Python regiusRoyal Python

Family

  • Pythonidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: average 10 years
  • Captivity: 20 to 35 years

Size

  • Length: 3 to 5 feet
  • Weight: 5 to 15 pounds

Habitat

  • Mixed grasslands and forests

Lifestyle Royal Python

  • Royal pythons are carnivorous (meat eater), crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), and terrestrial (ground-dwelling).

Origin

  • West-Central Africa

Diet

  • Wild: almost exclusively eat rodents: rats, gerbils and gerboas
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats

Reproduction

  • Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 5 years of age.
  • The female will lay 5-9 eggs per clutch once a year.
  • The female incubates the eggs by coiling herself around them and shivering to maintain a constant warm temperature.
    • Incubation lasts 75 to 80 days.
    • Hatchlings are 9 to 17 inches long at birth.

Unique Characteristics

  • The name "ball" python comes from the fact that this snake rolls into a ball to hide and protect its head.
  • The name "royal" python is due to a legend that many African rulers were known to have worn live pythons as jewelry, especially Cleopatra.

Special AdaptationsRoyal Python soaking

  • To hunt, snakes stick out their forked tongue to collect data.
    • Once collected, the snake will insert the tips of the forked tongue into its Jacobson’s organ, where the data can be analyzed.
    • The Jacobson’s organ interprets the chemicals such as pheromones to aid the snake with finding its next meal, or even a mate.
  • They are well camouflaged for life in the trees or on the ground, with varying coloration on the top and bottom of their body.
  • They shed their skin every 6 to 8 weeks to reveal a new skin underneath.

Python Facts

  • Pythons are constrictors, meaning they kill their prey by coiling around and suffocating it.
  • They are also excellent swimmers and have the ability to pump air inside their body to prevent sinking.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II (trade is controlled)
  • Although they are not listed as endangered or threatened, their numbers continue to decrease in the wild due to over collection for the pet trade and habitat loss.
Royal Python
 

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. Walls, Jerry G. The Living Python. Neptune City, NJ. TFH Publications. 1998.
  5. Rangel, E. 2002 "Python regius SHAW 1802". Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed 24 September 2009 www.eol.org/pages/1055460

 

Sus scrofa domesticaPot-belly Pig

Family

  • Suidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: Up to 10 years
  • Captivity: 12 to 15 years

Size

  • Height: Shoulder height is 35-45 cm
  • Weight: Up to 150 lbs.

Origin

  • Vietnam

Diet

  • Wild: Omnivores, eating grasses, eggs, frogs, snakes, and fish
  • Zoo: Mazuri pig diet and lettuce

Habitat Pot-belly pig

  • Open woodlands

Reproduction

  • Pot-bellied pigs reach maturity at around 6 to 7 months of age.
  • Gestation lasts approximately 114 days and a mother may produce between 4 and 12 young.
  • The mother’s milk is the primary food for the first 2 to 3 months.

Special Adaptations

  • Pot-bellied pigs have terrible vision, but they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
  • They also have a snout, composed of a cartilaginous disc supported and strengthened by a pre-nasal bone, providing the pig with an excellent digging tool.
  • Law enforcement agencies have even employed pig sniffing power for drug searches.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • Pot-bellied pigs are domestic, and therefore not listed as endangered or threatened

Pot-belly Pig

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Sus (Linnaeus, 1758). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/date_objects/22928043

Pavo cristatusPeacock

Family

  • Phasianidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: Up to 20 years
  • Captivity:  Up to 30 years

Size

  • Length: Males, with ornamental feathers, are 7 to 9 ½ feet while the females are about 3 feet.
    • They are the largest member of the pheasant and turkey family
  • Weight: Males -- 9 to 13 pounds females – 6 to 9 pounds

Habitat

  • Dense, lowland tropical forests near water

Origin

  • India and Sri Lanka

Diet Peahens

  • Wild: Seeds, fruit, plant matter, insects, snakes, and mice
  • Zoo: Game bird feed, greens

Reproduction

  • Peahens lay 4 to 6 eggs once a year in a shallow, hollow nest lined with sticks, leaves, and grass.
  • Incubation time is around 28 days.
  • The female tends the eggs and chicks alone.

Social Grouping/Lifestyle

  • Peafowl live in social groups consisting of 1 male and 3 to 5 females.
  • Peafowl are very routine, sleeping and eating in the same place every day.

Unique Characteristics

  • Like many other bird species, the male, called a "peacock", is more colorful than the female, called a "peahen".
  • The peacock’s long colorful train is made up of about 150 feathers growing from his lower back.
    • He raises his tail feathers in that famous dramatic fanned display to attract a mate or compete with other males for mates.
Peacock displaying

Special Adaptations

  • The peacock struts back and forth during his mating display, not only to attract a female, but also to keep his balance as the wind catches his enormous fan of feathers.
  • In addition, the peacock’s colorful plumage helps protect him from predators, by camouflaging him among the trees.

Humans & Peafowl

  • Peafowl are sacred in some parts of the world as a symbol of the goddess of learning and the god of war.
  • In other places, roast peafowl is considered a delicacy.
  • Peacock feathers are appreciated the world over for their striking colors and pattern.
    • The export of peacock feathers, however, is illegal.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • The Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is not under threat of population decline at this time, but the very similar Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) is endangered

 Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Pavo cristatus (Linnaeus, 1758). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/pages/1049264

 

 

Lontra canadensis North American River Otter                                                                         

Family  

  • Mustelidae                                               

Lifespan

  • Wild: 10 to 15 years
  • Captivity: Up to 25 years

Size

  • Length: 2 to 3.5 feet
  • Tail length: up to 18 inches
  • Weight: 10 to 33 pounds
    • Females are 1/3 smaller than males.

Range

  • Historically found throughout most of the United States and Canada.

Habitat

  • North American River Otters live in lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal areas.

Diet

  • Wild: River otters mainly eat fish and crustaceans, but will also eat birds, eggs, berries, and small mammals.
  • Zoo: Our otters are offered a Zoo carnivore diet, carrot, apple, and lake smelt.

ReproductionNorth American River Otter in den

  • Every other year, otters bear 2 to 4 pups in an abandoned burrow.
  • Otters have delayed implantation, allowing a fertilized egg to suspend development until it is signaled to resume growth.
    • This may be a response to population growth, food supplies or other factors that would affect the ability of young to thrive.
  • Pup’s eyes typically open at 21 to 35 days.
  • Pups become independent between 1 to 1.5 years of age.
  • They need to be taught how to swim.
    • The mother may throw them in the water for their first swimming lesson.

Unique Characteristics

  • As members of the Mustelidae family, otters have specialized glands that secrete musky smelling oil for identification, marking territory, and for protection.

Special Adaptations

  • Otters have adaptations for an aquatic lifestyle.
    • They have four webbed feet, ears and nostrils that close tightly, a propeller-like tail, a waterproof undercoat, and an insulating outer coat.
    • They are also nearsighted, which actually enables them to see better underwater.
    • During a dive, they can even slow their pulse to conserve oxygen.
  • The otter has a keen sense of smell and very sensitive whiskers, too.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • River otters are not endangered, but their numbers are declining due to hunting, habitat loss, and pollution, so they are protected.
  • Over 30,000 pelts are still sold annually in Canada and the U.S.
North American River Otter

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. Lontra canadensis (Schreber, 1777). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/pages/328584

 

 

Equus asinusMiniature Donkey

Family

  • Equidae

Lifespan

  • 25-40 years

Size

  • Length: 33-38 inches at the withers (highest part of the back at the base of the neck)
  • Weight: 200-400 lbs

Origin

  • Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia

Habitat

  • Donkeys evolved in a desert climate and have been domesticated for at least 2000 years.

Diet

  • Wild: Grasses and other vegetation
  • Zoo: Timothy hay and oats

Reproduction

  • Females (jennets) are fertile at one year of age, but there is a risk of the mother abandoning her foal. The typical beginning breeding age is around three years of age.
  • Males (jacks) are also fertile at one year of age or earlier.
  • Gestation can last 11 ½ months to 13 months.

Special AdaptationsMiniature Donkey

  • Large ears help donkeys dissipate heat.
    • They also serve as way to communicate to other donkeys, along with the tail, body language, and verbal cues
  • Donkeys have tough, compact hooves to handle sandy and rocky terrain.

Unique Characteristics

  • Most donkeys have a distinct dark cross along their back and shoulders called a donkey’s cross.

History

  • They were used for grinding stones for grain, carrying water from village wells, and supplies into the mountains for Shepherds.
  • Miniature donkeys were brought to the United States in the 1920’s from the Mediterranean.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Not Evaluated
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • Although they are thriving in the United States, purebred miniature donkeys are nearly extinct in their native land due to breeding with larger breeds.

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices.  Accessed December 2012.  www.cities.org
  2. IUCN Red List.  Accessed December 2012.  www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Equus asinus (Linnaeus, 1758).  Encyclopedia of Life.  Accessed December 2012.  www.eol.org/pages/328647

Miniature Donkeys