Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Panamanian Golden Frog

We just learned about the European Fire Bellied Toad.

Another type of frog is the Panamanian Golden Frog.

This frog is part of the true toad family.
Remember that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads.
And some frogs are called toads, and some toads are called frogs.

The people in Panama love this golden frog, and put pictures of it all over the place.
There are even stories saying that when this frog dies it will turn to gold and bring good luck.
This frog even has it's own holiday, "National Golden Frog Day" on August 14th.

The skin of this frog is poisonous, and was used long ago to make poisonous arrows.

When this frog wants to talk to other frogs, it will wave its arms around.
Scientists think this is because the frogs live close to noisy rivers and couldn't really hear each other croaking well, especially because they don't really have normal ears and can't hear well.

(from: wikipedia - panamanian golden frog)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Pekingese

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

European Fire-Bellied Toad

We just learned about the difference between Frogs and Toads.

One type of frog is the European Fire-Bellied Toad.

Even though these are called toads, they are not part of the family of "True Toads" called Bufonidae.

These toads have a green back with black spots, and an orange or red belly with black stripes.
Their eyes have heart shaped pupils and webbed feet.

A full grown toad can be about 2 inches long.
To protect themselves, their skin makes a poison that might give you a rash if you pick one up, and would make you feel sick if you ate it.

Some frogs like this one shed their skin.
They puff themselves up big, cough to loosen the skin, then tear the old skin off and eat it!

(from: wikipedia - european fire-bellied toad)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Fox Terrier

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Frogs and Toads

We've learned a whole lot about snakes, now let's learn about frogs!

Frogs and toads are all part of the same group of animals in nature, called the "Anura" order.
Anura comes from an old Greek word meaning "without tail".

There is a smaller group of animals that is part of the Anura order, called the "Bufonidae" family, or sometimes called the "True toad" family.
But even in that family, some of those animals are still named frogs, like the harlequin frog which is a true toad!

So all toads are frogs (Anura), but not all frogs are toads (Anura Bufonidae).

A lot of times people think of frogs as the ones that go into water or are wet all the time, and toads as the ones with warts that are dry and live on land.

That's not always true either!
The European fire-bellied toad isn't a true toad even though it's called a toad, and it lives in the water.
And the Panamanian golden frog which is a true toad even though it's called a frog has smooth skin and lives in the water.

There are about 4,800 types of Anura, and only a few hundred of them are true toads.
So really most of them are frogs, even if we call them toads.

True toads don't have any teeth, and they have glands to spit poison from their skin, and they sometimes are warty but not always.
To really tell if it is a toad, you have to know about its skeleton, skin, mouth, glands and a lot of other things that you can't tell without a lot of research!

(from: wikipedia - frog)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Boston Terrier

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snake - Venom

We just learned about the Snake Fangs.

Another part of the snake is the venom.

The saliva or spit in our mouth is what snakes use in their mouth for venom.

There are different types of venom that can do different things to the body.

Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, and can cause hallucinations (seeing things that aren't real), muscle spasms (muscles move without control), muscle paralysis (can't move), and numbness (can't feel anything).

Cytotoxins attack the cells in the body, and can eat away at skin, fat, muscles, blood or bodily organs.

When the snake bites their prey, they squirt the venom into the prey's body.
The blood in the prey's body then carries that venom all over the body and the snake can eat their prey.

(from: wikipedia - snake venom)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Jack Russell Terrier

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Snake - Fangs

We just learned about the Snake Skull.

Another interesting thing about snakes is their fangs.

Some snakes have fangs that point straight down or almost a little forward, so they can poke people with their fangs.
Other snakes have fangs in the front of their mouth, but they curve backwards, so they can only bite something if they can get it into their mouth, but they will be able to hang on and not lose their bite.
There are even snakes with fangs in the very back of their mouth, so they really aren't able to bite much, but if they have managed to really get a deep bite on their prey they can use their venom.

The snakes fangs are all hollow, and fill up with venom that they get from inside their mouth, just like the saliva or spit that is in a human's mouth.

(from: wikipedia - snake)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Yorkshire Terrier

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Snake - Skull

We just learned about the snake skeleton.

Part of the snake's skeleton is the skull.

Sometimes when a snake has to eat a really big meal, it has to open up it's mouth very large.
Some people say that the snake has to unhinge or unhook it's jaw.
This is not really true, because the snake's jaw is already split open at the bottom middle, even before eating anything.

So when they have to eat something big, their bottom jaw spreads out to the left and the right to get big enough for their meal.

(from: wikipedia - snake skeleton)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Keeshond

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Snake - Skeleton

We just learned about the Snake - Molting.

Another part of snake biology is the skeleton.

Snakes only have a skull, backbone and ribs, and a few small bones left over from when snakes used to be lizards and had legs.
They can have 200 to 400 vertebrae in their backbone, depending on the type of snake.

(from: wikipedia - snake skeleton)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Samoyed

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Snake - Molting

We just learned about Snake Scales.

Another part of snake biology is when snakes shed their skin, called molting, sloughing or ecdysis.

Snake skin cane get dirty, worn out, and even covered with bugs like mites or ticks.
So to keep their skin fresh they will peel off the outside layer and have fresh skin and scales underneath.

Usually when a snake is getting ready to shed its skin, it goes and hides somewhere safe.
Then the new layer of skin underneath the old layer gets gooey and slippery.
The snake finds a rough or sharp thing to catch the dry outer skin on, then they keep slithering along.
Just like pulling a sock off, the snake pulls its old skin off and then goes on its way with a nice clean fresh skin.

Younger snakes can shed their skin 4 times a year, and an older snake may only shed their skin 1 or 2 times a year.

(from: wikipedia - snake scale)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: American Eskimo Dog

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Snake - Scales

We just learned about the Snake's Internal Orgas.

Another thing that makes snakes different is their scales.

Snakes scales are used to help them slither along the ground, or even to climb trees.
The scales help them feel vibrations on the ground, meaning that an animal is near.
They help them stay warm and hold in the water so they can live in hot places, and they help the snake hide.

Even though snake scales have some color, they are mostly see through, and the color comes from the skin underneath their scales.
Their scales have many different shapes depending on where the scales are on their body, like their head, belly, back or tail.

(from: wikipedia - snake scale)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Whippet

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Snake - Internal Organs

We just learned about the Snakes - forked tongue.

The parts inside a snake body called the internal orgas all work a lot like a human's, but in a snake they are spread out along it's body.
Because snakes eat big meals and their body stretches out, their organs have to be able to move around or get squished when they are trying to eat something really big.

(from: wikipedia - snake)

1 – esophagus, 2 – trachea, 3, 4 & 5 – lungs, 6 – heart, 7 – liver, 8 – stomach, 13 – intestine

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Greyhound

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Snakes - Forked Tongue

Let's learn more about Snake Biology.

Snakes have a forked tongue.

When they stick their wet tongue out, it gets covered with smelly stuff from the air and the ground.
They bring their tongue back in their mouth, and a part of their body called the Jacobson's organ, the vomeronasal organ or just VNO tells the snake what smells are on the tongue.

Because their tongue is forked, they can tell which smells were from the left, and which were from the right.

So in a way, they smell with their tongue, but their tongue really just gets covered in smells and brings those smells back to a sort of inside nose in their head.

(from: wikipedia - vomeronasal organ)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Newfoundland

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Snake Biology

We just learned about 39 different types of snakes!.

Let's learn a little bit about how a snake's body works.

Snakes have many of the same body parts like we do, like hearts, lungs, vertebrae, but they are smaller, stretched out, or in different places.

One thing we have that snakes don't have is ears outside their body!
Long ago people used to do something called snake charming, where they would play a flute and a snake would rise up out of a basket like it was in a trance.
The trick really was the way the flute was being moved, because the snake couldn't really hear the flute!

(from: wikipedia - snake)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


We just learned about the Timor Python.

Another type of snake is the anaconda.

This is the heaviest snake in the world, usually growing to around 150 pounds.
The largest anaconda ever found was over 200 pounds!

Their eyes and nose are on the top of their head, so when they are hiding in the water they only need a little bit of their body in the air to breathe.

(from: wikipedia - anaconda)

These snakes are not venomous, they are constrictors so they kill their prey by squeezing them.
They are so large that they can eat tapirs, deer, capybaras, caimans, jaguars, and even other anacondas.

(from: wikipedia - green anaconda)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Flat Coated Retriever

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Timor Python

We just learned about the Mandarin Ratsnake.

Another type of snake is the Timor Python.

These snakes are constrictors, and they are not venomous.
They can grow to be 7 feet long, but they are thinner than most pythons.
They live in trees, and mostly hunt at night in the trees.

Even though they are called the Timor Python, none of these snakes live on the island of Timor in Indonesia.
When they lay their eggs, they will stay curled up around them until the eggs hatch.
Sometimes to warm up their bodies they can twitch and contract and that helps keep the eggs warm.

(from: wikipedia - python timoriensis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Curly Coated Retriever

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mandarin Ratsnake

We just learned about the Vietnamese Long Nosed Snake.

Another type of snake is the mandarin ratsnake.
This snake is not venomous, and has colorful black and yellow marks on it's body.

It is one of the most popular snakes to be kept as a pet.
In the wild it is a sneaky snake, and likes to live in the homes of mice or rats to hide out.
Even though it is cold blooded, it likes cooler temperatures and is mostly outside in the evening.

(from: wikipedia - mandarin rat snake)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Labrador Retriever

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Vietnamese Long-nosed snake

We just learned about the Gray Banded Kingsnake.

Another type of snake is the Vietnamese Long-nosed snake, also known as the rhinoceros ratsnake.

This type of snake is not venomous, it mostly lives in the trees in rainforests, and is awake at night.

They have a very long nose, which is where they got there nickname of rhinoceros snake.

When they are born, they are brownish grey, and when they grow up they turn green.

(from: wikipedia - viet)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gray Banded Kingsnake

We just learned about the King Brown Snake.

Another snake is the Gray Banded Kingsnake.

This snake is not venomous, and has orange and gray stripes.
It is a very calm snake, and very shy.
Even though it has orange stripes, it can be very hard to find in the wild!

Because this snake is calm, not venomous and very nice looking, many people keep these snakes as pets.

(from: wikipedia - gray-banded kingsnake)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Powderpuff Chinese Crested Dog

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

King Brown Snake

We just learned about the Madagascar Tree Boa.

Another snake is the King Brown Snake, also known as the mulga snake, pilbara cobra, or psuedechis australis.

These venomous snakes live in Australia and can grow to be 9 feet long.
When they bite, they use a lot of venom, sometimes 10 times more than other snakes.

(from: wikipedia - psuedechis australis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Hairless Chinese Crested Dog

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Madagascar Tree Boa

We just learned about the Black Headed Python.

Another snake is the Madagascar Tree Boa.
This is another snake that does not have venom, but attacks its prey by squishing it.

When these snakes are born they are bright red, but then turn green when they get older.
Some people think the young snakes are red so they can be protected by looking like flowers in the trees.

This snake is nocturnal, meaning it stays awake at night and hunts for food.
Even though they are called a tree boa, they usually just live on the ground.

(from: wikipedia - sanzinia madagascariensis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Portuguese Water Dog

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Black Headed Python

We just learned about the Reticulated Python.

Another type of snake is the black headed python.

This snake lives mostly in Australia, and can grow to be 11 feet long.

They have brown and black stripes, and a black head.
These snakes are not venomous, and they almost never bite so a lot of people have them as pets.

(from: wikipedia - aspidites melanocephalus)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Beagle