Jul 9, 2007

animals you'll meet in the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals of America

By reading The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals of America, you'll learn to tell a marmot from a marmoset, a coypu from a capybara. Helpful factoids, beautiful illustrations, perfect for children and adults alike.

Some things I did not know:

Ajolotes (pictured)
Despite their appearance, ajolotes are not snakes or lizards, but members of a small group of reptiles called amphisbaenians, or "worm lizards." These reptiles spend their whole lives burrowing through soft soil, feeding on subterranean prey.
Matamatas have also been observed walking along river beds, herding fish into shallow water where they can be sucked up more easily.
Green basilisks
[T]heir hind feet have scaly fringes that spread their bodyweight, enabling them to spring over the water's surface... [earning] them (along with other related species) the nickname of "Jesus Christ lizards".
Sonoran spotted whiptails
[T]here are no males of the species. Female Sonoran spotted whiptails reproduce by parthenogenesis.
Schneider's dwarf caimans (For the Olybloggers.)
[Their] nests are often built next to termite mounds, so that the heat from the mound helps to incubate the eggs.
Spectacled bears
The spectacled bear is the only species of bear in South America.... The cubs stay with their mother for at least two years before being chased away by adult males seeking to mate with their mother.
Mountain beavers
Their diet consists of very tough plant food, and they have to digest it twice in order to get all the nutrients out of it. This involves eating pellets of faeces.
Ah, Nature. Thou hast so many lessons for us.

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