Experience the Awesome Adaptations of Nocturnal Animals. Don’t worry; Parkday from Noon- Evening will be considerably cooler later this week.
Please bring a blindfold for each child and a pair of rubber gloves. I will have a extra pairs of rubber gloves if you want to make a $ donation for gloves and/or Owl Pellet to dissect. I will also provide a chart per child to help identify the prey and popsicle sticks and toothpicks to dissect. If you have better tools, bring ‘em.
Sometime this month, take a walk & talk with your family after the sun sets. Does it smell differently at night? How quickly does it get really dark? What sounds do you hear? Are they any different than earlier in the day? Look around for the animals that are awake at night. Make a list of your observations with words or pictures of what you witness. It’s even better if the whole family joins in. Talk about Frogs, Bats, Owls,Mice , and Opossum while you hunt for evidence of them in your neighborhood.
After our recent visit from Topanga Wilderness Youth - Owls are on our mind to help Thrive.
To learn more about night-time animals and their feeding habits… order some Owl Pellets to take apart; I will bring a dozen for families to take apart and identify the prey of an Owl.(Thanx Colleen & Brenda!) We will use popsicle sticks or toothpicks to pull them apart (and some rubber gloves). Armed with a print out of an owl feeding ID chart, you and your kids can determine what your owl ate for supper. Remember Owls come out after the sun starts to go down. No lunch or breakfast for these silent soarers!
(RIGHT) Kids & parents were amazed at the bones and fur owls regurgitate (the acid in an owl’s gizzard isn’t strong enough to break down the entire mouse, mole or bird).
Here’s a link with different frog calls in California to help you identify just which frog you heard. Click on the frog’s name for lots of pictures of that frog and what their habitats could look like.
Click here to see some M&B children imitate Frogs and their Calls.
Opossums help gardens by eating snails, slugs, insects, snakes, rats and overripe fruit. Opossums are highly resistant to diseases such as rabies because of its efficient immune system and lower body temperature. Opossums are not a public health threat. There is far less of a risk of infection from opossums than from house pets.
Understanding Bats through Fun Games
Our kids played a few games to learn first-hand how much Bats rely on their senses of sound and smell. ECHOLOCATION is an excellent adaptation to handle hunting for prey in the darkest nights. It’s nature’s SONAR. Mother Bats must also use their sense of smell in order to find and nurse their newly born young. Most of my game ideas came from Marcie Claey’s lesson plans.
One more Bat Game
Did you know that Bats have Bat Nurseries for their babies? To keep warm, the babies are squeezed in so tightly together it is hard to tell whose bat pup is whose. The pups have a distinctive call that only the Mom’s recognize, but it is the smell of each pup that is the strongest indicator of whose pup to nurse (because Bats are Mammals and all mammals nurse their young). So, my 4 year old helped me glue about 100 cotton balls on a large sheet of paper some of which had peppermint, lemon, rose, anise or balsam fir scents. They had to find their “bat pup cottonball” by only using their sense of smell.