Posts Tagged "animals"

7 Things You Need to Know About Fireflies

Dear Kid,

So now that we know it’s summer (as proven by the emergence of lovely lightening bugs), it seems like a good time to talk about them.

Jars. The native habitat of fireflies. 7 Things You Need to Know About Lightening Bugs. DearKidLoveMom.comFirst of all, I should clarify my position on fireflies. They are bugs, and as such have far more than the appropriate number of legs. But they have LIGHTS! So as long as none of them land on me and use my arms as walking paths, we should be OK.

Here’s what you need to know about lightening bugs.

Fireflies’ lights can be yellow, green, or orange. They can’t actually change colors; different varieties of fireflies have different color lights. This isn’t really surprising because there over 2,000 kinds of fireflies.

Fireflies in the western US are energy conscious and don’t light up.

Which is unfortunate because lightening bugs are really pretty (read about that here) and their light is – wait for it – the most efficient light in the world. Nearly 100% of the energy in the chemical reaction that makes them light up is converted to light. (Incandescent bulbs only emit 10% of their energy as light; fluorescent bulbs emit 90% of their energy as light.)

Each species has their own flashing pattern designed specifically to attract females for a little nooky.

Mating is important because adult fireflies only live long enough to mate and lay eggs (no time for cuddling). The larvae live about a year (until mating season). Rinse and repeat.

Lightening bug larvae are carnivorous. When they have a choice, they generally order snails from room service.

Fireflies are disappearing due to pharmaceutical harvesting, light pollution, and habitat destruction. If there is a field or area where fireflies live and it gets destroyed or paved, lightening bugs don’t migrate, they just disappear – poof! – forever.

Which is sad. Because how will we know it’s summer?

Love, Mom

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The Hippos Are Coming! The Hippos Are Coming to Cincinnati!

Dear Kid,

How cute is this Hippopotamus face? Cuteness coming soon to the Cincinnati Zoo. The Hippos Are Coming! The Hippos Are Coming!

And as far as I can tell, there won’t be any tutus involved (extra points if you get the reference–extra, extra points if you know the name of the hippo diva).

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer (and we all know that if it’s in print it MUST be true, but in this case I sincerely believe that the reporting is accurate), hippopotami are returning to the Cincinnati zoo. You can read the article here.


Henry (he’s a 34 year old) is going to move in with a much younger female (17 years old) and the watching will commence.

Part of the watching will be public. As in the public can watch the water horses cavort and frolic. At least to the extent hippos cavort and frolic and I really don’t know how much of that they do.

Part of the watching will be private. As in the zoo people will be watching for important signs and signals—like bringing her home to meet his mother and shopping for a ring.

There is great hope (hippo hope) that the two will breed and produce a contest to name a baby hippo. You don’t have to start figuring out names quite yet. The hippos don’t move in until 5 months or so from now, and the gestation period for a hippopotobaby is 8 months. (When you think about it, 8 months is a very short time for baking such a large animal.)

The whole exhibit is state-of-the-art and greener than Kermit, which gives us another reason to be much happy that the HIPPOS ARE COMING TO CINCINNATI!

Love, Mom

Her name is Hyacinth Hippo. The clip is her and “her servants.”

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What You Don’t Know About Giraffes & Why They Are Going Extinct

Dear Kid,

Some of us have the great pleasure of feeling short most of the time. I’ve met 3 year olds who are taller than I am. (Fortunately, I have a big personality to make up for my lack of actual stature.)

Some of us have the great pleasure of feeling tall most of the time. I imagine that people like LeBron and Shaq don’t often look up (literally speaking) to see other people’s faces.

But even those who play bball well enough to go by their first name alone are dwarfed by giraffes.

PHtttttt! Typical Teenage Giraffe. DearKidLoveMom.comGiraffes are tall. As in really tall. As in the tallest mammal in the world. They are the gangly teenage growth spurt of the animal kingdom.

Not only are they tall, they stand most of the time. When you’re that tall, you flaunt it. You don’t even bother with high heels. Not that most manufactures make shoes big enough for giraffes (the diameter of their feet is 30 centimeters on average—that’s bigger than yours).

Giraffes sleep standing up and they don’t sleep much. They sleep less than college students during finals week, needing between 10 minutes (yes, you read that right) and two hours a day of sleep.

Giraffes are peaceful animals. When you only get 10 minutes sleep a day for your entire life, you probably just don’t care enough to fight with anyone else.

Giraffes don’t sleep much because they spend their time eating. A lot. And (a la moo) they chew their cud.

Giraffes are universally envied for their eyelashes, and in other galaxies are frequently mascara models. DearKidLoveMom.comLike snowflakes, fingerprints, and zebra butts, no two giraffes have exactly the same spot print. (You knew that.) Some zoologists think their patterns are for camouflage. Clearly, these people know nothing about fashion; who wears the same thing as someone else? It’s just awkward.

Speaking of awkward (have you ever really looked at how that word is spelled? Even its letter arrangement is, wait for it, awkward), a giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. So in a gangly, awkward, ridiculously vulnerable move, giraffes have to spread their front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water. This leads to many arguments between young giraffes and their parents about being sufficiently hydrated and watching for lions while drinking.

This part is really cool: because the giraffe is so tall (I believe I mentioned that part), when it lowers its head to drink it is moving about six and a half miles down-altitude. To protect its brain from crazy changes in blood pressure, it has valves to stop the back-flow of blood and elastic-y vessels that dilate and constrict to manage blood flow. NASA has done research on giraffe blood vessels (the better to build human space suits).

a giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. So in a gangly, awkward, ridiculously vulnerable move, giraffes have to spread their front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water. This leads to many arguments between young giraffes and their parents about being sufficiently hydrated and watching for lions while drinking.

Being as how giraffes shop in the Big and Tall sections, they have hearts suitable for their big and Tall bodies. A giraffe heart weighs approximately 11 kilograms (even bigger than the Grinch’s post-expansion heart) which is used to pump 60 liters of blood around its body every minute at a blood pressure twice that of an average human.

The horny things on giraffe heads are called ossicones. They are unattached at birth so they can don’t injure the mama giraffe (for which the mama giraffes are most grateful). Later in life the ossicones fuse to the giraffe’s skull.

There are many subspecies of giraffe (zoologists care. The rest of us, not so much), and giraffes are already extinct in at least 7 countries in Africa. We should all care about that. A lot.

Giraffes are already extinct in at least 7 countries in Africa. We should all care about that. A lot. DearKidLoveMom.comHug a giraffe today.

Love, Mom

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It’s a Beautiful Day and Amazing Messages from Commercials

Dear Kid,

Happy Weekend! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood (if you change your cardigan) and I hope you’re having a fab day.

In our part of the world, the snow is melting, the birds are singing, Pi is practicing for soccer, and the Puppy is shedding. Let me know if any of that surprises you (I’m guessing not).

There are some great commercials on TV these days. (Not talking about the product, talking about the commercials themselves.)

For example, TommieCopper shows several athletes training. One of them says, “I train hard to be better every day. TuesdayJustin is better than MondayJustin. WednesdayJustin is better than TuesdayJustin.”

I love that. I love how he talks about getting just a little better every day.

We should all apply that philosophy to all parts of our lives, don’t you think?

Here’s the other Best Commercial of the Moment.

Love, Mom

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Do Not Snuggle the Fossa

Dear Kid,

If you were to meander over to Madagascar, and if you were to venture into the forest, you might meet a fossa.

Fossas live only in the forests of Madagascar, where they choose to chomp on lemurs and other small furry critters which doesn’t make them popular among Zaboomafoo fans.

Fossa live in Madagascar DearKidLoveMom.comFossas look more or less catlike with a dog muzzle. But don’t try cuddling them; they’ll rip your face off. For the record, they are related to the mongoose (I would have said “they are related to mongooses” but then I wasn’t sure if the plural is “mongooses” or “mongeese” or “mongoosi”).

Fossas grows up long to 6 feet from nose to tail tip, which is a silly way to measure them, because they are mostly tail (they only weigh 26 pounds at the max end). They use their long tails to help balance while they scoot through the trees where they spend a great deal of time. They are surprisingly speedy (surprising to their dinner of choice and to scientists who try to study them).

The fossa does not moo. Or mu. Or moue. Or μ.

(Get it? Moo-fossa? Oh, never mind.)

A Moue is a pouting expression usually used to convey annoyance or distaste.

You have seen many a moue whether or not you knew to label them as such.

You may have even made a moue. Certainly when you were little, you knew how to moo.

Deja Moo. The feeling you’ve heard this bull before.

There is no recorded evidence of a fossa making a “moo” sound or a moue face. The scientists who study fossa, however, are a different matter.

Love, Mom

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