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Summer Animal Facts

The Martha Stewart Show, July 2007

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
- 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.

Resources
Learn more about Julie Scardina and animals at:

Sea World of Texas
10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, TX
Phone: 210-523-3000
seaworld.com

Sea World of Florida
8403 S. Park Circle
Orlando, FL
Phone: 407-370-2565
seaworld.com

Sea World of San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA
Phone: 619-226-3901
seaworld.com

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay
3000 E Busch Blvd.
Tampa, FL
Phone: 813-987-5082
buschgardens.com

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.
Williamsburg, VA
Phone: 757-253-3350
buschgardens.com