Heathcliffe, a joey at the Riverside zoo in Columbia, SC, gets comfy in his tree.
Koalas. They’re small and furry and sleep 23 hours a day. That’s one hour a day they don’t spend snoozing up in a tree. Although koalas are native to Australia, you can see them in many zoos around the world. Not all zoos have them though, because koalas are very expensive to maintain. It costs $30,000 a year per koala. Did you know that koalas eat almost nothing but eucalyptus leaves? This makes them a herbivore and explains why they’re so pricey to keep.
Although koalas are often referred to as bears, they are actually not a part of the bear family, but marsupials. You can tell by their pouch where they nurse their joeys (baby koalas). Joeys stay in their mother’s pouch until they are old enough to ride on her back or belly. Koalas can live up to 20 years and weigh an average of 20 pounds. They can grow up to 85 cm tall. I know that sounds big, but believe me, it’s not. Next to a six-foot man, they are only up to the knees.
Many people don’t know this, but koalas are threatened animals. These furry creatures were frequently hunted during the 1920s and 1930s and their population plummeted. But with a little help from humans, they were reintroduced into the wild and have reappeared in most of their former habitats. The critical problem now is that Australian’s woodland is being destroyed every day. We don’t have to stand by and watch, though. You can help by donating to websites like Save the Koalas. So don’t just stand there! If we work together, we can bring the Koalas back!
Until next time,
The Creature Helper
Da Mao at the Toronto Zoo in his pen
The Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada, has some new visitors this year, giant pandas. The zoo received Er Shun and Da Mao March 25 and the exhibit opened May 15. Soon after the revealing of the pandas, the zoo attendance rocketed instantly. Pandas are smaller than a black bear, but bigger than a koala bear. They are all white except for their legs, shoulders, ears and eyes. Pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo shoots and leaves. In fact, they consume 15 per cent of their weight in bamboo in 12 hours every day. The rest of their time they spend sleeping.
Giant pandas are very shy, so they don’t like to venture into areas where there are humans. Developers continue logging and constructing further and further into the bamboo forests and the giant panda’s habitats are shrinking. With less territory, the giant pandas have a hard time finding enough bamboo to eat and might even starve. This is why giant pandas are so rare and their population is dropping so drastically. There are only an estimated 1000 pandas left in the wild. If you want to learn more about pandas, you go to National Geographic Kids
Image by Marie Hale
What lives in South Africa, has a long, sticky tongue and eats termites? Aardvarks, of course. Aardvarks use their lengthy snouts to sniff out their prey and can be found south of the Sahara in Africa. Aardvarks can live 23 years in captivity and can weigh up to 180 pounds.
Aardvarks are nocturnal animals, so they spend the humid afternoon snoozing in a burrow they dig with their sharp claws. In the night they put their spade-shaped claws to work by using them to find their favourite snack, termites. Did you know that the name of these snuffling snackers came from a word in a different language that means “earth pig?” To find out more about aardvarks you can go to National Geographic by clicking this link: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/aardvark/.
Well, that’s all for now. Stay tuned for more posts. Hint: look out for Burrowing Badgers.
Image by Ed Bierman
One year ago, I had no idea what an American badger was, let alone that it was endangered. One year later, I’ve raised $1000 for Earth Rangers helping them. American badgers are small animals about the size of a small dog and are mostly white and grey, except for one black stripe that runs from the top of their nose to the tip of their tail. American badgers live in burrows that they dig in fields, their natural habitat.
American badgers are endangered for three reasons. One is habitat loss. Developers are destroying their fields and building houses on them. The second reason is roads. With all the roads that are being constructed, American badgers are forced to cross them to get to the other side and they can easily get run over by a passing car. The third reason is isolation. American badgers are being isolated from each other so they can’t mate and reproduce.
Last October, I signed up for Earth Rangers again. This year I decided to raise money for none other then our striped, furry friends. I told my family and friends not to give me gifts for my birthday or Christmas and to instead donate to my campaign. Later in the year, I made refrigerator magnets and sold them to my classmates at school. Then, I decided to have yard sale in my backyard and invited everyone I could. Finally last week, I sold my iPod and reached my original goal of $1000.
Despite their name, American badgers can be found across Canada as stated in their full name, American badgers of the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, Ontario. You can learn more about American badgers and sign up for your own campaign at Earth Rangers.
That’s all for now, but be on the lookout for more posts!