Houston Zoo, Texas

Houston Zoo, Texas


Lioness and Lion (Panthera Leo) – Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa and in India.  Normally their coloring is a tawny-yellow, but can vary.The female is usually lighter in color.  Both the male and the female will roar.

Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) – India, the Indochinese peninsula,Sumatra and Sri Lanka.  The Elephant is a highly intelligent mammal.The Asian Elephant has smaller ears than the African Elephant.  The tail has a tuft of black hair at the tip.  The huge column-like legs have bones that are designed to support over 12,000 lbs.  The feet have a dense pad of fatty tissue to cushion their feet.  They walk more on the front of their feet.

The long trunk has a single process (finger-like) at the tip to help grip food, sticks, etc.  So the trunk is more like an arm, and hand.To take a drink, the elephant sucks water into trunk and then squirt the water into their mouth.  On the hind feet are four nails instead of three.

Masai Giraffe (Giraffe camelopardalis tippelskirchi) – East Africa. The Masai Giraffe’s spot pattern is more jagged than, for example, than the spots of the  reticulated giraffe.  The giraffe is the tallest animal living measuring up to 18 feet.  They enjoy browsing tall Acacia trees, Mimosa and wild apricot trees, being able to eat at the highest level.  It draws the highest branches into their mouth with the long, flexible tongue.

Orange Bishop (Euplectos francislanus) – Africa.  The breeding male may mate with several females since the species is polygamous.He will fluff out his body and beat his wings rapidly.

Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) – Borneo and Sumatra.  The Orangutan does not have a tail.  They have a long, shaggy reddish-rust coat.The arms are twice the length of their body.  They have the most flexibility of any other ape.  The Orangutan spends most of their life in the forest canopy, rarely coming to the ground.

Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) – Malaysia, Java, India,Sumatra and Southern China.  The Tiger is the largest member of the cat family.  They have large, rounded ears.  The tiger is mostly solitary.  They are very good swimmers.

Jaguar (Panthera onca) – Southern United States to South America. The Jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas.  The coat has a pattern of dark-centered rosettes.  They are very powerfully built with a large head.  The belly is white or light colored.Jaguars are very good swimmers.

White-Bellied Go-Away-Bird (Criniferoides leucogaster) – East Africa. They got their name since the call they make sounds like they are saying”Go Away”. There is an upright crest on the front of their head.  As they land they raise the long tail and crest.  They are about 20 inches long.   They forage among trees and bushes for fruit, flowers and green pods of seeds.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) – Africa south of the Sahara, Arabia and Iran as far south as Turkestan.  The Cheetah has a small head in proportion to the body and very long legs.  The Cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world.  They can reach a speed of over 60 mph for ten to twelve second, but then they overheat.  The tail has black rings on it.

Babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) – Indonesia, Sulawesi, Togian and Mangole Islands in rain forests.  The Babirusa is grey to brown.The male has unusual upper tusks that grow through the muzzle and curve back towards the face.  The lower tusks are used by the male for defense.  They have long, relatively thin legs and are good swimmers.

Golden – Headed Quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps) – South America in the west.  The breast is emerald green and the under part of the belly is red.   The under tail is black and the outer feathers are green.The head is golden to brown and they have a yellow bill.

Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) – Africa.  “Silent Forest Dwellers”, the Okapi is shy and will make a snorting, piping sound if disturbed.The Okapi was not discovered until 1901, making it the largest animal to go undetected in recent years.  The Okapi are related to giraffes.They have long tongues used to pluck leaves and flowers from overhead branches.  In males there are two small horns on the forehead which point backwards and are covered with hair.

Blue-Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon malimbica) – Tropical West Africa. This is a thicket-dwelling Kingfisher and is built stouter than the divingKingfisher.  They still may dive for fish on occasions, but mostlyswoops down to eat insects.  They bore into a termite mound to buildtheir nests.  Two toes are partially joined together to give a widerbase for perching.

Cougar (Puma concolor) – Western United States, Western Canada, Mexicoand Central and South America.  This cat goes by several names: Puma,Mountain Lion, Cougar or Panther.  This cat has a powerful build with its hind legs longer than its front legs.   They are so agile they can leap 18 feet off the ground.  The head is rather small with rounded ears.  Their paws are large.  They are active day and night.

White-Faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata) – South America and Africa.  Besides the white face there is a white throat patch.They have a black head and bill.  The flanks are finely barred with white tawny and black.  The neck is tawny colored.  They use different whistling for different situation.   Their diet consists of aquatic plants and aquatic animals.

Peter’s Twin-Spot Finch (Hypargos niveoguttatus) – Africa.  They have spherical nests that are often built on the ground or in shrubs.



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