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

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.

Bos indicus

Miniature Zebu

Family

  • Bovidae

Lifespan

  • 16-18 years

Size

  • Length: 34-42 inches high at the withers (highest part of the back at the base of the neck)
  • Weight: Cows (females) weigh 300-500 pounds and bulls (males) weigh 400-600

Origin

  • Southern Asia and IndiaMiniature Zebu

Habitat

  • Deserts and forests

Lifestyle

  • Herbivore

Diet

  • Wild: Fresh and dry grasses and grains
  • Zoo: Timothy hay and grain

Reproduction

  • Zebu reach maturity slowly, and rather late
  • A single offspring is born every year after gestation of 277-290 days
  • Calves are generally 12-20 lbs at birth and are weaned at 50 lbs

Unique Characteristics

  • Zebus have a heavy dewlap (fold of loose skin) and a hump above the withers that is composed of muscle and fat
    • It is actually a functionless, enlarged rhomboid muscle
  • They also have short horns

Special Adaptations

  • They are highly resistant to heat and disease
    • Zebus have built in muscles that allow better twitching of the skin to protect from insect bites
    • They even have a gland beneath the skin that secretes an oily, odorous substance that repels some insects

The Ruminant Way

  • Zebus are ruminants, meaning their digestive system is unique
  • Zebus, and other cattle, have a 4 chambered stomach for digesting food
    • The first three chambers have bacteria that help break down tough plant matter 
    • In the second chamber, the food forms a ball called ‘cud’, which is then chewed again
    • When swallowed again, it passes through the third and fourth chambers
    • This process allows them to absorb maximum nutrients from their food

Zebu &Humans

  • Zebu are the world’s oldest domesticated cattle, dating back to 3000 B.C., and were first introduced to the U.S. in 1849
  • They have fair to poor milk and meat production, but are excellent draft animals
    • This was their original purpose in the cotton plantations of the south
  • In India, the Hindus revere the zebu and protect it from harm

Conservation Status Miniature Zebu

  • IUCN: Not Evaluated
  • CITES:Not Listed
  • Although domestic cattle are not threatened, there are 5 Bovid species which are in need of protections:
    • Bos gaurus (Gaur)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in India, China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia
    • Bos javanicus (Banteng)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Not Listed
      • Found in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and sporadically in Indonesia.  Small population introduced to Australia
    • Bos mutus (Wild Yak)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in China.  Historically found in China and India.  Believed to be extinct in all countries except China
    • Bos sauveli (Grey Ox/Kouprey)
      • IUCN: Critically Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in Cambodia and southern Laos
    • Bubalus arnee (Indian Water Buffalo)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix III
      • Found in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia; all extremely fragmented

Sources

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

 

 

 

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

Range

  • 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. Animal Diversity Web. Accessed January 2016. http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Saguinus_oedipus/
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed January 2016.http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  3. ARKive. Accessed January 2016. http://www.arkive.org/cotton-headed-tamarin/saguinus-oedipus/
  4. Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed January 2016. http://www.eol.org/pages/323908/overview
  5. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed January 2016.http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search

Cotton-top Tamarin

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.

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

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.

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: males about 135 lbs, females about 72 lbs

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!
  • Kangaroos are extremely efficient jumpers; the faster kangaroos move, the less energy they use.
  • 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.

Interesting Facts

  • 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. Animal Diversity.org, Macropus giganteus. Accessed January 2016. http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Macropus_giganteus/
  2. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. February 5, 2015. Accessed January 2016. http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php
  3. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015. Accessed January 2016 http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.