Did you know that the word "amphibian" literally means "double life"? This is because amphibians live both in fresh water and on land! All amphibians need water to keep their permeable skin moist and their skin, in turn, assists with their respiration. Amphibians also need water in order to reproduce. There are approximately 3,000 species of amphibians living today: the smallest Paedocypris progenetica was recently discovered in 2012 and is tinier than an M&M. The largest amphibian is the Chinese Giant Salamander which can reach lengths of six feet!
What is an arthropod? An arthropod is a species that has a skeleton on the outside of its body. Invertebrates, such as insects, arachnids, crustaceans and centipedes all have their skeletons on the outside. All arthropods breathe air, have segmented bodies, and many have antennae and wings. Arthropods make up 80% of all known animal species.
Do you ever wish you could fly? Well, like birds, you would have to have hollow bones and feathers because that is what enables most birds to fly - although there are flightless birds that exist. There are approximately 9,000 bird species in the world: the fastest flyer is the Spine-tailed Swift which can fly along a straight path at more than 100mph - and the bird with the longest wingspan is the Wandering albatross which has a wingspan of 12 feet!
Did you know that sharks are actually a species of fish? Fish can be found in nearly all aquatic environments, from high mountain streams to the deepest depths of the oceans. Fish have specialized gills that allow them to breathe under water and nearly all fish that swim during the daylight hours, have color vision that is at least as good as a human's. With over 32,000 species, fish exhibit greater species diversity than any other group of vertebrates (having backbones).
We are all mammals! Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates (animals with backbones), who breathe air, grow hair at some stage of their lives, and nourish their babies with milk. Mammals also have larger, more developed brains than other animals. There are over 4,000 mammal species on earth: the fastest long distance runner is the Pronghorn antelope which can sustain a speed of 45 mph for more than 4 miles, and the slowest mammal we actually have here at the Zoo! Can you guess which mammal it is?
Surprisingly, some reptiles are actually more closely related to birds than they are to other reptiles. Reptiles usually lay eggs, their body is covered with scales or scutes (as are the feet of birds) and their lungs are their primary breathing organ. Unlike warm-blooded birds though, reptiles are ectotherms, which means that their body temperature varies with that of their environment. There are over 6,500 reptile species, ranging from tiny lizards, snakes, tuatara, turtles, tortoises, to alligators and giant crocodiles.
The Red River Zoo animals can even come to you! Animal Outreach programs connect people with nature through hands-on animal encounter classroom presentations, assemblies, and information booths. Every program can be adapted for any age or grade and can focus on a specific topic: Animal Basics, Night and Day, Survival of the Fittest, Animal Tales and many more!
The animal education collection ranges from Hissing cockroaches to a Flemish Giant rabbit!
Also visit our Zoomobile page to learn more about our programs.