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Many animals go to great lengths to care for their young. To
ensure the survival of their offspring, parents must provide them
with food, shelter, and protection from predators.
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The bond between mother and
young is particularly strong in
mammals, and it is reinforced
by the act of suckling. But ma-
ternal devotion is not restricted
to mammals.
The female Nile crocodile lays
30 to 70 eggs and then hides
Right: Although
the female Nile
crocodile guards
her hatchlings
carefully, most
are eaten by
In some species the male takes
on the entire task of caring for
the young. The female Darwin's
frog lays 20 to 40 eggs on the
ground, but the male alone
guards them until they hatch.
Using his tongue, he transfers
the tadpoles to his mouth and
places them in his vocal sacs.
The tadpoles remain there until
her nest with sand. She guards
the nest all the time for three
months-not even leaving to
feed. When they are ready to
hatch, the young make chirping
noises. The female digs them
out of the nest and carries them
to the water in her mouth, tak-
they are half an inch long and
have lost their tails. The male
then spits them into the water,
where they complete their de-
velopment into adult frogs.
The male three-spined stickle-
back builds a nest in which the
female fish lays eggs. He guards
the eggs and sprays them with
water to keep them clean. After
Left: The male
guards his
nest as the
young hatch.
He remains
close by until
they grow a lit-
tle larger.
Right: It may
take several
hours for the
male seahorse
to give birth to
all of his young.
ing up to six hatchlings at once.
She remains with her offspring
until they are independent, but
despite this close attention most
of the young crocodiles are killed
by predators.
The female giant octopus does
even more to protect her young.
She lays about 100,000 eggs in
her seabed lair and guards them
for six months, constantly spray-
ing them with oxygen-rich wa-
ter until they hatch. The female
does not feed at all during this
time. She dies when the eggs
hatch, weakened by her six
months of starvation.
the young hatch, he tends them .
until they are fully independent.
The male seahorse plays an
even greater role. The female
releases 50 eggs into a pouch on
his abdomen, where he fertilizes
them. He feeds the embryos by
secreting a nourishing fluid into
his pouch. When the eggs hatch,
he releases the young in the sea.
us P 6001 12067 PACKET 67
The nature and degree of parental care vary widely in
the animal world. Young fish, reptiles, and amphibians
often have to survive on their own right from the start.
But many young birds have very protective parents, and
mammals may remain with their mothers for many years.
Food is an immediate need for
all newborn animals. The female
digger wasp has a remarkable
way of providing her newborn
with food. She paralyzes grass-
hoppers with a sting and puts
them in a burrow, where she
lays one egg. When it hatches,
the laNa has fresh food.
Female mammals can easily
feed their young with nutritious
milk. But birds must work for
weeks to feed their ever-hungry
chicks. Some small birds bring
food to their young every five
mi nutes during the day.
For some newborns, warmth
is essential. Many birds are born
Front cover:
The polar bear
snuggles up to
its mother to
keep warm.
Front inset
left: The bot-
tlenose dolphin
calf swims close
to its mother
for its first 16
Front inset
right: In an
example of role
reversal, the
male midwife
toad looks after
the eggs, which
he carries on
his back.
helpless and without feathers,
so their parents cover them with
their wings to keep them warm.
The parents brood their chicks in
this way for several weeks, until
their feathers grow. In contrast,
newborn geese and ducks are
better developed at birth and
can walk soon after hatching.
Hoofed mammals are well de-
veloped at birth and can move
around. The mother licks her
newborn, encouraging it to
stand so that it is not a sitting
target for predators. Marsupials,
however, are barely more than
embryos at birth and finish de-
veloping in the mother's pouch.
Left: For the
young col/ared
peccary and its
mother, living
with a male in
provides secu-
rity from most
Some mammals live in herds or
family groups that give the off-
spring a secure environment in
which to mature and learn sur-
vival skills.
The African elephant usual-
ly gives birth to one calf every
four years. She feeds her calf for
its first two years, but it may re-
main with her in the herd for
up to 12 years. As a result, the
female often has two or three
offspring of different ages with
her. She defends her young
fiercely, charging at predators
with her menacing tusks.
Most species of monkey and
Left: Young meerkats are cared for
and suckled by a "babysitter, II who
may not be related to them.
ape care for their offspring in
close-knit family groups. Fe-
males may carry, groom, and
care for related youngsters
within their troop.
The meerkat has a complex
family structure that helps the
young sUNive in the hostile en-
vironment of Africa's Kalahari
Desert. While some adults hunt
or watch for predators, others
care for small groups of young
meerkats near the safety of the
burrow. In addition to suckling
the young, these adults teach
older juveniles the skills they
will need as adults.
Right: The elephant calf is protected
and educated by its mother and
other females.
Left: Some
species of cich-
lid protect their
young by suck-
ing them into
their mouths,
then blowing
them out when
the danger has
For many animals safety lies in
numbers, since most predators
are reluctant to attack a group.
The collared peccary lives in a
small herd made up of family
groups, each containing one
male plus three females and
their young. When threatened
by a predator, such as a jaguar
or puma, the male confronts
the animal to divert it while the
females and young escape.
Big cats like cheetahs pick up
their offspring in their mouths
if danger threatens and carry
them one by one to safety. The
Left: The young koala clings to its
mother throughout its first year.
female common hamster holds
her young safely in her cheek
pouches or in a special toothless
area between her teeth.
Many birds are experts at lur-
ing predators away from their
nests, often putting themselves
at risk in the process. Male and
female killdeer work together to
protect their eggs, with one par-
ent incubating the eggs while
the other acts as a lookout. To
distract intruders, they move
away from the nest, pretending
to be injured. These birds also
utter fierce barking calls to keep
predators away from the nest
and protect their hatchlings.
,""CARD 52
The sense of smell is vital to a reptile survival, giving the animal
information about its surroundings. In some species, smell
is better developed than sight or hearing.
Every time a reptile breathes
in through its nostrils, it draws
scent particles from the air into
ducts, which widen into large
olfactory sacs (nasal cavities).
The olfactory sac is lined with a
thin membrane, or epithelium,
of sensory cells. Each cell has a
rod-shaped projection ending
in a tuft of hairs. The hairs catch
the scent assisted by
a sticky substance produced in
the nose.
The olfactory sacs of croco-
diles have several hollows that
increase the surface area in con-
tact with the air. Yet, even with
this complicated internal nose
structure, crocodiles have a
The loggerhead turtle and
diamondback terrapin proba-
bly can smell underwater.
The male Komodo dragon
flicks his forked tongue over
a female in order to taste her
scent and discover if she is
ready to mate.
Most turtles, marine snakes,
poor sense of smell compared
with that of snakes.
Left: Snakes
and lizards
carry scent to
organ with a
long, flexible
tongue. The
tuatara also
possesses this
organ, but it
picks up scent
particles from
air drawn into
its nose.
and tree-dwelling lizards have
very small sensory areas in their
nasal cavities. As a result, these
animals seem to have a poor
sense of smell.
Banded geckos discriminate
between the odor of snakes that
feed on lizards and those that
do not. They use this informa-
Snakes and most lizards have
the advantage of a scent organ
called Jacobson's organ. These
reptiles use their tongues to pick
up scent particles in the air and
carry them to this organ. Situ-
ated in the roof of the mouth,
it is lined with sensory cells.
Nerve fibers in the cells carry
messages to parts of the brain
responsible for scent. Many rep-
tiles use both the nasal epitheli- I
um and Jacobson's organ to get
information about a scent.
tion to avoid areas inhabited
by lizard eaters.
After it bites its prey, a ven-
omous snake usually withdraws
and waits for its victim to die.
Using its sense of smell, a rat-
tlesnake may then search for
its victim for up to two days,
traveling over a quarter-mile.
Many reptiles are able to detect scent in two very
different ways. In addition to using their noses to detect
airborne scent particles, these animals use their tongues
to "taste" the air. The scent is then passed to a special
organ of smell known as Jacobson's organ.
Smell is an important way for
reptiles to recognize things. A
skink will not tend eggs that
smell unfamiliar, and it cannot
find its own eggs if its sense of
smell is damaged. Species such
as deKay's snake hibernate in
groups and use smell to track
others to the winter lair. Smell
is also essential in courtship. A
male snake follows the scent
left by a female as she rubs her
body along the ground.
On uneven terrain or in dense
undergrowth, a reptile's senses
of sight and hearing may not
be sufficient for detecting food.
Lizards, such as monitors and
Gila monsters, often use their
Front cover:
The venomous
taipan tracks
the scent of its
Front inset
left: A North
lizard called
the five-lined
skink can rec-
ognize the
scent of its
own eggs.
Front inset
right: The Nile
crocodile lacks
organ and has
a poor sense of
sense of smell to find hidden
food. Snakes, which are preda-
tors, depend on their sense of
smell to track prey.
The scent of an enemy can
cause a reptile to take a defen-
sive posture. A rattlesnake, for
example, coils its body and pre-
pares to strike when it smells a
king snake or another predator.
Even the odor of a stick that has
been rubbed along the back of
a king snake causes this reac-
tion. In this way, the sense of
smell provides the rattlesnake
with a warning of danger.
Right: The western diamondback
rattlesnake "tastes" the air by flick-
ing its tongue.
Left: It is be-
lieved that the
loggerhead tur-
tIe can smell
underwater to
track prey such
as fish, squid,
crabs, and
The tongue of a lizard or snake
is often forked and can be ex-
tended. The reptile constantly
flicks its tongue in and out, ex-
ploring the air through touch
and taste.
In the 1930s, scientists discov-
ered that the reptile's tongue
picks up scent particles in the
air. These particles are dissolved
by glandular substances and
carried into the ducts of the rep-
tile's jacobson's organ. These
ducts are situated where the
forked tips of the tongue come
Left: The Komodo dragon uses its
keen sense of smell to track small
mammal prey.
to rest, and in some species the
tips actually insert the particles
into the ducts. Once they reach
jacobson's organ, the particles
are "smelled" by sensory cells.
It is not clear how the reptile's
nose and jacobson's organ work
together, but they seem to be
equally important. The nose
may respond to scent in the air,
making the animal aware of
food or some other stimulus.
jacobson's organ may then be
used to locate and analyze the
scent more precisely.
Right: The blue-tongued skink of
Australia may stick out its tongue
when defending itself.
Left: As a frog
or toad hops in
grass, it leaves
a trace of slime.
A grass snake is
able to smell
the slime and
follow the frog.
In addition to a complex nose
structure, some reptiles possess
jacobson's organ, named for the
Danish anatomist Ludwig Levin
jacobson. This organ consists of
two cavities in the head and can
be relatively large in snakes and
lizards. A slowworm may have a'
jacobson's organ that is a four-
teenth of the length of its head.
By flicking its tongue, the rep-
tile brings tiny airborne particles
into its mouth. These scent par-
ticles are guided along ducts by
hairs that grow on a mushroom-
shaped bulge in jacobson's or-
gan. When the particles reach
sensory cells on the inner sur-
face, or epithelium, of the nasal
cavity, signals are transmitted
along nerve fibers to the brain,
which converts them into infor-
mation about the scent.
Reptiles are not the only ani-
mals that have jacobson's or-
gans. It is also found in many
amphibians and a few mam-
mals, such as the golden ham-
ster. However, it is most highly
developed among snakes and
many lizards.
Tortoises, turtles, and terra-
pins do not have a true jacob-
son's organ. Nor do crocodiles,
which have a relatively poor
sense of smell. An opportunis-
tic hunter, the crocodile relies
on good eyesight to find prey.
Eagles use their superior hunting abilities to take advantage of many
food sources. Most species pursue and kill live prey, but some force
other birds to give up their catches, and still others feed on carrion.
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When a female eagle lays more
than one egg, the first chick to
hatch is the one most likely to
survive. Because the older chick
gets more food from its mother
than its younger siblings do, the
latter may starve to death. The
older chick may even drive a
younger sibling to the edge of
the nest, where it may fall out
or die from exposure to sun or
cold. Sometimes a parent eats
one of its younger chicks or
feeds it to the older offspring.
Hearing: Eagles have keen hear-
ing. But they do not rely on their
hearing to find prey unless they
hunt in dense forests, where vis-
ibility is limited. Hearing has an
important role in communica-
tion both between adults and
between parents and offspring.
The world's biggest bird's
nest was built by bald eagles
in Florida. It weighed 6,700
pounds and was 20 feet deep
and almost 10 feet wide.
The bateleur eagle of Africa
gets its name from the French
word for "tightrope walker."
In some species, such as the
golden eagle, this behavior is re-
lated to food supply. When food
is plentiful, more than one chick
Sight: Eagles are known for their
fixed, piercing stares. A big eagle
may have larger eyes than those
of a human. These eyes leave lit-
tle room in the eagle's skull for
muscles to move them. Instead
of moving its eyes, the bird ro-
tates its head on its very flexible
Left: The gold-
en eagle has
vision. Its spe-
cialized retina
magnifies the
point on which
the bird focuses.
As it glides, this eagle rocks its
wings from side to side, like
a tightrope walker balancing
with his arms.
The oldest-known captive
eagle was a golden eagle that
lived to 60 years. In the wild,
the oldest eagle was a white-
Left: The female
Verreaux's eagle
always lays two
eggs. But there
are no records
of more than a
single chick sur-
viving to fledge.
may survive. But in other spe-
cies, the older chick kills its sib-
ling even if food is abundant.
The reason for this is unknown.
neck in order to look around.
Because there is a sizable dis-
tance between the lens and the
light-sensitive retina at the back
of the eye, an eagle has good
long-distance vision. It also has
broad binocular vision, which
enables it to judge distance and
depth accurately. Some species
can spot a rabbit a mile away. In
contrast, a human finds it hard
to spot a rabbit at 1 ,500 feet.
Smell: An eagle has a poor sense
of smell. Even if it feeds on car-
rion (dead animal flesh), it finds
this by sight. It may watch other
carrion eaters' movements.
tailed eagle that lived 27 years.
Two North American bald
eagles have been seen in Eu-
rope: the first in Wales in 1978
and the second in Ireland in
1987. The latter was brought
back to the United States and
returned to the wild.
US P 6001 12 078 PACKET 78
Eagles share many characteristics. They all have hooked
bills, large eyes, broad wings with slotted tips, strong legs,
and feet that are equipped with sharp talons. But eagles
vary greatly in size-from less than one foot tall for the
smallest snake eagles to more than three feet long for the
powerful harpy eagles. The latter are so strong that they
are capable of picking off monkeys and sloths from trees.
The 60 species of eagle can be
divided into four groups: sea
and fish eagles, harpy eagles,
snake and serpent eagles, and
booted eagles.
The eight species of sea and
fish eagle eat mainly fish, taking
them from just below the wa-
ter's surface. North America's
bald eagle and Eurasia's white-
tailed eagle are in this group.
Two of the world's largest ea-
gles are harpy eagles: the harpy
eagle of South America and the
Philippine eagle.
The 12 species of snake and
serpent eagle feed mainly on
snakes and other reptiles. They
have stubby but powerful toes
for grasping and killing prey.
Their short, dense facial feathers
protect them from snakebites.
There are 32 booted eagle
species. The term refers to the
dense feathers that cover the
birds' legs. The group consists
of hawk eagles, including Afri-
ca's martial eagle, and the nine
species of "typical" eagle in the
genus Aquila. The latter are all
large birds of prey, and most
have mainly brown plumage.
Philippine eagle: Deforestation and
hunting have made this one of the
rarest birds of prey, with less than
200 individuals in the wild.
Front cover: Verreaux's eagle is
also known as the black eagle.
Front insets: The golden eagle's
large eyrie, or nest (left), is built
high in the trees. The harpy eagle
(right) uses its good hearing to find
prey in its dense forest habitat.
Eagles pair for life and have a
variety of courtship displays.
The male of many species per-
forms a "sky dance" high over
his territory. After spiraling up
on thermal air currents, he
plummets down on closed
wings, then swoops up again,
pausing briefly before plunging
into another dive. Verreaux's
eagle of Africa may perform the
most spectacular sky dance. Its
dives can exceed 1,000 feet,
with dramatic loops and rolls
and figure-eight patterns.
Fish and sea eagles perform
the most dramatic of all displays
that involve pairs of eagles. In a
performance known as "cart-
wheeling," the pair locks talons
and tumbles earthward in a se-
ries of spins. The birds may not
separate until they are several
feet from the ground or sea.
Eagles usually build sturdy
nests of sticks and large twigs.
Many large eagles reuse the
same nest, expanding it each
year until it becomes huge.
Most eagles lay one or two
eggs, but some, such as the
golden eagle, lay three or four.
In some species the female does
all the incubating, but in others
the male shares the task.
Eagles seem to spend little time
hunting. An eagle can store sev-
eral days' food supply in its crop
(an expandable pouch below
the throat), so it does not need
to feed every day. Eagles prey
on animals of different sizes,
from termites to monkeys to
small antelope. Some species
are specialist feeders. Verreaux's
eagle, for example, sometimes
Bald eagle: This eagle is the national
symbol of the United States, but it is
now common only in Alaska. It is dis-
tinguished by its white head and tail
feathers. Although classified as a sea
or fish eagle, it feeds on a variety of
prey. It also scavenges and steals
food from other birds.
The male provides food for
the female while she is incubat-
ing and later feeds both her and
the chicks. The female does not
hunt until the young are able to
fend for themselves.
Newly hatched chicks have
open eyes and downy feathers.
The parents tear prey into bits
and feed the young from their
bills. The chicks learn to rip food
apart themselves before leaving
the nest. They are fledged after
one and a half to four months,
depending on the species.
lives almost entirely on hyraxes.
Other species, including all the
booted eagles, feed on carrion
(dead animal flesh).
Most eagles kill live prey by
crushing it with their powerful
talons.The hind talon frequent-
ly pierces the victim, inflicting
a deadly wound. Snake eagles
may subdue prey with bites on
the skull and backbone. Some
species can even cope with very
venomous snakes such as mam-
bas and cobras.
Eagles usually pluck prey from
the ground or from water. But
some species, such as the gold-
en eagle and Bonnelli's eagle,
may seize birds in flight. Eagles
use their powerful, hooked bills
to tear prey into bite-size pieces.
To enable them to grasp slip-
Bateleur eagle: This African snake
eagle eats carrion, birds, and mam-
mals in addition to snakes. It spends
much more time flying than most
other species of eagle.
Martial eagle: This powerful bird
of prey, a booted eagle, favors
savanna and semidesert regions
in central and eastern Africa. The
female is larger than the male,
and her wingspan may be up
to eight and a half feet.
pery prey, sea and fish eagles
have spicules (tiny rough spines)
on the soles of their toes. These
eagles also chase ospreys and
other smaller fish-eating birds
until the smaller bird gives up
its catch. Even though they are
specially adapted for eating fish,
these eagles also scavenge and
eat carrion. Larger species eat
mammals and birds as well.
.. -- -- - - -- - _ ....... _---
':::I11III _ .. ~
Mammals that live in trees have certain advantages over mammals
that live on the ground. These include safety from ground-dwelling
predators and food sources that other animals cannot reach.
Tree-dwelling mammals need
sharp eyesight because light is
poor in the forest. Like many
arboreal species, the opossum
has large eyes that let it see even
in dim light. The nocturnal tar-
sier has even larger eyes that
face forward, giving it binocu-
lar (three-dimensional) vision.
This enables the animal to judge
distances accurately when leap-
ing between trees. Red and
gray squirrels have much small-
Right: With eyes that provide
binocular vision, the tarsier can
judge distances when jumping.
er eyes, but they are adept at
distinguishing vertical objects
such as tree trunks.
For many arboreal mammals,
keen hearing is as important as
sharp vision. Hidden among the
trees, sociable species such as
the howler monkey call to one
another, communicating with
sound rather than sight.
Many species can coexist in the
same forest. They reduce com-
petition for food and space by
inhabiting different levels of the
forest and by eating and sleep-
ing at different times. This be-
havior is particularly noticeable
when several species of primate
share the same forest.
In West Africa chimpanzees,
gorillas, and colo bus monkeys
share their rainforest habitat by
day. The heavy gorilla feeds on
the ground and at the lower
Tree-dwelling mammals have
various ways of keeping their
young safe. Because a fall could
be fatal, a parent must guard its
young constantly. As a result,
most arboreal species give birth
to only one offspring at a time.
To keep from falling, the koala
clings to its mother's fur after it
leaves her pouch. Similarly, pot-
to and loris young cling to their
Left: To avoid falling, the young
koala constantly grips its mother.
levels of the forest, while the
lightweight colobus monkeys
take fruit growing on the small-
est branches of the top layer.
mothers until they are weaned.
The female bush baby carries
her single young in her mouth
while she moves through the
trees at night. Before feeding,
she settles her offspring on a
nearby branch.
Some tree dwellers, such as
chimpanzees, build nests near
their companions each night.
Sleeping in the trees guaran-
tees safety from predators such
as leopards.
Left: The squir-
rel monkey lives
in the top layer
of the forest.
Even when car- tJ
rying its young, u:
it can feed at the ~
tip of a branch,
where heavier
mammals can-

The chimpanzees forage at all ~
levels. At night pottos and bush I ~ ~
babies take over, each feeding .c:
at a different level. ~
Many species of mammals are arboreal, spending most
of their time in the trees. Some mammals never leave the
trees at all-even to drink. The koala, for example, gets
moisture from its diet of eucalyptus leaves. Tree-dwelling
mammals face many unique challenges in their habitat.
As a result, these animals have developed a variety of
specialized physical and behavioral characteristics.
Orangutans and chimpanzees
have long limbs for swinging
through trees. An orangutan
moves slowly on all four limbs,
using its body weight to bend
each branch toward the next.
A gibbon moves by gripping
branches with alternate hands,
in what is known as brachiation
movement. A gibbon has a good
grip because its thumbs and big
toes are opposable--capable of
being placed against the other
digits (fingers and toes).
Despite its name, the flying
Front cover:
The orangutan
spends most of
its time in the
Front inset
left: The tree
porcupine is a
skillful climber,
with sharp
claws and a
strong, grip-
ping tail.
Front inset
right: A fear-
some forest
hunter, the
clouded leop-
ard stalks its
prey among
squirrel does not actually fly. It
glides downward across gaps in
the forest canopy, traveling up
to 300 feet between trees. Like
the flying lemur and the pha-
langer, the flying squirrel has a
furred flight membrane that ex-
tends along its body between
its head, limbs, and tail. When
spread out, this membrane traps
air like a parachute. In order to
land, the squirrel slows down by
pushing its body upward.
Right: The flying squirrel gets ready
to glide across a gap in the forest.
The tall trees in rainforests offer
food and safety for the mam-
mals that live in them. Tall trees
with rough bark and numerous
branches are easy to climb. But
getting from one tree to anoth-
er can pose problems.
Climbing to the bottom of
one tree in order to climb up
another is a waste of time and
Many arboreal mammals have
tails that are prehensile--capable
of gripping. Sometimes called
the "fifth limb," the prehensile
tail is often hairless on the un-
derside to increase sensitivity
and provide a better grip. With
its tail gripping a branch, a mam-
mal can hang upside down with
all its limbs free for feeding. Sev-
eral mammals can even support
their young as they hang.
Among the many mammals
that have prehensile tails are
opossums, tree-dwelling pan-
Left: The wooly opossum of South
America grips branches tightly with
its clawed feet.
energy. It also leaves the animal
open to attack from a ground
predator. As a result, many ar-
boreal (tree-dwelling) mammals
have developed ways of mov-
ing directly from tree to tree.
Some species swing from one
tree to the next, some jump,
others glide, and still others
reach out and grasp.
golins, and prehensile-tailed
tree porcupines. Some of the
larger species of monkey, such
as the black howler, also have
prehensile tails, which they use
for gripping branches and pick-
ing up objects such as fruit.
Small species of monkey, such
as the squirrel monkey, do not
need prehensile tails. They are
light enough to leap between
branches and are not likely to
hurt themselves if they fall .
Although they are not prehen-
sile, the long tails of tree kanga-
roos serve as balancing poles,
steadying the animals as they
move along branches.
The koala spends most of its
time in the trees and has large
paws with strong claws. It has a
good grip because the first and
second digits on the forepaws
are opposable to the other three.
The koala travels up a tree by
grasping the trunk with its sharp
foreclaws and then bringing its
hind feet upward with a bound-
ing movement.
The red squirrel climbs up and
down trees headfirst, using its
clawed feet to anchor itself to
the bark. Its bushy tail helps it to
Many cat species live in for-
ests, moving stealthily in the
trees. If it falls from a height,
a cat has the unique ability to
orient itself in midair so that it
lands on its feet.
This reflex action is set into
motion by the inner ear-the
Left: A sloth
rarely, if ever,
leaves the trees
to venture to
the ground. It
moves around
by hooking its
long, sturdy
claws over
branches with
slow, deliberate
balance as it climbs and to steer
as it jumps.
The clouded leopard hunts
monkeys, birds, and squirrels in
the trees of rainforests. Its short
but strong legs have large paws
with sharp, gripping claws.
The two-toed and three-toed
sloths are the slowest-moving
arboreal mammals. With four-
inch-long hooked claws on their
hands and feet, these animals
have a strong grip and are able
to hang from branches with lit-
tle muscular effort.
Left: A grip-
ping tail helps
prevent falls for
a heavy tree
dweller like the
black howler
balance organ in all mammals.
Using the information from
its inner ear, along with what
it sees, the falling cat deter-
mines which way its head is
facing. It then twists its head

body into an upright position.
The intelligence of mammals is the subject of debate. Whales,
dolphins, and chimps are all considered highly intelligent. But
can we judge them in terms of this human concept?
Simple intelligence tests show a
mammal's grasp of cause and
effect. A rat can learn to press a
lever to obtain food. It can then
be given a selection of levers to
test how much information its
brain can handle and how quick-
ly it can learn a sequence.
Intelligence tests were first giv-
en to chimps and other apes in
1912. Many tests involve simple
problem solving. An ape may be
shown a tray with three objects
on it. Food is always placed un-
der the same object, and the
I ape quickly learns this. Then the
food is placed under any object,
but a clue is given-there is a
fourth object that is the same
shape as the one over the food.
In a more difficulttest, food is
placed out of an ape's reach. The
ape is given "tools" in the form
of long poles or boxes that can
be stacked. Different levels of in-
telligence within a species are re-
vealed by the responses. Some
individuals improvise solutions;
some just imitate what they see;
others do not catch on at all.
Many experts argue that apes
can perform only feats they are
trained to do or those that they
see humans doing. Yet some
apes are intelligent enough to
perform a complex sequence of
Gray squirrels are notorious for
stealing from bird feeders. To
test the memory and speed of
learning of these animals, an
obstacle course was designed
that led to a store of nuts. It
Left: Chimps
learn from ex-
perience, and
they can adapt
knowledge to
fit new situa-
tions. This abil-
ity is shown in
the chimp's use
of primitive
actions after one demonstration.
Unlike other mammals, apes
and other primates can improve
their problem-solving abilities.
They can recognize similarities
between problems and adapt
what they have already learned.
When some chimps, orang-
utans, and elephants were given
paint and paper, they became
engrossed in drawing. Whether
this is a sign of intelligence is a
matter of opinion.
took the squirrels a month to
figure out the entire course,
learning by trial and error.
Top row: The transparent plastic disk is not fixed. It
spins when the squirrel puts weight on it, making the
animal fall off in its first few attempts.
Bottom row: The plastic box, leading to a soft canvas I
tube, has a tricky revolving door inside. But the squirrel
cannot pass over or around it.
Intelligence can be thought of as the ability to
use experience and memory in order to solve problems.
It also involves the ability to adapt knowledge for use
in new situations. Unlike instinct, which is inborn,
intelligence is based on learned behavior.
Mammal brains are much more
complex than those of other ani-
mals. But with the exception of
humans, the brain is used most-
ly to evaluate information gath-
ered by the senses rather than
to formulate ideas. It is thought
that only other primates have
intelligence that is comparable
to our own.
Some of the most complex
brains belong to dolphins and
toothed whales. The largest of
the dolphins, the killer whale,
uses a sophisticated "language"
that is unique to its pod (group).
A large brain does not always
indicate high intelligence. The
ratio of brain to body weight is
Front cover:
The gorilla is
considered one
of the most
intelligent pri-
Front inset
left: Humans
make use ofa
dog's natural
instincts by
training it to
herd sheep.
Front inset
right: Captive
dolphins can
be taught
tricks. They
often form close
bonds with
their trainers.
an important factor. At a weight
of 20 pounds, the largest mam-
mal brain is that of the sperm
whale. But relative to body size,
the largest brains are found in
humans, followed by dolphins.
Brain tissue burns more calo-
ries than muscle tissue because
connections are constantly be-
ing made between nerve cells,
and experiences are being re-
corded as memories. The brain
makes up only a small fraction
of the body's weight. But it uses
one-quarter of the body's daily
energy intake. For many mam-
mals long legs or great strength
may be more important for sur-
vival than a large brain.
Left: The
brain is quite
large. But it is
used mostly for
smells rather
than working
out ideas.
Evolution is usually the cause of
what we view as intelligent be-
havior among mammals. Cer-
tain responses to environmental
changes help an animal survive,
and over time these patterns are
laid down in the genes and be-
come instinctive behaviors. An
animal that seems to show intel-
ligence may simply be acting on
instinct. It is instinct that makes
a bear hibernate in winter. It is
instinct that prompts a female
Arctic fox to rear a sister's cubs
in hard times rather than bear
her own cubs, which might die.
Left: Wildebeests of Africa migrate
by instinct to the same pastures
each year.
A squirrel storing nuts for win-
ter seems to be thinking ahead.
But the squirrel has no concept
of long-term cause and effect.
Its behavior is instinctive, trig-
gered by changes in daylight
and temperature.
Some mammals migrate in
response to changes in season.
Year after year the wildebeest
migrates to the same feeding
grounds. Over time this pattern
has evolved into a genetic blue-
print creating an irresistible urge
to move. It is an innate response
and not a sign of intelligence.
Right: Instinct, not intelligence,
causes squirrels to hoard food for
the winter.
Left: The ex-
pression lias
cunning as a
fox" reflects the
fact that preda-
tors are often
more intelligent
than their prey.
Dogs can be trained to perform
complicated tasks involving a
degree of judgment and choice.
These tasks range from herding
sheep to acting as guides for
blind people. On a busy street,
a seeing-eye dog must monitor
traffic and pedestrians on behalf
of its owner.
Several chimps and gorillas
and one orangutan-all raised
in captivity-have been taught
sign language. Using signs, the
animals were able to communi-
cate with humans to some ex-
tent. Some individuals acquired
Left: A guide dog's training in-
volves teaching the animal the
basics of street traffic.
a large vocabulary of signs. One
chimp learned about 130 signs,
and a gorilla learned 600. Goril-
las and chimps have learned to
use signs to invent names for
objects that they had not been
taught to identify. They have
even put together short sen-
tences and held conversations
with their keepers. Chimps have
also been taught to recognize
and use symbols in a very basic
form of writing.
Captive dolphins show a great
capacity for learning. Trained at
an early age in marine parks and
zoos, they quickly learn to per-
form tricks and will leap out of
the water on command.
As winged adults, butterflies are the most dazzling of all insects.
Yet many live for only a few days or weeks-just long enough
to mate and produce the next generation.
--I The male butterfly's wing colors
are often brighter than the fe-
male's, both to attract her and
to show that he belongs to her
species and is a suitable mate.
A butterfly's color comes from
I its wing scales. The color is pro-
duced partly by pigment and
partly by the scattering of light
on the scales' uneven surfaces.
Species like the South American
I morphos produce flashing iri-
descent colors as light catches
the beating wings.
Colorful butterflies are very
conspicuous, so many species
have ways of confusing preda-
tors. Some have wings that are
bright above but drab below.
The flash of color attracts atten-
tion as the insect flies but seems
Below: "Eyespots" discourage
predators from attacking.
Butterflies can see ultraviolet
light, and many species have
ultraviolet patterns that are in-
visible to humans.
The caterpillar of the Euro-
pean large blue has a scent
that attracts ants. The ants
carry the caterpillar into their
to disappear when it lands and
closes its wings. Butterflies also
have "eyespots" on their wings
that alarm an attacker by giving
the impression of a large face.
These spots also distract preda-
nest and then let it feast on their
grubs, because they are too in-
toxicated by its odor to stop it.
Some caterpillars absorb poi-
sons from the plants they eat
and, as a result, they taste very
unpleasant. They advertise this
fact with warning colors to de-
Left: There is
no blue pig-
mentin the
wings of the
blue morpho
butterfly. The
blue color that
we see is pro-
duced by the
scattering of
light on the
textured sur-
faces of the
wing scales.
tors. A bird will peck at an eye-
spot rather than at the butter-
fly's body, so the insect has a
chance to escape.
Below: The scales on a butterfly's
wings are arranged in layers.
ter their predators. Many edi-
ble caterpillar species mimic
these colors to benefit from
the same protection.
When seeking the right food
plant for her young, a female
butterfly uses receptors on her
feet to "taste" the foliage.
0160200811 PACKET 81
Butterflies are found throughout most of the world and
are probably the best-known of all insects. Adult monarch
morpho, swallowtail, peacock, and tortoiseshell butterflies
are greatly admired for their beauty. But to become such
colorful and graceful creatures, butterflies must undergo
a complex transformation from eggs to caterpillars to
pupas to adults. Only the adult butterflies have wings.
Front cover:
Of Europe's four
swallowtail spe-
cies, the European
swallowtail is the
most widespread.
Front insets top:
A butterfly starts
its life as an egg
(left). It then turns
into a caterpillar
Front insets bot-
tom: The dead-
leaf butterfly (left)
is a good mimic,
protecting itself
from predators by
blending in with
its background. A
butterfly possesses
thousands of tiny
scales on each
wing (right).
To build up energy for its life as
an adult, a caterpillar feeds vora-
ciously on plant matter, using its
biting mouthparts. Some spe-
cies also eat aphids or ant grubs.
Adult butterflies eat very little,
and some are not even able to
feed. But most adults can take
liquid food using a long, tubular
proboscis (mouthpart), which
Left: Using its long uncoiled pro-
boscis (mouthpart), the red admi-
ral feeds on rotting fruit in fall.
A female butterfly lays her eggs
on a particular type of plant-
one that will provide the right
food for the caterpillars when
they hatch. Caterpillars have
huge appetites but eat only the
foliage of certain plants. Some
eat only one plant species.
For weeks, the caterpillar does
little but eat, molting (shedding
its skin) several times while it
grows. At the final molt, the leg-
less pupa, or chrysalis, appears
and suspends itself from a wall,
plant stem, or leaf by a pad or
girdle of silk.
A caterpillar is essentially a bag
Left: The female large white but-
terfly usually lays her eggs on the
underside of a cabbage leaf.
Left: Instead of
having a cam-
ouflage that
blends in with
only one back-
ground, certain
tropical species
have transpar-
ent wings that
blend in with
practically any-
operates like a drinking straw.
As fuel for flying, butterflies
need energy-rich food such as
nectar, which is mainly sugar.
This food is sufficient for most
species because they live for
only a few days or weeks. But
those that live longer also need
liquid protein, which they get
from rotting organic matter. To
obtain essential minerals, but-
terflies may gather to drink from
evaporating puddles.
of highly adaptable cells. During
pupation, these cells are trans-
formed within the body of the
chrysalis. They are rearranged
into new tissues and build the
structures that form the adult.
Finally-often in spring after a
winter spent as a pupa-the
pupal skin splits. The butterfly
hauls itself free, lets its wings
expand and harden, and then
flies off to find a mate.
Most butterfly species spend
only a fraction of their lives fly-
ing compared with all the time
they spend in the caterpillar and
pupa stages. Soon after male
butterflies take to the air, they
mate and die. Females, howev-
er, may mate several times.
Aside from its colorful wings, a
butterfly is a typical insect, with
a body that is made up of three
main parts. Its head carries its
mouthparts and primary sense
organs. Its thorax supports two
pairs of wings and three pairs of
legs. Its abdomen contains most
of its internal organs. Butterflies
and moths are basically similar.
The distinctions between them
are technical, anatomical ones.
Like all insects, a butterfly has
a tough external skeleton made
of a substance called chitin. In
most species, hairs and scales
cover this skeleton. The wings
are sheets of glossy chitin that
are strengthened by veins and
plated with scales.
Compound eye
People are fascinated when animals use tools, because this
behavior suggests the kind of intelligence and ability to exploit
the environment that we associate with humans.
Chimpanzees are genetically
similar to humans. Some infant
chimps have been raised in hu-
man conditions to compare
their development with that of
children. These chimps have
shown a remarkable ability to
use ordinary household items
such as china, cutlery, doors,
furniture, and picture books.
Chimps perform well on the
"match to sample" test, which
shows a subject's ability to iden-
tify an object. A chimp is shown
an object, then shown it again
among other objects. If it iden-
tifies the original object, it gets
a reward. Chimps can also be
taught to sort objects on the
basis of color, shape, or size.
This ability shows that they un-
derstand abstract concepts.
Chimps are good at problem
solving and can use past experi-
The Egyptian vulture usually
picks up eggs and smashes
them to eat the contents. But
ostrich eggs are too big, so it
drops stones on them. This
behavior is widespread over
the bird's range, so it seems
ence in a new situation. In a
classic experiment devised by
Wolfgang Kohler, a chimp was
first allowed to play with a stick.
Then a banana was placed out-
left: The chim-
panzee reveals
its curiosity and
abilities when it
uses a branch
to extend the
length of its
that the various vulture popula-
tions have learned this trick from
one another.
Chimpanzees sometimes use
weapons. They throw sticks and
stones to intimidate rivals or
aggressors. In experiments wild
Above: A young chimp may play
with sticks, which can lead to the
use of more complex tools.
side a chimp's cage, and the
chimp was given a stick with
which to rake it in. The chimp
was able to choose the right
length of stick for the task. In
a more difficult version of this
test, the chimp had to attach
one stick to another to make a
rake of the right length.
Rats, cats, and pigeons can all
use tools in tests. But primates
can learn from experience and
improve their performance.
chimpanzees have been seen
using sticks as clubs to beat a
stuffed leopard.
The octopus is a very intelli-
gent animal. It may place a
stone across the entrance to
its lair to keep out predators.
0160200641 PACKET 64
The ability to use tools gradually enabled humans
to conquer the wild environment and develop a very
sophisticated civilization. Animals may also enhance
their chances of survival by using tools to accomplish
important tasks. They may learn this skill by instinct,
through imitation of others, through trial and
erro" or by solving problems that arise.
Using a tool is not always an
indication of intelligent reason-
ing. For many species, the abili-
ty to use particular tools is in
part a result of evolution. What
is food for one animal may be
inaccessible to another without
tools. Using tools is necessary
for some animals' survival and
has become instinctive.
Birds and mammals that have
large brains, such as apes, ele-
phants, and dolphins, can imi-
tate actions. Imitative behavior
Front cover:
The Galapagos
finch succeeds
in using a thin
twig or cactus
spine to pry
insects from
holes in the
bark of trees.
Front cover
inset: While
floating on its
back, the sea
otter smashes
shellfish on a
stone placed on
its belly. The
sea otter can
then eat the
exposed flesh.
is a shortcut to using tools. If
one individual uses a tool suc-
cessfully, an entire population
may follow.
Play can also stimulate ani-
mals, especially primates, to
use tools. An animal that has
not handled or played with
objects in infancy may not be
able to make the mental leap
to using an object as a tool.
Right: A weaver ant worker uses
its larva as a silk-weaving tool to
build its nest.
Through evolution, an animal
may come to use a part of its
body as a type of tool. For ex-
ample, Madagascar's aye-aye
has a long, thin middle finger.
This rare lemur uses its finger
like a tool to extract insects
from dead wood and milk from
coconuts. But scientists do not
consider the finger a real tool.
When an elephant scratches
its body against a tree, it is not
using a tool. But if the elephant
picks up a branch with its trunk
to scratch itself, this behavior is
classed as using a tool. Biolo-
gists define tool use as using an
object as an extension of the
body to obtain a specific short-
term result.
Primates are the most sophisti-
cated tool users. Their oppos-
able thumb and well-developed
brain enable them to use tools
in various ways. A chimpanzee
may use a branch to clear scum
from drinking water. It may use
leaves to clean dirt from its body
or as a sponge, to soak up drink-
ing water from a tree hollow. A
chimp also pokes grasses and
sticks into bees' nests for honey
or into ant mounds to extract
ants. It learns this skill from old-
er relatives that strip twigs and
modify them into tools.
Left: By "spitting," an archer fish
extends its hunting range above
the water's surface.
By the time the sea otter en-
tered the marine environment,
other sea mammals were tak-
ing most of the readily available
food. As a result, it fed on cr20S,
sea urchins, mussels, and clams,
and developed a way of open-
ing shellfish without losing the
food inside. The sea otter finds
a flat stone from the seabed to
use as an anvil. Then it floats
on its back with the stone on
its chest and hammers the shell-
fish open. Sometimes it holds
the stone under its armpit while
diving for more shellfish.
Right: The Egyptian vulture drops
a stone from its bill to crack open
tough ostrich eggs.
Left: After
catching its
prey of insects,
mice, young
birds, or liz-
ards, the red-
backed shrike
sticks any ex-
cess food on
a thorn. The
shrike is also
known as the
Many bird species that are not
intelligent are very good at imi-
tation. Several birds display un-
usual methods of using tools
and may have acquired these
methods by imitation.
Wading birds like the Ameri-
can green heron and sun bittern
lure fish by dangling a feather or
piece of food in the water as bait.
This behavior usually yields re-
sults, so it is likely to be repeated.
The woodpecker finch holds
cactus spines or broken twigs in
its beak to dig insects from crev-
ices in bark. Nestlings play with
twigs at an early age and proba-
bly copy the behavior of adults.
But they also seem to improve
their performance on their own.
In laboratory tests a blue jay
used strips of torn-up newspa-
per to draw in food from out-
side its cage. This behavior-
which had never been seen in
the wild-was then imitated by
five other members of the cap-
tive colony.
Bats belong to the order Chiroptera, which contains one-fifth of all
the mammal species on earth. Although most bats eat insects, their
diets vary, ranging from pol/en and fruit to fish and blood.
Fruit bats, which make up the
suborder Megachiroptera, are
found only in Africa, Asia, and
Australasia. Also known as flying
foxes, these bats have foxlike
faces with large eyes for seeing
in the dark. They fly with steady
beats of their large, membra-
nous wings, unlike bats of the
suborder Microchiroptera, which
flutter their wings rapidly.
Most fruit bats have simple
ears and do not use echoloca-
tion. Instead they rely on their
keen eyesight and sense of smell
to navigate and find food. One
exception is the dog bat, which
uses a crude form of echoloca-
tion to navigate in dark caves.
Fruit bats move quickly in the
trees, shifting hand over hand
and clinging to branches with
their thumbs. But when forag-
ing they move more slowly.
These bats have an unwar-
There are three species of vam-
pire bat: the white-winged, the
hairy-legged, and the common
vampire bat. Found throughout
Central and South America, the
common vampire bat feeds only
on blood. As a result it has the
worst reputation of all bats, even
though it is actually very timid.
The common vampire bat re-
lies on its keen sense of smell to
find prey. It approaches its vic-
tim from the ground, hopping
along on all fours. This bat gen-
erally preys on birds or on large,
hoofed animals. On rare occa-
sions it attacks people who are
ranted reputation as crop pests.
In fact, they almost always feed
on fruits that are too ripe to be
sold. Fruit bats even assist in the
propagation (reproduction) of
sleeping, usually making an in-
cision in the big toe with such
stealth that the victim does not
awaken. The bat can be danger-
ous to humans because it trans-
mits deadly diseases such as
rabies through its bite.
Left: Fruit bats
produce many
different low-
frequency calls
in order to com-
municate with
one another.
Males, for ex-
ample, utter
sharp, throaty
calls when try-
ing to attract
mates. Fruit
bats also use
screams in or-
derto claim
space in their
closely packed
roosts, where
they hang up-
side down from
tree branches.
fruit trees such as wild dates,
bananas, mangoes, plantains,
and figs. Flying from one flower
to another, the bats pollinate
the trees much as insects do.
Above: The
common vam-
pire bat bites its
victims and
then laps up
the blood.
Left: A vampire
bat is agile in
the air and on
the ground.
us P 6001 12076 PACKET 76
Bats are the only mammals that are capable of sustained
flight. As a result, they are able to move about and feed
in a manner that is similar to many birds. Although they
frighten many people, bats are usually harmless, and they
tend to stay away from humans. Many bats even benefit
the environment, playing key roles in the ecology of their
habitats by spreading the seeds and pollen of plants.

Bats may be distantly related to
primitive insect-eating mam-
mals that lived in trees. Some
fossils like lcaronycteris are at
least 50 million years old and
almost identical to modern bats.
Remains of night-active moths
found in the stomachs of fossil-
ized bats suggest that these bats
navigated in the dark by using
echolocation (the emission of
high-pitched sounds that echo
back from objects). With the
exception of fruit bats, all mod-
Front cover &
inset left: Fe-
male Mexican
free-tailed bats
emerge from
their spring
and summer
roosts by the
During their
these bats
cover up to
60 miles.
Front inset
right: The
greater horse-
shoe bat gets
its name from
the unusual
shape of its
ern bats employ echolocation.
As bats evolved, the bones of
their forelimbs and digits grew
longer and became webbed
with a tough wing membrane,
the patagium. This extended on
both sides of the body to the
hind limbs and tail. Some spe-
cies, such as mastiff bats, devel-
oped long, narrow wings for
swift flight. Others, like horse-
shoe bats, developed shorter,
broader wings for slower, but
more skillful, pursuit of prey.
Bats are found throughout the
world, but they live mainly in
the tropics and the subtropics.
There are 1 7 families of bats.
Six bat families can be found
only in the Americas. These are
the disk-winged, funnel-eared,
thumbless, fisherman, Ameri-
can leaf-nosed, and mustached
bat families.
Most insect-eating bats migrate
to warmer grounds for winter,
so they can stay active and feed
on insects. For example, flocks
of female Mexican free-tailed
bats migrate in fall after giving
birth to their young. They leave
their caves in Texas and New
Mexico and fly to their winter
caves in Mexico.
Some bats survive harsh win-
ters in temperate regions by hi-
bernating, often in caves where
the temperature remains con-
stant. The high humidity in the
caves helps the bats avoid dehy-
dration when hibernating.
Left: The Indian fruit bat's large
eyes give it excellent night vision.
Eight bat families live only in
the Old World. They are the
fruit, short-tailed, Old World
leaf-nosed, horseshoe, mouse-
tailed, false vampire, sucker-
footed, and slit-faced bats.
Only three bat families live in
both the Western and Eastern
hemispheres: the free-tailed,
sheath-tailed, and vesper bats.
Many bats mate soon after hi-
bernation ends. Hanging upside
down, a male mounts a female
from behind, embraces her with
his wings, and bites her neck.
Gestation can vary from six
weeks in the common pipistrelle
to seven months in Shreiber's
bat, whose embryo may stop
developing during winter.
The female produces one or
two young. In some bat species,
she gives birth hanging upside
down and then bites off the
umbilical cord. She suckles her
young for up to three months
until they can fly.
Right: Vampire bats roost in large,
densely packed colonies.
Bats are divided into two subor-
ders. The bats that make up the
suborder Megachiroptera are
known as fruit bats. In addition
to fruit, they feed on pollen and
nectar. Since solid matter passes
straight through their gut, these
bats excrete seeds and promote
the growth of new plants.
Most bats of the suborder Mi-
crochiroptera eat insects. They
often hunt at night, using echo-
Left: The fisherman bat has long,
sharp claws for catching small fish.
Left: Most
bats have very
sensitive ears.
With their keen
hearing, these
bats can detect
the faint echoes
of their calls,
which bounce
back from the
location to locate prey. Insect-
eating bats help to control crop
pests. But insecticides have dras-
tically reduced bat populations
in some countries.
In addition to insects, micro-
chiropteran bats feed on pollen
and nectar. For example, nectar
bats, Mexican long-tongued
bats, and long-nosed bats have
facial features that let them take
nectar from certain flowers. In
the process, they transfer pollen
from one flower to another.
The lifespans of animals vary from just a few hours to more
than a hundred years. The large, slow-moving Asian elephant
usually lives 20 times as long as a tiny mouse.
~ - - - - - - ~ - - ~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
The table below shows some
of the maximum ages recorded
for different species. Many of
the records are for captive an-
imals and give only a rough
indication of an animal's life-
span in the wild. Most captive
animals live longer than their
wild relatives because they are
well fed and are also protected
from predators, diseases, acci-
dents, and bad weather.
The average life expectancy
of a wild animal is, of course,
much shorter than that of the
record-breaking individual. The
mortality rate is high among
young animals, and many die
before reaching breeding age.
Those that survive to become
adults have a much higher life
expectancy. The death rate
also becomes more constant
with about the same propor-
Animal Years
Quahog (clam) 220
Giant Galapagos tortoise 152
Human 120
European eel 88
Siberian white crane 82
Sturgeon 82
Sulfur-crested cockatoo 82
Asian elephant 78
Andean condor 77
The oldest recorded mam-
mal, excluding man, was an
orca whale named Old Tom.
Last seen off Australia in 1930,
he may have been over 90 at
the time of his death.
Animal Years
Alligator 66
Royal albatross 63
Orangutan 59
Ostrich 59
Giant salamander 55
Bactrian camel 50
Goldfish 50
African gray parrot 49
Buprestid beetle 47
A male Seychelles tortoise
lived for more than 152 years.
Brought to a fort in Mauritius in
1 766, it died when it fell through
an opening for a gun in 1918.
A female tarantula spider that
tion of adults dying each year.
In the case of the European
robin, the oldest known bird
lived over 12 years. But only
1 in 10 robin eggs survives to
become an adult bird, and half
of all adults die each year. So,
in a population of 1,024 adult
robins, only one might survive
for 10 years. When it reaches
adulthood, a European robin
lives an average of another
year and a half.
Other small bird species have
similar lifespans, but larger bird
species tend to survive longer.
Adult flamingos have only a
five percent annual mortality
rate. After they reach adult-
hood, they live an average of
another 19 years.
Left: The European robin has a
high mortality rate. Every year
half of the adults die.
Animal Years
Boa constrictor 40
School shark 32
Sperm whale 32
Lion 29
Queen ant 18
Hedgehog 14
Common frog 12
European robin 12
Shrew 2
was found in Mexico in 1935
lived to be 26 years old.
The housefly is one of the
shortest-lived insects. An adult
male may live for 1 7 days; a
female for 29 days.
0160200601 PACKET 60
An animal's lifespan may be affected by the size
of its brain and b o d ~ and even by its heart rate.
Species that are very active, such as tiny shrews,
simply wear themselves out faster than larger.,
slower-moving species. Measured by the speed of
its activities, a single day in the life of a shrew is
roughly equal to 20 days in an elephant's life.
The lifespan of warm-blooded
animals tends to increase with
body size. This may be because
body functions such as breath-
ing and heartbeat are slower in
large animals. For example, a
mouse's heart beats 600 times a
minute, and an elephant's heart
beats 30 times. While a mouse
usually lives only 2 years, if it
manages to survive 3 years, its
heart will have beaten the same
number of times as an elephant's
does in a 60-year lifetime.
A larger body may increase an
Front cover:
An Asian ele-
phant breathes
about six times
a minute dur-
ing its 60-year
Front inset: A
wood mouse
breathes 150
times per min-
ute in a three-
year life. Its
heart beats
much faster
than that of an
elephant, but
both animals
have a similar
heartbeats in
their lifetime.
animal's life expectancy, yet dif-
ferent species that are similar in
size have different lifespans. Dor-
mice, for example, live longer
than the field mice because they
hibernate for part of each year.
For months their breathing rate,
heartbeat, and other body pro-
cesses slow down. Since wear
and tear on body mechanisms
is reduced, they tend to outlive
the ever-active field mice.
Right: Chelonians, including tor-
toises and turtles, usually have a
long lifespan.
Although it is difficult to esti-
mate the age of a wild animal,
there are clues. For example,
some animals grow in spurts.
Their age is shown in growth
rings like the rings of a tree.
These rings can be observed
on the scales of fish as well as
some reptiles, on the horny ear
plugs of baleen whales, and
on the teeth of sperm whales.
Accurate records can be kept
for animals in captivity. Wild
birds can be captured, then
released with an identification
band on one leg. When one of
these birds is observed, recap-
tured, or found dead, its age
can be recorded. Mammals
and fish can also be tagged.
The lifecycles of all animal spe- bodies and take longer to ma-
ture than lowerforms of life,
such as amoebas. They also
have more complex behavior
patterns that take the young
years to learn.
cies contain similar key events.
The most important are birth,
sexual maturity, reproduction,
and death. Some species be-
come sexually mature at an
earlier age than others. The
common dolphin usually does
not reproduce before the age
of five years. In contrast, the
adult mayfly is ready to mate
as soon as it emerges from the
pupa, although it dies just a
few hours later.
The higher animals, such as
mammals, have more complex
Left: The adult mayfly lives for just
a few hours after emerging from
the pupa.
Human beings live consider-
ably longer than might be ex-
pected on the basis of body
size. They also have very large
brains in proportion to body
size. This fact has led some
scientists to suggest that lon-
gevity may be related to brain
size, but this theory has yet to
be proved.
Right: If a common dolphin reaches
adulthood, it may live to the age of
25 years.
Left: When
recording ani-
mals' lifespans,
it is not neces-
sary to keep
them in captivi-
ty. A wild bird
like the Euro-
pean kingfisher
can simply be
banded and
then released.
In any species, chance plays a
part in determining lifespan.
Some animals escape preda-
tors, accidents, and disease.
Others qre not as fortunate.
The availability of food also
affects lifespan.
In some species, males and
females have a different life ex-
pectancy. The male honeybee
lives for about four weeks, but
the female worker lives twice as
long. The queen may live up to
seven years. The female black
widow spider lives about nine
months, but the male lives only
three-long enough to mate.
Survival is also related to pop-
ulation size. After a good breed-
ing season, the many young
birds increase the population,
but they also increase competi-
tion for food. As a result, many
birds starve. Others migrate,
perhaps dying on the way, to
find food and their own territo-
ry. The population remains sta-
ble in the long term, but in the
short term, the individual's life
expectancy is reduced.

The toothed whales make up one of two groups of whales.
Toothed whales include not only some species of whale,
but all the dolphins and porpoises as well.
Whales move their tails up and
down to propel themselves for-
ward. They use their flippers
only to steer and stabilize them-
selves. Many toothed whales
are very fast swimmers. The
sperm whale can swim as fast
as 23 miles per hour, and some
dolphin species can reach 43
miles per hour.
Although most toothed whales
have good vision, they all rely
on out
sound signals and interpreting
their echoes. This sonar system
enables them to locate and
identify prey and avoid under-
water obstacles.
Under the skin on its fore-
head, a toothed whale has a
mass of fatty tissue, or "mel-
on," which may act as a sonar
lens to focus sound. Scientists
think that by using its muscles,
the whale can alter the melon's
The sperm whale differs from
other toothed whales in having
several tons of spermaceti in its
head. Spermaceti is a waxy sub-
stance that is liquid at body tem-
perature, but it solidifies and
It is thought that whales at-
tain such high speeds because
they create little or no drag as
they swim. But it is not clear
what causes this lack of drag.
According to one theory, it is
due to fine grooves on the
skin that shift in response to
water flowing over them. But
another theory holds that the
shape and focus the "clicks" of
sound it emits in order to exam-
ine objects.
A toothed whale's echoloca-
shrinks slightly when cooled.
The function of spermaceti is
unknown. It may act as a rever-
beration chamber to magnify
and focus sounds used for echo-
location or for stunning prey. Or
Left: At over 50
feet, the sperm
whale is the
largest of the
toothed whales.
Its spermaceti-
filled head takes
up nearly one-
third of its total
lack of drag is due to a spongy
skin covering that adapts to
changes in the pressure of the
water on it. A third possible ex-
planation for the lack of drag is
that the surface skin cells are
constantly being formed and
shed, creating an efficient lu-
bricant between the animal
and the water.
Left: In its
murky habitat,
the Amazon
River dolphin
hardly uses its
tiny eyes. It
relies on its
highly devel-
oped echoloca-
tion abilities to
find prey and
tion system is so vital that if it is
disturbed, the whale becomes
disoriented and may become
stranded on land.
it may help the whale dive to
great depths, absorbing nitro-
gen from the air in the lungs to
keep the whale from suffering
decompression sickness.
A third theory is that sperma-
ceti regulates buoyancy, making
the whale sink when cool and
rise when warm. The sperma-
ceti could be cooled by drawing
cold water into the right nasal
passage, which runs through
the spermaceti reservoir. It could
be warmed by pumping blood
into the blood vessels that pass
through the reservoir.
01 60200721 PACKET 72
Toothed whales are highly sophisticated aquatic mammals. ~ BREEDING
These animals vary greatly in size and shape, ranging from
the 50-foot sperm whale to the 3-foot South American river
dolphin. There are at least 67 toothed whale species. They
can be found in waters throughout the world, from the
freezing Arctic seas to tropical mud-clouded rivers.
Whales evolved from archaeo-
cetes-four-Iegged animals that
waded in estuaries 55 million
years ago. These animals gradu-
ally evolved for an aquatic life.
The nostrils went to the top of
the head, the hind limbs were
lost, and paddlelike forelimbs
and tail flukes appeared. Primi-
tive whales evolved about 25
million years ago. By 5 million
years ago, most of today's dol-
phins, porpoises, and whales
were swimming in the oceans.
Front cover: Only killer whales
take warm-blooded prey.
Front insets: The bottlenose
dolphin (left) is the most famil-
iar toothed whale. The beluga
(right) has conical-shaped teeth,
like most toothed whales.
Oall's porpoise: At 6 feet
long, it is the largest porpoise.
It lives in the open seas of the
Pacific in pods of 10 to 20 but mi -
grates in schools of several hun-
dred. Its powerful , compact
body makes it a fast , agile
swimmer. It is character-
ized by its habit of starting
to exhale before reaching
the surface, producing a
frothy spray.
All cetaceans (whales, dolphins,
and porpoises) are divided into
two groups: baleen whales and
toothed whales. Baleen whales
feed by filtering food from the
sea. Toothed whales hunt prey.
There are at least 67 species
of toothed whale. Probably the
least-known toothed whales are
the river dolphins and beaked
whales. The five species of river
dolphin inhabit estuaries and
rivers in South America and
Asia. They have long "beaks"
with razor-sharp teeth. The 18
species of beaked whale inhab-
it deep waters of the open sea
Toothed whales live in pods, or
groups of varying sizes. Males
and females usually mate with
many partners. Sometimes the
male fights rivals. Male beaked
whales, for example, use their
teeth when fighting for mates.
The female gives birth to one
calf 10 to 16 months after mat-
and are characterized by a pro-
truding jaw.
The killer whale has striking
black-and-white coloration. It
is usually classed in the dolphin
family, along with the 20 spe-
cies of true dolphin, which live
in oceans throughout the world.
Also in that family are the two
species of pilot whale, which are
characterized by their jet-black
color and round heads.
The white whales-the beluga
and the narwhal-live in the
cold waters of the far north. The
six porpoise species live in coast-
al waters worldwide.
ing. The calf is usually born tail-
first and may be a third of its
mother's length. Because most
calves lack lips for sucking, the
mother puts her nipple in the
corner of her offspring's mouth
and injects her milk. The calf
grows quickly on the fat-rich
milk. Although the young of
some species are weaned after
four months, a pilot whale may
suckle for several years.
Sexual maturity occurs at age
two in both sexes of La Plata
dolphin, one of the smallest dol-
phin species. In larger species
like the sperm whale, females
mature at age 9 and males at
20. Lifespans tend to be longer
in the larger species. While kill-
er whales may live as long as 70
years, few dolphins reach the
age of 40.
Toothed whales are skillful un-
derwater hunters, preying pri-
marily on fish and squid. The
only species that catch warm-
blooded prey are the killer whale
and its two smaller relatives, the
false and pygmy killer whales.
Working in packs, killer whales
tackle anything from fish and
turtles to penguins, seals, and
even blue whales. They eat at
least 24 species of cetacean and
5 types of seal. Killer whales top-
ple ice floes to dislodge seals or
penguins, then snap them up in
their powerful jaws. In southern
Argentina, they take seals and
sea lions from the beach, rush-
ing at their victims in the surf.
Pods of dolphins frequently
herd schools of fish to trap them
against the water's surface. The
dolphins then take turns feed-
ing on the fish. It is thought that
some toothed whales, including
dolphins, frighten fish so they
are easy to capture. The whales
make the fish panic by breach-
ing-jumping out of the water
and then slapping themselves
down on the surface.
Ganges River dolphin: Grows to about
6 feet long. Known as the susu in its
native India. It is almost blind but has
highly developed echolocation. The
only species of whale that swims on
its side, it uses one flipper to probe
the bottom for crustaceans and mol-
lusks. The tip of the other flipper may
protrude above the surface.
Commerson's dolphin: Grows to
about 4 feet long. Also known as the
jacobita, it inhabits the cold fjords and
coastal waters off the southern tip of
South America. It can reach speeds
of 43 miles per hour. It belongs to
a genus that contains three other
species of black-and-white dolphin:
the Chilean dolphin, Heaviside's
dolphin, and Hector's dolphin.
Sowerby's beaked whale: Grows to
about 16 feet long. Lives in the North
Atlantic, alone or in twos or threes.
While most beaked whales have onl y
one or two pairs of teeth, this species
has a pair of tusks that protrude from
the lower jaw. The tusks may be used
in fights between males, resulting in
scars and scratches on the skin.