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.