This month in our zoo class at the Seneca Park Zoo we talked all about animals that live in the cold. Upon walking in the door, the first thing we were able to see was a large stuffed polar bear. We talked about 4 differences between an animal more suited for the cold, snowy weather, and an animal more suited for warm, desert like weather:
- Fur – An animal more suited for cold weather, like a polar bear would have a very thick coat of fur to help keep them warm vs. a warm weather animal would have thinner and less fur so they do not overheat
- Color – An animal more suited for the cold, snowy weather would have white fur to help them blend in with the snow vs. a warm weather, desert animal would more likely be brown in color to blend in with the dirt
- Ears – Cold weather animals typically have smaller ears because they are easier to keep warm vs. warm weather animals with large ears to help fan themselves as an aid to staying cooler
- Feet – Cold weather animals like polar bears have very large feet to help them walk on top of the snow vs. warm weather animals don’t necessarily need large feet
The kids enjoyed the hands on experience of deciding what feet, ears, and fur would go with a warm or a cold weather animal. Ava got to dress up as a polar bear with thick, fuzzy, white fur, BIG feet, and small ears. All things that help a polar bear be well suited for living in the cold weather.
Then using rubber gloves, a bin full of snow and cold water, and Crisco, the kids got to see how the very thick layer of fat on animals like the polar bear, help protect them from the cold.
Each child had a chance to put both their bare hand, and their hand that was insulated by the glove with Crisco in it, into the tub of freezing snow/water.
As you can see by the picture, Ava’s bare hand did not last too long in the cold, but her protected hand was still in and safe from the cold.