Nature & Animals & Kayaking
ADVENTURE STATION 7
Welcome to Adventure Station 2 Nature & Kayaking. Here you can check out Don & Janet Beasley's Nature Galleries to learn about animals, birds, trees, flowers, and more! Plus you can read our blog, Kayaking Freaks. There's always a new blog post every Wednesday regarding kayaking. We have titled our blog book series, From the Nose of Our Kayak. Each post is considered a chapter. In each post you'll find cool pics, learn about kayaking, and discover each body of water with us. . .From the Nose of Our Kayak! Be sure and click the SUBSCRIBE button below, featured just above the post, so that you will catch every new Wednesday Adventure from your favorite Kayaking Freaks, Janet & Don Beasley!
Creature Photos and Cool Facts
Each Gallery below contains photos (taken by Lady Violet) of one specific animal. Below each gallery will be Cool Facts about that particular animal. All photos have been taken by Janet Beasley. Feel free to use the photos and information below in your home school, Sunday school, or classroom settings.
All photos are royalty free. Click on any photo to enlarge it. KidMin Leaders, Sunday School Teachers, Children's Church Directors, Home School Parents. . .feel free to download as many images as you'd like, and use them as wallpaper, share them on Social Media, add them into your presentations, etc., all we ask is that you do the honorable thing and not sell them. These photos are Lady Violet's gifts to you! You're welcome.
ALLIGATOR FUN FACTS: American Alligators are carnivorous meaning they eat meat: fish, birds, other reptiles, and mammals. But they don't stop at meat, they also feast on berries and citrus right off the trees. American Alligators have between 74-80 teeth in their mouth. As their teeth wear down or fall out a new one grows in. That means an alligator can go through 2000 teeth in a lifetime! Alligators never stop growing. The biggest alligator on record is considered to be The Alabama Alligator: 15 feet 9 inches long, and weighing in at 1,011.5 pounds. American Alligators are also known to balance sticks and branches on their heads in hopes of luring a bird looking for material to build its nest. They make grunting or growling sounds, as well as bellow. Without vocal chords they make their noises by sucking air in very loudly, and blowing it out in intermittent roars. Alligators can swim, crawl, walk, and run on land. By creating "alligator holes" or small ponds they help the ecosystem. The small ponds hold water in dry seasons while also providing natural habitats for other animals. Momma gators are in it for the long haul! By building their nests using leaves, sticks and mud near water, the vegetation decays and heats up. This keeps the eggs warm without Momma having to sit on the nest, however she is close by. It's a 65 day incubation period, then when the babies start squealing from inside their eggs, Momma begins to dig them out of the nest and carry them to the water in her teeth-filled jaws. Momma Alligators have been known to protect their babies for as long as 1 year.
ANHINGA FUN FACTS: Anhingas, nicknamed the "snake darter" or "snake bird," are fresh water divers, and can dive without hardly rippling the water. Their webbed feet help them zip through the water beneath the surface. They control their air sacs by squeezing themselves with their wings so that they can dive under the water and not float to the top so easily. They are black in color and can sometimes appear green with silvery streaks. Females are easy to spot with their distinct pale gray-buff or light brownish head, neck, and upper chest. Their beaks are pointed, and their pinkish eyes are surrounded by green skin. They are not small birds by any means. On the average they are 3 feet long from the tip of their beaks to the tips of their tails. Many water birds have what are known as oil glands that spread oil over their feathers, thus making them "waterproof." The Anhingas however do not possess these glands, therefore to "dry out" an Anhinga perches itself on a log, large rock, or tree branch and spreads its wings to air them out. They prefer to feast upon food from the water such as frog eggs, fish, insects, and believe it or not...small alligators! Often times if their food choice is too big, they will stab it with their beak, bring it to the surface of the water, flip it so that it lines up, and swallow it head to tail. Going to back to its nickname of the "snake darter," it gets this name from its Z-kinked neck. The male Anhingas are the nest builders, and the females put on the finishing touches. The nests are constructed either in a tree near the water or overhanging it .
MALAYAN FRUIT BAT ~ nickname "Flying Fox"
MALAYAN FRUIT BAT FUN FACTS: are very large weighing over 2 pounds and sporting a wingspan of nearly 6 feet! The get the nickname of "flying fox" from their fox-like reddish-brown heads, and pointed ears. Malayan Fruit Bats have a real sweet-tooth! On their toes they have long, sharp claws that are curved; that's how they can hang upside down so easily. These type bats do not possess echolocation (the ability to bounce sound off of other things). Instead they are equipped with sharp vision to locate their food. They prefer to eat fruit, but sometimes they will stray from their main course to snack on leaves, flowers, pollen, and nectar, and will fly up to 36 miles a night searching for food. Momma Malayan Fruit Bats will carry their young for 180 days before giving birth. When they do give birth it is usually only one baby or once in a great while twins. The babies are called pups. The pups hang-out with Momma until they're somewhere between three and four months old. They then branch out on their own, and will fully mature at an age ranging from 18-24 months. They can live up to 30 years! The Malayan Fruit Bat is native to the Malaysian Penninsula, Boreno, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, and alos offshore islands. Their favorite style habitat is the rain forest. High up in the tree tops is their preferred napping place.
BEARS ~ Black & Kodiak
BEAR FUN FACTS: There are many kinds of bears, but in this section we are going to focus on Black Bears and Kodiak Bears.
First up...The American Black Bear. There are three kinds of bear species found in North America. The cute-faced (though dangerous) black bears are the smallest of the three. The US holds half of the total population of the black bears in North America. They are amazing tree-climbers because of their non-retractable claws. They prefer a diet of small mammals, plants, insects, nuts, fruits, salmon, and carrion (rotted, putrefying meat not fit for human food). When they're up to the challenge, they will also kill young deer or moose calves. From the far north to the deep south American Black Bears are adaptable to many habitat types. But regardless of where they are in the US, they primarily choose to live in the forest. Though the ones living in the northern territories will forage for food on tundras, fields, and meadows. Momma Bear can have up to six cubs at a time, with two being the most common. These hefty critters can weight up to 600 pounds, will stand nearly three feet tall at the shoulders, and grow to be up to seven feet from nose to tail.
Now for the Kodiak Bears...the giants of the bear-world. Kodiak bears are exclusive to the terrain of the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago. They have been isolated from other bears for around 12,000 years. They are a unique subspecies of the grizzly bear. There are not a huge population of Kodiak bears, however what they lack in numbers they make up for in size! They are the largest bears in the world, towering over ten feet tall when standing on their hind legs. It's a mighty five feet to their shoulders when on all fours. They can weigh in at a whopping 1500 pounds, and live quite a long time, with the oldest one known to date to have been 34 years old. Males are known as boars, and females as sows. Over 25% of the cubs don't make it before they leave their mothers within 3 years. One fourth of the Kodiak bear cub deaths are due to cannibalism by adult males. Even though the majority of the world views Kodiak bears as man-eating carnivores, and rightfully so, they are like the American Black Bears in a sense that they too will feast on berries and plants. Their most important food is fish.
Watch a video of an American Bittern standing in motionless-mode, and doing a neck-wobble in a marshy area of the
Apopka Wildlife Drive in Apopka, Florida.
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AMERICAN BITTERN FUN FACTS: As one of the most unique bird calls around, the American Bittern ranks near the top. It's distinct "unk-uh-chunk" call is unmistakable! Its throaty sound has also earned the American Bittern the nickname "thunder-pumper." When feeding time comes, that's the American Bittern's cue to stand completely motionless. . .for the most part. At times you will see one "wobble" its neck, but not its head, in what some believe to be an attempt to cut the glare on the water so they can better see the fish, while others believe it is an attempt to appear as one of the tall reeds in the water that is blowing in the breeze. They feed mostly on fish and other water life such as eels, frogs, tadpoles, crabs, salamanders, insects, and even garter snakes. They will also straighten their necks with their bill pointed upward to appear as marsh vegetation. When they strike the fish for food, it is a quick "stab" with their pointed bill. An American Bittern is the size of a medium sized heron. . .smaller than a Great Blue Heron, but bigger than a Green Heron.
SCARLET MACAW FUN FACTS: These colorful parrots are the largest parrots in the world! Their body portion from their beak to their tail can be up to 33 inches long. A Scarlet Macaw's feathers are made up of the primary colors, red - blue - and yellow. With those bright colors covering their body, head, and tail feathers it makes their stark, white faces accent their two-tone beak. Their beaks are cream and black. Their squawking call resonates throughout the trees. Their habitats are found in southern Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, eastern Brazil, and Trinidad - which is an island in the eastern Caribbean. Macaws mate for life. The female will lay up to two eggs per year. Hours are spent preening each other, mostly cleaning bugs from their brilliant feathers. Macaws prefer to dine on seeds from the rainforest, leaves, berries, and nuts. Their hooked beaks are extremely strong, making it a snap to break nutshells and seeds. You may be surprised to learn that macaws can eat fruits that are actually toxic enough to kill other animals; one theory regarding doing so suggests that they also eat big amounts of clay which could neutralize the poisons in the plants.
GIRAFFE FUN FACTS: Long necks, gorgeous markings, and ever so graceful to watch walk, giraffes are one of the most unique and magnificent creatures. But they don't always appear graceful. In fact, at times they can appear awkward, Even though their neck is long enough to grant them the prize for being the tallest mammal, their neck is too short to reach the ground! When they're thirsty they have to spread their front legs wide apart, or kneel, to get their heads down to the water to drink. Luckily, they only need to get a drink every few days. They're plant-eaters, and the plants contain quite a bit of moisture, keeping the giraffe's water-drinking activity to a minimum. These tall beauties stand most of their lives. They even sleep standing up. It only takes a few small naps throughout the day to keep them going as they only require 5 -30 minutes of sleep per day. When the babies are born they are able to stand and maneuver their long wobbly legs in about an hour, and they are feeding on vegetation within a week. Giraffes have spots, and like human fingerprints their spots are unique unto them. The fuzzy horns you see atop their heads are called ossicones, and the male giraffes sometimes use them to fight against other males.
ELEPHANT FUN FACTS: Recognizable by their long trunks these magnificent creatures are the largest land mammals. There are two species of elephants: the African elephant (shown in Lady Violet's photos above), and the Asian elephant. Regardless the species of elephant, all of them prefer to feast on bark, roots, leaves, bamboo, and grasses. Elephants are like us in the fact that they form deep family bonds, but the males may leave and go out on their own when they reach an age somewhere between 12-15. A female elephant will remain pregnant for 22 months before giving birth to its baby. Very seldom does an elephant have twins, but it does occur on rare occasions. When the little ones are born they can weigh between 200-250 pounds! Elephants have the capability of communication over long distances. They do so by making a sub-sonic sound, or rumble, that travels over the land faster than sound travels through air. Elephants stand higher at the shoulder than humans are tall. Their shoulders can be an overwhelming 14 feet high. The length from their trunk to their tail can be up to 30 feet, and these big guys can weigh up to 15,000 pounds! They don't slack on life-span. . .they can live up to 70 years.
SPECTACLED OWL FUN FACTS: The Spectacled Owl is impressive in both looks and size. Their length can be over 20 inches tall. They can have a wing span of nearly 12 feet, with a tail that reaches up to just over 8 inches. They can weigh anywhere between 1-2 pounds. The Spectacled Owl's favorite meal consists of meat including things such as insects, spiders, caterpillars, possum, birds up to the size of Jays, mice, and skunks. . .talk about bad breath! But they don't stop there, they will also feast upon crabs and frogs. Their natural habitats are found in Mexico, Central America, and the northern two-thirds of South America. They favor the tropical, dense rain forest, but can also be seen in a dry forest, on a plantation, or a treed savanna habitat. They only lay 1-2 eggs, and those hatch in about 5 weeks. Their sound is not the typical "hoot" you would expect from an owl, but rather a tapping, or knocking sound that starts loud and fades off with each "pop." And the females have the ability to sound off with a scream that is hawk-like, and has also been said to sound like a a steam whistle.
GORILLA FUN FACTS: The gorilla is one of the most impressive, and intelligent mammals of God's creations. There are two types: mountain and lowland. Both grow to between 4-6 feet tall. The mountain gorillas weigh in around 300-485 pounds while the lowland gorillas range in weight from 150 - 400 pounds. With their arms longer than their legs they are able to walk on all fours in a somewhat upright position. They get their water (moisture) from their food and the morning dew, therefore they don't need to drink water from lakes, rivers, ponds, or streams. While younger gorillas like to build their beds (nests) in the trees, older gorillas favor building their beds on the ground. They prefer to feast on fruit for their main course, with leaves, seeds, and stems coming in second, followed up with a sprinkling of caterpillars and termites. Mountain gorillas however prefer leaves, shoots, and stems first, followed by sparse servings of roots, flowers, fruits, snails, ants, and grubs. Regardless of where they live, males will eat up to 40 pounds of food per day! Female gorillas are pregnant for nine months. At around 4 months old, the baby will begin to ride on its mother's back, and do so until it is between 2-3 years old. Gorillas live groups referred to as troops or bands, and can consist of as few as 2 up to as many as 50 members. One dominant silverback male serves as the troop's leader. Morning and evenings are feeding times, and afternoons are for naps, playing with other gorillas, or grooming.