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Australia Fun!

The Echidna
No Laughing at our Homemade Echidna :)
The Echidna is cousins with the Platypus.  They are the only two mammals that lay eggs.  The Echidna also has two layers like the Platypus.  Instead of fur the Echidna has hair.  It has both short hair and long hair. The short hair acts like a fur which covers its body and the long hair on top turns into spikes!  Yes, Spikes!  It uses these spikes to protect itself from predators.  When the Echidna feels like it is in danger it rolls itself into a ball and the hair "spikes" out all over its body making it impossible for other animals to attack it.  Similar to a porcupine.  Ouch!  The Echidna likes to eat insects and worms.  It uses its long sticky tongue  to catch its food.  It has no teeth so when it comes to chewing it just mashes its prey up.  Don't you think that it would be hard to eat with no teeth? The Echidna is a very strong animal it can lift double its weight!  A baby Echidna is called a puggle and they can live up to about 50 years.   


The Platypus
The Platypus is one of the strangest "mammals" around.  Do you know what a mammal is?  A mammal is an animal that needs air, has a backbone, grows hair and the moms can make milk for their babies.  There are only two mammals that lay eggs and the Platypus is one of them.  The Platypus can live in  both water and land.  When the Platypus lays its egg on land and it hatches the baby is about the size of a Lima Bean.  Remember our story "Bad Case of Stripes". The Platypus looks a little odd.  It has a rubbery bill, webbed feet, and a long flat tail similar to a beaver.  It is covered in two layers of fur.  The top layer absorbs the water keeping the second layer dry.  Isn't that cool!  Imagine if you had two layers of hair on your head and the bottom one stayed dry when you washed our hair!  They use their big webbed feet to swim and its tail helps steering them in the water.The Platypus is deaf and blind under water.  It uses its bill to find small creatures underwater.  It eats shrimp and other small worms and mussels.  It is cousins with the Echidna, we will be talking about the Echidna tomorrow.    
The Puffer Fish 
The Puffer fish is also known as the "Blow fish" or "Balloon fish".  Can you guess why?  
When the Puffer Fish feels threatened, scared or nervous it inflates.  Which means it puffs up like a balloon!  It pulls in water through its mouth inflating its body into a ball.  Puffer fish do not have scales like most fish they have spines. Those spines are extremely  dangerous to the other animals in the Ocean. When they "puff" up into a ball, those spines stick out and are used to protect the Puffer fish from danger. 
The Puffer fish is a very clumsy swimmer.  They spend a great part of their day "puffing up" and when this happens they just float around in no real direction. Kinda like the girl in Charlie and the Chocolate factory (The Blueberry) ! They like to eat algae, clams, mussels and shellfish.  They use their hard beaks and small sharp teeth to crack open the shells.  What an interesting fish..but not one I would like to meet! 

The Star Fish
First things first...a StarFish is not a fish..the real name is "Sea Star".  People assumed it was a fish because it lived in the ocean.  The Sea Star is related to the Sand Dollar and Sea Urchins families.  There are about 2,000 different types of Sea Stars. What makes these creatures cool is they can have anywhere from 5 arms to 50 arms! Imagine 50 arms... think about how first you would get your work done during the day!  Also if they happen to hurt or lose an arm guess what...it grows back!  They also have any eye at the end of each arm!!  50 eyes watching you during the day that is crazy!  They only like to live in salty ocean waters.  Remember Lake Hiller  the "Pink lake", it is 10 times more salty than our beach the Sea Stars would love it there!!  They like to spend their days alone beside when they eat dinner,  they like to eat with their friends.  They enjoy munching on  clams, oysters and snails 
The Clownfish
Everyone knows the Clown Fish!  
There are 30 different types of Clown Fish!  They can be yellow, orange, black, red, blue and white!  Mrs. Plante would like a Pink one and Mrs. De Tone would like a purple one! They don't really swim they bounce through the Sea.  That is pretty neat.  Imagine spending the day bouncing. A mom Clown Fish can lay 1000 eggs, once she lays the egg the Dad guards them.  The biggest Clown Fish ever recorded was 7 inches long and the smallest was 4 inches long.  The cool thing about the ClownFish is that they are Best Friends with the Sea Anemone.  The Sea Anemone usually isn't very nice. Our number one rule...Be Kind, Be Nice and Do Good Things! The Sea Anemone has tentacles that it stings everyone in the Sea with but the Clown Fish!  The Clown Fish lives inside the Sea Anemone spending its time eating the plankton off it.  The Clown Fish helps to keep the Sea Anemone clean and the Sea Anemone keeps the Clown Fish safe with its tentacles.  Now that's good teamwork...they are like Best Friends!  
Try to make you best Fish face today and maybe watch the movie Finding Nemo today! 

The Jellyfish
The Jellyfish is one cool creature!  You might think because of its name it is a fish but it is not!  The Jellyfish is made up of 95% water.  They are related to the corals and sea anemones (where Nemo lives).  
Jellyfish are found in the Sea or Ocean.  
They have no brain, eyes, heart or bones!  Yikes!  They actually don't know how to swim.   In order to move they squirt water from their mouths to push forward. A lot of their day is spent just floating around and eating plankton.  Some can  be very tiny or extremely large.  Many are brightly colored and some are transparent.  That's a big word....it means see-through.  Wouldn't that be cool if we could be transparent... think of all the tricks we could play on our Mom's and Dad's!  Jellyfish are usually known for stinging people, but guess what...they  don't mean too remember they have no brains.  What happens is their tentacles touch you and you get stung.   Sometimes they stay in big groups those groups are called "swarms" and sometimes there can be up 100,000 together!  
Imagine that...WOW!

Back to Australia Today...
The Blue Ringed Octopus

The Blue Ringed Octopus is one of the most venomous animals in the Great Barrier Reef and.... the World! 
What does Venomous mean...Poisonous!! 
 It is only about 8 inches long when it is swimming in the Reef.  However when it curls up in between the Coral  it is about the size of a golf ball.  This Octopus has the ability to change its shape.   It is a  light yellow color with big blue circles on it.  When it gets mad or feels threatened it will turn bright yellow and attack. Yikes!  It likes to eat shrimp and crabs and it only lives a little over a year. 
 I wouldn't want to swim into one of these in the Reef!
Try to make your own Blue Ringed Octopus today...remember they have 8 arms!  



The Dingo.... AKA "Mr. Munson"
He is a 4 week old Boxer, he is still growing with his mom. Mrs. De Tone should be picking him up the week we are back at school...maybe he will come in for a visit!
Hi Everyone, I know we are talking about the Great Barrier Reef but....I thought today we could talk about "The Dingo".  The Dingo is a wild dog that lives in Australia.  They like to live in packs which are "big groups" .  They love to run quickly around Australia.  The Dingo is an orange/brown color with a small white patch.   They usually  weigh between 44-77lbs.  They don't make good house pets because they can be aggressive, they need to run and move around!    Even though they are a dog they do not bark they howl, isn't that neat!  Mrs. Plante loves dogs so much, she thinks she could keep one as a pet...I am not sure her dog Lucy would like that!
I hope Mr. Munson doesn't act like a Dingo he kinda looks like one!
Have a nice day...practice your Howling!  


The SeaHorse
Did you know that the Seahorse is not actually a Horse its a fish.  But it has skin not scales!
A baby is called a Fry.
They can change colors to blend in.  I would want to be Purple and Green!
They can't swim very well but they can see both forwards and backwards!  
How Cool is that!!! Imagine if Mrs. De Tone could see forwards and backwards!!!

Let's jump into the Great Barrier Reef!
The Great Barrier Reef is the World's largest Coral Reef system it is so big it can be seen from Outer Space! What animals do you think live in this gigantic reef?  

Uluru Rock 
Changes color at dawn and dusk.
It used to sit at the bottom of the sea!
It is considered a Holy Place.