The Blue Tongue Skink Lizard comes from Australia. It grows up to a foot and a half long, and it lives in burrows, logs, or leaf litter. Their diet consists of dead animals, snails, insects, fruits, and flowers. Some of them even have a transparent window in their lower eyelids. This means they can technically see even with their eyes closed!
As for how they got their name, it clearly comes from their blue tongue. What you may not know is that the blue tongue is their primary defense mechanism against predators! To scare any animals threatening them, all they have to do is open their mouths, stick out their blue tongue, and hiss. The combination of hissing and a blue tongue shocks their predators enough to frighten them away. Simple, but effective!
As you can see in the picture, cattle species like this water buffalo do not have top teeth. They have a dental pad that helps them chew their food. According to Burmese folklore, the water buffalo lost his top teeth when he lent them to a horse. The horse asked to borrow the upper teeth to see what he would look like wearing them. The horse apparently loved these new teeth so much that he ran away and did not give them back. The water buffalo was unfortunately too slow to get his teeth back!
You have heard of California king beds — now meet California Kingsnakes! These are nonvenomous found along the northern part of Mexico and western United States. They live in a large variety of places: forests, grasslands, marshes, farmlands, deserts, and even suburban neighborhoods, just to name a few. California Kingsnakes mostly live on the ground, but they have been known to climb shrubs and low tree branches. They earned their name from their habit of feeding occasionally on other snakes, making them “king” of the snakes!
As for their looks, California Kingsnakes can either have a single stripe going down their bodies or multiple stripes across their bodies. Many come in black and white, black and yellow, brown and white, or brown and yellow. However, in captivity many are bred to create different color morphs. One popular color morph is creating an albino California Kingsnake!
To protect themselves, California Kingsnakes release a strong and musky odor. They will also smear their attacker with fecal matter (gross, but undoubtedly effective!) and make a sound similar to a Rattlesnake rattle. Strangely enough, California Kingsnakes are immune to Rattlesnake venom. Not a bad defense trait to have, if we do say so ourselves!
Want to see a California Kingsnake up close? Come on out to the park! Even if you are not a snake fan in general, you will want to pass up the chance to see the “king of all snakes” for yourself!
Although the emu in the pic is just a baby, it will not be that small for long! When it comes to size, emus come in second to ostriches for the title of “Largest Bird in the World.” Adult emus reach heights between five and six feet tall, and weigh between 90 and 130 pounds. This makes them the largest birds in their native Australia. Even though they come in second worldwide, they are definitely not slouches in the slightest!
Like ostriches, emus are flightless birds. They mainly feast on flowers, insects, berries, and grains. They require large amounts of water daily, drinking anywhere from two to four gallons. One very interesting fact about emus is how male and female emus do not share the same vocalizations. Males grunt pig-like, whereas females make a booming, bongo drum-esque noise.
Our emus are popular fixtures in our drive-thru. In fact, they often hang around the front gate, making them some of the first animals visitors see once they enter the drive-thru! Have you had any memorable experiences with our emus? Maybe you have heard them make their unique sounds? If so, then please share your stories in the comments below — we look forward to reading them!
It is easy to guess how the Short-Eared Owl got his name! This owl is known for their extremely short ears, which are so short that they are barely visible. They still have excellent hearing and are actually great communicators. They make a range of sounds, such as hooting, barking, hissing and squeaking sounds.
The Short-Eared Owl can grow up 15 inches and are usually a mottled brown or tawny. They have large heads and short necks and powerful hooked bills. They live in open areas, like grasslands, where they will actually rest on the ground.
The Short-Eared Owl feeds on various insects, rats, rabbits and various other small mammals. Even though they tend to hunt at night, they will also hunt in the day when their prey is plentiful. They’ll fly just above the ground while they look for food, which is quite a site to see if you’re lucky enough to witness it!
Did you know that in spite of their names, Black bears can also be brown, blue or grey and even cinnamon. These are the most common bears in America, in fact, they can be found in nearly any forested area but also live in mountains and swamps.Black bears mostly eat berries, grasses and roots, but they are omnivores so they also eat fish and nearly anything they can find.
Black bears can weigh between 200 and 600 pounds. Their weight can go up and down a lot due to hibernation. They eat a lot in preparation for the winter and then lose weight when food is scarce. Black bears are not typically considered true hibernators because they do wake up during their hibernation period. They do however, rely on that extra weight to get them through long periods of rest and food scarcity.
The winter is tough on animals. They have to find ways to survive with little food and limited access to shelters. You can do your part to help wildlife survive and make life a bit more comfortable for them, even if you live in an urban area.
These are some simple steps you can take to give a helping hand to wildlife:
– Provide unfrozen water on a regular basis
– Rake leaves into a pile for shelter
– Build a rock pile in corner of yard
– Provide seed or other feed consistently
And, remember, if you start to provide seed and water, you need to be consistent. Animals will learn to come to your yard for food and if you suddenly stop, they might not have an alternative source for their needs!
An added bonus for helping wildlife through tough times is that you can enjoy seeing them year round. Get some binoculars and guide and enjoy!
The red-necked wallaby, also called the Bennett’s wallaby, is a medium sized marsupial that is native to Australia and Tasmania. They can weigh up to 40 pounds and be up to 35 inches in body length, excluding the length of their tail. Covered in soft fur, the Bennett looks very close to his cousin the black-stripped wallaby, only they have no tell-tale stripe.
The Bennett carry their young, called joeys, in a pouch until they are able to survive on their own. Living on coastal scrub land, they eat vegetation like grasses, roots, tree leaves, and weeds. Interestingly, there are actually small colonies of Bennetts in other areas of the world, such as in Scotland and France. These are wild guys, not living on a preserve of any kind!
The Bobcat is frequently confused with other species as it resembles other members of the Lynx family. Adding to the issue is the fact that it comes with a variety of coat variations and is solitary. Officially named, the Bobcat is the Lynx Rufus and they can be found from Canada to all the way to Mexico.
Bobcats have short bobbed tails, black tufts on their ears and longer hair at the sides of their face.They live in wooded areas, swampland and semi-desert environment. They also live on the edges of urban areas. The Bobcat hunt small prey, like rodents, hares and even insects if they have to in order to survive. An adult Bobcat can reach up to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 40 pounds for males, 33 for females.
These are beautiful animals that are versatile and highly adaptable. You can come on by and see this and other animals in person at our park!
Few things are more cute than a miniature donkey. They have large eyes and long ears and are covered with a soft cote. They are also super friendly and affectionate, making them even cuter! The miniature Sicilian Donkey can grow up to around 36 inches tall and weigh between 200 to 300 pounds.
Much like their larger counterparts, they are clever, a bit stubborn and very social. They are often kept as pets but also used as special service animals or utilized for animal based therapy.They really enjoy being a part of a group.
Male miniatures are called “jacks” and females are called “jennets.” Their coats come in a few color variations, with the most common being gray or chocolate in color. Known as being hardy, they can live up to 30 years.