Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eye See You Again

Here's another close-up look at animal eyes.  Can you guess whose eyes these are?:
This eye belongs to something with strong claws, or pincers:
And this eye also belongs to a crustacean--sort of a cousin to the animal in the picture above:
This next one is one of my favorites--I love the deep red color:
This next eye belongs to a very large bird in our Outdoor Aviary:
Oh my, what big eyes you have!...
Have them all figured out?  The first one belongs to a lovely windowpane flounder we have in our holding tanks "behind the scenes" so it's not on display--but I thought you'd enjoy its odd-looking eyes.  Many thanks to aquarist Jenny Curtis for helping me identify this beautiful little fish!
The second photo belongs to a blue crab:
And it's crustacean cousin is a crayfish or "crawfish" if you prefer.  We had these on exhibit in our Virginia's Underground Discovery Center only for a short time--we change some smaller exhibits regularly.  (This photo was taken earlier this summer--the new exhibit features something totally different--I'll put it in a future blog!)
Did you guess the red eyes belong to a black-crowned night heron?
It lives in our Outdoor Aviary along with the great blue heron--with its bright yellow eyes:
Last, the brilliant jewel-like eyes belong to a dragonfly.  With its "wrap-around" eyes, it can see pretty much all around itself:
Hope you enjoyed "off the beaten path"....more in two weeks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More "Whose Tail?"

For all of my "guess who" readers, here's another installment of "Whose Tail?"  The first photo is of a scaly animal--it's pretty easy to guess:
This next photo is of a mammal's tail--really!--even though it looks a bit scaly, it's not a reptile's tail:
This furry tail belongs to another mammal--he's a canid (a member of the "dog" family):
You might find this next tail in the water....there's definitely something fishy about it:
The last tail looks like a fluffy ball of cotton (that's a clue!):
Have you figured them all out?  The first tail is from an alligator.  This photo was taken from the upper level of our Cypress Swamp exhibit.  When an alligator swims it uses its tail to propel itself through the water.  Even though it uses its feet to help it swim, the tail is really the main "motor!":
The odd-looking scaly tail is from the only marsupial we have in the United States--the opossum.  This photo is of a juvenile opossum, caught in the act of yawning.  Opossums tend to hiss and gape (show their teeth) when confronted by a predator, or even "play dead," but in this case it was just a yawn.  No, opossums don't sleep hanging upside down by their tails--they use their tail to help them climb or carrying things like leaves used as nesting material:
The long fluffy tail belongs to a gray fox.  Gray foxes are native to the United States whereas red foxes were brought to America from Europe.  Believe or not, gray foxes can climb trees, so all the large trees in our gray fox exhibit on the Outdoor Trail have a sheet of hard plastic wrapped around the tree trunk--fox proofing!:
Did you guess "seahorse" for the next tail?  Seahorses are fish (yes, really!) and use their tails to hold onto things and help propel them in the water.  A cool thing about seahorses--males have a pouch.  What for?  Females lay eggs, but males keep the eggs safe in their front pouch until the little ones are ready to hatch:
The last tail belongs to an eastern cottontail rabbit.  We had several wild rabbits on the Museum grounds earlier this spring:
I hope you enjoyed these photos!  More "off the beaten path" in two weeks.