Wild and Weird Animals
There are lots of wild and weird animals in the world. Here are just a few of them.
Naked Mole Rat
- Serious diggers! A naked mole rat's burrow may be six feet deep and as long as 30 football fields!
- Busy as bees: One burrow can house more than 100 naked mole rats. They're all related and, as in a beehive, each has its own job to do, from defending the colony to taking care of the babies.
- Neither mole nor rat: The naked mole rat is more closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs than moles or rats.
- Cute: This small monkey weighs only nine pounds, about the same as a small house cat.
- High and dry: The uakari lives up in the trees of the South American rainforest. So when the forest floor floods during heavy seasonal rains, the uakari stays above it all, munching on seeds, fruit, or other treats.
- Can you hear me? The cassowary's helmet or casque (KASK) is spongy-soft and filled with fluid. Some scientists say the casque may act like ears, letting the bird “hear” the low booming calls of other cassowaries nearby.
- Major players: Cassowaries eat fruit such as wild grapes and then as they walk along through the forest and underbrush, they poop out the seeds. For this reason, they are critical to the forest's survival and are called a “keystone species.”
- Running free: Grown cassowaries don't have many enemies. That's because there just aren't many large predators in New Guinea where these birds live.