Sunday, October 09, 2005

Belize Reports from Mrs. C. Parker's Class

Tarantula by Ryan
Tarantulas live worldwide including America. The ones that live in America live in the south and southwestern states. They also live in the dry and warmer parts of California. The desert tarantula grows two to three inches long. Most tarantulas are brown or gray, but some of them are different colors. The Mexican red legged tarantula has of course, bright red legs. The colbalt blue tarantula has legs colored deep blue. The goliath tarantula, which lives in South America, grows to five inches long and has a leg span of twelve inches. This fact, I think, is very wierd, tarantulas are harmless to humans and can be trained as pets. Tarantulas are quite common in Belize. You better check out your shoes each day before sticking your foot inside - just in case there is a tarantula there! This is my report on tarantulas.

Armadillo by Jordan
The three-banded armadillo is able to roll up into a ball to escape predators. The other 20 types of armadillo's can not roll up into a ball to escape. The other types of armadillo's use their hard shells to protect themselves. While the hard shell is doing its job, the armadillo is busy digging a hole in the ground or it runs away to the nearest bush to protect itself. Armadillo's have very bad eyesight, but they are not blind. They depend on their sense of hearing and smell to track their food and predators. Armadillo's are good at swimming. They dog paddle with a strong stroke. Armadillo's don't have enamel on their teeth. They have small teeth because they only eat bugs. They have sharp claws. They live in warm climates. Armadillo's are a main food source for jaguars in Belize.

Gray Four-eyed Possum by Hannah
The gray four-eyed opossum is a small opossum with a gray back and lighter colored throat, chest and belly. They have a black face mask, black top of head, and a white mark above each eye. They also have a hairless tail. Gray four-eyed opossums live in the lowa and middle elevation forests, plantations, and other agricultureal areas. They prefer dense vegetation near water. Gray four-eyed opossums are nocturnal, and are found in trees and on the ground.

Coati by Kalli
The Coati is often called a hog-nosed coon because it has a very long snout. Their claws are really strong tand they use them to dig with. The coati lives in grasslands, dense forests, or bushy areas. Coati live from the southwestern United States through northern Argentina, which includes Belize. They wander through tropical forests and you can sometimes here them rustling through the leaves. Each female and it’s young have a home area where it searches for it’s food. Every male Coati has it’s very own territory. Coati’s that live in the southwestern area often rest in caves and rock piles instead of the usual branches. Coati’s eat snails, insects, rodents, small reptiles, nuts and fruits. As a member of the racoon family, the coati is a very social creature. Around 4-20 female coati’s travel with their young in something called a “band.” A band spends most of its day searching for food. When they groom each other, they nibble on each other’s fur. The male coati’s live alone until mating season. After they mate, the females go back to the band with the new young.

Gibnut by Aubrey
A gibnut is a type of rodent. Another name for the gibnut is paca. The paca is nocturnal and it feeds on fallen fruits, leaves, and tubers. One of its favorite foods is the shell of a cohune tree nut. The gibnut can be found in Belize, Mexico and Southern Brazil. Gibnuts are the most prized game or thing to hunt in Belize and the neo-tropics. The gibnut is up to 2 feet long and its maximum weight is 22 pounds. The habitat is widespread and the lifespan is unknown. It makes a lot of noise while in the forest. When the gibnut is disturbed, it will make a deep hoarse bark or rumbling sound.

Mottled Owl by Ariana
The Mottled Owl is a common owl along much of Central and South America. It can be quite bold and will not only respond to imitations and playbacks of it’s own call, but will also come to these calls. The Mottled Owl is frequently found in Belize. Their eyesight is best in moonlight; they are nocturnal and have excellent hearing. They live in forests, clearings, fields, grasslands, marshes, and mountains. They eat small animals, reptiles, birds, insects, and earthworms. They regurgitate bones, feathers, and fur in what is called “owl pellets.”

Fer-de-lance by Rebecca
The Fer de lance is a rare snake, but it is very vicious. It can live up to 20 years old and can have up to 80 young at one time. It can inject upto 105 mg of venom . It is also a pit viper. The pit viper can sense body heat and know when other animals or people are around them. This pit viper lives in Central and South America. The Fer de lance will actually come after you and normally are gray, reddish color with dark triangular markings. Fer de lance is French for “iron of a lance.” This snake is very, very dangerous and is found in the rainforest region of Belize.

Vampire Bats by Dylan
Vampire bats are blood-suckers from Belize. This bat has short hairy legs. They are mid-sized with a snout like a pig. They have fleshy skin folds and large middle incisor and canine teeth. Unlike the fruit bat, vampire bats have a short muzzle. Vampire bats are carriers of deadly rabies. Bats are mammals. They are the only mammal to fly. They are sometimes thought of as rats with wings. There are 980 species of bats.

Harpy Eagle by Victoria
The harpy eagle lives in Central America in forests near the equator. It likes to eat any kind of ground beef or rabbits. They use their enormous claws to rip apart their prey. The back of the harpy eagle is pale black and the stomach is white. The head is pale gray and is crowned with a double crest, which gives it a menacing look to match it’s reputation. The harpy eagle is one of the largest eagles. It can grow to be 36 to 40 inches long. It can weigh up to 20 pounds. In flight, the harpy eagle can reach speeds above 50. That’s what makes them excellent hunters.

Fishing Bat by John
A fishing bat is a very large bat. Fishing bats stay in hollow trees and on buildings in town. The fishing bat flies right above water. They use solar rays to find the fish that are like two inches under the water or right on top of the water. They also eat other things like insects. They grab the prey with their claws, but they move it to their mouth to carry it. They eat the fish or insect they caught upside down.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Belize Reports from Mrs. Scott's 5th Graders

Leaf-cutter Ant by John
A leaf-cutter ant can carry something that is bigger than themselves while they are climbing down a vine. Leaf-cutter ants have guards at the opening of their nests. The leaf-cutter ants do not eat the leafs that they carry, they chew up the leaves into pulp and put them in a pile and after a while, fungus grows on the pile and they eat the fungus! This is the way we grow mushrooms. Rainforests have more ants than any other kind of animal - one colony of leaf-cutter ants can have over five million ants!

Ocelot by Julia
Ocelots eat rodents, snakes, lizards, and birds. The ocelot is one of the six species of cats in Central America. They have spots and stripes like the tiger and jaguar. The ocelot eats tapir, too.

Toucan by Wesley
The toucan uses it's large beak to eat fruit. The bright colored beak attracts mates. It distributes seeds from the fruit that is eaten. They are found in Belize and are the national bird. There are different types of toucan's, such as the Killed Billed toucan. It is mostly beak.

Tapir by Aaron
The tapir is nocturnal. It usually sleeps during the day. They are found from Belize to Brazil. It can be from 800 to 1000 pounds. The nickname of the tapir is the mountain cow.

Yellow-headed Parrot by Tori
Another name for the yellow-headed parrot is the yellow-headed Amazon. It lives in the tropical forest. It has a yellow head and a pale bill. Some people have it as a pet bird. It's voice sounds like a gurgling man. You could see large groups of them flying around in Belize.

Gray Fox by Daschade
The gray fox marks its territory. Gray foxes breed once a year. They are able to climb up and down trees. The gray fox is up to 47 inches long and weighs up to 16 pounds. They like to eat birds, fruits, berries, rodents, fish, small reptiles, and eggs. The gray fox is found in Belize.

Iguana by Chance
The iguana is found in Belize and other places in Central and South America. The iguana is also called the bamboo chicken. When they are full grown, they are up to seven feet long. They also have a good sense of hearing and smell and super vision.

King Vulture by LaSean
The king vulture can be called “King Jan Kro.” They are the largest and most colorful of the four species of vultures. They are very thick and their bills are good at tearing their prey. Their long thick claws are used for holding meat. The size of a king vulture is 32 inches. Their habitat is in the tropical lowland up to 4000 feet. They are carrions and found in Belize.

Spider Monkey by Dannielle
A spider monkey is a large monkey that uses its tail as an extra limb. It can pick up things by its tail. It can also swing by its tail in the trees. This monkey sometimes hangs upside down by its tail, arms, and legs. Only Asian primates called gibbons can swing through trees faster. Spider monkeys are found in the tropical forests of the western hemisphere, from central Mexico to central Bolivia. This includes the rainforests of Belize. They live in groups up to 35 individuals and spend most or their time in high branches where they eat fruits, seeds, and other plant matter. They have black and brown, dark brown, and golden reddish or tan fur. Adults weigh from 10 to 19 pounds and grow almost 2 feet long, not including the tail. Spider monkeys got their name because when they land in a tree, they look like a spider. The average life span of a spider monkey is 27 years.

Scarlet Macaw by Stacie
The scarlet macaw is found in south central Mexico to Bolivia and central Brazil. This includes Belize. Their homes are in low-lying tropical rainforests, mountains, and other forest areas. The scarlet macaw is endangered because people have destroyed much of their homes. Scarlet macaws eat bananas, coconuts, figs, berries, nuts and during breeding season also eat insects and larvae. In the zoo, they also eat peanuts, but this is given only for a treat. Sometimes they eat green peppers and corn. They have 3 toes, two in the front and one in the back.

Jaguar - by LaJada
Jaguars are the largest cats in the western hemisphere. They measure 5-6 feet from nose to tip of tail. It’s coat is a tawny yellow with whitish on the throat and belly. It is marked with small spots on the head and neck. They have black rings on their side and flank. Jaguars can be found in Mexico, Central and South America, and have been spotted in Arizona, New Mexico, and California. For dinner they may have deer, fish, sloths, and armadillo. They can live between 12-16 years and up to 22 years in the zoo. The jaguar is an endangered species and the Defenders of Wildlife are working hard to keep them safe and around for years to come. Belize has the only Jaguar Preserve in the world. They also have a program to retrain jaguars for zoos. The zoo was begun by Sharon Matola and she still manages the zoo and began the jaguar recovery program to train jaguars for zoos.

Boa Constrictors - by Angelicia
Boa constrictors are not poisonous. They are part of the Boidae family. The boa constricotr is mostsly found in grasslands and tropical forests from Mexico to Argentina. The boa constrictor relies on the sense of smell in locating prey. It flicks its tongue out and brings in particles from the surrounding area. At close range, the boas identifiy size and location of it’s prey. The mother can have 50 babies. They are about 2 feet long and weigh 4 to 5 ounces. In one year it will grow to a length of 8 feet and weigh 40 pounds. The boa eats large prey including birds, lizards, rodents, fish, and wild pigs. They can camouflage for their defense. For many years boa’s have been popular pets. They often thrive in captivity, but should always be regarded as wild animals. The oldest living boa is kept in the London Zoo and it is over 40 years old.

Howler Monkey – by Jacob
Howler Monkeys are the loudest land animal and the second loudest animal in the world. The call of the Howler Monkey can be heard up to 3 miles away. Adult males Howlers are black or brown. Females have a lighter color. They grow to be about 2-4 feet tall and weigh between 8 and 22 pounds. They have a long tail. The females usually have one baby at a time. Howlers are very good swimmers and have good vision. They can see up to half a mile. They are vegetarians and their diet is made up of fruits, nuts, and leaves. Howlers live in groups of 4-8 members. The size of the territory depends on the size of the troop, from anywhere around 3 to 25 acres. They live mostly in Central and South American Rainforests. The canopy layer of the forest is where most of them call home although they spend some tinme on the ground. Large birds of prey will eat the Howler Monkey. The Howler Monkey lives to be about 20 years old.

Tree Frog - by McKenna
The tree frog is the best know frog in Australia. They also live in Belize, Central America. The tree frog is similar to us, it uses the bathroom like us. The tree frog is ten centimeters long. You hear a deep croaking call late at night.
The tree frog lives under a log or a rock. The tree frog has green on its back. The tree frog seems to be happy to live with humans and the humans seem happy too. If you lived in a country where there are tree frogs, you might see one in your toilet.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Belize Trek - from NC, USA to Belize, Central America

Welcome to our Belize blog. Our kindergarten through fifth grade students will be blogging here as they learn about Belize. Thanks to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Educators of Excellence Fund for allowing this opportunity to our school.