Meet our featured animal: the 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!
Meet our featured animal: the 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.
Meet our featured animal: the polar bear!
Here are five fun facts about polar bears:
- Although they appear white or yellow in color, polar bears’ fur is actually clear and hollow, and their skin is black.
- Two coats of fur and a thick layer of blubber help insulate the polar bear’s body from the cold, keeping its temperature at an even 37° C (98.6° F).
- Polar bears’ paws are especially adapted for walking on the ice and swimming in the sea. Hairs and bumps on the soles of their feet provide traction, while webbing between their toes allows for effective swimming strokes.
- Polar bears can smell a seal’s breathing hole, or aglu, up to one mile away.
- Polar bears do not hibernate like other bears, but females do enter into a dormant state while pregnant.
Learn more at our polar bear facts page!
Meet our featured animal: the killer whale (orca)!
Here are five facts about killer whales:
- True to their name, killer whales are effective hunters. They prey on seals, sea lions, fish, sea birds, turtles, octopuses, and squid.
- Killer whales hunt in pods, or groups, in a way similar to wolves. They circle their prey and force them into smaller areas before attacking.
- Killer whales have a massive range, living primarily where the water is cold, but inhabiting anywhere from the polar regions right up to the equator.
- Sending sound waves that travel underwater, killer whales use echolocation as a means for hunting.
- Killer whales live an average of 30 to 50 years in the wild.
Learn more about killer whales >
Meet our featured animal: the cougar!
Cougars are also referred to as pumas, mountain lions or panthers. Here are five fun facts about them:
- Unlike other big cats, the cougar cannot roar. Instead, the large feline purrs like a house cat.
- The cougar is the second largest cat in North America.
- Cougars can leap over 6 m (20 ft.).
During most of their lives, cougars are solitary creatures. They only interact with one another to mate.
For the most part, the cougar has no natural enemies and sits atop the food chain.
Learn more about cougars >
Meet our featured animal, the short-beaked echidna (e-KID-nuh)!
Here are five fun facts about short-beaked echidnas:
- Echidnas are monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs.
- Similar to reptiles, echidnas’ legs protrude outwards and then downwards, resulting in a waddling effect when they walk.
- The echidna has a pointy snout that can sense electrical signals from insect bodies.
- Echidnas do not have teeth, but they do have horny pads in their mouths and on the back of their tongues which grind the prey.
- Baby echidnas are called puggles!
Learn more about short-beaked echidnas >
Meet our featured animal, the Atlantic puffin!
Here are five facts about Atlantic puffins:
- Despite their black and white plumage, puffins are not related to penguins at all. They are members of the Alcidae (auk) family.
- For most of the year, Atlantic puffins live on the open ocean.
- Diving as deep as 60 m (200 ft.), they swim by flapping their wings as if flying through the water and use their feet to steer.
- Atlantic puffins are excellent fliers. Flapping their wings at up to 400 beats per minute, puffins can reach speeds of 88 km/h (55mph).
- When a puffin is around 3-5 years old, it will choose a partner at sea to mate with for life.
Learn more about Atlantic puffins >
Meet our featured animal, the bald eagle!
Here are five fun facts about bald eagles:
- The bald eagle is one of the largest raptors in the world.
- Bald eagles can reach speeds of up to 160 km/hr (100 mph) when diving.
- Using thermal convention currents, bald eagles can climb to up to 3000 m (10,000 ft.) in the air. They can soar for hours using these currents.
- Once coupled, bald eagles will mate for life.
- Bald eagles build enormous nests, called eyries, out of sticks. These substantial nests have been known to weigh up to 900 kg (1 ton).
Learn more about bald eagles >
Meet our featured animal, the green anaconda!
Here are five facts about green anacondas:
- The green anaconda is one of the longest snakes in the world. It is also the heaviest.
- The green anaconda is native to South America, making its home in swamps, marshes and streams.
- Although they use both sight and smell to hunt, green anacondas also have the ability to sense heat emitted by potential prey.
- Anacondas are not venomous; they use constriction instead to subdue their prey.
- For larger prey, the green anaconda can unhinge its jaw to stretch its mouth around the body, consuming the carcass whole.
Learn more about green anacondas >
Meet our featured animal, the capybara!
Here are five facts about capybaras:
- The capybara takes the title of world’s largest rodent.
- Capybaras are semi-aquatic, spending a lot of time in the water.
- Capybaras can stay submerged underwater for up to 5 minutes.
- Capybaras have special digestive adaptations that allow them to absorb enough nutrients from their highly fibrous diet.
- Very social animals, capybaras live in small family groups of about 10-20.
Learn more about capybaras >