Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wonderful, Wild, and Amazing Animals!, 2012

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher 
from Wildlife Experience will bring wild animals
that are native to North America
to Mrs. Ranney's class for careful
scientific observation.

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


Our first visitor was an arachnid.  
This arachnid, named Ocho, is a rose-haired tarantula, 
which gets its name from its light pink fur.
One physical adaptation that it has is the hooks on its feet to help it climb.
Tarantula's are the biggest species of spiders in the world.

 This is Ocho's last shed. When shedding, tarantula's lay upside down for two days!

A tarantula has eight eyes since it can't move its head to see in all directions.

 In this photo, is a tarantula and its egg sac. 
Tarantulas can lay up to 250 eggs at one time!

 Baby tarantulas, called spiderlings, are born clear, 
but as they grow and shed, they gain color.

 Tarantulas are not poisonous, but this spider is!
If the black widow bites you, it can make you very sick or even cause death!

Black widow females have a red hourglass shape on their bellies as 
warning coloration!

The most poisonous spider in California is the brown recluse, sometimes called the hobo spider because they like to travel by hiding in or on your clothing.


 Our second visitor was a reptile, a gopher snake. Because these snakes slither into gopher holes to cool off, they are called gopher snakes. They will eat baby gophers, 
but the adult gophers are too large for their jaws!

The gopher snake has a pattern on its scales that resembles a rattlesnake's pattern. One behavioral adaptation of a gopher snake is that it shakes its tail against sand, so it sounds like a rattlesnake too.
This is a warning to possible predators to stay away!

Just like tarantulas, snakes shed. Here is the last molt from the gopher snake 
that visited our class today!

If you look carefully, you can see its eye caps.

This molt is certainly not from the gopher snake! It is from a red-tail boa, which is native to the South American rain forest! This boa weighs 50 pounds!


What did you learn from Beverly during her first Wildlife Experience visit to our class?

Have you done any additional research about these animals?

Do you have some fascinating facts to add?


  1. Dear Mrs. Ranney's class,

    Hello I'm the Red Tailed Boa. I live in SSouth America. I grow to about 30 ft. long and weighss to about 50 poundss! That'sss an outgoing growth, and an outsstanding length.

    Red Tailed Boa

  2. Dear Mrs.Ranney and class,

    I think it's outstanding that gopher snake can look like a poisonous rattle snake. They can outsmart. hawks that want to eat them.


  3. Dear Mrs. Ranney and class,
    I learned that a tarantula sheds its skin. Now I know how the gopher snake got its name. They like to cool off in gopher holes.

    We have to be careful when we go outside because we have snakes in our neighborhood. It could be dangerous if you go outdoors when you live near mountains.

  4. Dear Mrs.Ranney and Class,

    Hello I'm a Gopher Snake. I am from North America, and I am always found somewhere outside in the desert and forest. I like to shake my tail in the sand, so it sounds like I'm a rattle snake. I think its outstanding that people like to learn about me. Some female Gopher Snakes lay as much as eight eggs.

    Gopher Snake (Francesca)

  5. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    I heard you and your students learned about me. Guess who I am! I have eight legs, I am found in South America, and I am sometimes poisonous. I'm a Black Widow!

    I lay up to four hundred eggs. My silk is the strongest of any silk. I am usually found in dark places like your garage, but you can still find me outdoors. I have to leave right now because I need to see of I have any food in my web.

    I hoped you like my outstanding comment.

    Your poisonous spider,
    Black Widow

    P.S not the super hero Black Widow

  6. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    I am the Gopher Snake and I am an outstanding animal. I resemble a rattle snake because I have the same pattern on my skin, and that helps me protect myself. Did you know that I can eat things three time my head size?

    I am not poisonous even though I have teeth. 95 percent of snakes are not poisonous, so we suffiocate our prey to death.

    If I stay outside a gopher hole I will get very hot.

    I hope you enjoyed my facts.

    Gopher Snake

  7. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    I had an outstanding experience learning about wild animals today. I think the Gopher Snake's skin feels like a rubber basketball. It did not feel slimy or sticky like other people think. Did you know that the outrageous Gopher Snakes (actually all snakes) see and taste by flicking their tongues to find their way and eat their prey? Hey that rhymes!


    Hayley ♥

  8. Dear Class,
    I am Ocho the tarantula, and I'd like to tell you facts about the tarantula.
    I think tarantulas are outrageous animals.

    Tarantulas live in warm climates around the world, especially tropical regions.
    Did you know my friends and I have an exoskeleton when we shed? An unusual fact is females eat their mate, so girls are bigger.

    Now you can see why I think tarantulas are outstanding.

    Ocho the tarantula

  9. Dear Mrs. Ranney and class,

    With such outstanding posts on your recent "Wildlife Experience" by both your class and Mrs. Yollis and class, I have prepared an extended comment for both classes to see...


    Teacher, NSW, Australia


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:) Mrs. Ranney