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February 2010

Trumpeting San Diego's New Elephant Calf

It was a wild stay for campers at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park over the weekend. At 2 AM on Valentine's Day morning, they awoke to the festive trumpeting of the African elephant herd announcing a newborn calf. "The herd was celebrating," said Brittany Trawick, San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park elephant keeper. "Elephants are social animals. When a calf is born they let everyone know!"

An elephant’s skin is so sensitive that it can feel a fly landing on it.

Elephants use their trunks to drink but the water doesn’t go all the way up the trunk like a straw. Instead, the elephant sucks water part way up the trunk, curls it toward its mouth, tilts its head up, and lets the water pour in. 

Continue reading "Trumpeting San Diego's New Elephant Calf" »

Denver Zoo Maned Wolf Pups

Meet three curious and playful little Maned Wolf pups who have just begun to explore their exhibit at the Denver Zoo. Born Dec. 24th, this is the first time the wolves have been seen by the public.

Maned wolf pup denver zoo

Sometimes called a "Red Fox on stilts" the Maned Wolf is actually not closely related to any other living wolf or fox. It is believed to be the last remaining species of a much older canine lineage. Recent research suggests its closest relative might have been the now extinct Falkland Islands Wolf. 

Oregon Zoo's Newest: A Tiny Baby Duiker

One of the Oregon Zoo's newest and smallest four-legged babies recently made his debut. A 2-month-old red-flanked duiker is now on exhibit with his mother in the zoo's Africa Rain Forest area. Duikers are among the smallest of antelope species and generally weigh only 20 to 26 pounds when fully grown.


Photo credits: Carli Davidson / Oregon Zoo



Continue reading "Oregon Zoo's Newest: A Tiny Baby Duiker" »

Reckless Rockhopper Penguin Chick

Just 33 days old today, this fluffy Rockhopper Penguin chick calls the St. Louis Zoo home. Hatched and initially cared for by its parents, the chick was temporarily moved to a special area after it started living up to its name and dangerously hopping from rock to rock. Apparently climbing rocks can be dangerous, even for a baby Rockhopper. The young chick will be returned to its Penguin & Puffin Coast habitat once its swimming feathers grow-in.


Thanks to ZooBorns reader Katie T. for the heads up

Baby Jellyfish Pulsate into San Antonio

And now for something completely different... Last month the San Antonio Zoo welcomed about 1,000 "baby" Moon Jellies. Young jellyfish go through a variety of stages in their development so bear with us on this one...

New Moon Jellies start out as eggs carried by the mama jelly. After fertilization, the eggs hatch into a young larval stage called a planula, which float around for a day or so munching on delicious plankton. After chowing down, these planula float to the sea floor and attach themselves like sea anemones. At this stage they are called polyps, seen below.

Baby jellyfish san antonio 2 

Baby jellyfish san antonio 3 

These polyps then divide into multiple ephyrae which look like little snowflakes.

Baby jellyfish san antonio 4 

Baby jellyfish san antonio 1

These ephyrae eventually grow into medusae, which is the adult form of jellyfish that you have come to know and love, or possibly fear, at the beach... 

Baby jellyfish san antonio 5 

All of these pictures come courtesy of Eddie Sunila of the San Antonio Zoo and we encourage visitors in the area to go see these strange critters in person. In case it was not clear from the bizarre development cycle outlined above, jellyfish are most definitely not fish. 

Berlin's Bashful Black Rhino Stays Close by Mom

Zoo Berlin welcomed a baby Black Rhino Feb. 7. Black rhinos are actually not black at all. The species probably derives its name as a distinction from the white rhino (itself a misnomer) and/or from the dark-colored local soil that often covers its skin after wallowing in mud. The upper lip of the black rhino is adapted for feeding from trees and shrubs and is its best distinguishing characteristic.

Black rhinos have two horns. The front (anterior) horn is larger and measures 1 foot, 8 inches (0.5 - 1.3 m). The rear (posterior) horn is smaller and measures up to 22 inches (55 cm) long. 

Black rhinos can live to be 30-35 years in the wild and more than 45 years in captivity. 

Gestation lasts approximately 15-16 months, and mothers give birth to one calf every 2.5-3 years. Females reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age; males mature between 7 and 10 years of age.
Timur Emek / AFP/Getty Images

Your Saturday Squeeze

ZooBorns contributor ysaleth got this great shot of San Diego Zoo's proud Koala Mom Orana giving a "bear" hug to joey Miah yesterday. Despite the powerful grip, Koalas are not bears. They are not placental or 'eutherian' mammals, but marsupials, which means that their young are born immature & they develop further in the safety of a pouch. It’s incorrect to call them ‘koala bears'. Their correct name is simply 'koalas'.


There is a myth that koalas sleep a lot because they ‘get drunk’ on gumleaves. Fortunately, this is not correct! Most of their time is spent sleeping because it requires a lot of energy to digest their toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition diet and sleeping is the best way to conserve energy.

Adelaide Zoo's 3 Little Serval Kittens

3 Serval Kittens receive their 6 week health checks at Australia's Adelaide Zoo. The Kittens were vaccinated, micro-chipped and had their sex determined. Servals are extremely intelligent, and demonstrate remarkable problem-solving ability, making them notorious for getting into mischief, as well as easily outwitting their prey, and eluding other predators. Thanks Elyse D. for the tip!




Looking Fierce...

751561-serval-kittensPhoto Credit: Tom Lee