Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whose Feet?

Okay, it's been a while since I posted a "guessing game," so here's one on animal feet.  This first photo is of an animal in our Outdoor Aviary, a part of our three-quarter mile Outdoor Trail.  If you need another clue, look carefully and you will see a shadow of this animal's beak:
Here's another set of feet, also from a kind of animal in our Outdoor Aviary:
Here's a foot that's great for swimming.  Notice the skin between the toes?:
These feet are also great for swimming, but in these photos, take a look at the claws.  The two inner toes of this animal's hind feet have "split" toenails which are used like combs to groom its fur:
Finally, a foot that is in our Changing Exhibits Gallery.  This represents the front foot of an extinct critter.  Hint:  notice there are only two toes on the front foot:
Ready for the answers?  The first photo shows the feet of a great blue heron.  In the photo below, I caught him scratching his head--ahhh! just the right spot!  Herons are wading birds, so their feet help them get around in their wetlands habitat.  They are the largest type of heron in North America:
The second photo was of cormorant feet.  They eat mostly fish--so those feet are great for helping them dive from the surface and chase their prey  Here's a cormorant getting ready to dive:
The third mystery foot belongs to one of our two river otters.  The photo below was shot through about three inches of glass and the scene is underwater, so it's a little fuzzy--but take a look at the hind feet.  Check out the awesome webbed toes--what great built-in swim fins!:
The fourth mystery foot belongs to one of our beavers.  I watched our two beavers groom themselves ("autogrooming"), then they groomed each other's fur ("allogrooming") for a few minutes:
The last mystery foot belongs to a robotic Tyrannosaurus rex that's part of our Dinosaurs! exhibit here at the Virginia Living Museum now through September 3, 2012:
That's all for now--hope you enjoyed this post!  More "Off the Beaten Path" in two weeks,

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