Happy new year! To start the year off right, let’s focus on an animal who symbolizes strength and courage — the lion! After tigers, lions are the second largest cat species in the entire world. Typically, they live in eastern and southern Africa. They can run up to 50 miles per hour, and when lions roar, you can even hear the sound from five miles away.
Lions live in groups called prides. While lions are known as the “King of the Jungle,” it is the lionesses do much of the work in the pride. They are the better hunters, so they spend their time hunting and gathering food for themselves and the rest of their pride.
As we mentioned earlier, lions symbolize strength and courage. They also represent the power to overcome all of life’s difficulties. Since these are admirable qualities for anyone to have, lions are the perfect animals to keep in mind throughout 2017 and any year!
By this point in the holiday season, you have probably heard “The Twelve Days of Christmas” already. One of the most memorable lyrics from it is “…two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.” Instead of just singing about turtle doves, we figured it would be fun to learn a bit more about these birds!
European turtle doves, like the one pictured, are smaller than other dove species. They can grow up to eleven and a half inches in length, and their wingspan can be 21-22 inches long. They are brown, and on their necks you see a patch of black and white stripes.
These European turtle doves live in open wooded areas, and they eat on the ground. When there, they love to eat seeds. They also feast on fumitory, a plant with herbal qualities that help treat skin disease. It’s believed fumitory accounts for almost half of their diet!
When European turtle doves sing, the sound is a purr that sounds like “turr turr” when you hear it. As a matter of fact, that is how they got the name “turtle doves” — not from actual turtles. In case you ever wondered why you called the birds “turtle doves” every holiday season, then now you know! Be sure to let your friends know in case you go Christmas caroling this month!
Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here? While we may have no turkeys at Wild Animal Safari, there are hundreds of other animals you can come visit on Thanksgiving before or after your big meal. The park is open during its regular hours on Thursday. The tour bus is not running on Thursday, but it is running Friday through Sunday especially for the holiday weekend.
If the weather is too cool, then not all of the animals — like our giraffe Rose — will be out and about that day. However, we will still have plenty of animals for your family to greet, feed, and pet on Thursday. You’ll still be able to get some great pictures to share with your friends and family on social media, too. If you are too full to visit on Thanksgiving, then remember that we are also open during regular business hours for the entire holiday weekend. If you need a break from Black Friday shopping, then what better way to spend time away from the shopping craziness than with some really cool animals? Our bus is running all weekend as well.
We hope you choose to spend your holiday with us and the animals at the park, and again — happy Thanksgiving!
Since October is Halloween month, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of the scarier animals in the world!
The female black widow is famous for the trademark red hourglass marking on her abdomen. Once an insect is trapped in her web, she bites it quickly with her venom-filled fangs. This venom is filled with digestive enzymes, liquefying her insect corpse’s body. As deadly as she is, the female black widow is not aggressive towards humans unless she feels threatened.
The rattlesnake, meanwhile, is well-known for its warning rattle when it’s prepared to strike. It can grow up to eight feet in length, making it the largest venomous snake in the US. The rattlesnake comes with two heat-detecting pits under its nostrils, allowing it to hunt prey even in darkness. Its forked tongue acts as a navigational device, and its hinged-mouth can open 180 degrees — allowing it to swallow prey whole. The rattlesnake comes in many different patterns and colors, but each type shares its signature, rattling tail! The poison dart frog is brightly colored and looks harmless, its skin contains enough poison to kill an army of up to 20,000 mice. In fact, it only takes the amount of poison that would fit onto the end of a ballpoint pen to stop a large animal’s heart. As MC Hammer would say, you can’t touch this frog!
The park is finally getting a baby tiger! Our sister park in Missouri is sending us this White Bengal Tiger. We are so happy to get this little ball of cuteness, and you can see the baby tiger at the park very soon. We will announce on our social media pages when this baby is ready for the public, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for when we make that announcement. We are so excited to have a baby tiger at the park, and we hope you come and welcome the cutie when it arrives!
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!