Sunday, May 30, 2021

What are arachnids? are they Insects?

ticks arachnids

You may think that spiders and ticks are insects, but they are not. They belong to a group of animals called arachnids. Unlike insects, arachnids have eight legs instead of six and do not have antennae.

Besides spiders and ticks, other arachnids include scorpions, daddy longlegs, and mites. Arachnids live throughout the world. There are about 60,000 known species (kinds) of arachnids. The largest ones are found in warm climates.

What is an AQUARIUM? Visiting and Aquarium



A sea turtle glides over your head. Tiny blue and yellow fish flash by. A big shark swims right at you. You are walking around on the bottom of the sea. Yet you are perfectly safe and dry. You are visiting an aquarium.


An aquarium is a water-filled tank in which fish swim about. You can keep a small aquarium at home. You can visit a large aquarium in most cities. This kind of aquarium is a building with fish and other water animals in large tanks. A large aquarium may have otters, turtles, dolphins, and other sea animals. Most aquarium tanks also have plants.


Many of the newest aquariums are located next to an ocean, bay, or river. They have huge water tanks. Some tanks are big enough to hold sharks and other large fish. Some aquariums have a passageway at the bottom of a huge tank. The passageway is made of thick, clear plastic. When you walk through the tunnel, you see fish swimming on both sides of you and even above you. What a cool way to watch fish!

visiting an Aquarium

Sea life in an aquarium looks very real. Many tropical fish live on colorful coral reefs. The reefs are made of tiny animals called corals. A tropical fish tank may look just like a coral reef. The tropical fish feel right at home in this tank.

You can do many things at a big aquarium. You can watch and learn how sea animals live. You can learn about dangers they might face. You can learn about kinds of pollution that could harm sea animals. You can even watch dolphins put on shows at some aquariums.

Scientists work at many big aquariums. The scientists study fish. They want to know how to protect life in the sea.


Many people have small aquariums at home. A small aquarium can be a bowl. It can be a square tank. Some home aquariums are made of glass. Some are made of a strong plastic called Plexiglas. Some people keep freshwater fish in their aquariums. Some people keep saltwater fish.

Suppose you want to make a home aquarium. There are many things you have to pick out. What should your aquarium tank be made of? You can see fish better in a Plexiglas tank. But Plexiglas scratches more easily. Plexiglas also costs more than glass.

Which type of fish do you want to keep in your tank: freshwater fish or saltwater fish? Goldfish and tetras live in fresh water. Angelfish and butterfly fish live in salt water. Most people with aquariums have freshwater fish. Freshwater fish are easier to take care of. Freshwater fish cost less than saltwater fish.

Do you want to keep fish that live in cold water or fish that live in warm water? Tropical fish live in warm water. Tropical fish come in reds, yellows, blues, purples, and many other colors. Goldfish live in cold water. Goldfish are mostly golden red.

Pick out the kind of tank and fish you like best. You can decorate your tank with plants, colorful stones, and objects that the fish can swim through and hide under. Find out what to feed your fish and how to keep them healthy. Then have fun watching the fish in your home aquarium.

What is chicken? Why Does a Chicken Lay An Egg?


roaster Chicken
Have you ever watched baby chickens hatch? You can see them on farms and at many children’s zoos.

The baby chick is inside a shell. It pecks at the shell for a while, and then it rests. When the chick has pecked away enough of the shell, it breaks out. Baby chickens are covered with soft down.


Baby chickens come from eggs. Only female chickens, or hens, can lay eggs. For a chick to grow, the egg must be fertilized by a male chicken. Male chickens are called roosters.

Inside the shell, there are two main parts. The clear part is called egg white. The yellow part in the center is called the yolk. Both the yolk and the white provide food for a chick, as it develops inside the shell.

The hen sits on her egg to keep it warm. The shell protects the egg from breaking while the hen sits on it. When the baby chick inside grows big enough, it hatches.

One hen on a modern chicken farm can lay almost 300 eggs a year. Most eggs laid by hens do not get fertilized. That’s why they can’t grow into chickens. Farmers collect the eggs and sell them to stores. People buy the eggs and cook them for breakfast. Eggs are rich in protein. Your body needs protein.


Hens and roosters both have growths on their heads called combs. The combs are bright red. Roosters have bigger combs than hens. Different breeds (kinds) of chickens have combs of different shapes. Some combs are pointed, some are round, and some are V-shaped. It’s possible that chickens use their combs to tell each other apart. The comb also helps chickens shed body heat and keep cool. Chickens also have earlobes and wattles. Wattles are baggy growths that hang near their beaks.

A chicken is a bird. Like other birds, its body is covered with feathers. Chickens have legs and wings. A chicken’s wings are very small. Chickens cannot fly very far.


Chicken coop is another name for chicken house. There are big chicken houses on chicken farms. Farms that only raise chickens are called poultry farms. Most hens live in cages in a chicken house. A big poultry farm can have as many as a million hens.

Some poultry farms only raise chickens for their eggs. Some poultry farms only raise chickens for meat. Chickens are important for food. People eat chicken soup, sandwiches with chicken meat, fried chicken, and chicken in many other forms.

What are Snakes? Where Do Snakes Live? How Big Are Snakes?



Put yourself in the place of a harmless snake. You’re just lying in the grass, minding your own business, when suddenly a great big foot comes crashing down right next to your head. You take off through the grass like greased lightning. In the distance someone screams, “Snake!” Which one should be more afraid, the human or the snake?

A snake is simply a long, thin animal. It does not have arms or legs. It crawls along the ground on its belly.

Snakes are reptiles. Like all reptiles, snakes are cold-blooded. They can’t control their own body temperature, and so they have to lie in the sun to get warm and in the shade to get cool.


Snakes live almost everywhere in the world. They live in grasslands, deserts, and rain forests. Some snakes live in water. There are no snakes, however, in Ireland, Iceland, Antarctica, or New Zealand. There are more than 2,500 species (kinds) of snakes.


The world’s smallest snake is about 5 inches (about 13 centimeters) long at full growth and weighs less than 0.1 ounce (less than 2 grams). The largest snakes are the anaconda and the reticulated python. They both can grow as long as 33 feet (10 meters) and can weigh up to 550 pounds (250 kilograms).


Like other reptiles, snakes are vertebrates—they have a backbone. A snake’s long backbone is made up of small bones called vertebrae. Snakes have between 100 and 400 vertebrae. Humans have just 32 vertebrae.

A snake’s jawbones are not attached to its skull. They are linked together by muscles and stretchy tissues called ligaments. This type of jaw lets a snake open its mouth wide and eat animals that are much larger than its head!


The dry outer layer of a snake’s skin is made of scales. Scales give a snake its color. The color of some snakes lets them blend into their surroundings and avoid being seen. Some poisonous snakes are brightly colored to warn off enemies.

Snakes regularly shed their skin. First, a new layer of skin forms underneath the old one. Then the snake loosens the skin around its lips. Finally, the snake crawls out of its old skin. A brand new skin takes its place.


Snakes don’t see or hear as well as other animals. A snake has eyes but no eyelids. They have clear scales over their eyes. Most snakes can see movement, but some snakes are blind.

Snakes do not have ears. They have bones in their heads that can sense low sounds and vibrations.

Snakes have a great sense of smell. A snake flicks out its forked (divided) tongue to collect scents. It doesn’t mean the snake is hungry. The snake pulls its tongue in and sticks the forked tips into a place in the roof of its mouth called Jacobson’s organ. This way of smelling lets snakes find other snakes as well as prey (animals it hunts for food).

Pit vipers, boas, and pythons have small pits on their heads that can sense heat. These pits help a snake sense when a warm-blooded animal is near.


cobra snake
Most snakes will not harm people. Garter snakes and ribbon snakes are harmless snakes. But some snakes can be deadly. They inject a poison called venom when they bite. They use venom to defend themselves or to kill prey.

Poisonous snakes have two big, hollow teeth called fangs. When they bite, the venom comes down through these fangs. Pit vipers keep their fangs folded in their mouths until they are ready to strike. Rattlesnakes are a well-known kind of pit viper. Cobras and coral snakes are also very poisonous.

Spitting cobras do not have fangs. Instead, they spit poison to defend themselves. They aim their venom at the eyes. The venom can cause blindness.

Someone bitten by a poisonous snake should get medical help immediately. Snake venom can be deadly.


Boas and pythons are kinds of snakes known as constrictors. These snakes have thick bodies and strong muscles. Instead of biting, they wrap themselves around their prey and squeeze. They squeeze so hard that the animal can’t breathe and dies.


Some snakes move by wiggling and squirming forward. Some snakes make leaping, twisting movements called sidewinding.

Snakes that live in trees coil their tail around a branch. Then they hook their neck into a higher part of the tree and pull the rest of their body up behind them.


Snakes eat a variety of things: worms, insects, lizards, small mammals, birds, and frogs. Some snakes, such as the Australian bandy-bandy, feed only on other snakes. Other snakes like to eat the eggs of other animals. An adult reticulated python eats larger prey, such as wild pigs, monkeys, and small deer.

Snakes don’t chew their food. They swallow it whole. Their teeth point backward, which helps to keep prey from escaping. Many snakes begin to swallow their prey while it’s still alive. Others kill the animals before eating them.


Most snakes lay eggs. Some sea snakes and snakes that live in cold places give birth to live baby snakes.

Some snakes can begin reproducing at two years of age. Others take slightly longer to mature. Snakes may live for as long as 20 to 30 years.


People in Asia and other places kill snakes for meat. Some people make shoes, belts, purses, and other things out of snakeskin. When people build houses and farms, the places where snakes live are often destroyed.

Scientists and other experts fear that some snakes could become endangered if the killing of snakes or the destruction of their habitat (living places) continues. Some countries have laws against killing or selling snakes for their skins or their meat.

What are APES? What do Apes Look Like? Where Do Apes Live?

 Suppose you want to dig some insects out of a tree trunk. Your fingers are too short to reach the bugs. What should you do? You could make a tool. You could find a stick and sharpen it to a point. You could use the point to spear the insects.

This is a good idea, but someone else thought of it first. Apes use sharp sticks to dig out insects. Apes are so smart that they have learned to make simple tools.


Apes are a kind of animal called a primate. Humans and monkeys are also primates. Apes are covered with fur. They have two arms and two legs, and their arms are usually longer than their legs. Monkeys have tails, but apes do not.

Zoologists (scientists who study animals) divide apes into two groups called the great apes and the gibbons. Gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos are great apes.

Gorillas are the biggest apes. Gorillas grow to be about 6 feet (about 1.8 meters) tall.


Apes live in warm places. Gorillas live in Africa. Most gorillas live in Africa’s tropical forests. Mountain gorillas live on cool, misty mountains in Africa.

Chimpanzees and bonobos also live in African forests. Some chimpanzees live on savannas (plains). Gibbons and orangutans live in rain forests in Southeast Asia.

Gibbons live in trees. They use their arms to swing from branch to branch. By swinging through the trees, a gibbon can move faster than you could run. Great apes can also climb trees. Apes have thumbs. They use their fingers and thumbs to grab tree limbs.

Gorillas and chimpanzees spend a lot of time on the ground. They use their long arms and their legs to walk.


Gorillas and gibbons only eat plants. Orangutans eat plants and insects. Bonobos love fruit, but they also eat other plants and some animals.

Chimpanzees eat many kinds of plants and animals. Bands of chimpanzees often hunt together.


Apes in some places are endangered. Forest fires in Southeast Asia killed thousands of orangutans in the late 1990s. Other apes are losing their forest homes. People are cutting down the rain forest for farms and houses.

The mountain gorilla is the most endangered ape. There are only a few hundred mountain gorillas left. Scientists are afraid that these animals might become extinct (die out).

What Is Zoo? What Does A Zoo Look Like? Where Do Zoos Get Animals?

You don’t have to go to Africa to see an elephant. You don’t have to go to the North Pole to see a polar bear. You can see elephants, bears, lions, crocodiles, hawks, and all kinds of other wild animals at a zoo.

Zoos are places where animals are kept so that you can learn about them. Zoos are also places where scientists study animals. Some zoos help preserve endangered animals.



Zoos once kept animals in cages. Today, they try to keep animals in larger, open places. The places look like the home of each animal that lives there. They have rocks and trees, bushes, and other plants that the animal likes. Some places might look like deserts or prairies or rain forests. Polar bears have ponds of ice-cold water to play in. Monkeys have trees they can climb. Pandas have lots of bamboo to eat.

The places where the animals live have fences and other borders. But the fences are hidden and hard to see. Part of the San Diego Wild Animal Park in California looks like a plain in Africa. It seems like the animals are free to go anywhere.

Many zoos have places with closed-in tops where hundreds of birds can fly around. Some zoos have places you can walk through to see butterflies sipping nectar (juice) from flowers.



A zoo needs many people to care for the animals. Zoologists are scientists who study animals. They learn about how the animals live. They learn what makes the animals happy.

Veterinarians are animal doctors. They take care of any sick zoo animals. They try to keep all the animals healthy.

Zookeepers take care of everything the animals need. They make sure the animals have plenty of food and water. They watch for any problems with the animals.

Zoos have other workers, too. They have guides who give tours and talk about the animals. They have cooks who work in zoo kitchens to make food for the animals. They even have people who build the homes for zoo animals to live in.



In the past, most animals in zoos were captured wild animals. Today, zoos want their animals to breed (mate and have babies).

It is easy to get some animals to breed at a zoo. Lions living at zoos have many cubs. It is hard to get other animals to breed at a zoo. Cheetahs and giant pandas rarely have babies when they live in a zoo.


Zoologists try to save some endangered animals by breeding them at a zoo. Sometimes, they put animals born in a zoo back into the wild. They put the endangered Père David’s deer into an animal preserve in China. They put red wolves in places in North Carolina and Tennessee. These zoo-born animals now live completely in the wild.


Aardvarks are mammals with long snouts that live in Africa. Using their sharp claws, aardvarks dig into anthills and termite mounds. Then they lick up the ants and termites with their sticky tongues.