Monday, March 28, 2011

5 things I never knew about animals until I read 'Why?' by Lila Prap

List by Tosca with lots and lots of fantastic animal links by Danielle

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms."
- George Eliot

At least once a year Mr 7 and I take a visit to the zoo and we spend the whole day watching animals and talking about where they come from. It's a yearly trip we both look forward to. No matter how many times we've been, though, there's always so much more to learn about animals. While browsing the shelves downstairs in Manukau Library I came across a book that taught me five things I did not know about animals - Why by Lila Prap - that I shared with Mr 7 just last night seeing as how we're already planning our next visit. I'd imagine there are tonnes more facts I don't know about animals but this is certainly a great place to start and, even better, the facts aren't too technical. This post is little more than my chance to share five facts about animals I never knew until now.

About a year or so ago Danielle put together a fantastic top 5 list of 'Rumble in the Jungle' themed library resources for a school holiday programme. The resources are just as useful now as they were then which is why I've added them below. There's such a wide range of choices that we're sure you'll find something to enjoy.

Read up on real-life animals and places.
We have plenty of non-fiction books on the jungle and its wildlife, and animals in general:
  • Browse children's animal encyclopedias, animal atlases and amazing books of facts
  • Browse children's books about the jungle, the zoo or the rainforest
  • Browse books on animal-related crafts
  • You'll find animal myths and legends around 398.2 on the shelf, including African tales and Native American animal fables
  • Jungle jokes, jungle puzzles - even jungle maths!

  • Read stories about animals:
  • Jungle adventures
  • Elephant tales
  • Tiger tales
  • Snake stories
  • Monkey stories
  • Crocs and gators

  • Watch one of our great animal adventures on DVD!

    You can borrow and watch any of these:
  • Madagascar and Madagascar 2
  • George of the Jungle
  • Bindi, the Jungle Girl
  • Jungle Book and Jungle Book 2
  • Racing Stripes
  • All about animals
  • Willa's wild life
  • Leo the Lion: King of the Jungle
  • Curious George

  • Take a look at some animal picture books! Got pre-schoolers who want to join in the animal fun? Animals are a favourite theme for picture books, so why not try:
  • Jungle animal picture books
  • Zoo animal picture books
  • Elephant picture books
  • Tiger picture books
  • Snake picture books
  • Monkey picture books
  • Gator and croc picture books

    Why do elephants have trunks?
    Suggested reasons:
  • Because they are nosy
  • No reason
  • To trumpet their goodbyes

  • Actual reason: Elephants have short necks which means they can't bend their heads down low and that's why they have a trunk. There's even an explanation for how an elephant's trunk came about!

    Why don't snakes have legs?
    Suggested reasons:
  • They forgot to grow them
  • They'd hate cutting their toenails
  • So that they can't fall down

  • Actual reason: A very long time ago snakes used to have legs only, over time, lost them, and now they use their muscular bodies (and scales) to move about. Mr 7 seemed rather excited by the idea that snakes could have had legs and excitedly said, 'Imagine a movie about that!' No. Let's not.

    Why do giraffes have long necks?
    Suggested reasons:
  • Because they swallowed uncooked spaghetti
  • To have their heads in the clouds
  • Because their bodies lag behind their heads

  • Actual reason: Prap writes that having a long neck means giraffes can eat food that grows up high although Mr 7 was loud in his scepticism - he believes there must be another reason. After he headed off to bed I checked it out on Google and came across a few people who say it's less about the feeding and more about the fighting - giraffes who fight well get to breed. I don't even know how to begin to explain that to Mr 7. I'm not sure I'm going to.

    Why are zebras striped?
    Suggested reasons:
  • They escaped from prison
  • Because they can't decide whether to be black or white
  • Zebras are horses wearing pyjamas

  • Actual reason: Zebras, like horses, gather in herds and when they run the stripes confuse hunters. And Mr 7, too, apparently. I'm guessing my ducking and weaving and imitating a zebra was not a total success. He did know, though that each zebra has a different stripe pattern. I'd like to say it's because I taught him but no. He learned that from Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa *sigh*

    Why do crocodiles cry?
    Suggested reasons:
  • They're spoilt
  • They're afraid of water
  • Because nobody wants to play with them

  • Actual reason: Neither of us knew crocodiles could cry and now both of us would like to see it. Can you see it? I'm not sure. Who would want to get close enough to try? Apparently, crocodiles cry because their eyes get dry when they've been out of water too long and the tears make their eyes wet again.

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