Posts tagged ‘Lakes’

What is a capybara?

We usually think of rodents only as small, gnawing creatures, such as squirrels, rats and mice.

But can you imagine a rodent as big as a large goat?  The capybara is.  In fact, it is the largest rodent living today.

When fully grown, a capybara may be as long as four feet and weigh over 100 pounds.

Capybara

It resembles an overgrown guinea pig.  Its thick body is covered with coarse, reddish-brown hair.  It has webbed toes and almost no tail.

This big, water-loving rodent lives along the banks and rivers and lakes in South America, where it feeds mainly on water plants and other vegetation.

At the slightest sign of danger, the shy capybara plunges into the water, often remaining below the surface for several minutes.

When resting on land it sits on its haunches like a dog.  The capybara’s voice is a low clicking sound.  It also makes sharp whistles and sometimes grunts like a pig. – Dick Rogers

 

How did the alligator get its name?

Alligator

The word “alligator” comes from the early Spanish name “El Lagarto.” Meaning “The Lizard.”

Alligator are large reftiles related to the crocodile.  They resemble lizards in their shape.

The early Spanish explorers, mistaking the reptile for a large lizard called it “el lagarto,” meaning “the lizard.”  The name changed in time to our modern word “alligator.’

The American alligator lives in the swamps, rivers and lakes of the southeastern United States.

The great body, covered with an armor of thick, leathery scales, may grow to be 12 feet or longer and weigh more than 400 pounds.  The huge powerful tail serves to drive the animal through the water.

Alligators are meat eaters.  They eat fish, shakes and turtles, and any other small animal they can catch.  They will even attack dogs or deer that come to the water’s edge to drink.

But unless frightened, even the largest alligator will usually leave people alone. – Dick Rogers

 

What are mollusks?

Mollusks

If you have ever collected shells at the seashore, probably most of the shells you found were once the homes of living animal called mollusks.

The most familiar mollusks are probably clams, oysters, octopuses, squids, snails and slugs.

Most mollusks are related, or alike, in certain ways.  Mollusks are soft-bodied animals without bones.

Most kinds of mollusks, including clams and oysters, have hard shells that protect their soft bodies.

Other kinds, such as cuttlefish and squids, have no shells that show.  A special shell grows inside their bodies.

Octopuses and some slugs have no shell at all.

Mollusks live in most parts of the world.  Some, such as snails and slugs, live on land.  Others are found in rivers, lakes and ponds.  But the greatest number of mollusks are ocean dwellers.

Mollusks furnish us with food.  Their shells are made into many products, including buttons and jewelry.  – Dick Rogers

 

What is an osprey?

The osprey is a large bird of prey that resembles the eagle.  A full-grown osprey may be 2 feet long with a wing-spread of nearly 6 feet.

It is dark brown above, white below, with enough white on its head to be easily mistaken for the bald eagle.

Osprey are found near rivers, lakes and sea-coasts all over the world.  A common name for the osprey is “fish hawk”  because it feeds almost entirely on fish.

Osprey

It fishes by flying over the water.  When it spots a fish swimming near the surface it dives feet-first, hits water with a great splash and seize the fish with its long, sharp talons.

Sea eagles often rob the osprey of its catch.  The eagle is not a very good fisherman.  When it spies an osprey with a fish, it swoops down and forces the osprey higher and higher until the osprey tires and drops the fish.

The eagle catches the fist in mid-air. – Dick Rogers

 

What is a sea lamprey?

Sea Lamprey

A sea lamprey (pronounced LAM pree) is an eel-like water creature.  It grows up to three feet long.  Its mouth is a cuplike sucker lined with sharp “teeth”.

Fishermen dread the sea lamprey because of its destructive eating habits.  It is a parasite—it eats other fish by attacking itself to the other fish with its strong sucker mouth.

It scrapes a hole in the fish with its teeth and tongue, which also has teeth, and then sucks the blood out of the fish.

A fish attacked by a sea lamprey usually will die.

Sea lampreys are normally saltwater creatures, but they swim up freshwater rivers and into lakes to spawn.

Sometimes they remain in the inland lakes and never go back to the sea.

When this happens, they can become serious pests.  Sea lampreys have destroyed many important food fishes, such as trout and mackerel, in the Great Lakes.-  Dick Rogers