Elephant Odyssey

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Capybara

Is it a beaver without a tail? A hairy pig without a snout? No, it’s a capybara, the largest rodent in the world! Standing about two feet tall and built somewhat like a barrel with legs, the capybara is found on Central and South American riverbanks, beside ponds, and in marshes or wherever standing water is available. Africa has hippos and the Americas have capybaras! Capybaras are incredibly vocal animals and communicate using barks, chirps, whistles, huffs, and purrs. They chatter back and forth to keep track of one another. A warning bark is their first line of defense.

California Condor

Native American tribes have great respect for the California condor and see it as a symbol of power. In legends it is called the thunderbird, because it was thought to bring thunder to the skies with the beating of its huge wings. When they fly, California condors are a sight to behold. Their impressive wings catch thermal air currents that rise up as the sun heats the ground, and with those wings they can stay aloft for hours, soaring through the skies as they scan the fields below, looking for food.

Dung Beetle

Dung beetles do just what their name suggests: they use the manure, or dung, of other animals in some unique ways! These interesting insects fly around in search of manure deposits, or pats, from herbivores like cows and elephants. Dung beetles come in a variety of colors, from dull and glossy black to metallic green and red. Ancient Egyptians thought very highly of the dung beetle, also known as the scarab. They believed the dung beetle kept the Earth revolving like a giant ball of dung.

Elephant

At first glance, African elephants look similar to Asian elephants, but they are different species that live in different parts of the world. Yet in Elephant Odyssey, you can see both species! How to tell them apart? African elephants have very large ears that are shaped like the continent of Africa, while Asian elephants have smaller ears. Also, an Asian elephant's back is rounded, but an African elephant's back has a dip or sway in it. Their trunks are a little different, too: African elephants have two “fingers” at the end of their trunk; Asian elephants have one.

Lion

Lions have captured our imagination for centuries. Stars of movies and characters in books, lions are at the top of the food chain. The Swahili word for lion, simba, also means "king," "strong," and "aggressive." The word lion has similar meaning in our vocabulary. If you call someone lionhearted, you’re describing a courageous and brave person. If you lionize someone, you treat that person with great interest or importance. Lions are famous for their sonorous roar but have other forms of communication as well, mostly used to mark territory.

Jaguar

Sleek, powerful, and elusive, jaguars stalk the Americas and are revered by all who share their realm. Their mesmerizing gaze and hunting prowess have earned them a prominent place in mythology and legend. Jaguars are pretty cool cats! Jaguars are built for life in the tropical rain forest, with muscular limbs and large paws to climb trees, pad along the forest floor, and even swim in rivers and streams. They enjoy a good dip and are strong swimmers. In fact, they typically live near water and have a taste for aquatic creatures.

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