Featured Animal: Emperor Penguin

Meet our featured animal: the emperor penguin!

Emperor penguin

Here are five fun facts about emperor penguins:

  • The emperor penguin is the largest of 17 species of penguin at 1.15 m (45 in.) tall.
  • Emperor penguins are specially adapted to living in a cold environment. They have
    four layers of scale-like feathers and large amounts of fat.
  • They can dive deeper than any other bird – as deep as 565 m (1850 ft.) – and they can stay underwater for more than 20 minutes.
  • Every winter (which begins in March in Antarctica), emperor penguins traverse up 80 km (50 mi.) across the ice to reach stable breeding grounds.
  • A male emperor penguin must use his own body to create a safe, warm environment for his egg because there are no nesting supplies available on the ice mass.  He balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch.

Learn more at our emperor penguin facts page!

Echidna Puggle Gets a Helping Hand

Echidna puggle

The team of vet nurses at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been caring for this baby echidna for the past couple months. Photo by Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia has been hand rearing a baby echidna (called a puggle) over the last couple of months.

The little puggle was found at the side of the road. It is believed the mother was hit by a car.

“The puggle is now approximately four months old and responding very well under the watchful eye of the vet nurses,” said vet nurse, Jodie Milton.

“It’s feeding well and gaining weight steadily, so we’ll be able to wean it in about three to four months’ time and start introducing it to solid food.”

Normally, echidnas live in their mothers’ pouches for 2-3 months and then move into a secluded burrow for up to a year. So it is very rare to see an echidna puggle.

“It will be some time before the puggle will be able to fend for itself, but until then it’s in safe hands,” said Jodie.

For more information about the little puggle, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

Learn more about echidnas at our short-beaked echidna facts page.

Name a Gentoo Penguin Chick

Starting today, you can help name a Gentoo penguin chick at SeaWorld Orlando!  Cast your vote for your favorite name on the SeaWorld Orlando Facebook page.

Penguin chicks at SeaWorld.

From left to right: the king chick hatched on November 30, the Adelie on December 21, the Gentoo on December 16 and the rockhopper on December 20. Photo by Jason Collier.

Since November 30, SeaWorld Orlando has experienced a penguin chick boom.  Fifteen penguin chicks have hatched at their new exhibit, Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin, which features four different species of penguin: king, Adelie, Gentoo, and rockhopper.

From SeaWorld Orlando:

Although currently ranging in size from 6 inches to 21 inches, the king chick, the largest penguin at SeaWorld’s Antarctica will grow to be as tall as 2.5 ft. and its smallest, the rock hopper will grow to be approximately 12 inches tall.

Learn more at SeaWorld’s website.

Tawny Frogmouth Chicks at SeaWorld Orlando

Tawny frogmouth chicks

SeaWorld Orlando recently welcomed four tawny frogmouth chicks! (Don’t miss the little one, born January 14, on the right!)

The SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team is hand-raising four tawny frogmouth chicks.  Three of the chicks were born in early December and the latest addition hatched on January 14.

A member of the Aviculture Team takes a chick home every night to monitor it and provide scheduled feedings every 3-4 hours.

Tawny frogmouth chicks

Tawny frogmouths are native to Australia.  Their distinct markings help camouflage them on the tree branches.

Tawny frogmouth chicks

For more information, visit the SeaWorld website.

Photos by Jason Collier, SeaWorld Orlando.

Polar Bear Cub Takes First Steps

Watch a video of a polar bear cub taking his first steps at the Toronto Zoo.

The cub was born on November 9, 2013 and is making great progress. His achievements include:

  • Standing on all four legs and taking steps forward.
  • Learning to lap up milk formula from a dish
  • Teething – his canines, incisors, and some of his molars can now be felt. He likes to bite objects like his blanket.
  • Playing – he is quite active, and he is interacting with his surroundings.
  • Gaining weight – he currently weighs about 4.5 kg, which is a 529% increase since his original birth weight of 700 grams.

Learn more at the Toronto Zoo website.

 

Ever Been Tweeted…by a Shark?

Great White SharkResearchers in Western Australia are trying a new way to warn swimmers about sharks. Three hundred and thirty-eight sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters which will send a signal to a computer if a shark gets too close to land. The computer when then send out a tweet to warn swimmers that there is a shark in the area.

One concern is that the new system will provide a false sense of security because there are still many sharks without tags.

For more, check out NPR.org.

To learn more about sharks, read our article on Great White Sharks.

View the shark Twitter Feed here: https://twitter.com/SLSWA.

Featured Animal: Spotted Salamander

Meet our featured animal: the spotted salamander!

Spotted Salamander

Here are five fun facts about spotted salamanders:

  • Spotted salamanders are amphibians. This means they live underwater when they hatch. But when they mature, they live on land.
  • They secrete a mild sticky toxin from their backs and tails to discourage predators from eating them.
  • They hibernate.
  • Adults spend most of their day hiding underground or beneath rocks and logs.
  • They eat just about anything they can catch and swallow, including worms, spiders, insects, and slugs.

Learn more at our spotted salamander facts page.

Year in Review: Baby Animals of 2013

What a wonderful year it’s been for adorable baby animals! Here are a few highlights:

Most Eager Eyes: Pictured below is one of two female lion cubs who were born at Busch Gardens on March 20. The cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are recognized for their large size and impressive manes on the males.

Lion cubs at Busch Gardens

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Best Peek-a-Boo: Max, a little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur), was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Baby lemur

Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.

 Most Spiky: The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed a North American porcupette (baby porcupine) on April 18. Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators.

Baby porcupine at Woodland Park Zoo

The new porcupette at one day old at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo.

Best Hugger: This baby bonobo was born on May 12 at the Memphis Zoo. In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered.

Bonobo and baby

Bonobo baby with mom Kiri. Photo credit: Laura Horn, Memphis Zoo.

Sleepiest Piggy-Backer: It’s a tie between this baby anteater and this baby spider monkey, both of whom were born in June at Busch Gardens!

http://www.animalfactguide.com/2012/07/baby-animals-at-busch-gardens/

Weighing less than 5 pounds, this baby anteater will eventually grow to be over 100 pounds. The little anteater will ride on his mother’s back for about a year.

Spider monkey

This baby spider monkey got comfy sleeping on his mother’s back.

Rare Birth: King is an Eastern black rhinoceros born at the Lincoln Park Zoo on August 26. In the wild, Eastern black rhinos are critically endangered due to poaching. It is estimated that there are only 5000 left in the wild in Africa.

King, a baby rhino.

After a few timid steps, King gained confidence in the outdoor exhibit, taking in all the new sights and scents. Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Lincoln Park Zoo.

Cutest Snout: Meet Gabana, a baby giant anteater born at the Nashville Zoo on November 16. In the wild, giant anteaters inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN.

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Baby giant anteater at Nashville Zoo. Photo by Heather Robertson / Nashville Zoo.

Tallest Baby: In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Hope you enjoyed our roundup of cute animal babies of 2013. Happy New Year!

Giraffe Calf at Nashville Zoo

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

In the early morning hours of December 13, a female Masai giraffe was born at Nashville Zoo!  At birth, the calf was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 180 lbs.

Masai giraffes are one of nine different sub-species and are known for their oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.