Amazing Animal Camouflage Photos

Photographer Art Wolfe spent 35 years on every continent photographing animals in their natural habitat.  His book Vanishing Act showcases how well animals can escape the eye and blend into the background.

Here are a few examples:


Can you spot the cryptic grasshopper on the leaf?

Can you spot the leafy seadragon amidst the coral?

Can you spot the yellow-bellied marmot among the rocks?

Can you spot the giraffe amidst the trees?

Can you spot the blue-crowned parrot among the leaves?

Can you spot the American pika among the rocks?

Can you spot the two klipspringers (African antelope) among the rocks?

Can you spot the leopard among the grass?

To learn more and view more photographs, see:

Art Wolfe’s blog
The Daily Mail
Buy Vanishing Act from Amazon >

Flocks, Herds, Litters & Schools

Flocks, Herds, Litters & SchoolsHave you ever heard of a leap of leopards or an ostentation of peacocks? What about a parcel of penguins?  Jim McMullan’s new book, Flocks, Herds, Litters & Schools, teaches children and adults about many of the odd names for groups of animals.

Packed with animal facts, colorful photos, and thoughtful quotes, this book is sure to entertain and educate.

Author Jim McMullan has been an actor for over 40 years. He has starred in dozens of feature films including Shenandoah, Downhill Racer and The Incredible Shrinking Woman. He has also appeared in many television shows, most famously playing Senator Dowling in Dallas.

Buy Flocks, Herds, Litters & Schools on Amazon.

We Bought a Zoo DVD and Book Giveaway

We Bought a Zoo DVD and BookAnimal Fact Guide is giving away two prize packs containing the DVD, We Bought a Zoo, and the novel it was based on!

The story follows Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon), a Los Angeles newspaper columnist and adventure writer who, as a single father, faces the challenges of raising his two young children.

Hoping that a fresh start and a new life will restore their family spirit, Mee quits his job and buys an old rural house outside the city with a unique bonus feature: a zoo named the Rosemoor Animal Park, where dozens of animals reside under the care of head zookeeper Kelly Foster (played by Scarlett Johansson) and her dedicated team.

With no experience, limited time and a shoestring budget, Mee sets out with the support of his family and the local community to reopen the zoo. Now, Benjamin is no longer reporting an adventure story; he’s living it in his own backyard.

Scene from We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon

Scene from We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon

For a chance to win one of two DVD/book bundles, comment below by April 2, 2012, 11:59pm EST with the answer to this question:

If you bought a zoo, which animal would you most like to have in it and why?

Be sure to include your email address, so we can contact the winners for their mailing address. Note: This contest is open to people in the U.S. and Canada only. No P.O. boxes.

Wildlife Photographer Presents “Polar Obsession”

Polar Obsession by Paul NicklenNational Geographic wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen came to the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT on April 16th to talk about his experiences capturing images on the polar caps.  Animal Fact Guide editors P.A. Smith and Abi Cushman had the pleasure of attending.

Often Nicklen was exposed to harsh conditions while on expeditions, many times risking his life to attain his captivating images.  Yet Nicklen relayed these powerful stories while interjecting humorous remarks.  His anecdotes were hugely entertaining and inspiring.  He spoke of his up close encounter with an enormous female leopard seal who tried to feed him penguins.  At one point, the seal had placed a dead penguin on his head waiting for him to eat it, and he’d continued to take photos of her with the lifeless bird resting there, all the while tearing up with laughter. In the photo, you can see the penguin’s feet at the top of the frame.

Throughout his talk, Nicklen stressed the simple truth that man-made climate change is negatively affecting both polar regions.  The dramatic loss of the polar ice has an enormous impact on entire ecosystems.  It starts with the microorganisms that inhabit the multiyear ice (ice that builds up over several years).  These phytoplankton are eaten by zooplankton, and in turn they are consumed by fish. Next in the chain are larger animals such as whales and seals.  Without the ice, the phytoplankton cannot thrive, and the ripple continues throughout the chain.  Many of the animals towards the top of the chain, such as polar bears, also rely on ice for breeding and hunting.

In light of this sad situation, Nicklen urged the audience to get involved in conservation, to start a revolution and save these ecosystems.

To learn more about Nicklen’s work and view his amazing photographs, purchase his book Polar Obsession. It contains many of the stories behind his photos.

Garde Arts Center, New London, CT

Editor P.A. Smith in front of the Garde Arts Center in New London, where wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen spoke.

Book Review – Elephant Reflections

Elephant ReflectionsElephant Reflections, a beautiful book released by the University of California Press this past May, features gorgeous photography that transcends conventional nature photography. Providing a window into the intimate lives of elephants, the photos would be at home in an art gallery.

Captured by Karl Ammann, the photographs are categorized into themes such as “Colors,” “Textures,” and “Portraits.” The images beg to be scoured over, luring the reader to examine every detail.

The photos are accompanied by an eloquently-written text by Dale Peterson. Peterson’s text informs the reader about many of the captivating behaviors and societal norms of elephants. For example, elephants are thought to use infrasound for long-distance communication. The sounds are too low for humans to hear, but elephants can sense the vibrations from miles away using their large ears and the soles of their feet.

Children will be drawn to the large format photos, while parents and teachers will find the text enhances their appreciation of the images.

Purchase Elephant Reflections at Amazon.com.

You can also learn about elephants here at Animal Fact Guide. Check out our article: African Elephant.

Book Review – In the Womb: Animals

In the Womb: Animals (cover)National Geographic has recently released a very interesting book for animal lovers. In the Womb: Animals by Michael Sims, explores the fascinating development from conception to birth of a golden retriever, a bottlenose dolphin, and an Asian elephant.

Beautifully illustrated with ultrasound images of these animals as embryos and fetuses, the book highlights the development of unique physical characteristics that the animals will come to rely on once out of womb.

For example, one section showcases the elephant fetus after four months. At this point, the trunk is recognizable, but it will need the full 18 more months in the womb to continue developing. Once out of the womb, the elephant will use this strong, highly dexterous snout to pick foliage, carry objects, suck water, and use as a snorkel while swimming.

The author also touches upon physical characteristics that provide clues about the animals’ ancestry.  For example, at 3-4 weeks, the dolphin fetus develops hind limbs which later retract and disappear. This suggests that dolphins may have evolved from four-legged land animals.

Intertwined with the three main stories are captivating glimpses into the development and behavior of red kangaroos, emperor penguins, sand tiger and lemon sharks, and parasitic wasps. These mini stories reveal the extraordinary journeys these animals make before they’re even born, as well as provide interesting points of comparison to the three main characters.

It is a fascinating read for animal lovers, but parents should note that reproductive behavior is covered in detail.

Dog fetus from In the Womb: Animals

Dolphin fetus from In the Womb: Animals

Elephant fetus from In the Womb: Animals

The book, In the Womb: Animals, is available at Amazon.com.

You may also be interested in purchasing the documentary DVD, In the Womb: Animals.

The Last Polar Bear

Polar bear up close

Steven Kazlowski is a wildlife photographer who has spent 9 years capturing images of polar bears in their native Arctic environment. His book, The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, features 200 full-color photographs of polar bears and their diminishing habitat as well a collection of essays by biologists and Alaska-based writers.

For more information on the book, visit:
CBC News: Will we see The Last Polar Bear in our lifetime?
Left Eye Productions

Buy it from Amazon.com >

For more information about polar bears, visit Animal Fact Guide’s polar bear article.