Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wildlife Experience: Meet a Skunk and a Tiger Salamander!

Today, Beverly from Wildlife Experience was back in our class to share more.

They are a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world.

To book a program for your southern California school, click here.

Today's topic was animal tracks!

Beverly gave hints about each animal, and then students examined a model of the animal's footprint.

Animal Track Hints #1:

This animal lives around here. It's a marsupial which means it carries its young in a pouch.  It can climb or live on the ground, and it eats everything, so it's called an omnivore.

We only have ONE marsupial in America.


Animal Track Hints #2:

This animal has a large, flat back foot which tells you that this is an animal that sits on it back and eats with its hands. This mammal loves to wash its food in water. It is also an omnivore.


Animal Track Hints #3:

This animal's front and back footprints are similar in size. It has three pads, so it spends some of its time on its tiptoes, some time on its heels eating, and sometimes the third pad is used for running.
This is an animal that we rarely see, but you always know when it is around.


Animal Track Hints #4:

Interesting fact about cats and dogs. Wild animals that are related to cats are bobcats and mountain lions. Cats are called felines. Some wild dogs are coyotes, wolves, and dingos, and jackals.
Dogs are called canines.

If you look at a paw print, cats have claws and their claws are retractable. Dog do not have retractable claws. Therefore, if the print has claw marks, it is in the dog family. If you don't see claws, it is a member of the cat family. Interesting! This is a big animal that is endangered.

mountain lion

Animal Track Hints #5:

This animal is found in forested, wooded area, but it is not found in southern California. It is a huge animal with giant antlers.  It is  brown,  and it has dark brown fur around  its neck.


Footprints tell a lot about an animal!

Meet a Skunk

A skunk tells a lot of information with its tail. If the tail is up, the skunk is worried or afraid.

If the tail is down, it is calm.

 Punk the Skunk was given to Wildlife Experience when she was a baby. They named her punk because her hair stood up like a punk rocker when she was little...and punk, rhymes with skunk!  When they first got her, she could fit in your hand. She was abandoned and barely breathing. When her eyes finally opened she imprinted on Beverly, so she thinks Beverly is her mother. If she were released in the wild, she would not survive because she imprinted on a human. 

Meet an Amphibian ~ A Salamander

Sally the Salamander is an amphibian, which means she can breath on land and underwater.


Frogs, salamanders, toads, newts, and caecillian are all amphibians. They have lungs, but when they go underwater, they close off their lungs and use the holes on the skin to get oxygen from the water. The oxygen is absorbed through their skin.

Sally is a tiger salamander, which is the largest kind of salamander in the United States. They grow to be 12-16 inches long. They need to be in water or in moist soil. She is eight right now, and that is old for a tiger salamander. 

Males are bigger than the females. To eat, they hold their prey under the water, and then eat it whole. She eats live crickets about two times a week.

Beverly said that the Chinese giant salamander is the biggest salamander in the world. It grows to be  five feet long!  They hang out in the rivers, and people eat them in China.

What did you think of the two new animals?

Have you ever seen animal footprints? If so, what was it?


  1. Dear Mrs Yollis and students,

    While in lived in the high country I did see a few different footprints.

    Alot of them were from wild dogs which would come down in the valley to attack sheep and cattle.
    Also every now and them I would come across foot prints left by a kangaroo.

    These, were the main foot prints I noticed as I am pretty sure a lot more different and wonderful animals ventured down into the valley.

    From your blogging pal,

  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    It was a great experience for me to touch the salamandor and look at the skunk.

    When my dog Romeo goes into the mud, his paws get all dirty. When he gets out he leaves footprints.



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