If you're hiking, biking, or hitting the beach in North America, South America, or Africa in the summer, you'll likely see a lot of amazing wildlife. Animal ambassador Julie Scardina shared the following interesting facts about some animals and insects that might cross your path in these locales during warm-weather months.
- Tarantulas live all over the world; in North America, you'll find them in the South and Southwest.
- The most common in North America is the 'Eurypelma californicum,' which is found in California, Texas, and Arizona.
- There are more than 800 species of tarantulas.
- Predators include lizards, snakes, spider-eating birds, and the tarantula hawk.
Scorpions (North American species and larger African species)
- Scorpion fossils date back 400 million years.
- Many live between two and six years.
- They eat other insects and small vertebrates such as lizards.
- They use their venom to kill or paralyze prey so it can be eaten.
- Among the most dangerous is the 'Leiurus quinquestriatus,' which is also known as the "death stalker."
- Most scorpions reproduce sexually, although some do so through parthenogenesis, a process in which unfertilized eggs develop into living embryos.
Sting Rays (California Bat Rays)
- Southern stingrays can grow up to 5 feet across and just as long.
- Sensing danger, they flip their whip-like tail around in defense.
- The tail contains poisonous sacs. Sharp spines can cause serious injury even without the poison.
- Their diet consists of crabs, clams, shrimp, marine worms, and small fish.
North American Beaver
- The North American beaver is the second largest rodent in the world. (The largest is the capybara of South America.)
- They have webbed hind feet for swimming, waterproof fur, and large, sharp cutting front teeth (incisors).
- They are herbivores.
- They live between 10 and 15 years.
African Ground Hornbill
- Lives deep in the forests of Africa, Southern Asia, and the islands southward, stretching into New Guinea.
- Their wingspan can reach up to 6 feet on larger hornbills
- They're omnivorous, eating both plants and animals.
- Feathering is black and white with shades of gray and brown.
- Bill, or casque, is brightly colored as is the face, throat skin, eyes, and feet.
- Large female hornbills lay one or two eggs at a time while smaller hornbills lay up to seven.
- There are 45 species of hornbills.
Learn more about Julie Scardina and animals at:
Sea World of Texas
10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, TX
Sea World of Florida
8403 S. Park Circle
Sea World of San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
3000 E Busch Blvd.
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.