Canis lupusGrey Wolf male

Family

  • Canidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 8 to 16 years
  • Captivity: Up to 20 years

Size

  • Length: 4 to 5 ½ feet
  • Weight: 40 to 170 pounds

Habitat

  • Widely varied including forests, deserts, mountains, tundra, and grasslands

Lifestyle 

  • Social, living in packs of 5 to 15 members

Historical Range

  • Throughout North America, Asia, and Europe

Diet

  • Wild: Elk, deer, bison, sheep, small mammals.
    • The pack works together to take down the larger prey.
    • Wolves also will eat fish and carrion
  • Zoo: Ground beef with vitamins mixed in, dog kibble, and knucklebones to help keep their teeth healthy

Reproduction

  • Sexual maturity occurs at 2 years of age.
  • Mating season takes place January through March, usually between the alpha male and the alpha female who normally mate for life.
    • Both attempt to keep others in the pack from mating.
  • After a gestation period of about 9 weeks, a litter of 3 to 9 deaf and blind pups are born.
    • Virtually all pack members contribute to raising pups, often bringing food to the mother while she is nursing.

Unique Characteristics Grey Wolf female

  • Strict domestic hierarchies govern the pack based on relationships with the alpha male.
  • Dens are found in the ground or in rocky crevices and are often used year after year.

Special Adaptations

  • The wolf’s body is built for stamina and endurance.
  • It has powerful jaws and excellent senses of smell, sight, and hearing.
  • The teeth are equipped to strip flesh right off bones.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • The Grey wolf, also called the Timber wolf, was once the most widespread mammal apart from humans.
  • Because of extermination programs based on unreasonable fear and unrestricted hunting, wolves were near extinction throughout the country by the early 1900’s.
  • Due to federal intervention and placing the wolf on the endangered list, wolf populations slowly began to rise.
  • In early 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife changed the status of the Grey wolf from "Endangered" to "Threatened" in most of the lower 48 states.
  • In 2012 Michigan officially took the Grey Wolf off of the Endangered Species list for the state.  It is still protected and is not available for hunting at this time.

 

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. <www.cites.org>
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/pages/328607

Grey Wolf female

Lama glamaLlama

Family

  • Camelidae

Lifespan

  • Up to 20 years.

Size

  • Length: 5 to 7 feet
  • Weight: 200 to 400 pounds

Habitat

  • Mountains, alpine grassland, plateaus, and shrub lands

Origin

  • Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.
    • However, there are no true wild llamas.

Diet

  • Wild: Grasses, herbs, shrubs, lichens; chews cud.
    • The llama does not drink much water, getting most of its moisture from the plants it eats.
  • Zoo: Timothy hay, and llama chow.

Reproduction

  • Female llamas are "induced ovulators" which means they mate first and then the egg follows. Usually, it is the other way for most mammals.
  • The gestation period can last approximately 350 days (11 to 11 ½ months).
  • Usually, llamas give birth to a single young or "cria" as they are called in South America.
    • Twins are very rare.
    • Females do not lick the cria clean after birth due to their short, attached tongue which can only stick out around ½ inch.

Unique Characteristics

  • The mouth has a divided upper lip and continually growing teeth, allowing it to graze tough grasses.
  • Llamas are ruminants, meaning they rechew their food after is has passed through some of the chambers of the stomach before digesting it again.
    • This way, they get maximum nutrients from their food.

Special Adaptationsupset Llama

  • The camel families are the only mammals that have oval red blood cells for more efficient oxygen transport.
  • They walk on pads at the end of their toes instead of their hooves so they can travel easily over rocky ground.
  • Wool protects them from harsh climates.
  • When angry or under attack, they spit up a foul smelling liquid from their stomach.

History

  • The Andean Indians used llamas in many ways.
    • They carried goods, produced meat, wool and leather.
    • They used their fatty tissue for candles, made rope and garment with the hair, made sandals from the hide, and even used the dry dung for fuel.
  • The Spanish Conquistadors used nearly 300,000 llamas to haul silver from the Incan mines when they invaded South America in the 1500s.

Conservation Status

  • In the U.S. today, llamas are used as pack animals and for their wool, although, both these uses are becoming obsolete.
  • Llamas are not currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because they are domestic animals.

 Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Lama glama (Linnaeus, 1758). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/pages/309018
  4. Burnie, Dave and Don E. Wilson. Smithsonian Institution. Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife.New York, New York. DK Publishing, Inc. 2001.

Saguinous oedipusCotton-top Tamarin

Family

  • Callitrichidae

Lifespan

  • Wild:  10 to 15 years
  • Captivity:  Up to early 20s

Size

  • Length: Head and body 8 to 11 inches, tail is 12 to 17 inches (20 to 38 inches total)
  • Weight: 14 to 15 ounces in the wild, 20 to 25 ounces in captivity

Origin

  • Costa Rica, Panama, and northwestern Colombia
  • Currently only found in Colombia

Habitat

  • Tropical rain-forests

Diet

  • Wild: Insects, fruits, plant saps and gums, nectar, spiders, and small vertebrates.
  • Zoo: Zupreem Marmoset diet (a canned food for zoos), skinned fruit, vegetables, yogurt, crickets and waxworms.

Reproduction

  • Females usually give birth to two babies between January and June.
  • The average birth weight of infants in captivity is between 1.4 to 1.76 ounces.
  • Born with their eyes open, they are covered in fur and have a short mane.
  • The father and older siblings assist with the birth and also carry the babies, delivering them to the mother at feeding times.
  • There is a dominant mated pair in family groups, and only that pair will breed.
  • The dominant female will urine wash branches and surrounding materials with pheromones that will inhibit cycling in other females, so only she will birth young.

Special AdaptationsCotton-top Tamarin

  • Claws help the tamarins grip branches, since their fingers are small and non-opposable.
  • Their long limbs and tail help make them excellent jumpers.
  • Females have highly developed scent glands.
  • Their tails help with balance, but are not prehensile

Tamarin Facts

  • Tamarins usually live in small territorial groups of 3 to 9, and defend their chosen area.
  • The group consists usually of a mated pair and their young offspring.
  • Cotton-tops are active from dawn until dusk (diurnal) usually grooming, sunbathing, or stretching out on a perch, with rest at midday.
  • They have a highly developed vocal repertoire with at least 38 distinct vocalizations.
    • They make a variety of noises including whistles, screeches, squeaks, and warbles.
    • They have specific vocals for alarm, food, levels of aggression, and submission.
    • Some of their calls are too high-pitched for even humans to hear.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Native people used to kill the Cotton-top tamarin for its tender flesh.
  • During the late 1960s and early 1970s, between 20,000 and 40,000 cotton-top tamarins were imported into the U.S. for biomedical research.
    • Tamarins are found to develop colonic adenocarcinoma (colon cancer) and were used for in-depth studies of colon cancer.
  • The species is now listed as critically endangered and exportation has been banned.

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Burnie, David and Don E. Wilson. Smithsonian Institution. Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York, New York. DK Publishing, Inc. 2001.
  4. "Cotton-headed Tamarin (Saguinous oedipus)". ARKive. 2011. 28 December 2012. www.arkive.org/cotton-headed-tamarin/saguinus-oedipus/

Cotton-top Tamarin

 

Dromaius novaehollandiaeEmu

Family

  • Dromaiidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 10 to 20 years
  • Captivity: 30 to 40 years

Size

  • Length: Up to 6 ½ feet
  • Weight: 65 to 100 pounds

Origin

  • Australia

Habitat

  • Semi-desert to grassland and open woodland

Diet Emu

  • Wild: Seeds, fruit, grasses, insects, rodents, and lizards.
    • They require a large amount of water as well
  • Zoo: Mazuri Emu chow and fresh produce.

Reproduction 

  • The female lays 9 to 12 eggs per clutch, up to 2 times a year in a shallow nest on the ground.
  • The male incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

Special Adaptations

  • The emu is an omnivore (eats animals and plants), eating constantly when food is available and storing the reserves as fat to be used when food is scarce.
    • The male uses these reserves when tending to the eggs and will not eat during this time.
  • To help digestion, the Emu swallows small pebbles that grind its food.

Ratite Facts

  • The emu is a ratite or flightless bird with a flat breastbone lacking a keel for attachment of flight muscles.
    • Other birds included in the ratite family include ostriches, rheas, kiwis, moas, and more.
    • In addition, emu wings are reduced in size and are not capable of enough lift to carry the bird.
    • Emus do not have flight feathers, but have evolved a downy coat.

Unique Characteristics 

  • The emu is the second largest bird in the world and can run up to 30 mph
  • Emus are also excellent swimmers
  • They live socially, sometimes grouping to form herds of several thousand birds
  • Male emus heads have a distinctive blue hue to the skin
  • Emu have 3 toes on their feet, whereas the ostrich only has 2

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concerned
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • However, two species, the Kangaroo Island emu and the King Island emu as well as one subspecies, the Tasmanian emu, became extinct in the 1800s due to hunting by humans.

Emu pecking

 Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

Macropus giganteusEastern Grey Kangaroos

Family

  • Macropodidae

Lifespan

  • Wild:  10 years
  • Captivity:  20 years or more

Size

  • Length: 5 to 7 feet tall, not including tail length of 16 to 39 inches
  • Weight: Up to 200 pounds; males are larger than females

Range

  • Eastern and southern Australia

HabitatEastern Grey Kangaroo

  • Open grasslands, woodlands, or forests

Diet

  • Wild: Grasses, leaves, tree bark, and shrubs
  • Zoo: Mazuri Kangaroo diet, apples, carrots, hay and peanuts

Reproduction

  • Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 20 months for males and 17 months for females.
  • Usually, only a single offspring is born after a gestation period of 36 days.

Description

  • Eastern grey kangaroos have short, silver-gray fur, which is darker on their hands, toes, and tail.
  • They have large ears which provide them with excellent hearing.
  • Powerful hind legs, long feet, and a long, muscular tail make these kangaroos excellent jumpers – they can leap a distance of up to 30 feet in a single bound!
    • Their strong tails also provide support and balance, and they can even use their tail for sitting!

Offspring

  • Kangaroo offspring, called a joey, is only an inch long and weighs less than half an ounce at birth.
    • After birth, the joey climbs from the birth canal to the pouch where it lives and nurses for the next 11 months.
    • At this time, it is old enough to leave the pouch, but may continue to nurse from the pouch for up to an additional 6 months.

Social Grouping

  • Eastern grey kangaroos form family groups called "mobs".
    • A mob can have anywhere from 2 to 10 members, but generally consists of one large mature male, two to three females with joeys, and two or three younger males.
    • Males compete for dominance of the social groups, with the strongest male becoming the head of a mob.
      • Males determine dominance by "boxing", a form of male competition, in which males stand upright and kick with their hind legs while balancing on their tails and scratching with their fore-limbs.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • As with all native Australian wildlife, exportation of kangaroos is controlled by the Australian government.
  • Overall, the Eastern grey kangaroo is not in danger of extinction as there are an estimated 1.5 million in the wild.
  • However, some sub-species are listed as endangered or near threatened.
  • Threats to these animals are habitat destruction and large-scale killing by farmers, as kangaroo’s graze on the same land as sheep.

Legend

When European explorers first saw these strange hopping animals, they asked a native Australian (aborigine) what they were called. He replied, "kangaroo" meaning "I don’t understand your question". The explorers thought this was the animal’s name, and it has remained to this day.

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

Eastern Grey Kangaroo