Amazing Alpacas!

3 Aug

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I am writing about Alpacas because we went camping at Honey Bear Campground in Boone, North Carolina. They had Alpacas and goats. I like the Alpacas because they are fuzzy, sweet and nice.   After I spent time with them I think they started to recognize me and one time they started to make a crying sound when I left. Mostly they made a humming sound.

Alpacas look cute because they have big eyes and a cute face. Alpacas have been domesticated for over 1000 years.

Alpacas are native to South America. The alpacas were domesticated by the Incas. Their wool kept them warm in the high mountain air. They also used their dung as fuel.

They weigh 100 – 170 pounds. They live to be about 20 years old.

They are ruminants . This means they are cud chewing animals. They like to eat mainly hay, grass and ferns.

In 1984 some importers brought a herd of Alpacas to the United States. The herd has grown from zoos to private farms of almost 20,000. There are two types of Alpacas in the world. Huacaya and Suri. Suri have long fur that makes dreadlocks and the Huacaya has wooly thick fur like a teddy bear. Most of the alpacas in North America are Huacayas.

Other interesting facts

Alpacas have a community dung pile. Aka they all poop in one area. I’ve heard they have even been house trained.

They can breed with Llamas

Alpaca fur is soft and the wool is water repellant and mostly fire proof! A lot of people like the wool for coats, sweaters and blankets. Their wool comes in 16 colors and doesn’t have to be dyed with chemicals.

They make weird sounds that is hum and haw and orgle. The unique sound of orgleing is made by the male during breeding season.

 

I hope you like this. And I hope you like the pictures. Alpacas are really amazing and they are our fuzzy friends.

Go crazy for animals!

Dylan

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Inside the Owl!

7 Jul
At the BHI Conservancy

At the BHI Conservancy

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I am writing about owls and what they eat. I went to Bald Head Island and dissected an owl pellet. An owl pellet is the stuff that an owl throws up that they can’t digest.  It was really cool to find what an owl eats like a mouse skull and bird beaks inside the owl pellet. My brother found a large rodent leg that was still connected and moved!

We learned about owls. They are a very interesting bird because they are predators. They have forward facing eyes and ear holes. They have something called a facial disk. These are special feathers around the eyes that pick up sounds and light.

The smallest owl ever recorded was one ounce. Its length was 5 inches. This is the elf owl. The Great Grey owl is the largest owl every recorded. It is about 28 inches long.

Owls do not make any kind of sound when flying. This plus their strong beak and talons make them very good predators.  They like to eat rodents and other birds.

interesting facts:

  • A group of owls is called a parliament.
  • Owls lay eggs with an interval of 1-3 days.
  • Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees.
  • Owls do not see things that are close to them very well.
  • You can recognize a barn owl by it’s heart shaped face.
  • On Bald Head there are five owl species.

I hope you get to see an owl soon. They are in my neighbor hood and we can hear them sometimes at night.

Go crazy for animals!

 

from Dylan

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Dylan

Curious Cats

9 Mar

spca twinsspca 1spca 2I am writing about cats because I have volunteered at the Wake County SPCA Pet Adoption Center. My sister, Mary Jordan and I are  both Cat Matchmakers.  Cat Match Makers help clean up after the cats and also helps to pair a potential adopter with the right kitty to love. I like it because you get to see all the cute kittens and cats and you get to play with them. Every cat is different in the way they look and act and they have a personality. A match maker has to match the personalities as well as the best home for the cat. My cat Flip was adopted from the SPCA and he is a total SPAZ. He has a lot of energy and he fits our family well.

Some interesting facts about cats are there are 500 million domestic cats in the world. A group of cats is called a clowder. A boy cat is called a tom. A girl is called a Molly or a queen. My Labrador retriever is named Molly so maybe that is why Flip and the dog get along well. Hmm?

The heaviest domestic cat on record is 46 pounds and 15.2 ounces. That is a fat cat. I think this is more than Garfield, one of my favorite cartoons.

Cats live 12 to 15 years. They lick themselves alot to keep clean.

Did you know:

  • Calico cats are always female?
  • Cats act like they are making muffins when they are happy.
  • Cats can run up to 30 miles per hour.
  • Cats can not taste anything sweet.
  • A group of kittens is called a kindle.

These are some pictures of the cats we met at the SPCA. The cat lying on the laptop is our crazy cat Flip.

All cats at the SPCA have had shots and have been checked out to be healthy. Cats come there from owners who give them up or they may have been strays. The SPCA adoption center does not kill animals. The link to their website is below.

www.spcawake.org

So go cuddle with some kitties – they will make your day.

Go Crazy for animals!

Dylan

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Precious Puggles!

6 Feb

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I love Puggles because they are very energetic and their coat is very fine and silky. A Puggle is a dog that is a cross between a Pug and a Beagle. It is often called a designer dog which is mixed breeds. The Puggle was first bred in the 1990s.  They have the wrinkles of a Pug and the long muzzle and ears of a Beagle. I think the longer muzzle must make breathing easier. Most Puggles are 13-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 18-30 pounds. The toy size Puggles only weigh 8- 17 pounds.

I have a Puggle and he is 3 months old. He is like the Beagle and has a lot a energy. When he is tired he snores like a Pug. He really cute so you can’t be mad at him if he is naughty. Another cool thing is that his skin is too big for his body. So if you grab his back you get a handful of skin and it makes him harder to hold if he is wiggly.

Puggles may be stubborn to train so we are taking a puppy class. Puggles also like to dig and they act like they are always hungry. They gobble their food. If you have a Puggle make sure you don’t overfeed them.

To get a healthy dog never by a puppy from a irresponsible breeder or a puppy mill. Do you research like we did!

An interesting fact about a Puggle is that they can be howlers and a tendency to wander. Our Puggle also has a tendency to find my Mom’s red boots and poop on them.

I hope you get a chance to hug a Puggle sometime.

Go Crazy for Animals!

Dylan

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Writing about Rudolph!

23 Dec

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I’m writing about reindeer. They are big, furry creatures with hooves that live in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Northern Europe and Asia and the North Pole. Did you that you know that caribou and reindeer are the same creature?

I like reindeer because they have inspired many holidays around the world and they are cute. Santa’s reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen,and Rudolph. I like Vixen the best.  Do you know which one is the cleanest?  COMET! ha ha.

Reindeer eat leaves, lichen and fungi. They are herbivores. They grow 4-7 feet long and up to 59 inches tall at the shoulder. They are unique because the female has antlers and is the only deer where the female has antlers. They shed the antlers in the winter.

Baby reindeer are called calves and they can walk an hour after they are born. And did you know that reindeer milk has more fat than cow milk? All the females in the herd give birth at the same time so there are lots of friends to play reindeer games with. Sometimes a herd can be as big as 500,000 reindeer!baby-reindeer-at-prague-zoo2-web__oPt

Caribou   reindeer migrate and travel over 1,600 miles in a year. That’s a lot of walking!

Interesting facts:

**  No two reindeer antlers are alike – just like fingerprints!

**Their antlers can grow up to five feet tall!

So make sure you leave some treats for the reindeer if they come to your house on Christmas eve. I leave carrots and oatmeal.

Go crazy for animals! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Dylan

Sharks are shocking

8 Nov

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When I went to Bald Head Island I had no idea I would have this cool experience. Today we visited the Bald Head Island Conservancy. We dissected a dogfish shark. It was fun, stinky and interesting. The most interesting part was the eyes. They are hard round balls. I saved mine in my glove to take home.

The dogfish shark lives off the coast of Cape Cod and travels down to North Carolina.The spiny dogfish shark is the most abundant shark. It is used by people as food, fertilizer, hide, pet food, and liver oil. Sadly some people cut off shark fins to make shark fin soup and they just kill the shark.

The dogfish shark is found worldwide in temperate and subarctic areas.The spiny dogfish shark bears live young. The time to make a baby shark called gestation period is the longest of any vertebrate, about 18 to 24 months. This is longer than elephants or whales. The dogfish shark can live up to 100 years.

Cool facts:

  • Did you know that sharks have a sixth sense?  They can feel electric current and sense if another animal is within one mile. This plus their speed makes them the most efficient hunters.
  • They have teeth that will regenerate. They can make thousands of teeth. My brother said that a shark tooth fairy must be very busy.
  • There are only two chambers in their heart and the liver is the biggest organ because it is like an air bladder too . It keeps them afloat and produces oil.

There are 100s of species of sharks and many are endangered. This is mainly because of over hunting by people. Only 8 people a year are killed by sharks but people think it’s a lot more.  Millions and millions of sharks are killed by people every year. Did you know you are more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than a shark? I wonder if Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island knew this?

My new friend Jimmy from the Bald Head conservancy likes Thresher sharks the best because their tail is as big as their body and they can smack their food with their tail to kill it. He also likes the tiger shark.  I like nurse sharks the best because they are really big and I like the way they inhale to eat their food.

When we dissected the shark we saw poop before it was even made into poop. My sister, Mary Jordan, got squirted by eye juice and screamed but kept on going! She is brave.

We saw a video about a Goblin shark where its jaw popped out. This is another cool shark trick they can do.  Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh_HUIJkRzU

It was an awesome experience and a great way to learn more about sharks.

Go crazy for animals!

Dylan

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The exotic tiny opossum

3 Sep

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sergio possum

I am writing about mini short tail opossums because we have one named Sergio, Jr. . He is almost five months old now and is about five inches long. He is really cool because he is small but he has a big attitude. He has an unusual personality. He is very calm during the day but crazy at night. He likes to run in  a metal wheel and he likes to eat eggs, grapes, cat food, raspberries. Eggs are his favorite.  He likes to sleep in an oven mitt.

Miniatures possums do not have a pouch. They are marsupials that are native to Brazil. They live about 4 years. Our last Miniature Possum, Sergio Sr lived over 5 years. They have a prehensile tail which is like a fifth arm. It can hold onto things like wrap around your finger. but if you try to get him to hang upside down he will poop.

Some possums play dead when they are scared. Sergio will just hiss at our cat and hide.

They can be gray or brown.  They have soft fur except the tail is hairless. They are also good about pooping and use a small litter box.

They also have really cute feet.

In the wild the short tailed miniature possum will eat frogs, reptiles, fruit and invertebrates. They have long noses to search for food and they can pounce on the food and bite with their very sharp teeth. We know they sharp teeth because Sergio bit my brother Zack and my Mom when he was scared.

Nocturnal means they are awake at night so if our house is never quiet!

I hope you go crazy for animals. Animals are really cool.  Don’t forget NC STATE has their Dog Olympics coming up soon in September! I am looking forward to seeing some puppies and some super cool dogs.

Dylan

(some edit help by Mom the family zookeeper)

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