Pennsylvania's ZooAmerica welcomed two Roadrunner chicks in June.These chicks will grow to be 20-24 inches (50-61 cm) from tail to beak and 10-12 inches (25.5-30.5 cm) tall. A large black-and-white mottled ground bird with a distinctive head crest, Roadrunners scurry across the terrain in American deserts, as depicted in the well-known Warner Bros. cartoons. It can fly, but for only short distances as its wingspan can't keep its large body in the air for long. These chicks are members of the Cuckoo family, characterized by feet with 2 forward toes and 2 behind.
Roadrunners feed on insects, scorpions, lizards, snakes, rodents and other birds, supplementing their diet with plants in winter. Because of its lightening quickness, it can prey upon rattlesnakes. It snatches a coiled rattlesnake by the tail, cracks it like a whip and hits its head against the ground until it's dead. It swallows the snake, but often can't take in the entire length at one time. That doesn't stop the Roadrunner! It will continue to on it's way with the snake dangling from its mouth, consuming another inch or two as the snake slowly digests.
Read more about ZooAmerica's Roadrunners below the jump:
ZooAmerica participates in a nationwide program where accredited zoos exchange captive-bred animals to enhance the sustainability of species and create animal ambassadors. Since the Zoo currently exhibits two Roadrunners, these Roadrunner chicks will be sent to other zoos when they mature.
Like many zoos, ZooAmerica keeps most newborns off exhibit until their naturalists determine if the animal has matured enough to be placed on exhibit or sent to another zoo. These animals are kept in the Zoo’s Animal Health Center, where they are monitored and cared for daily.