Memphis Zoo, TN


Christmas Season at the Memphis Zoo.
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) – Africa and West Asia.  The Cheetah is the fastest animal in the world.  When running, they spurt forward and can reach up to 60 mph in a short time, but but only for short distances.  The Cheetah is classified as on of the “Big Cats”.  (The others include leopards, tigers, lions, jaguars, snow leopards and clouded leopards.)  The Cheetah is the only “Big Cat” that doesn’t roar, but purrs, usually when being groomed.  They rarely fight among themselves.

The Cheetah is the only cat that doesn’t ever retract their claws. Like other cats, the Cheetah runs on their toes.  They have very long
legs and a springy backbone, which helps them take extra long strides besides aiding them in running.  Their long tails provide balance
when changing direction at high speeds.  The dark lines on each side of the nose are called “tear lines.  Cheetahs do most of their
hunting in the early morning or at dusk.  When food is scarce, a favorite of the Cheetah is a melon called “tsama” since the melon contains a lot of water..
Bongo (Tragelaphus euryceros) – Western and Central Africa.  The Bongo has vivid white vertical stripes on a russet-red body.  There
is a white patch on the cheek and chest.  Both Bongo male and female have spiral horns.  There are bold black and white markings on the
legs.  They are nocturnal and feed on many plants.
Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) – South Sub-Saharan Africa.   The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world.
The coat is made up of many brown patches surrounded by white.  There are two small horns and a medium bulge on the forehead which are covered with skin and hair.   They live in herds that can number up to 30 or more.  The herd is dominated by an old bull giraffe, but the
female leads when on the move.  The Giraffe is a vegetarian and will feed off of the tops of trees such as the acacia tree.  They have a
prehensile upper lip and a very long tongue .
Tiger (Panthera tigris) – South and East Asia.  Definitely recognizable by the orange coat with black stripes, the Siberian Tiger is
the largest member of the cat family.  They are found in Manchuria and Siberia.   The Tiger has excellent night vision. They weigh
400 to 650 pounds.  They have long, sensitive whiskers.  The Tiger has a long, ringed tail.
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) – Northwest, North America to New Mexico.  They fly over the plains looking for food,
White-Napped Crane (Grus vipic) – Northeast China, Northeast Mongolia and Southeast Russia.  This is a large gray Crane with slate-gray body, white throat and a vertical white stripe from the crown down the back of the neck.  The White-Napped Crane if the only crane with pinkish legs and the dark, slate gray.  Both female and male look alike.  The nests are mounds of dried grasses in open wetlands.  Two eggs are laid after 28 to 32 days. Some Cranes in the western portion migrate south through China to the middle of the Yellow River valley.  Approx. 2,000 migrate south through the Korean peninsula.  Then some continue to the Japanese Island of Kyushu outside the city of Izumi to the croplands.
Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) – East and South Sub-Saharan Africa.  The Hippo is an amphiibious animal – equally agile on land and in water.  They can stay afloat by inflating the lungs when breathing on the surface, the extra air reducing the density of the
massive bulk.  A hippo spends a lot of the day in water and loves to wallow in muddy pools.  The underside, eye rims, behind the cheek,
ears and mouth show a pinkish color.  They emerge out of the water at dawn to feed on grasses beside the riverbank and on the plains.  The
legs are short with a very large head.  Hippos fight violently with each other, often opening their mouths wide as a warning.
Ostrich (Struthio camelus) – Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia and South to Tanzania.  The Ostrich is a flightless bird, but is fast on his legs,
reaching 35 mph and can maintain the speed for up to 30 minutes.  The Ostrich has bristles on his face and head.  They have two large toes
on each foot.
Grant’s Zebra – (Equus burchelli bohmi) – The Zebra is a muscular grazing animal with a short neck and sturdy legs.  No two Zebras are marked exactly the same, like humans with fingerprints.  They live in family units of 5 to 20 members.  A family is made up of a stallion, several mares and their foals.  They gather in large herds during the migration to better grazing areas.  Zebras are dependent on being
near water, since they drink frequently.  One foal is born after a 12 month gestation.  They will nurse from the mother for up to 6 months,
but begin grazing at one month.
Great Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) – West  and South central China.  The Panda is a stocky, rolly-polly black and white bear
They have a large white head with black eye patches.  The ears are black and rounded.  Pandas are near-sighted and has a highly
developed sense of hearing.   They feed mainly on bamboo and have a single stomach that can digest the bamboo.  On the front paw,
there is an extra thumb which helps them in holding the bamboo.  The Panda does not hibernate as other bears do.
White-Cheeked Gibbon (Hylobates leucogenys) – Asia.  “Hylobates” means tree-walker”.  They can easily swing from branch to branch
with their long arms and long fingers with a short thumb..  This acrobatic Gibbons spend most of the time in the treetops finding fruit,
leaves and insects to eat.
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) – Sub-Saharan Africa.  The African Elephant is larger than the Asian Elephant.  The African
Elephant has a sloped back and much larger ears.  The huge ears are are more for controlling their body temperature than for hearing.
The back of the ears are laced with blood vessels which help to cool of over-all body temperature when the ears are fanned..
The trunk has two fingerlike processes at the tip  The trunk is capable of powerful twisting and coiling while getting food   It can perform delicate movements such as picking up berries.  Trunks can draw up streams of water or toss sand over their bodies.  The Elephant must drink daily, enjoying taking a bath in the watering hole.  The legs of the Elephant are strong and look like columns.  The skin is grayish to black, with wrinkles.  Newborn are often very hairy and the adults  retain the short bristles on the trunk.
Scimitar-Horned Oryx (Oryx dammah) – Africa – North Saharan and semi-desert grasslands of the Sahel.  The horns are long, slender and
curved.  Tawny-rust on the neck and a little on the rump, the Oryx is mostly white. They were named after the long, curving horns that resemble a scimitar sword.
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) – Most of Eurasia, North America and Canada.  The Grizzly is a large, powerful bear with a shoulder hump
on the back.  They are mainly vegetarian, except when near the areawhere the Salmon run up stream.  The male bear is much heavier than
the female.
Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) – North America, Greenland, Europe and Asia.The Gray Wolf is the largest of the canidae family.  There is a definite hierarchy within the pack.  It centers around the dominant breeding pair. The howling of the pack can be heard up to 6 miles away.  The wolf is a strong, stocky animal, having a n acute sense of hearing.  The fur is very thick to keep them warm.  They can be
gray, whitish, or almost black.
Black Leopard (Panthera pardus) – Africa and Asia.  Black Leopards were once thought to be a separate species.  Now it is known that the
leopard sometimes exhibit melanism, or an excessive amount of dark pigment in the skin and fur.  The indistinct spots, called rosettes, can
till be seen.   The leopard has strong shoulders and front legs.  They are adept at climbing and can drag  prey up into a tree to keep it safe from other animals.    The Leopard is almost always solitarym except in mating season.


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