Wildlife Olympians on Today Show

from Wildlife Promise

The Olympics are here and with them, a celebration of the world’s best athletes.  In keeping with that theme, for my latest appearance on the Today Show I brought wild animals that are impressive athletes in the game of survival.

Here’s the clip:

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Here are some additional facts about the animals in the segment:

Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox


Although small, Arctic foxes are extreme winter survivors.  Their thick, white winter coat protects them from the crushing Arctic cold.  Their white fur offers winter camouflage, but they shed it in spring and grow a gray-brown coat (because even in the Arctic the snow melts for a short time in summer).  Artic foxes feeds on rodents, birds and in the winter they follow polar bears out onto the sea ice and scavenges their seal kills.

 

Bennett’s Wallaby

Bennett's wallaby photo by vogmae via Flickr Creative Commons

Bennett’s wallaby photo by vogmae via Flickr Creative Commons

Bennett’s wallabies are a small kangaroo species that live in Australia. Despite their small size, they are athletic long jumpers and high jumpers. They can make leaps of 25 feet with a running start – that’s over 8 times their body length. That’s like a 6 foot man jumping 48 feet. Thy can also jump up to 6 feet high straight up.

 

Alligator

Alligator and Florida gar. Photo by Marina Scarr. 2012 National Wildlife Photo Contest honorable mention.

Alligator and Florida gar. Photo by Marina Scarr. 2012 National Wildlife Photo Contest honorable mention.


Alligators take home the gold for the extreme strength of their bite.  An alligator can bite down with a force of over 2,000 lbs. That’s like getting a car dropped on you.  Alligators are found in Florida and coastal wetlands north to the Carolinas and west to Texas.  In winter they dig burrows in banks and go dormant.  Once endangered, their population is now fully recovered due to the protections of the Endangered Species Act.

 

White-nosed Coatimundi

White-nosed coatimundi photo by Lance and Jane via Flickr Creative Commons.

White-nosed coatimundi photo by Lance and Jane via Flickr Creative Commons.

Coatimundis, or coatis for short, are natural gymnasts. They are agile on the ground and can also traverse tree branches like a balance beam. With their striped tails and pugnacious attitudes, it’s not hard to see that coatis are relatives of raccoons. Unlike their masked cousins, coatis but active during the day, not night. Like their cousins, they are omnivores and will eat just about anything. They are found from Desert Southwest down into Central and South. America.

 

Patagonian Cavy 

Patagonian cavy photo by Joachim S. Müller via Flickr Creative Commons.

Patagonian cavy photo by Joachim S. Müller via Flickr Creative Commons.

Patagonian cavies, also called maras, are large rodents native to South America. Only capybaras, beavers and porcupines are larger.  Unlike their larger cousins, cavies are natural sprinters.  With their long legs, they can run at speeds of 45 miles per hour.

See more of David’s TV segments, blogs and upcoming appearances at www.naturegeek.org