Adaptation

The behavior, physiology, and structure of an organism allowing it to be more suited to an environment.

Conservation

The preservation and careful management of the environment and of natural resources.

Habitat
habitat

The area or environment where an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs.

Niche

Function of a particular species in an ecological community; all aspects of an organisms existence that enable it to survive and reproduce.

Ectothermic

(cold-blooded) An organism that regulates its body temperature largely by exchanging heat with its surroundings.

Venomous
venomous

Venom is any of a variety of toxins used by certain types of animals. Generally, venom is injected by such means as a bite or a sting. (e.g. Cobra)

Poisonous
poison

Substances that can cause disturbances to organisms. Not safe to eat. (e.g. Mushrooms)

Food Chain

A group of organisms interrelated by the fact that each member of the group feeds upon on the one below it and is in turn eaten by the organism above it in the chain.

Carnivore

An animal that consumes primarily the flesh of other animals.

Herbivore

An animal that feeds chiefly on plants.

Omnivore

An organism which gets its food energy from both plant and animal material.

Carrion Eater (Scavenger)

An animal that feeds on dead or decaying matter. (e.g. Vulture or Hyena)

Invertebrate
invertebrate

An animal without a backbone. Invertebrates include insects, arachnids (spiders & ticks), gastropods (snails & slugs), crustaceans (crayfish & isopods), centipedes, worms, and others.

Reptile

Any of various cold-blooded, usually egg-laying vertebrates of the class Reptilia, such as a snake, lizard, crocodile, turtle, or dinosaur, having an external covering of scales or horny plates and breathing by means of lungs.

Creepy Critters Animals

Actual animals in program may vary from those listed depending upon availability.

Tarantula
Pic_Tarantula_02

Tarantulas are found world-wide on every continent except for Antarctica. In all, over 900 species have been identified with the bird-eating tarantuals being the largest (9 to 12 inces). The biggest tarantulas can kill animals as large as lizards, mice, and birds. Being invertebrates, they rely on an exoskeleton for muscular support. Although tarantulas possess 8 eyes, they rely mostly on touch for hunting and sensing their environment. All spiders are venomous including tarantulas which can be capable of delivering a painful bite.



Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
mhc

One of the largest cockroaches in the world reaching up to 4 inches in length. Native to Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, these hissing cockraches are often found living within rotting logs. Unlike most cockroaches, they are wingless, however, they are excellent climbers. Their nickname, “hissing cockroach”, is due to their ability to force air through the breathing pores (spiracles) found on each segment of their thorax and abdomen. The hissing sound is made to communicate disturbance, aggression or for mating.



Emperor Scorpion
es

The emperor is one of the largest species of scorpion in the world, with adults averaging about 8 inches in length. In the wild, Emperor Scorpions are believed to feed primarily on termites, however, in captivity they readily feed on crickets, cockroaches, and mealworms. These large scorpions are also known to eat small mice and lizards. When frightened the emperor scorpion will run if possible, but if it feels threatened it will defend itself using its formidable pinchers or sting.



Snake
ms

Snakes are some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated animals in the world. They have long been the subject of horror and fear going back to Eve’s encounter with the serpent in Eden. Although feared, snakes have an extremely important role in nature – that of rodent control. These legless reptiles are found throughout the world in a wide range of colors, sizes, temperments and adaptations.



Egyptian Fruit Bat
egyptian-fruit-bat

This Old World Fruit Bat can be found throughout much of Africa and into the Middle East. One of the smaller species of “Flying Foxes” the Egyptian Fruit Bat has a wingspan of 2 feet and is the only flying fox that utilizes echolocation. A close study of the fruit bat’s skull would reveal that this animal is a ferocious predator, however its large canines and sharp teeth are utilized to consume fruit. Fruit eaters are called frugivorous. Their diet makes them ecologically important due to been pollinators and seed dispersers. These nocturnal creatures reside by day in caves and tree cavities.



Norway Rat
nr

Why include a rat in our program? An invasive species, the Norway Rat is one of the most prolific mammals on earth found everywhere humans have settled. Rodents are true omnivores feeding on everything from trash to electrical wiring. Rat-borne diseases are thought to have killed more people in the last 1000 years than all of the wars combined. They harbor lice and fleas that carry bubonic plague, typhus, trichinosus, jaundice, and many other serious diseases. The snake is one of their top predators and a huge factor in keeping rat populations controlled.



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