Friday, March 6, 2015

Didja Know? Critter Factoids 1

Gecko?  Llama?  Ferret?
Oh no, the facts and pictures are all mixed up! Can you sort them out? Look at the pictures for clues.
Match the Factoids with the pictures

Factoid 1: This critter is a special kind of reptile.  Its suction cup feet make it famous for its ability to walk straight up a piece of glass.
Factoid 2: This critter originally came from South America. It was raised mostly for its wool.
Factoid 3: This critter has sharp teeth and is a good hunter. In some places it is used to hunt rabbits who dig warrens (dens) in the ground.
Factoid 4: This critter is often kept as a pet. This weasel is intelligent, very funny, and active. It is one of the few animals in the world who can run backwards as fast as it can forwards.
Factoid 5: This critter is a camelid and is related to the camel.  Because of its split hooves, it is very sure footed. It is often used as a pack animal in the mountains because it’s hooves don’t do the damage to the trail that a horse’s hard hooves can do.
Factoid 6: This critter has no eyelids. It cannot blink and cleans its eyes by licking them.
Teacher’s Note:
Here are some vocabulary words your students may not know:
  • Warren -   Basically a rabbit burrow is a single tunnel with, maybe, one or two side tunnels for nesting and producing babies while a warren is a complicated system of underground, connecting tunnels and side chambers which also include escape routes for the rabbit inhabitants in case of attack by predators. A burrow usually "houses" one rabbit pair plus any babies produced whereas a warren is inhabited by a large number of rabbits. Rabbit warrens are considered dangerous for livestock because horses and cattle can step a foot inside a hole and break their leg.
  • Ferret – ferrets are a small weasel related to skunks. They have been domesticated for over 2,000 years.  Primarily, they were used for hunting small game, especially rabbits in warrens. Their slim, flexible bodies make them ideal to travel into the warrens in search of prey. They are also excellent at catching mice and rats. In the united states, they are often kept as pets. When excited, they may perform a behavior characterized by a frenzied series of sideways hops, leaps and bumping into nearby objects. The name "ferret" is derived from the Latin furittus, meaning "little thief", a likely reference to the common ferret penchant for secreting away small items.
  • Weasel - are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. The genus includes the weasels, European polecats, stoats, ferrets and European minks.They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs. The Mustelidae family (which also includes badgers, otters and wolverines) is often referred to as the weasel family. They all have scent glands which help them identify each other. In the case of skunks, the scent is so strong, it is used as a defense mechanism.
  • Llama – Llamas are highly social members of the camel family. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, they can carry about 25% to 30% of their body weight.
  • Camelid - Camelids are large animals with slender necks and long legs, and are strictly herbivorous. They differ from ruminants in a number of ways. Their dentition show traces of vestigial central incisors in the upper jaw, and the third incisors are developed into canine-like tusks. Camelids also have true canine teeth and tusk-like premolars, which are separated from the molars by a gap. They do not have hooves, rather they have two-toed feet with toenails and soft foot pads. The main weight of the animal is borne by these tough, leathery sole pads. The South American camelids, adapted to steep and rocky terrain, can move the pads on their toes to maintain grip
  • Tokay gecko - The Tokay Gecko is the second largest Gecko species, attaining lengths of about 11–20 inches (28–51 cm) for males, and 7–19 inches (18–48 cm) for females, with weights of only 150–400 grams (5.3–14.1 oz). They are distinctive in appearance, with a bluish or grayish body, sporting spots ranging from light yellow to bright red. The male is more brightly colored than the female. They have large eyes with a vertical slit pupil. Eyes are brown to greenish brown and can be orange or yellow.
  1. gecko – f             
  2. llama - d
  3. ferret - e
  4. ferret - a
  5. llama - b
  6. gecko - c

Friday, February 27, 2015

Critter Capers 1 – Having Fun with Critters from the Zoo



OK, today let’s have some fun with creating characters using some of the animals from The Thwarting of Mr. Dingsnapple. It’s such fun to invent characters, create a world about them and write a little on it. Let your creative juices flow!


Who can join the fun? If you can read this blog and type, you can join us.


  • Choose any picture you like (or all three if you want).


Tell us about it.  Write a few sentences and see what you can create.

  1. Give each character a name.
  2. What are they doing?
  3. Why are they doing what they are doing?
  4. How are they feeling about it?
    Want to know more about Creating a Character? Go to:
    Post your work in “comments” so everyone can share!