Posts tagged ‘Ponds’

What is salamander?

A salamander is a harmless creature that looks like a lizard, but it is related to the frogs and toads.

Salamanders’ bodies and long tails make them look so much like lizards that they are often mistaken for them.   It is easy to tell them apart.  Lizards are covered with dry scales.

Salamander

Salamander has smooth, shiny skin that always looks wet.  Salamanders are timid, harmless creature.  They love to live in streams and ponds, on land beneath stones and rotting logs where it is cool, dark and moist.

They live in a stream or a pond as tadpoles and breathe with gills like fish.  But when grown-up, they have  legs and come ashore and breathe air with lungs.  Salamanders have a special name because they start life in the water then crawl out onto land.  They are called “amphibians,” which means “leading a double life.”

There are many kinds of salamanders.  Mud puppies, newts, and hellbenders are the names of the few.  Not all salamander live a double life.  The mud puppies and hellbenders spend their entire life in the water.  – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why do beavers build dams?

Beavers build dams to create ponds in which to build their beaver lodges.  Beavers are brown-furred animals with flat, paddle-like tails.  They live in ponds and streams.  Beavers are known for their skill at cutting down trees with their sharp teeth and building dams.

Beaver

The purpose of the beaver dam is to hold back water and make it form a pond in which the beaver can live.

To build its dam, the beaver gnaws downs trees and drags and floats them to the dam site.  It fastens the logs and twigs in place with rocks and mud until a strong barrier is built.

An ordinary beaver dam may be a 5 feet high and 200 or more feet long.

The beaver builds its lodge with branches and mud, too.  A beaver’s lodge looks like a pile of sticks in the pond.  It is really a one-room house.  The floor of the room is just above the water line.  To enter, the beaver must swim through an underwater door in the floor.  Inside the lodge, protected by thick walls and by underwater doors, the beaver is safe from most enemies.  – 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 a dragonfly?

A dragonfly is a graceful, swift-flying insect with a long, slender body and four filmy wings.

Dragonflies are found in almost all parts of the world and are frequently seen on warm summer days patrolling the edges of ponds and streams as they look for food.

Dragonfly

Large, compound eyes made up of many tiny eyes cover most of the dragonfly’s head.  With these big eyes it can see its prey easily.

As it flies through the air, the dragonfly holds its legs together to form a basket in which to capture mosquitoes, flies and other insects.

The female dragonfly drops its eggs in the water where they hatch into wingless larvae, called nymphs.  The young dragonflies live in the water from one to three years,  then become adult dragonflies.

Because of many old superstitions, dragonflies sometimes are called devil’s darning needles, snake doctors and mule killers. – Dick Rogers

How did the mute swan get its name?

Swan

The mute swan is a large, graceful water bird with a long slender, curving neck and snowy white feathers.  Mute swans are the kind most often seen on the ponds in parks and in zoos.

The mute swan does, however, hiss when it is angry and makes a low “barking” sound when calling its young.

The male swan is called a cob and the female a pen.

Her brownish-gray bales are called cygnets (pronounced SIG nits).  They become white by the time they are a year old.

Hans Christians Anderson’s story “The Ugly Duckling” is about a cygnet who thinks it is just an ugly duckling—until it grows up to be a beautiful swan.

Swans feed mainly on plants that they nip from the bottom of ponds and shallow takes were they spend so much time. – Dick Rogers

What is a leech?

Leech

Some swamps and ponds contain leeches, worms that can cling to fishes, animals and ever to persons.  Leeches may grow from ½-inch to 4 or more inches long.

Like many worms, they have soft, flat bodies divided into segments.  On the leech’s head is a sucker like mouth equipped with three saw-shaped teeth.  A second sucker is located at the hind end of the leech.

The leech attaches itself to the host by means of its suckers.  Then, with the mouth sucker, it sucks up the blood through three little holes which it makes in the skin with its sharp teeth.

In a single meal a leech may eat three times its own weight in blood.  One meal may fast several months.

Not all leeches suck blood.  Some feed instead on worms and other small animals that live in the water.  During medieval times bloodsucking leeches were used by physicians to draw blood from patients in attempts to cure them. – Dick Rogers

What is a snapping turtle?

Snapping Turtle

The common snapping turtle of North America is a large bad tempered turtle having a powerful jaws which snap with great forces.  This tells us how the snapping turtle gets its name.

Snapping turtles live in muddy streams and swampy ponds.  A full-grown “snapper” may weigh 30 pounds and have a shell a foot long.

It may look clumsy, but it can move quickly on land and can make short leaps on its strong legs to snaps its food.

When this turtle is attacked, it snaps with lightning speed, its strong, sharp-edged jaws can inflict dangerous bites.

A close relative of a common snapper is the big alligator snapping turtles that lives in the rivers of the gulf states.  They are the biggest snappers of all.

A big one can weigh 140 pounds or more.  A snapping turtles shell can be 2 feet long and is covered with rows of bumps, much like the skin of a real alligator. – Dick Rogers