Archive for June, 2010

What are elephants’ tusks made of?

Elephant Tusk

An elephant’s tusks are really two overgrown teeth.

The elephant’s tusks are really teeth that are too long to fit its mouth.  They are made out of a hard, tooth like material known as ivory.

The African elephants grow the biggest tusks of all.  Many tusks are taller than a tall man and may weigh 80 pounds each.  Elephants use their tusks as tools to dig up roots to eat and for fighting.  With them, they can also fit and carry heavy loads weighing as much as a ton.

Young elephants grow small baby tusks called milk tusks, which are never more than two inches long, and shed them by the time they are two years old.  Then the permanent tusks grow in and continue to grow as long as the elephant lives.

Some other tusked animals are the hippopotamus, walrus and the wild boar.  You can see the hippopotamus-great tusks only when it opens it enormous mouth.  The walrus digs out food from the ocean bottom with its sharp tusks and the wild boar uses its powerful curved tusks for fighting and for rooting up tender roots and bulbs to eat. – Dick Rogers

 

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Where do insects go in the winter?

Tiny Living Things

Many insects die when winter approaches.  But some live through the cold by hibernating.

Have you noticed that insects seems to disappears in the fall?  Where do the butterflies and bees go during the winter?

Cold weather sends the ant scurrying into its underground home.

The cricket sleeps all winter in a little crack in the ground.  We say it hibernates.

Some other insects hibernate, too.  The moth caterpillar spends the winter wrapped, snuggly in its cocoon.  By spring, it has changed into a moth, which breaks out of the cocoon and flies away.

In the fall, the orange and black monarch butterfly flies south to warmer country.  It migrates.

Ladybugs migrates, too

Bumblebees die at the end of summer and only the queen bumblebee lives through the winter to start in new colony in the spring.

Honeybees are luckier.  They huddle together for warmth in their beehive and eat the honey they collected during  the summer.

Most other insects die with the first frosts, but they leave behind large numbers of insect eggs to hatch in the spring.  – Dick Rogers

How do opossums rear their young?

Opossum

Newborn opossums are reared in a pouch on the mother’s stomach, when they are old enough to leave the pouch.  The mother carries them on her back.

Opossums are furry animals that look something like an overgrown rat.  They can be found living in many parts of North America.

The way in which the opossum rears its young sets it apart from all other American animals.  Opossums are marsupials – that is, a baby opossum grows up in a pouch on its mother’s stomach, like a baby kangaroo.

Baby opossums are tiny and helpless when they are born.

Four to 18 babies may be born at one time.  Each baby is no longer than your thumbnail.

The babies at once crawl into the mother’s pouch.  The babies stay safe and snug in the pouch , feeding on the mother’s milk until they are big enough to live outside the pouch.

After they leave the pouch, the baby opossums ride around on the mother’s back until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

When fully grown, an opossum is about the size of a common house cat.  – Dick Rogers