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

 
 

Lynx rufusBobcat

Family

  • Felidae

Lifespan

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

Size

  • Length: 3 ½ to 4 feet
  • Weight: 13 ½ to 30 pounds

Origin

  • Southern Canada, parts of Mexico, and the United States

Habitat

  • Forests, mountain ranges, prairies

Diet

  • Wild: Rabbits, rodents, birds, and deer
  • Zoo: Ground beef with a vitamin mix, chicks, and a knucklebone once a week (for healthy teeth)

Reproduction

  • Females produce litters once every 2 years.
    • Litters consist of 1 to 4 young.
  • The kittens begin eating solid food by 2 months of age, and are hunting by the age of 5 months.

Special Adaptations

  • The bobcat has excellent camouflage.
    • Its reddish brown coat blends in with the underbrush, and the spots and stripes help break up its shape.
  • Bobcats are good swimmers and can also jump up to 12 feet in the air.

Feline Facts

  • The bobcat, like most felines, creeps up and pounces on its prey.
  • Its powerful teeth and claws are equipped for taking down prey swiftly.
  • Felines patrol a specific area of territory; in the case of the bobcat, that territory may be up to 40 square miles.
  • The bobcat is crepuscular, meaning it hunts and is most active in the hours before sunrise and at twilight.
  • Felines have scent glands under their cheeks and will rub on territory boundaries to mark them.
  • Many cats will claw trees at the border of their territories to let others know it is claimed.

Unique Characteristics

  • The bobcat gets its name from its stumpy tail.
  • Bobcats have a burrow or den in which it lives and raises its litter.
  • Male bobcats are unusual among cat species because they bring food to the mother and kittens in the den.
  • Bobcats look similar to their northern cousin, the Lynx, but can be told apart by their tails.  Bobcat tails have a black tip on the end while the Lynx will have a white tip.  Their range and other differences distinguish them as well.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Bobcats have been labeled as sheep predators in Mexico, and are frequently killed by farmers.
  • They are also hunted and trapped for their fur and due to habitat destruction and the ever-expanding human population, their numbers have decreased.
  • However, since the 1970s, the bobcat population in the United States has increased due to protection laws.

 Sources

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

Bobcat rubbing on scent

Cynomys ludovicianusBlack-tailed Prairie Dog

Family

  • Sciuridae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 3 to 5 years
  • Captivity: 8 to 10 years

Size

  • Length: 12 to 17 inches
  • Weight: 1 ½ to 3 pounds

Origin

  • Great Plains from Canada to Northern Mexico

Diet

  • Wild: Herbs and grasses
  • Zoo: High-fiber alfalfa cubes, yams, carrots, and hay.

Reproduction

  • Litters consist of 1 to 6 pups.
  • The pups remain in the burrows until they are 5 to 6 weeks old.

Prairie Dog pups

Unique Characteristics

  • The name "prairie dog" comes from its call which sounds like the yap of a small dog.
    • They are actually closest to the squirrel in relations.
  • They live in large colonies called towns, which are composed of small family groups of up to 20 members called coteries.
    • They live in an elaborate system of burrows, where they seek shelter from predators and severe weather.

Special Adaptations

  • Prairie dogs communicate and strengthen their bonds through a series of vocalizations, playing, nuzzling, and grooming.
  • The family system helps them deal with predators more effectively too.
  • They will bite off tall plants around the burrows to see better.

Conservation Status

  • Humans have targeted this rodent with poison campaigns as agriculture and livestock ranching claims habitat previously used by the prairie dog.
  • The main threat, however, is the loss of habitat due to this agricultural expansion.
  • Prairie dogs are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Sources

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

Prairie Dogs

Equus caballusClydesdale

Family

  • Equidae

Lifespan

  • Generally 20 to 25 years

Size

  • Height: 18 hands or approximately 6 feet
  • Weight: 1800 to 2200 pounds

Origin

  • The breed originated in Scotland in the mid 18th century.
  • Can be found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Habitat

  • Grassy fields for grazing.

Diet

  • Farm: Depending on the farm, they usually eat grasses, hay, and grain.
    • Each Clydesdale should eat 1% to 2% of their body weight in hay each day.
  • Zoo: Offered Timothy hay at least 2 times daily, and 1 pound or more of grain in the morning and evening.

ReproductionClydesdales

  • Clydesdales reach sexual maturity at approximately 3 to 4 years of age.
  • Gestation occurs for 11 months.
  • Most foals are born in early spring and usually only one is born per year.
    • Male foals are called colts and female foals are called fillies.
    • Foals nurse from their mother for about 6 months.

Special Adaptations

  • Clydesdale horses are cursorial (adapted for running).
    • Specializations of the leg and foot enable Clydesdales to be strong runners.
    • Horses are able to sleep or rest while standing or lying down as a result of years of being a prey animal in the wild.

Fun Facts

  • Bay is the most popular color in the United States, but Clydesdales can also be black, brown, chestnut, or roan.
  • Clydesdales are usually characterized by a white blaze face and 4 white legs, though the legs can be black.

Conservation Status

    • IUCN: Not Evaluated
    • CITES: Not Listed
    • Clydesdales are listed as vulnerable by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. 
    • Uses today include breeding, showing, driving, riding, hauling and farming. 

Sources

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

Clydesdales grooming each other

 

Boa constrictor Boa Constrictor

Family

  • Boidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: Around 20 years.
  • Captivity: 25-40 years.

Size

  • Length: 6-13 feet (longest on record is 18 feet)
  • Weight: 40-50 pounds

Origin

  • Central and South America

Habitat

  • Deserts, wet tropical forests, and open savannas

Diet

  • Wild: Reptiles, mammals, and birds
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats

Reproduction

  • Boas reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age.
  • The female attracts a male with a special scent she emits.
  • Fertilization is internal.
  • Boas are ovoviviparous, meaning they produce eggs that hatch within the body so that the young are born live.
    • 20-60 young are produced in one litter.

Special AdvantagesBoa Constrictor

  • The boa has wonderful camouflage to resemble leaf litter.
  • They are also great swimmers; however, they prefer to remain on land.
  • To hunt, snakes stick out their forked tongue to collect scents.
    • 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.

Boa Facts

  • The boa is an ambush hunter and lies in wait of its prey to come to it.
  • The boa uses its teeth to catch prey, but as it is a constrictor, it squeezes and suffocates its prey before swallowing it whole, usually head first.

Unique Characteristics

  • The boa constrictor can hiss loud enough to be heard 100 feet away.

Conservation Status

  • The number of boas is dropping because of habitat destruction and the skin trade.

Boa Constrictor

 Sources

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