Vertebrates Eric Rhonehouse, WhitneyStevenson, and Stephen Carse
Great Horned Owl Bubo Virginianus • Description: Native to the Americas the Great Horned Owl has a wingspan reaching anywhere from 40-60 inches with a body length from 18-27 inches. The females are larger than the males. The adult owls have big ear tufts and a reddish brown and gray face. It also has a noticeable white patch in the center of it throat. Unlike humans they cannot move their eyes about in their sockets. Instead they are able to turn their necks 270 degrees without having to move their bodies. They have excellent vision and are able to see ineptly in low light. Their hearing is also spectacular being able to pinpoint sources of sound both vertically, depth wise, and horizontally very well.
Black Bear Ursus Americanus • Description: Americas most common and smallest bear species. Adult males usually weight between 130-550 lbs and females usually weight between 90-240 lbs. They are between 47- 70 inches in length and stand between 28-41 inches high at the shoulder. They have broad skulls with slender muzzles with big jaw hinges. Females tend to have narrower faces. Black bears are known for the good eyesight and dexterous movements. They have been known to unlatch doors.
Siberian Tiger Panthera Tigris Altaica • Description: They are rusty yellow to bright orange in color with slender transverse black stripes. They are the largest of the big cats and the largest species of tiger. Males have longer bodies, broader skulls, longer tails, and are heavier than females. They have been known to prey on local black and brown bears, but this is uncommon. The tigers prey mainly on deer. Wolves are kept out of the area do to competition of the same food. They have been recorded at weights as high as 850 lbs.
White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium Simum • Description: The second largest land mammal after all three species of elephants. Their body is between 11- 14 feet long. At the shoulders these animals can be anywhere from 4ft 10in to 6ft 7in. Average males weigh about 5,100 lbs while average females weigh 3,700 lbs. They have two horn growths on their snouts, and their horns are made of pure keratin. They have three toes on each foot and the only hairs on their bodies are located on its ear fringes and on its tail as bristles. They are grazing herbivores that are found in the savannah grassland habitat. They play in mud holes to stay cool during the hot African day.
Nile Crocodile Crocodylus Niloticus • Description: Nile Crocodiles have a dark brownish bronze coloration on top with black spots on their back. Their belly is dirt purple and their flanks are yellowish green. They have scaly hides and a long and powerful tail that they use to propel themselves through the water. They have four short legs that they can use for digging and if necessary, running. They can run about 8 mph at top speed but swim at about 22 mph top speeds. They have powerful jaws that exert 5,000 lbs of pressure per foot. However, the muscles responsible for reopening the jaws are very weak and are easily kept shut when closed by a human. Nile Crocodiles are the most aggressive of the crocodilians and are the second largest crocodilians in the world only behind Saltwater Crocodiles.
Blue Poison Dart Frog Dendrobates Azureus • Description: The Blue Poison Dart Frog weighs about 8 grams and is found to be 3-4.5 centimeters long. They usually have a lifespan of 4-6 years in the wild. Its skin is bright blue and gets darker around the limbs. These frogs have poisonous alkaloid chemicals embedded in the skin. This poison can paralyze and even kill potential predators of the frog.
Leatherback Sea Turtle Dermochelys Coriacea • Description: The Leatherback Sea Turtle is the largest sea turtle alive today and the fourth largest reptile in the world behind three other crocodilian species. They have a rather large tear shaped hydrodynamic body along with two flat large front flippers that provide the turtle with its main source of mobility. These front flippers can grow up to a little less than 9 feet long (8.9ft). These sea turtles, unlike any other sea turtle, lack a boney carapace, which is the shell. Their shell is made up of thick and oily flesh. The rest of their body is made up of leathery skin implanted with osteoderms, which are bony deposits. The average shell length is 3.3-5.47 feet with a total body length of 6-7.2 feet. Their average weight 550-1,500 lbs. The largest one ever caught had a total length of 9.8 feet, weighed 2,020 lbs, and had a shell length of 7.2 feet.
Platypus Ornithorhynchus Anatinus • Description: Platypuses are covered in dark brown hair. This hair is so dense that it actually traps air which helps keep the animal warm. Its broad flat tail is a storage reserve of fat. It also has webbed feet like that of a duck on its legs which are set beside the body rather than underneath it. While on land these animals walk on their knuckles to protect their webbed feet. The snout of the platypus is a sensory organ that can detect electrical pulses while the mouth is located under it. The platypus uses this sensory organ to shuffle around in the muck at the bottom of a lake or a river to find its prey lurking in the sand. These creatures vary in weight from 1.5- 5.3 lbs with the males the larger of the genders. The average length of a male platypus is about 20 inches while the average female length is about 17 inches. Both males and females have spurs on the back legs but only the male contains venom. This venom is not deadly to humans but will put a person in an excruciating amount of pain and will cause them to be in a state of dysfunction for a couple of days to month. Females lay their eggs.
Red Kangaroo Macropus Rufus • Description: The Red Kangaroo is the largest of all the kangaroos and is the largest mammal native to Australia. They have pointed ears and a squared off muzzle. Males have a more red brown coloration in their fur while females are blue gray. Males are also larger than females. Its muscular hind limbs function like rubber bands and enable this creature to leap 30ft horizontally. Males can weigh up to 300 lbs and are about 9.8 feet long from head to tail. Females only weigh about 77 lbs and are about d3.6 feet from head to tail. These kangaroos have a field range vision of 300ͦ due to the position of their eyes.
Ball Python Python Regius • Description: The Ball Python gets its name from its tendency to curl up into a ball when it is stressed or frightened. They are the smallest species of python native to Africa and therefore are very sought after in the pet trade. They generally do not grow beyond3.9 feet in length but it is very rare that they do reach 5-6 feet. Females are slightly larger than males averaging 4-4.5 feet in length and males 3-3.9 feet in length. Their color normally consists of black or dark brown with light brown sides and a creamy white underbelly. In the wild their diet mainly consists of small mammals such as field mice and rats.
Komodo Dragon Varanus Komodoensis • Description: The Komodo Dragon is the largest species of lizard alive today that can grow 9.8 feet in length and can weigh up to 150 lbs. Their unusual size is credited to island gigantism, which is the biological phenomenon in which the sizes of animals isolated on an island grow exponentially in comparison to their mainland relatives. This makes sense because they only inhabit small islands in Indonesia like Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Gili Dasami. The main part of their diet consists of deer, but they eat a broad spectrum or things from birds to invertebrates. A recent discovery in 2009 found in an MRI scan of the skull the Komodo Dragon has two venom glands in its lower jaw. These glands contain many different toxic proteins and disprove the previous notion that the bacteria in the saliva of the Komodo cause the death its victims.
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus Leucocephalus (America!!!!!) • Description: The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. These majestic birds of prey rule the North American sky stretching from Northern Mexico all the way to Northern Canada. They have an even plumage color of brown on their body and have a white plumage head. Its body length can reach anywhere from 28- 40 inches and its wingspan is generally from 5.9-7.5 feet long. Females are about 1/4th larger than males weighing on average 13 lbs and males weighing on average 9lbs. They live about 20 year in the wild and in captivity they live longer. One Bald Eagle in captivity in New York lived to be 50 years old. They prefer habitats near bodies of water such as coastal regions of large lakes, oceans, and large rivers where fish is abundant. They roast, nest, and perch in mature standing coniferous or hardwood tree. They can reach speeds up to 45 mph and 30 mph when carrying a fish. When they dive in the sky they can reach 99 mph top speed. Trout and Salmon comprise most of the bird diet.
Western Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla • Description: The Western Gorilla can be brown or gray with a yellowish forehead. Male silverbacks can reach 6 feet tall and weigh 310-440 lbs. While females average about 4 ft 7in tall and 220 lbs. They live in group sizes between 2-20 with at least one male and a bunch of females and their offspring. The silverback leads the group and maturing males eventually end up leaving the group when they finally reach maturity. Before the maturing females start to breed they move to a different group. These creatures live a surprisingly long life of 40 years and their diet consists of mainly fruit. Some wild Western Gorillas are known to use tools like straws.
Koala Phascolarctos Cinereus • Description: Koalas are range in color from soft gray to dark gray to sort of brownish. Males can weigh up to 26 lbs and females up to 19lbs. They are marsupials, which means they put their offspring in a pouch to mature. The females have a gestation period of 35 days before the embryo is transferred to the pouch. These creatures generally live about 12 years and survive completely off eucalypts, which are woody plants. They are one of the few mammals besides primates that have a finger print.
Japanese Giant Salamander Andrias Japonicus • Description: The Japanese Giant Salamander is the second largest salamander in the world only second to the Chinese Giant Salamander. They can reach up to about 5 feet in length. These creatures are completely aquatic but do not keep their gills when they become adults. They travel upstream into the mountains to lay their eggs. The males seek out the eggs sacs laid by the females, which can contain up to seventy eggs, and fertilize them. They are confined to flowing water where oxygen is more prevalent because they lack gills. Unlike most salamanders, they need not to venture out of water to breath. They only need to stick their head out of the water for a couple of minutes. In the wild they can live up to 80 years, but in captivity they only live about 50 years.
Great White Shark Carcharodon Carcharias • Description: The Great White Shark is known for its massive size and can sometimes reach over 20 feet in length and weigh over 5,000 lbs. They feed mainly on fish, web footed animals like seals, and seabirds. Females are generally larger than males. They are able to detect electromagnetic fields generated by living organisms. These sharks are so sensitive to that they can detect one- billionth of a volt.