Boa Constrictor

Boa ConstrictorThis is Officer Fauna in southeast Asia. Yesterday I went on a nature hike to see some epic reptiles and snakes. As I was hiking, I was barely able to see a boa constrictor that was hiding up in the branches of the forest canopy. Its scales disguised it as just another branch. I estimated its length at 15 feet. It looked like it was waiting for some prey–perhaps a rat or other small animal. I was surprised by its ability to bend 180 degrees and look behind itself. After a little while, it decided to seek its meal elsewhere. It easily slipped through the branches as it left. After a little more walking, I saw a different constrictor that had just caught something and was squeezing it to death. It was a gruesome sight, but each creature has its own way of eating. So I decided to stay and watch how it swallowed its meal whole. I think next week I should find some herbivores to observe…

Posted by: OFFICER FAUNA

Tasmanian Devils

100916-tasmaniandevilIt was a long flight from Canada to Australia. But I can probably see some cool animals. My plane landed in Hobart, on the island of Tasmania. I chose this spot so I could get to one of the national parks sooner, and I started my explorations in Tasman National Park. As I was walking on a trail, I saw a black ball of fur asleep under some bushes. I wondered if this could be the creature I had been researching in Canada, the famous Tasmanian Devil. From a closer distance, I could see some white fur in the middle of the black. Yes! It is the Tasmanian Devil! Only found in this part of the world, this carnivorous marsupial has a gigantic appetite. As it eats bugs, birds, small mammals, and other animals, it never leaves one shred of its food behind, including bones, fiber, fur and fluff. I had read that they only hunt at night, so I didn’t expect to see anything eaten right now. Perhaps if I come back tonight, I’ll hear their devilish screeches as they hunt for their next feast. See you next time in Southeast Asia with some reptilian research.

Posted by: OFFICER FAUNA

The Olympic Games

olympic-torch-greeceThe Olympics is one of the most well known tournaments in the world. Ever wondered where it came from? It came from Greece. People came from all around to see the competition. The Olympics started because people thought the gods liked it. The winner of each event got a laurel wreath, which was basically a crown of leaves. One time, a runner lost his loincloth and kept running. Then the Greeks decided the men that competed in events in the Olympics would run without clothing. I know – disgusting! The Greeks held the Olympics every four years, just like we do today.

Posted by: TIME TRAVELER

Beavers!

beaver-carbon-storage-537x405This is Officer Fauna in the woodlands of northern Canada. I’ve been seeing a lot of animals, including many water-dwellers that live in rivers and streams. I’ve spied a few deer, and I’m guessing there are many more deeper in the brush. Beavers are pretty common because I’ve seen at least five just this morning. I even saw a tree fall down due to a beaver gnawing so much of the trunk that it cracked and fell! And I’ve seen a beaver dam. As I looked closer, I could see that there was at least one entrance to the lodge. When I walked farther down the stream, I observed another engineering beaver building its dam. It used mud to help the sticks adhere to the dam. But when it saw me, it quickly slapped its tail in the water to warn all of the other beavers of danger, and it swam away so quickly that my observations were interrupted. As it disappeared beneath the water, I could see that it had a broad, flat tail, unlike other rodents. Seeing the cozy lodges of the beavers, I decided to rejoin my dad in our cozy little house in the woods. Maybe I’ll curl up by the fire and do some research on Tasmania. I can’t wait to learn about the fascinating marsupials that live there.

Posted by: OFFICER FAUNA

The Great Plains of Africa

cute-giraffe-wallpapersThis is Officer Fauna in the Great Plains of Africa with some intriguing facts about animals. I was out in my jeep late in the afternoon when I heard a big roar that I estimated was coming from about a mile away. So I decided to investigate and see what I might encounter. When I got close enough, I spotted some lions on the hunt for some zebra. The large-rumped zebras hadn’t noticed the lions yet, so they were still grazing on patches of sweet grass. Suddenly I saw the lions jump out from the bushes and attack. It was a long chase, but after a little while they caught one and started to enjoy their bloody feast. As the lions were eating, some hyenas came along and decided they wanted to have some, too. They attempted to join the feast, but the hungry lions didn’t want to share and turned their attention to getting the hyenas away. The lions had an advantage because their thick manes protected them from the hyenas’ jaws. The hyenas retreated, whimpering from their war wounds. After that I decided to go on and see what else I could observe. I found some trees with giraffes nearby. As I watched them eat, I noticed that they all had curious blue tongues! Their very tall necks, made of many more neck bones than humans have, helped them reach the leafy, yummy leaves at the tops of the trees. They didn’t even seem to mind some thorns on the trees. I would guess that their tongue and the skin in their mouths is much tougher than the outer skin. And I discovered that though they all had brown spots, the patterns were unique to each giraffe. Just then I received a text from my father in the woodlands of Canada, asking if I could come for a visit. That’s where you’ll hear from me next!

Posted by: OFFICER FAUNA

Emperor Penguins

Emperor PenguinsReporting from Antarctica. The temperatures are hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. I was just on our research boat when I saw a large rookery of penguins. Knowing that penguins can range from one to five feet, and that Emperor penguins are the largest, I guessed that these were Emperor penguins. As I was getting off the boat, I saw some penguins hunting in the water for crustaceans, fish, and squid. They used their wings to propel themselves towards their food. I carefully stepped over rocks and snow to get a closer look at the penguins. As I got closer, I noticed steam rising from the center of the group. I had read that huddling penguins can create enough heat to produce steam. A few yards away, a bunch of other penguins were laying eggs or taking care of babies. The nests were made out of rocks, grass, and mud. When I approached the moms, a penguin squawked at me. I reassured her in my best penguin voice that I wasn’t there to take or scramble her eggs. The cold made me want to go back to the lab and continue my research about the warm and sunny great plains of Africa.

Posted by: OFFICER FAUNA

Imaginary Football: A Coral Reef Game

p013kyy0Welcome to todays imaginary football game! Today’s teams are the Sea Patriots and the Hula Turtles. The coaches are Mr. Biffle for the Sea Patriots and Sir Turtle for the Hula Turtles. Well, here come the fish (the fish are the audience). The football is made out of coral.  Today’s special stadium will be the coral reef.  Remember, don’t let the football touch the reef because you’ll lose it!  The seahorses (referees) are ready. The Sea Patriots are Mermen and the Hula Turtles are turtles, of course. Oh no! A shark swallowed the referee that was holding the football and the football is gone. We’ll have to make a new one. [Right after halftime…] It looks like the clams have opened up, letting out bubbles and it’s going to make it hard for the players to see. [After the bubbles have cleared…]  Well, it looks like that was a half an hour delay.  Let’s get the game going again! The Patriots will do a punt. [Half an hour later…] Well, it looks like that’s it folks.  The winners are the Hula Turtles! See you next time on imaginary football.

Posted by: THE DRAGON KEEPER