Saturday, April 25, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "V" IS FOR VARIABLE FLYING FOX

The Island orVariable Flying Fox is a medium sized fruit bat. They have a wingspan of about 4 ft. and weigh around 1.5 lbs. There are 16 subspecies and they are found in the Andaman and Maldives Islands; New Guinea through Indonesia to Vietnam and Thailand, and adjacent islands; Philippines. Solomon Islands - Learn more at: http://lubee.org/bats/our-bats/island-flying-fox/

 
 

 
Rare Variable Flying Fox pup twins with mom. Photo credit: S. Mulder, Lubee Bat Conservancy
 
Last year the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Gainesville, Florida welcomed twelve bat pups, including the rare birth of twins by mother Variable Flying Fox "Charisma." This organization is dedicated to conserving "fruit and nectar" bats because these animals are vital to pollination and seed dispersal in many of the world's jungles. The evolutionary origins of bats are a subject of much debate but they are most certainly NOT flying rodents. Once thought to be more closely related to shrews and hedgehogs, recent genetic evidence suggests bats may be more closely related to carnivores like bears, dogs and cats. (Information from http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2010/03/baby-bat-pups-at-lubee-bat-conservancy.html )

Friday, April 24, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "U" IS FOR UNICORN

Unicorns. Whether you believe they ever existed or are just legend, they are fascinating animals. Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology but in natural history because Greek writers were convinced they were real. They have been associated with royalty and heraldry since the time of the Romans. In the 5th Century A D a passage in the Hebrew Old Testament described an animal that scholars believed was a Unicorn.

Wikipedia
fresco, probably by Domenico Zampieri, c. 1602 (Palazzo Farnese, Rome)
 
It was believed that a Unicorn's strength was in its horn and also that the horn carried magical and healing medicine.  
 
I just finished reading THE SHADOW OF THE UNICORN II: THE DECEPTION, the second book in a series for children by Suzanne de Montigny. Lovely story about Unicorns. So, I believe. Why not? Many animals have become extinct through the years. Unicorns might be one of them.
 
What do you think?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "T" IS FOR TASMANIAN WOLF OR TIGER

The Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian Wolf or Tiger, a carnivorous marsupial, is considered extinct. The modern thylacine appeared about 4 million years ago. Many examples of thylacine engravings and rock art dating to 1000 BC have been found. Little is known about their behavior or habitat. The last known thylacine to be killed in the wild was shot by a farmer in 1930.

 Photo Wikipedia
 
The last captive thylacine was captured in 1933 and taken to the Hobart Zoo on the Australian Island of Tasmania. It died in 1936 as the result of neglect. It is believed the animal was locked out of its sleeping quarters in freezing temperatures.
 
Photo Wikipedia
Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, 1910
Animal Family at the Zoo.
 
An excellent website to see why these animals became extinct is:
 

 
More neat pictures and information.
 
Happy Reading.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "S" IS FOR SQUIRREL

Squirrels are members of the Sciuridae family of small to medium-sized rodents, including tree squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. They are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and have been introduced to Australia. They have excellent vision and strong claws for grasping and climbing.

This little critter likes the corn I put out for the deer.
 
Squirrels eat nuts, leaves, roots, seeds, and other plants, as well as insects and caterpillars. Oh, yes, the above corn. And bird seed. The picture below.
 
How's this for standing on your head while eating?
 
A quick cute story. Before I started teaching, I substituted some. One day I was with this first-grade class in a second floor classroom. A huge pecan tree grew just outside the windows. The first thing the children told me that morning was they had to feed the squirrels. "Okay," I said. "Feed them."
 
Those little kids knew exactly what to do. They took some pecans from the teacher's desk, opened a window, and put the seed on the window ledge. It was a wide ledge and they didn't have to lean out the window, just stretch out an arm. They closed the window and we sat there and watched as this little squirrel scurried over to the ledge, snatched up a pecan and scampered up the tree to, I suppose, its hiding place.
 
What a fun way to start the day. We should all be as easily pleased as the young.
 




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "R" IS FOR RACCOON

The raccoon is a medium sized mammal native to North America. It looks like it's wearing a mask. Its diet consists of a number of foods: insects, worms, fruits and nuts, also fish, amphibians and bird eggs.

 Raccoons in captivity can live up to 20 years; those in the wild from 1 to 3 years. They like hollow trees and rock crevices for sleeping and their dens. They can carry rabies.

And, let me tell you, they can be mean. One evening, we saw  three raccoons, mama, daddy, and baby raccoon,  on our patio, eating the cat food. So my husband went outside to run them off. I can't remember whether he took a stick or anything, it's been years ago. The mama and baby ran, but daddy stayed back and I think he would have attacked my husband who quickly ducked back into the house. I think the daddy was giving his family time to escape. What do you think?

Happy Reading.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "Q" IS FOR QUARTER HORSE

The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that  sprints short distances. Its name comes from its ability to outrun other horse breeds at a distance of  a quarter mile or less. The American Quarter Horse is well known as a race horse and also performs in rodeos, horse shows, and as a working ranch horse. 
This was my mare, Heavenly Sunrise, and her foal.
She actually was half quarter horse, half thoroughbred.
She won one race at a small track in Oklahoma,1984, but was severely injured (not in the race)
and never lived up to her potential.
 
It broke my heart when we sold her and the foal, but we were getting out of the horse business and sold our other horses, too. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A TO Z CHALLENGE - "P" IS FOR PUFFIN

Puffins are seabirds and spend most of their time swimming, diving and eating at sea. They're small seabirds about 10 inches long and live in the ocean from the eastern coast of Canada and the northern United States to the western coast of Europe and northern Russia. They nest in colonies on land.

Photo from Wikipedia Papageitaucher_Fratercula_artica
 
There are four different species of puffin. This is an Atlantic Puffin. They can dive in water up to 200 feet. They're also excellent fliers. And look at that gorgeous bill.