Tag Archives: kid’s science

The Capybara – the world’s largest rodent

Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world! They are related to guinea pigs and chinchillas.

Capybara Facts:

They live 5-10 years in the wild
Capybaras mostly eat grass. In fact, the word Capybara means, “master of the grasses.”
People get them confused with tapirs, pigs or nutria.
They have webbed feet and are awesome swimmers!
They can hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes.
A Capybara can even sleep underwater, keeping its nose just at the waterline!

Capybaras can weight up to 150 pounds!

Capybaras are found in Central and South America in habitats ranging from flooded savannah and grassland, and along rivers in tropical forest.

Capybaras live in herds and are very social.

Predators include: anacondas, jaguars, foxes, birds of prey and wild dogs. Even people!

To help protect them, it is illegal to hunt capybaras in Colombia. But sometimes they are killed by humans who see their grazing as competition for livestock.

Advertisements

Factiod: How long do Turtles Live

Caves and Caverns

I love exploring caves and so do Enzoologists! It is amazing what can be found in caverns – how about a saber tooth tiger tooth? From cave bacon to soda straws our episode about caves and caverns uncovers the mysteries hidden deep below the earth.

Cavern Facts

A Cavern is just a huge hole in the earth’s crust –

There are six basic types of formations:

  1. soda straws
  2. stalactites
  3. stalagmites
  4. flow stone
  5. cave draperies
  6. columns

Soda straws are formed when water seeps through the earth and picks up animal and plant matter and carbon dioxide.  Water plus carbon dioxide equals carbonic acid. When carbonic acid hits the limestone, it eats it!  At the same time it picks up lots of minerals like calcite. As the water drips it forms little rings – one on top of another.

When the water evaporates it leaves the minerals in solid form and makes a soda straw or other formation.

They only grow about an inch every hundred years!

Some caves are called living caverns. Not like plants and animals – living means that it is always changing and growing. But if you touch formations, they die. Oil and dirt from your hands make it impossible for the minerals to stick to it.

So Look but don’t touch!
Cave drapery is really cool. When water drips down the cruve of the ceiling or wall it makes a drapery. My favorite kind of drapery is cave bacon!

Stalagtites come down from the ceiling. Stalagmites grow up from the ground.

Caves can contain very pure water. A water pool can look really shallow but it’s not! The water is so pure it acts like a magnifying glass.

The Chilean Rose Haired Tarantula

I just got back from the University of Texas Brackenridge Field Lab. We shot the next episode of Enzoology – “The Chilean Rose Haired Tarantula”. My dad actually let it crawl on his hand! (He hates spiders LOL). Even my mom held it and petted it. It was awesome. Her name was Rose and she was HUGE! She tried to crawl right up my face. You should see her fangs – red and giant. I met a bunch of scientists too. Man, that was fun. Here’s some stuff about the tarantula.

The Tarantula is one of the largest arachnids.

Tarantulas are carnivores – they eat insects. Some get so big they even eat frogs, mice and birds!

They can be found in most of the worlds tropical, subtropical and arid regions and live in the ground. In America they live in the Southwest.

Tarantulas don’t spin webs – instead they grab their prey and inject venom that paralyzes the prey so they can suck their guts out.

They have an interesting defense mechanism – they can throw hairs from their body – when these hairs get in a predators skin, it’s really irritating.

Tarantulas lay eggs and a single nest can contain up to 1000 babies!

There are 800 species of Tarantulas

They are harmless to humans. They can bite but they usually don’t unless you really bug them!