Look at me!
- Zebras’ stripes are unique – like fingerprints. A giraffe is taller than three men standing on each other’s heads.
- A hippo should probably start a diet. It is so heavy that it can walk at the bottom of a lake – and it won’t float up!
- The giant of the sea – the blue whale – is the largest animal on earth. Its heart is the size of a small car. An elephant could sit on its tongue.
- The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird. It is found in Cuba. It feeds on nectar from flowers. It’s the size of a big fly and its eggs are smaller than peas.
- Many animals have a special look to defend themselves. There is a kind of caterpillar which looks exactly like bird droppings. There is a kind of fly which looks like a wasp – but it’s totally harmless.
- Jellyfish are very strange animals because they don’t have brain, heart, eyes or bones.
Mmm… It’s delicious
- Anteaters eat ants and termites. The giant anteater can eat more than 30,000 ants in one day. It has a large nose and a tongue which is as long as human arm. It must be long because an anteater must stick it into termite mounds. Also hedgehogs eat insects and worms. So don’t believe they eat apples that they carry on their back.
- Humans are considered omnivorous animals – but rats’ food is even more varied. That’s why they can survive everywhere.
- The vampire bat feeds on blood on other animals – also people! The saliva of this bat is like anaesthetic – you can’t feel your blood is beeing sucked!
- Vultures eat dead animals. But they are very clean animals – after the feast they fly long distances to have a bath.
- Owls eat small animals – but they can’t chew and they simple swallow them. When the animal has been digested, they cough up the bones and fur in a pellet.
- Egg-eating snakes can eat eggs bigger than its head. Its jaws are elastic and strech enough to enable the snake to swallow the egg. Then it squeezes the egg inside and vomits the shell.
- There is a butterfly which likes to sip alligator’s tears – for a drink.
- Some shrimps clean the mouth of fish – they pick out the leftovers, dead skin and little animals with their pincers from the fish’s mouth.
Exercise and have a rest
- Bears look big and clumsy, but some bears can climb trees. For example giant pandas climb bamboo trees to eat the leaves.
- People have dreamt about flying – bats are the only mammals that fly like birds – they flap their wings.
- Kangaroos cannot walk! They can only jump.
- Many birds fly over 2000 kilometres every year.
- Of course bears doze or sleep in winter – and they don’t eat anything then. They eat only in the summer and autumn to build up fat that they will need in winter months. A little mouse, called a dormouse can sleep much longer than bears – for seven months in winter, without waking up!
- Koalas sleep 19 hours a day – they eat eucalyptus leaves and these leaves are very hard to digest – that’s why they have to sleep so long.
Love affairs and social life
- Birds have very different ways to attract the other sex – the male attracts the female. For example frigate birds inflate their huge red neck pouch with air – it looks like a gigantic balloon. It adds special noises to this performance. The blue-footed booby bird has blue feet. The males dance and attract the females with their feet. The weaver builds huge nests and shows it to a female to impress her – as if it wanted to say: hey, it’s going to be our future home! Birds usually court in the spring. Also frogs and toads have their ways to attract females. Some have inflatable vocal sacs which looks like a ballon – this helps them to make very loud croaks.
- There are many different ways of animal communication: birds sing to communicate, bees dance. There is a kind of beetle which have a special organ in their bodies that lights up in the dark. So they flash their bodies at night to communicate.
- Some animals have their own nurseries – for example bats. Bats bring their babies together in huge nurseries – there are thousands of bats in one nursery. But the strangest thing is that a mother easily recognizes her child among thousands of bats!
- Mammals usually give birth to live babies, but there are a few mammals which lay eggs. They include the Australian platypus – a mammal which looks like a mixture of a duck and a seal. It has a beak of a duck. It’s eggs are soft and quite small – the size of marbles. Marsupials have pockets to carry their babies. Opossum is also a marsupial, but it doesn’t have a pouch. The babies cling to the mother – and the opossum can have twenty babies at a time!
- Cuckoos are very bad mothers – they don’t look after their babies but lay eggs in other birds’ nests. When the chick hatches, it removes the other eggs from the nest.
- In the animal world they are usually the mothers who take care of the babies. In the rhea family (rhea bird is a flightless bird similar to emu) it is the father who takes care of the babies. Sometimes he looks after 60 eggs – all from different mothers! Then he takes care of the kids until they are five months old. The jawfish father can also devote himself for the sake of the family. It keeps the eggs in the mouth until they hatch.
- Some fish don’t lay their eggs anywhere – they can travel a long way to lay them in the proper place. The salmon lives in the sea but travels 1,500 kilometres up rivers to lay eggs in the same place where he was born.
w But the strangest are the seahorses – the female lays the eggs into the male’s belly and then it is the are who gives birth to the children.
Improve your vocabulary!
anteater – mrówkojad
beak – dziób
caterpillar – gąsienica
chew – żuć
clumsy – niezgrabny
croak – rechot (żabi)
digest – trawić
doze – drzemać
droppings – odchody
hatch – wykluwać się
hummingbird – koliber
jellyfish – meduza
lay eggs – składać jaja
mammals – ssaki
marsupials – torbacze
mole hills – krecie kopce
mole – kret
mounds – kopce
nurseries – żłobki
omnivorous – wszystkożerny
pellet – kłębuszek
salmon – łosoś
seahorses – koniki morskie
shrimps – krewetki
swallow – jaskółka
to swallow – połknąć
vulture – sęp
wasp – osa
worms – robaki