Tuesday, August 5, 2014

World's Top 5 Zoos

Per TripAdvisor, the rankings of the world's Top 5 zoos are:

1.  Henry Doorly (Nebraska)
2.  San Diego Zoo (California)
3.  Loro Parque (Spain)
4.  St. Louis Zoo (Missouri)
5.  Singapore Zoo

Too bad one of the my favorite zoos, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, didn't make the list. But now I have a reason to visit Nebraska!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reading Event for Acea and the Animal Kingdom

I'd thought I'd interrupt my Amazing Animals segments by announcing a reading that I'll be doing for the Holladay (Utah) Arts Council, of my novel Acea and the Animal Kingdom.  Here are the details, hope to see you there!

What: Reading of Acea and the Animal Kingdom by Kyle Shoop
When: June 14, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: The Dog Eared Page, 4647 S. 2300 E., Holladay, Utah

I hear that the first 25 or so there get a kid's beanie-stuffed animal to go with the plot of my book.

As always, you can purchase my book, or learn more about me and my novels, at:

Amazon.com (ebook or paperback)

Happy reading!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Amazing Animal Fact: Hippopotamus

Can you name the most deadly mammal in Africa?

If you guessed the lion, you're actually wrong. Reports are that it's the hippopotamus! Meaning "river horse" in Greek, the hippopotamus is extremely unpredictable. Their canine teeth can grow up to 3 feet long and can be as sharp as razor blades!

What's also amazing is that, although their sluggish out of water, they can run at speeds up to 30 mph.  Under water, they they gracefully gallop and walk along the bottoms of lakes and rivers.

Don't underestimate hippos - every year, they kill more people than lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, and rhinos - combined.  Watch out!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amazing Animal Fact: Frogs

How high can frogs jump? Wait until you hear this.

Many species of frog can jump 20 times their own body length. But some frogs can jump over 7 feet - that's nearly 50 times their own body length!

To put that into perspective, if a person 6 ft tall could jump 50 times their height, tey would jump 300 feet high. That's approximately the heigh of a 30 story tall building! (Do not try to jump off a tall building to see if you have the jumping capabilities of a frog - you don't!)


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Amazing Animal Fact: Tarantula

In writing my novel, Acea and the Animal Kingdom, one animal which I spent hours and hours researching was the tarantula. Ever spent hours looking at pictures of spiders? For myself, who is genuinely frightened by spiders, researching tarantulas was not much fun!

BUT I learned alot of interesting and amazing things about tarantulas which I did not know before.  These include:
  • Tarantulas were on the earth back in the time of the dinosaurs. In fact, it's even thought that tarantulas existed before the dinosaur age! (The oldest discovered tarantula fossile is from the Lower Triassic period of 235-240 million years ago.)
  • Tarantulas have fangs. Do you know where they're at? I dare you to search for pictures of tarantula fangs to find out!
  • Tarantulas kick hairs off of their abdomen, called Urticating hairs, which are lethal to some small animals and rodents. To humans, these hairs can cause severe itching and rashing. Tarantulas have developed these urticating hairs over time, as a form of evolution to defend themselves from predators.
There are many more amazing facts that I learned from my research. But I'll leave those for another day. Though tarantulas are normally scary to many poeple, they are definitely one of the amazing animals in the world!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Amazing Animal Fact: Ants

This amazing animal fact is sure to get you crawling. There are an estimated 1 million ants for ever single person in the world! Remember that scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with the ants? .... it could happen!

But the more amazing fact is that ants don't sleep and don't have lungs. How do ants breathe? Unlike humans, which carry oxygen via blood to cells, ants have a network of tiny tubes called tracheae throughout their entire body that carries oxygen directly to tissues.  Reportedly, the fact that ants don't use blood to carry oxygen is what prevents them from growing as large as humans. Good thing - we're already outnumbered 1 million to 1!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Amazing Animal Fact: Polar Bears

Every time I take my kids to the zoo, they're always amazed by the polar bear. Whether the polar bear is swimming in the water or walking on land, it's always so much fun to watch! But did you know that all polar bears are reportedly law-pawed? I didn't! I say "reportedly" because there are some who call this more of a myth. I guess I'll have to keep closer watch for this the next time I'm at the zoo to determine it myself.

But, hey - I'm left handed, too! So from one left-hander talking about a left-handed animal, I'd have to say that this is definitely an amazing animal fact!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Amazing Animal Facts: Pigeons

Pigeons are only 1 of 6 species on the earth that pass the “mirror test.” Passing the mirror test involves the animal recognizing that its reflection in a mirror belongs to itself, instead of thinking it’s another animal. And not only do pigeons recognize the reflection as its own, but there are rumors that they can even recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet. That’s smarter than some kindergartners! There are definitely some people who I wonder if they see what their reflection looks like in a mirror ... so, are pigeons smarter than some people ...?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Amazing Animal Facts: Giraffes

Question: Which of the following describes an amazing animal fact about giraffes:

   (a)  They are faster than a horse
   (b)  They can go longer than a camel without water
   (c)  They have as many vertebrae in their neck as a human
   (d)  All of the above

If you chose (d) then you're correct! That's right - all of the above describe giraffes.  They are faster than horses mainly because every step a giraffe takes is about 15 feet in length.

In addition, the fact that giraffes can drink up to 12 gallons of water in one sitting helps them go longer than a camel without water - a camel!

Can you guess how many neck vertebrae are in a human and giraffe neck? If you guessed 7 you're right! As you probably guessed, though, giraffe neck vertebrae are much longer than a human's.  Good thing!

Aren't giraffes amazing!?