Walt Disney once said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” But good discussions are an equally valuable source of knowledge. One of the best things you can do for your children, and yourself, is to talk with them about intriguing topics. An area with endless appeal for kids is the world of animals.
Listed below are some interesting features that are bound to lead to some interesting exchanges. For example, did you know that
• a chameleon’s tongue is twice the length of its body.
• a chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but monkeys can’t.
• a rat can last longer without water than a camel can.
• a typical bed usually houses over 6 billion dust mites.
• a woodpecker can peck twenty times a second.
• a zebra is white with black stripes.
• the hippopotamus gives birth under water and nurses its young in the river as well, though the young hippos do come up periodically for air.
• a cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime
• the world’s largest rodent is the Capybara. It is an Amazon water hog that looks like a guinea pig, it can weigh more than 100 pounds.
• the world’s smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, weighing less than a penny.
• dolphins sleep with one eye open!
• at 188 decibels, the whistle of the blue whale is the loudest sound produced by any animal.
• a flute made of bone is the oldest playable musical instrument in the world. It’s a flute carved from a bird’s wing bone more than 9,000 years ago. The flute was discovered with other flutes at an ancient burial site in China.
• the fastest dog, the greyhound, can reach speeds of upto 41.7 miles per hour. The breed was known to exist in ancient Egypt 6,000 years ago
• a cat uses whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through. The whiskers act as antennae, helping the animal to judge the precise width of any passage.
• the grizzly bear can run as fast as the average horse!!
• the female lion does more than 90% of the hunting while the male simply prefers to rest. !!
• a jellyfish is 95 percent water!
• at birth, a panda is smaller than a mouse and weighs about four ounces.
• dogs and cats, like humans, are either right or left handed… or if you prefer, right or left-pawed
• but all polar bears are left handed.
• a giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue!
• a crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
• more people are killed annually by donkeys than die in air crashes.
• an ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
• ants don’t sleep.
You can raise these ideas by asking questions (e.g., “can you guess …?”), offering information (e.g., “I just found out that…”) or setting up a game (e.g., “Let’s see who knows more…”). Whatever format suits your style is fine. The end result will be a conversation that combines enjoyment and education. That’s an unbeatable combination.
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