Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wonderful, Wild, and Amazing Animals!, 2013!

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher 
from Wildlife Experience brought wild animals
to Mrs. Ranney's class for careful
scientific observation.

Wildlife Experience  is a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world.

This is Vince, the veiled chameleon. Chameleon's are carnivorous reptiles that cannot run but can climb well. They have prehensile tails that help them hold on to branches and a tongue like a rubber band to help them catch a tasty meal. Do you remember why they eat the skin they shed?

Here is Awesome, the four-month-old opossum! Opossums are a special kind of mammal called a marsupial, and they are the only marsupial found in North America. They are omnivores. Do you remember what happens when opossums "play dead?"

Here is Tuck, the hedgehog. Hedgehogs got their names from the fact that they live in hedges or bushes and that they grunt like hogs!
They roll into balls and bump from side to side to protect themselves. Hedgehogs are insectivores. Do you remember what their quills are made of?

This leopard gecko is a lizard that stores fat in its tail. It wiggles its tail at would-be predators. Do you remember why?

Punk, the skunk, a nocturnal mammal lives right here in our community! Skunks are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Do you remember what skunks do with their tails when threatened?

Another animal found in our local environment is the red-tailed hawk. This one, named Shasta, was found injured near the Shasta Mountains. Hawks can see clearly 8 times farther than we can! Why might they need to do that?

Ball pythons, like this one, are carnivorous snakes found in Africa. Snakes are reptiles, which we know means they are vertebrate animals. They can swallow something whole that is 3 times the size of their heads! Pythons are constrictors. Do you remember what that means?

What did the skin feel like to you?

Squirrel monkeys are the smallest monkeys in the world, weighing in at only around 2 pounds! To this monkey a smile is threatening, so we could not show our teeth! Squirrel monkeys are omnivores that live in the rain forest in groups of up to 250. Do you remember why they like large groups?

Sally, the tiger salamander, is the largest kind in the United States. Salamanders are amphibians which means they must stay wet. Do you remember how salamanders breathe when underwater?

 Our final visitor, Moose, the fennec fox, is the smallest fox in the world but has the biggest ears! Foxes, like other dogs, do not sweat, but pant to release heat. Do you remember another way that the fennec fox releases heat?

Thanks, Ms. C. for another wonderful wildlife experience!


What was your favorite animal and why?

What other fabulous facts can you share about our visitors! 


  1. Dear Mrs.Ranney and Class,

    Aiden's favorite animal was Punk the skunk,because it had a lot of adaptations.

    Shai's favorite animal is Shasta the red-tailed hawk because it was only animal that could fly.I also liked Sally the salamander because it was really slimy.

    What animal did you like?

    Your animal loving friends,
    Shai and Aiden

  2. From Cate and AnjoleeJune 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    Our favorite animal is Tuck the hedgehog. We think he is very adorable. The quills are made of the same thing as our hair and finger nails which is very interesting.

    Cate and Anjolee

  3. Alexandra and CharlotteJune 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Our favorite and fascinating animals were the ball python, salamander, fennec fox, and the hedgehog.

    One fact we know about the ball python is that it is a constrictor. This means it does not have poison, but wraps its prehensile tail around its prey until it can not breathe.

    Tuck's quills are made out of the same thing that your nails and hair is made of, which is called keratin.

    At our experience, we learned many interesting facts about these animals with amazing adaptations.

    Your animal lovers,
    Charlotte and Alexandra

  4. Noel and ChristopherJune 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Noel and I have some answers to your animal questions. The chameleon eats its skin because it does not want to leave evidence for its predators.

    The skunk sprays a smelly gas from its tail that makes the predators run away.

    The red-tailed hawk sees 8 times farther than us because it needs to see its prey from far away,so it can swoop down and catch its prey.

    The ball python is a constrictor because it doesn't kill with poison, it squeezes it and then bites it.

    Your animal question answering friends,
    Noel and Christopher :)

  5. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    We really enjoyed seeing interesting animals and learning their adaptations. We know why chameleons eat the skin they shed. They eat the skin they shed because they don't want to leave any evidence for their predators to follow.

    The opossums don't really play dead. It is some thing that just happens naturally. When they "play dead", they let out a horrible odor that makes them smell rotten, and they look dead.

    Our favorite animal, the fennec fox, lets out some of the heat through its ears. That is a very good adaptation when you live in the desert.

    The hedgehog's quills are made out of the same thing that our fingernails and hair are made of, which is called keratin.

    Does anybody else know anymore facts about these animals?

    Your animal loving students,
    Lia and Jules

  6. Jackson and AidanJune 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    It was fabulous fun when Ms. C. came to our classroom last week.

    When the fennec fox made squealing noises, it was hilarious. We know another fact about the fennec fox. It uses its lengthy, paper-thin ears to release excess heat.

    One of our favorite facts about the red-tailed hawk is that it poops before it flies away. It does that so it can get rid of as much weight as possible. The reason it can see eight times farther is because it needs to pursue its prey.

    Our favorite animal was the small squirrel monkey because it had a prehensile tail to swing on branches, and it has many other fascinating adaptations.

    Jackson and Aidan F. iD

  7. A.J.,and MatthewJune 12, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    We really loved all of the animals, but if we had to choose one animal it would be the fennec fox because it is so cute. The other way they release heat is through their huge ears.

    Your animal loving friends,
    Matthew,and A.J.

  8. Zachary and TylerJune 12, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    We really enjoyed the python because it was very cool. We loved how it wrapped around her arm.

    Then our other animal that we enjoyed is the red-tailed gawk. We loved how it poops before it flies.

    Sincerely, your animal loving friends,

    Zachary and Tyler

  9. Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    We both enjoyed the prickly hedgehog named Tuck. Their quills are used to protect themselves by poking their predators.

    Rain and Maya

  10. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I remember when I did this in 3rd grade. I don't remember much, but I remember her talking about hawks. It's very interesting how the can turn their heads completely around. Did she talk about owls this year?

    Jaden (Lexi's brother)


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