Posts tagged ‘Burrow’

Is the prairie dog really a dog?

Prairie Dog

No, despite its name and its barking call, the prairie dog is actually a member of the ground squirrel family.  The prairie dog lives in underground burrows in the western United States. These burrows have so many tunnels that people refer to them as towns.

Hundreds of prairie dog families may live in these towns.  A mound of dirt surrounds the entrance to each burrow.  A prairie dog usually stands guard at the entrance to its burrow.  If it spots danger, the prairie dog barks loudly, and they all scramble to their homes for safety.–Dick Rogers

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Is the sea anemone a plant or an animal?

When it is time to feed, the sea anemone will open up like a flower.

The sea anemone (pronounced “un NEM oh nee”) is a strange sea animal whose many graceful tentacles (tiny arms) often look like the petals of a flower.

Sea Anemone

A cluster of sea anemones looks very much like an undersea garden of brightly colored, red, purple, green, and blue blossoms.

Although sea anemones may look like harmless flowers, their touch means death to small fishes and other small sea creatures.

When a small fish happens to swim too close to the sea anemone and touch the tentacles, tiny, needle-like poisoned threads shoot out of the tentacles and sting the fish.

Then the tentacles drag the helpless prey into the sea anemone’s mouth.

The foot of the sea anemone allows it to slide about slowly on rocks.  But usually, they anchor themselves by gripping rocks, shells, or burrow into the sandy floor of the ocean.

Then a sea anemone is disturbed, it pulls its tentacles inside the body.  It then looks like a round lump on the rock. – Dick Rogers

Are tarantulas poisonous?

In the United Stales, any large, hairy spider is popularly called a tarantula.  It looks fierce but it is not as dangerous as it looks.  Its bite is no more harmful to man than that of most other spiders found in the United States.  But it can inflict a painful wound in self-defense.

Tarantula

Most tarantulas make homes in deep burrows.  They come out at night to look for food, and lie hidden among the leaves or in the burrow.  When an insect comes along, the tarantula rushes out and bites it, and then drags it into its burrow.

During the winter, the tarantula shuts itself up in its home with a silken door.  The tarantula gets its name from a large wolf spider found near Taranto, a town in Italy.

Long ago, it was believed that people bitten by this spider came ill with a disease called “tarantism.”   The cure was said to be for the victim to dance and skip about to music until he became well.  From this old belief came the tarantella, a lively Italian folk dance. – Dick Rogers

What is a prairie dog?

Prairie Dog

The prairie dog is not a dog.  It is a member of the ground-squirrel family.

This foot-long squirrel is usually called a prairie dog because it has a shrill bark much like that of a dog.

Prairie dogs live on the prairies of the western part of North America from Canada to Mexico.

A prairie dog builds it home by digging a tunnel which goes almost straight down for a dozen feet or more.  At the bottom of the tunnel it hollows out several rooms for sleeping and for storing food.  At the entrance, for sleeping and for storing food.  At the entrance, the prairie dog make a mound of earth to keep out rain water.Bu

Prairie dogs live in colonies, often called “town.”   Hundreds of families may live in these towns.  The prairie dog stands guard at the entrance to its burrow.  If an enemy approaches, it barks of their homes.  Prairie dogs feed on grass and other vegetation on the dry prairie when they live. – Dick Rogers

What is a polecat?

A polecat is a weasel-like animal that is closely related to the North American skunk.  Polecats make their home in most parts of Europe and Asia.

The common polecat may grow to be almost two feet long.  Its dark fur is long and loose.

The polecat lives in a burrow and hunts for its food at night.  It eats rats, snakes, rabbits, and any other small animal it can catch—especially poultry.

In fact, the “pole” in the polecat’s name probably comes from the French word “poule,” meaning “a hen” because of its fondness for chickens and other poultry.

Polecat

The polecat is usually bloodthirsty and will often kill much more than it can eat in one meal.

Like the skunk, it is equipped with special scent glands under the tail which emit a foul-smelling fluid when the polecat is alarmed.

In the United States, the skunk is sometimes wrongly called a polecat.  – Dick Rogers

 

What is a Ferret?

The ferret is a small, furry animal that is closely related to the weasel.

The black-footed ferret makes its home among the prairie-dog towns on the western Great plains of the United States.

It is about two feet long, pale buff in color, and its feet and the tip of its tail are black.  A black band across its pink eyes looks like a mask.

Ferret

The black-footed ferret preys on prairie dogs, which it catches by boldly following the victim into its burrow.

It can twist and band its long, slim body like a snake to enter the prairie-dog hole and often uses the former occupant’s home as its own nest.

In some parts of Europe, ferrets are used by hunters to drive wild rabbits and other animals from their burrows.

Today, black-footed ferrets are becoming rare.  Since the prairie dog, its main source of food, is quickly disappearing, the black-footed ferret likewise faces possible extinction.  – Dick Rogers

 

What are puffins?

Puffin

Puffins are comical-looking sea birds of the north Atlantic Ocean.  Puffins are sometimes called sea parrots, these plump, short-winged sea birds are one of the world’s oddest-looking birds.

A white face with blue lines around the eyes and a comical waddle make the common puffin look like a circus clown.  Its enormous beak, colored with red, blue, and yellow bands, is nearly as large as its head.

The gaudy colors of the male puffin’s beak are just for show.  They are really colored growths that drop off after the nesting season.

Despite its comical appearance, the puffin is an expert flier and swimmer.  Puffins can actually swim underwater in pursuit of their prey.  A puffin can catch several fish, one after another, and carry them dangling crosswise in its beak to its nestling.

Puffins nest in large colonies on rocky coasts.  One white egg island in a burrow or crevice in the rocks at nestling time. – Dick Rogers