What Is an Iguana?

Iguanas are a kind of lizard. They live in the hot portions of North and South America. Iguanas are very fierce-looking whether they are large or small, but they are actually peaceful, timid creatures. They like to lie in the sun and eat flowers, berries, and insects. Some iguanas grow to be 6.5 feet long, … Read more

Can Parrots Really Talk?

Although some parrots have been known to learn to speak as many as 50 words, the fact is that parrots are excellent mimics. When they speak, they are really only mimicking words and do not understand what they are saying. Don’t be fooled by the parrot who shrieks “Hello” when you come in, it might … Read more

Why Does a Woodpecker Peck Wood?

why does a woodpecker peck wood

The woodpecker pecks, or beats its strong bill, into tree trunks or limbs for several reasons. First, this rapid drumming is used as a mating call. Second, the pecking creates a hole for a nest, with the wood chips it leaves forming a cushion for the woodpecker’s eggs. But most of the woodpecker’s pecking is … Read more

Which Animal Plays Dead?

Playing Possum is a common expression which has its origin in fact. When faced with danger, the opossum, the animal’s real name, sinks to the ground and closes its eyes, as if dead. In this temporary coma, its breathing slows and it appears dead. But the opossum is not playing. That is the way it … Read more

Why Does the Kangaroo Have a Pouch?

The kangaroo, now the national symbol of Australia, belongs to the group of mammals called marsupials, meaning “pouched.” Female kangaroos have a pouch, like a bag with an elastic top, in which they keep their young for eight to nine months after they are born. Marsupials are mammals; all female mammals give birth to living … Read more

Can Ground Hogs Predict Weather?

Even though the ground hog, or woodchuck, has been given a special day, February 2, on which to make a weather prediction, this member of the squirrel family cannot predict the weather. In fact, the ground hog probably would rather not be awakened from its winter sleep. There is a widely held belief that the … Read more

Was There Ever Such a Bird as a Dodo?

The dodo was a large, handsome bird, about the size of a large turkey. It once lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The dodo had a large, rounded beak and a silly plumelike tail. Portuguese sailors discovered the dodo on the island in the early 1500s, but as a species, it … Read more

Does the Giraffe Have a Voice?

Most people think the giraffe is mute. But the giraffe does have a larynx, or voice box. Compared to other animals, though, the giraffe’s larynx is not very well developed. However, sometimes giraffes will grunt or bleat, or make other soft sounds. Giraffes in zoos have been heard to moo. Females sometimes moo when they … Read more

Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?

why do tigers have stripes

Along with lions, tigers are the largest members of the cat family. One of the most feared animals of the jungle, the tiger has no enemies except man. Tigers are native to the Asian continent. Although many peoples have legends to explain the tiger’s stripes, the reason is really the animal’s adaptation to its environment. … Read more

Why Don’t Spiders Get Caught in Their Own Webs?

Spiders use two different kinds of threads to spin their webs. One kind is sticky, and is used to catch the flies and insects spiders like to eat. The other kind of thread is a non-sticky, or silky, thread. It is on the non-sticky threads that the spider walks when it wants to get to … Read more

How Do Spiders Spin Webs?

All spiders produce silk threads which are used to construct their webs. The silk is produced in the spider’s silk glands with the help of organs called spinnerets. By using different spinnerets, the spider can decide whether the thread will be thick or thin, dry or sticky, beaded or smooth. When the silk is first … Read more

What Is a Shrew?

If you see a shrew in a field or marsh, you might mistake it for a mouse until you spot its long, sharp nose. The shrew is one of the smallest mammals, only 3 to 6 inches long, with some weighing no more than a penny. Shrews are covered with short, dark hair and live … Read more

Are Moles Blind?

Almost, but not quite. Since moles live in underground tunnels, which they burrow, or dig, themselves, they have no need to see well. Their eyes are small, and a layer of fur and skin droops over them. In other ways, too, the mole’s body is suited for burrowing. A mole’s large, strong front feet can … Read more

Will Wolves Attack Human Beings?

Although wolves do attack people, for the most part, they avoid them. However, these gray, black, or red dog-like animals are great hunters. First they howl to get their pack together. Sometimes a pack will consist of about six wolves, but together, they are enough to chase and tire a deer and then kill it. … Read more

Is the Rhinoceros Really Ill Tempered?

is the rhinoceros really ill tempered

It is not its temper that makes a rhinoceros charge an intruder, but its poor eyesight. If it cannot recognize something, it will take no chances, but rush at it like a living tank, fast and furiously, ready to bite. The “horn” at the end of the rhino’s long nose, which can vary from 1 … Read more

Do Scarecrows Really Scare Crows?

do scarecrows really scare crows

Many farmers still use scarecrows in their cornfields and gardens to scare away crows, but while this “make-believe man” might keep the large black birds away for a while, crows are really not easily frightened and soon return to the fields and even perch on the arms and head of the scarecrow. The old custom … Read more

Is There a Difference Between a Rabbit and a Hare?

is there a difference between a rabbit and a hare

Although rabbits and hares belong to the same family and look so much alike that they are mistaken for each other, there is a difference between them. The easiest time to notice this difference is at birth. Rabbits are born blind, without fur, and cannot move about. Their eyes open in about a week, and … Read more

Who Is the Best Smeller in the Insect World?

who is the best smeller in the insect world

The keenest sense of smell in the insect world, and in fact in all nature, belongs to the male silkworm moth. This valuable moth uses its two antennae mainly to locate the female and can detect her signal, or smell, up to 6.8 miles away, amazing for an insect only about 1 inch long.

How Do Silkworms Make Silk?

how do silkworms make silk

The caterpillars of the silkworm moth are the remarkable creatures responsible for making the threads from which man manufactures shiny, beautiful silk cloth. Today, almost all silk is cultivated on silk farms in Japan, China, and other countries of the Far East, where mulberry trees grow, since it is the leaves of this tree which … Read more

Why Do Moths Eat Wool?

why do moths eat wool

For the very sensible reason that they’re hungry and they like the taste of wool. The eaters are actually the larvae, or caterpillar stage the moths go through before they get their wings. The caterpillars have mouths with strong, biting jaws that can chew cloth and fur. When the caterpillar changes into a winged creature, … Read more

Which Animal Defends Itself By Spitting?

which animal defends itself by spitting

The llama is the animal which defends itself by spitting. Llamas spit bad-smelling saliva through their teeth when they are angry or annoyed, and also to protect themselves. They are said to have great accuracy in spitting. The camel, which belongs to the same family as the llama, also possesses this trait. Both camels and … Read more

What Are Antlers and Which Animals Have Antlers?

what are antlers and which animals have antlers

Antlers are bony growths on the heads of more than 60 kinds of deer, including moose, reindeer, caribou, and elk. Antlers grow only on male deer, moose, and elk, who use them as weapons to fight other males for leadership of the herd or for possession of a mate. However, in the caribou and reindeer … Read more

How Do Flies Walk on Ceilings?

how do flies walk on ceilings

The amazing but deadly little insect we know as a house fly actually has a remarkable body. Even though that body is responsible for spreading diseases, it is so wonderfully made and can do such unusual things that it is an insect to be marveled at. Most amazing of all is probably the house fly’s … Read more

How Did the Praying Mantis Get Its Name?

how did the praying mantis get its name

The praying mantis got its name from its appearance. It is a long, slender, green and brown insect which stands with its front legs held folded up high in front of its body. This stance, however, is not spiritual; it is purely practical. The mantis’ front legs are spiked, and they are kept folded so … Read more

Does Catgut Come from Cats?

does catgut come from cats

The tough, dried, twisted string used today in making violin strings, tennis racket strings, strings to thread looms, and thread for surgical stitches is NOT made from a cat’s guts and never has been. Most catgut is made from the intestines of sheep and hogs. These intestines are cut into long ribbons, then cleaned and … Read more

What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?

what is the fastest animal on earth

The top speed man has run is about 25 miles per hour; the fastest dog, the greyhound, reaches a speed of 40 miles per hour; racehorses have been timed at 50 miles per hour; and antelopes can go close to 60 miles per hour. But none of them can come close to the world’s fastest … Read more

Are Bats Really Blind?

are bats really blind

Bats are not blind. Like many animals, they are born blind, but gain eyesight from the time they are seven to nine days old. The saying, “blind as a bat,” probably arose because of the way bats fly around, darting here and there at night. Actually, the bat is hunting insects, which people cannot see … Read more

Why Is a Sloth Called Lazy?

why is a sloth called lazy

A sloth is a small South American mammal which moves about very slowly, when it moves at all. It is considered a sluggish, or lazy, animal because of this, but scientists say that this sluggishness is caused by the sloth’s very low body temperature. Sloths spend most of their time in trees and seldom come … Read more

Are There Really Such Animals as Ligers and Tigons?

are there really such animals as ligers and tigons

Ligers and Tigons are creatures that really do exist. There are the cubs of rare crossings between lions and tigers. If the father is a lion and the mother is a tigress, the cub is called a liger. If the father is a tiger and the mother is a lioness, the cub is called a … Read more

Is It True That the World’s Largest Animal Feeds on the Smallest?

is it true that the worlds largest animal feeds on the smallest

The whale is the world’s largest animal, yet it feeds on some of the sea’s smallest creatures, plankton, tiny ocean plants and animals that drift in the sea. There are two kinds of whales: toothed whales (with teeth) and baleen whales (without teeth). Toothed whales eat fish, squid, and other sea animals. They use their … Read more

Can Dolphins Talk?

can dolphins talk

Since ancient times, the dolphin has been considered a special animal. But it is only recently that research has discovered that the friendly, playful dolphin is highly intelligent. Some scientists consider the dolphin to be even more intelligent than the chimpanzee. Dolphins and porpoises belong to the same family as whales. They are all mammals. … Read more

Why Does a Whale Spout?

why does a whale spout

Though it lives in the sea, the whale is a warm-blooded mammal. It must breathe oxygen from the air to live. When surfacing, the whale takes in oxygen through the blowhole on top of its head. Then, filling its large elastic lungs which are connected to the blowhole, the whale dives to feed. While underwater, … Read more

Which Insect Lives the Longest?

The longest-lived creature in the insect world is the termite queen. She has been known to live for over 50 years. During that time, the queen can lay over 30,000 eggs each day, so in her 50 years of life, it is possible for her to give birth to half a billion children!

Why Do Turtles Live For More Than 200 Years?

why do turtles live for more than 200 years

The turtle lives longer than any creature on earth, well over 200 years (and some scientists believe 300), for the very same reason that the tortoise won the race with the hare in the famous fable. The turtle takes things very easy. It moves slowly, grows slowly, eats slowly, and even breathes slowly. Some turtles’ … Read more

How Does a Turtle Get into Its Shell?

how does a turtle get into its shell

That’s like asking how you got into your skin. The turtle is born with its shell on. A turtle’s shell is part of its body, half on top attached at the sides to the half underneath. The shell has two layers: the outer layer is a shell of hardened skin tissue, and the inner layer, … Read more

How Does a Chameleon Change Colors?

how does a chameleon change colors

Chameleons are lizards known for their ability to change colors. But contrary to popular belief, the chameleon does not change its color to match its background. It changes as a result of its mood, the temperature, or light conditions. Most chameleons have brown or green as their main color, but they can turn to an … Read more

What Is a Mammal?

what is a mammal

Mammals are one of the classes of animals. Scientists have classified, or divided, all animals into groupings according to the ways in which they are alike. All mammals have one characteristic that no other animal have, mammals are the only animals whose females produce milk to feed their young. The word mammal comes from the … Read more

Why Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?

why do raccoons wash their food

There is some truth to the story that raccoons wash their food before eating it. A raccoon may dip its food in water before eating it, but this habit does not indicate cleanliness, for the water may be dirty. And raccoons will eat most anything, whether it is washed or not. Some people believe that … Read more

What Makes a Skunk Smell?

what makes a skunk smell

The bad-smelling odor of skunks is contained in a liquid which the animal produces and then discharges if it is frightened or in danger. The liquid is called musk. Musk is produced by two glands near the base of the skunk’s tail. The scent glands produce enough musk for six consecutive discharges. Until more liquid … Read more

Why Do Mosquitoes Bite People?

why do mosquitoes bite

While the male mosquito is content to live on juices he gets from plants, the female is not. She gets her nourishment from the blood of people and animals. The female mosquito has a sharp beak which she uses to prick human or animal skin. Then she pokes a hollow tube, her mouth, into the … Read more

Which Insect Sips Its Dinner Through a Straw?

which insect sips its dinner through a straw

Poor Butterfly! This beautiful, colorful insect does not have a mouth with which to chew like other insects have. But nature has given the butterfly another way to nourish itself. The butterfly has a long, thin tube, called a proboscis, through which it can suck up the sweet nectar from flowers, the same way you … Read more

How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly?

how does a caterpillar become a butterfly

It may be hard to believe that a beautiful creature like a butterfly was once an ugly, worm-like creature like a caterpillar, but this is exactly how the colorful, graceful butterfly’s life cycle works. There are four stages in a butterfly’s life. The process of going from one stage to another is called metamorphosis. The … Read more

Do Cats Really Have 9 Lives?

do cats really have 9 lives

Most cats live for about 14 years, although some have been known to live to the age of 30 and even beyond. The myth that a cat has 9 lives probably came about because of its ability to escape from many dangerous situations without harm. Cats have good memories, keen eyesight, and exceptional senses of … Read more

How Does a Cat Purr?

how does a cat purr

This remains an unanswered question. Although the sound of a cat’s purr is familiar to all, how the cat does it still remains a mystery. Scientists do know, however, that cats have two sets of vocal chords in their throat, one above the other. Each set produces different sounds. Many scientists believe that the lower … Read more

Do Cats Eyes Really Shine In the Dark?

do cats eyes really shine in the dark

Have you ever walked into a darkened room and seen a cat staring at you with its eyes blazing? Scary, but beautiful! There are no lights in a cat’s eyes. What you see is simply a reflection of light. A cat’s eyes are no different than yours in responding to light. In bright light, you … Read more

How Does a Firefly Make Its Light?

how does a firefly make its light

Sitting outside on summer evenings, you may have wondered how fireflies make those bright little flashes of light. To begin with, the firefly is not a fly, it is a beetle. And inside that beetle’s stomach are five chemicals. When oxygen enters the firefly’s body, it stimulates a nerve reaction which causes those five chemicals … Read more

Which Insects Keep Their King and Queen Prisoners?

which insects keep their king and queen prisoners

The lowly, destructive termite has very little regard for royalty, and in termite colonies the king and queen are held prisoner. In most termite colonies, there are three classes, or castes, of insects. Scientists are not really certain how some termites develop into these three castes, but the millions of termites in each colony are … Read more

What Animal’s Favorite Game Is Bellywhopping?

what animals favorite game is bellywhopping

The frisky little otter, who lives on the banks of lakes and streams, is not much of a worker, but is a great player. While its neighbor on land, the beaver, is busy building dams, the otter builds slides on snowy slopes for its favorite game – bellywhopping. The otter has a smooth stomach which … Read more

What Animal Never Drinks Water in Its Entire Life?

what animal never drinks water in its entire life

The tiny kangaroo rat, a native of the southwestern deserts of the United States, never takes a drink of water in its lifetime. What little moisture this tiny rodent needs it gets from eating roots and desert plants. Yet this is enough to keep the kangaroo rat alive. The kangaroo rat got its name from … Read more

Can a Porcupine Shoot Its Quills?

can a porcupine shoot its quills

The porcupine has one of the best defense systems in nature-its quills. However, the porcupine does not shoot out these quills at an enemy, as many people think. Even though these quills are dangerous to an enemy, they are actually very loosely attached to the porcupine’s body and come off even at the slightest touch. … Read more