The Caracal is a memorable animal with its distinctive and prominent ears. In fact, the name “caracal” comes from the Turkish word “Karakulak” which means black ear! These beautiful cats are also sometimes called an African or Desert Lynx, but they are not actually a part of the Lynx family.
The caracal lives in woodlands, savannas and semi-deserts. They hunt at night and are able to climb trees and even swim and catch fish. They are carnivores and will eat a variety of small prey, like small mammals, birds, lizards, fish and more. As you can see, they are versatile and adaptable animals!
Caracals are solitary but sometimes live in pairs. They have litters of young, up to 6 at a time. The young stay with the mom for up to 10 months before going off to live on their own. In the wild they can live to about 10 years but in captivity they may live up to 16 years. As beautiful as they are in pictures, you can always see one of these amazing cats by visiting our park and enjoy them in person!
What makes a regular old pig, like what is found on farms across America different from the Vietnamese potbelly? In reality there is very little difference in the standard farm pig and the Vietnamese potbelly, just a bit of selective breeding. Basically, they have been bred to have certain qualities, reducing their height and increasing their weight.
The statistics of this bred are impressive, with the average Vietnamese potbelly pig averaging between 100 to 200 pounds and standing between 16 to 20 inches tall. Native to Vietnam, these guys are have become popular as pets because they tend to be smart, easy to train and clean.
Like all pigs, they lack sweat glands and and need help to stay cool in hot weather. This is why they enjoy mud! Of course, they also enjoy eating and as you can imagine, given their size, obesity a problem for the breed. If you’d like to see what a Vietnamese potbelly pic looks like in person just come visit our park.
While their name isn’t very flattering, the Spiny Tailed Lizard are pretty cool lizards that live through most of North America, Northeast Africa,the Middle East. Some species even live further east, establishing themselves in hilly, rocky areas. Officially called Uromastyx, there are a variety of species within this family of hardy lizards.
As you can tell from their name, they have spiny tails. These spiked tails are muscular and are used as defense against attackers. They also hiss and display their teeth to ward off danger. They sleep underground in burrows, which can also provide them protection from predators and the environment.
Spiny Tailed Lizards range greatly in size, from 10 inches all the way up to 36 inches long, depending upon species. Like most reptiles, they like to bask in the sun and get most of their water through the vegetation they eat. Some people keep these lizards as pets, with the Mali Uromastyx being considered the ideal pet species.
Interesting, the coloration of this lizard changes. In colder weather, when they cannot bask in the sun as much, they get darker. In the summer when they can bask often, they tend to be lighter in color. If you want to see a Spiny Tailed Lizards for yourself you can stop by our park.
If you happened to be on the Arabian peninsula you might mistake a Black Buck Antelope for a Gazelle. That’s because these two species look similar in appearance and share the same natural habitat. Unfortunately, Black Buck Antelopes have been listed as a Near Threatened species since 2003.
One very distinctive feature of the Black Buck Antelope is their long, spiraled horns. Only males have these horns, which range from 18 to 27 inches long. Males also are larger, weighing up to 99 pounds and being up to 33 inches at the shoulder. The females range up to 86 pounds and are more slender than their male counterparts.
Black Buck Antelopes are grazers that prefer the plains and open woodlands. They eat grasses and sometimes forage for other things like low hanging flora on trees and bushes. They are very fast and can outrun any threats. Currently the loss of land is one of the largest problems facing this species. If you’d like to see theses striking animals you can always drop in for a visit.
Even if you don’t know the official name, you’ve likely seen the Belted Galloway grazing in fields across America. Known for their distinct black and white patter, this cow is sometimes called the Oreo cow since they are black with a distinct white ‘belt” in the middle. Those in the cattle industry also sometimes call them “Belties”.
While they are primarily considered a beef cow, they are also sometimes used for milk. While their originals aren’t 100% known, it is believed that they come from breeding efforts in the mid 1800′s with the Dutch Belted cattle. Quickly gathering popularity, by 1878 there were exclusive Galloway breeders.
Male Belted Galloways average about 1,800 pounds and females average about 1,250 pounds. They are very hardy and will graze on grasses that other cows will not. They are also known as being gentle in nature and very protective of their young. Feel free to stop by our park and see these gentle giants for yourself.
The Groundhog goes by a few names, such as the woodchuck or whistlepig. It is actually a rodent and belongs to the same family as do large ground squirrels. While we don’t have Groundhogs here at the park, we thought it would be fun to look at this interesting animal which is popularly used to predict the end or continuation of winter each year!
Groundhogs can grow up to 26 inches long and weigh up to 9 pounds. They have been known to be larger when food is plentiful and predators or fewer in number. They are avid diggers and have short powerful limbs which make short work of digging into even hard ground.
Living primiarily in woodlands of north America, they can be found as north as parts of Alaska. Lucikly, they have two coats of fur to ensure warmth even in harsh weather.Primarily herbivores, they eat grasses like alfalfa and other vegetation where available.
Now, few animals have their own holiday, but February 2 is known as Groundhog’s Day and it has been celebrated in the United States since 1887. This occurs in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and is a large ceremony and celebration. If the current resident Groundhog, named Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby, sees his shadow and goes back into his burrow, we are supposed to have 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, we are supposed to have an early spring!
This week we are going to do things a little different and talk about lion’s manes! For starters, did you know that only male lions have manes. They get them as they mature, so only adult male lions have fully grown manes. The color and length of the mane will vary, but scientist think that darker manes indicate a more mature and healthy male.
Now, there is actually a lot we don’t know about manes. Scientist think that manes are more full in areas where it is colder. They also say there is an indication in fuller manes and successful breeding. Rarely there are adult male lions that do not have manes, fascinating the scientific community and leading them to believe there is a link between hormone levels and main growth.
There you have it, some interesting facts about a lions mane!
What comes to mind when you hear the word “pygmy”? Most people have never seen a pygmy goat and are surprised at their size and stature when they see them for the first time. Standing no higher than 24 inches tall, these miniature goats have a small size but a large personality!
Pygmy goats are domestic miniature goats that are primarily kept as pets. The colorations of their coat can vary widely from pure white to pure black and everything in between! They primarily eat grains and greens and really enjoy jumping. They are also known to be affectionate pets and can be trained!
Did you know that Shetland ponies originated in the Shetland Isles, which is south of Scotland? Although often used today to give rides and have as pets, Shetland ponies used to pull carts and other types of work. Standing up to 46 inches at the withers, there is a lot of power packed into their small frames!
Shetland ponies are tough, smart and known to be brave and have an even temperament. While they used to be working horses, today they are primarily prized for their beauty. There are Shetland horse show circuits and official Shetland Pony clubs for pure bred horses that show the hallmark characteristics of the breed.
In keeping with our overview of miniature animals, this week we’ll learn about the miniature Sicilian Donkey. Standing about 36 tall at the most, this miniature can weigh between 200 to 300 pounds. Often kept as pets, this special breed is known as the most affectionate equines out there
Miniature Sicilians make great pets and can even act as pack animals if you are careful on the weight you have them carry. Miniature Sicilian donkeys come in a few color variations, with the most common being gray or chocolate in color. They tend to be hardy animals and can live up to 30 years.