25-5.5 tons and stand 6.6-9.8 ft. tall at their shoulders. On the other hand, African elephants, the larger species weigh from 2.5 tons to 7 tons and are 8.2-13 ft. at their shoulders. One of the most obvious ways (besides size) to tell apart Asian and African elephants is by their ears. Asian elephants have relatively small round ears while African elephants have larger ears that tend to resemble the shape of the continent of Africa. An elephant’s ears radiate heat away from their bodies to help keep them cool. Sometimes this dispersal of heat is not enough. When this happens elephant can be found relaxing in water and showering themselves with water they sucked into their trunks.

 

You might not know it, but an elephant’s trunk is actually a long nose. While it is a nose, an elephant’s trunk is used for much more than just breathing though. Asian elephant trunks contain a small, fingerlike part on the tip; African elephant trunks have two. These fingerlike features are used to pick up small objects. Elephants are herbivores and eat up to 300 pounds of food a day. Since they must eat so much, they don’t sleep very often and walk great distances to find enough food.

 

            Elephant tusks are made of ivory. Because of this they are often hunted for their tusks as ivory can be sold at high prices. Illegal hunting, called poaching, has caused many species to become endangered and in some cases, even extinct. Asian elephants are on the endangered species list. This is due partially to poaching and partially to habitat loss. Poaching is a vast problem for many species including elephants.

 

To learn more about Asian elephants visit

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/asian-elephant/

To learn more about African elephants visit

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/asian-elephant/

If you’d like to see elephants in all of their glory, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs has African elephants in their “Encounter Africa” area and the Denver Zoo has Asian elephants in their “Toyota Elephant Passage” area.

 

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Creature Feature: Sea Otters!

SeaottersOther

Sea otters are small marine mammals that live in the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. While they are one of the smallest marine animals they are the largest member of the weasel family. Sea otters spend most of their time in the water but in some places they come to the shore to rest. This is not always the case. When a sea otter sleeps in the water they sleep floating on their backs. They also sleep holding hands with a fellow otter to keep from being separated! Sea otters are one of the only mammals that use tools. Sea otters carry a rock with them everywhere they go. They use this rock by placing it on their chests then smash their prey, clams, sea urchins, crabs, and the like, on it to open their outer shell. They are also the only marine mammal that can flip-over boulders on the ocean floor looking for food. One more thing that’s special to them is their fur. Sea otters have the densest fur of any animal. This is to keep them warm as they don’t have blubber to keep them warm like other marine animals.

For more information on sea otters visit: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/sea-otter/#sea-otter-closeup-side.jpg

 

Creature Feature: Polar Bears!

 

Polar bearPolar Bears!
Polar bears are built for the Arctic. Every trait they have is specifically engineered to live and thrive in the Arctic conditions. Polar bears, as everyone knows, are white, but that’s actually wrong! A polar bear’s fur is actually transparent and pigment-free! The reason they appear white is because each hair shaft is hollow which causes the light from the sun to reflect in such a way that they look white. The white helps them to blend into their environment so they can get closer to their prey, mainly seals, without being seen.

Since they live on ice they need to have traction to get around. Their paws have claws around two inches long and their pads have small little bumps which act as tread.

How do they stay warm? Their skin is black which attracts the sun and their fur is made up of thick underfur and guard hairs on top. They also have a layer of fat under their skin that is around four and a half inches thick. The last thing that keeps them warm is their ears and tail are small and close to their body to conserve as much heat as possible. God designed all of these things so that polar bears and live and thrive in the Arctic.

Creature Feature: Raccoon!

Raccoon 2

Raccoons might be cute and cuddly looking with their striking black and grey features, but to some people they can be quite a nuisance, especially homesteaders because they are omnivores. This means they eat meats, fruits, and veggies. Homesteaders who have both farms and livestock can have troubles with raccoons as they can ruin crops and even eat small animals, such as chickens.

City dwellers are also susceptible to the effects of raccoons because they will eat pretty much anything, even trash. They often are found in garbage cans in cities, which can cause quite a mess. Raccoons can also get into small areas of homes, such as attics, and ruin things. They can rip insulation off of walls, pipes, and AC units to make their nests with. They have also been known to chew wires, causing fire hazards. To prevent this damage, there are numerous repellents that can be made at home, or bought at a store. Here are a couple repellents to check out if you need them:
Homemade:
https://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-make-homemade-raccoon-repellant.htm
Online Ordering:
https://www.amazon.com/Ultrasonic-Repellent-MAXFETCHED-Repeller-Flashing/dp/B07FD7BY3Y/ref=asc_df_B07FD7BY3Y/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242009199808&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17546001406084390169&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9052979&hvtargid=pla-487798871465&psc=1