Archive for October, 2012

What are deer antlers made of?

Deer Antler

Deer are the only animals with antlers.  Antlers are solid bone growing from the foreheads of male deer and both male and female reindeer.  The male deer (“buck”) uses his antlers in mating season to fight other bucks, and sheds his antlers seasonally.

When new, antlers are soft and tender, and covered with furry skin called velvet.  The antlers quickly turn bony and hard and the velvet rubs off.  A young male’s first antlers look like straight spikes.  Older males have antlers with many braches, called points. – Dick Rogers

How do snakes move?

Snake

Despite the fact that they have no legs, snakes are able to move and get along very well indeed.  Most snakes slither along in a serpentine motion—pushing against the ground and weaving forward in  a series of graceful, S-shaped curves.

Many large, heavy snakes crawl straight ahead like a caterpillar, pushing with their belly scales and humping along.

Snakes called “sidewinders” live in the desert where the sand is too loose to push against.   This kind of snake moves in a series of sideways loops.

Snakes climb well, too.  And, oddly enough, they all can swim. – Dick Rogers

Why do fish swim in schools?

School of Fish

Some fish swim alone; others stay in groups known as “schools” or “shoals.”  A school of fish swims in formation, moving and turning with great precision.  The old saying that there is safety in numbers can be observed here.  Not only are many eyes better than one in watching for enemies, but when threatened, a school of fish scatters in all directions.

Since the predator must choose which fish, to pursue, usually only one fish is likely to be caught—a small price to pay for the survival of the group.  Schooling also insures reproduction and eases the task of food gathering. – Dick Rogers

Why do mosquito bites itch?

Mosquito Bite

The itchy welt you get from a mosquito bite is caused by an irritating saliva that the mosquito injects into your skin.  When a mosquito “bites,” it stabs its sharp snout into the victim’s skin.  While biting, the mosquito injects saliva into the wound.  The saliva mixes with the blood and keeps it from clotting and clogging up the mosquito’s thin snout.

Most persons are allergic to the mosquito’s saliva, and an itching well forms on the skin.  Only the female mosquito feeds on blood.  When does so because she needs blood for the development of the eggs inside her body. – Dick Rogers

How does a cow make its milk?

Milking Cow

A cow’s milk is made in a baggy organ called an “udder,” which hangs from its stomach Part of a cow’s diet of grass and grain is used as nourishment for itself, and part of it becomes milk.  Inside the cow’s udder are special milk-making cells that take food materials from the cow’s blood and turn them into milk.

The udder has four sections that hold the milk.  When a cow is milked, the milk squirts out through large nipples called “teats.”  Dairy cows are milked at least twice a day.  Champion dairy cows give over 50 quarts of milk each day. – Dick Rogers

Can dogs see colors?

Dog

Our world about us is so filled with color that it is hard to believe that dogs cannot see colors, at least by human standards.  What dogs probably do see is the world in black and white and many shades of gray—much like what you see when you watch a color television program on an ordinary black-and-white TV screen.

Cats, mice, horses and cattle cannot tell one color from another, and neither can deer or most other wild animals active at night.  During the evening, when the world is a shadowy, colorless place, the ability to see colors is not important for survival. – Dick Rogers

How did the butterfly get its name?

Butterfly

No one knows for sure how the butterfly got its name.  But there are many popular ideas.  One is that the butterfly’s name came from “flutterby,” so-called because of its fluttering flight.  Some people believe that the insect is so named because many butterflies have the color of butter.

Yet another idea is that the belief that butterflies stole milk and butter.  The scientific name for the butterfly family is “Lepidoptera.”  This name comes from Greek words meaning “scaly wings.”  The wings of butterflies are covered with dust-like scales. – Dick Rogers