April 15, 2011

Gentle Giants ~ Elephants My grandma's favorite animal is the Elephant! And they are one of mine, too! They are very beautiful! I love how wise they look and how they are all about family! They all love one another! Fact #1 Despite the size of ears, the elephant’s hearing is poor and elephant's eyes are small and its eyesight is poor as well. African elephants' ears are used to aid ventilation. One of the softest parts of their body is at the back of the ears, which is called the knuckle. Elephant trainers, called Mahouts, use their feet to steer or give commands to the animal via the knuckle at the back of the ears. Fact #2 African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.) Fact #3 An elephant's trunk is actually a long nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things—especially a potential meal. The trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles. African elephants have two finger like features on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items. (Asian elephants have one.) Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating alone! They consume as much as 495 pounds of food per day! Fact #4 Life Span - elephants can live for up to 70 years! Fact #5 They live in tight social units led by an older matriarch and males leave the herd between the age of 12 and 15. Fact #6 Elephants normally walk about 4 mph and are able to swim for long distances! Fact #7 Their tusks are made of ivory and are actually enormously enlarged incisors. Fact #8 They have the largest brains in the animal kingdom! Fact #9 Walking at a normal pace an elephant covers about 2 to 4 miles an hour (3 to 6 km/h) but they can reach 24 miles an hour (40 km/h) at full speed. Fact #10 An elephant's skin is extremely tough around most parts of its body and measures about 2.5 cm (1 in) thick. --
Crocodiles ... The Snappy Truth Fact #1 Unlike most other reptiles, crocodiles do not shed their skin but grow into it instead. Fact #2 If a mother crocodile senses danger to her young, she can protect them by putting them in the gular pouch inside her mouth. Young crocodiles do not remain with their mothers beyond two years. Fact #3 The easiest way to tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is by the teeth. When an alligator closes its mouth all of the teeth fit inside and none are exposed. When a crocodile closes its mouth one tooth on each side remains exposed. Also, alligators are darker. Crocodiles have a lighter skin that is grayish green. Fact #4 Crocodiles don’t have litters of babies they have nests of eggs! These are called “clutches.” Some crocs will dig from 10-30 feet into a creek bank to make a burrow for their nest. Then they create a hidden entrance that is at the water line or just below. A clutch can have as little as 8 eggs or as many as 80! Fact #5 The jaws of a croc can exert 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. They break through both bones and flesh! Fact #6 New born crocs are 10 inches long! The mother will carry them from the nest to the water. They grow 12 inches a year and can live up to 45 years and longer in captivity. In Madagascar the crocodile was almost extinct due to hunting them for their skins. Other threats are from fishermen’s nets and habitat loss. Fact #7 Crocodiles have the ability to keep their eyes open under water and close their nostrils while under water. Fact #8 Crocodiles also have special glands in their tongues that can get rid of excess salt, so they tend to live in saltwater habitats. Alligators have these glands, too, but they don't work as well as the crocodiles, so alligators prefer to live in freshwater habitats. Fact #9 When fish are migrating, crocs may hunt cooperatively by forming a semi-circle across the river and herding the fish. They then eat the fish that are closest to them. Fact #10 The first species of crocodiles appeared 240 million years ago and are said to have evolved from dinosaurs. This is the same time the Dinosaurs existed. They are closely related to dinosaurs and birds than other reptiles.

Araya & Avery

Araya and Avery are young equestrians and entrepreneurs with a passion for life!

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